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  • Writer's pictureJen Curtis


If you'd prefer to listen to a video about this you can check out this video that I made on the same topic

One of my aims during this pregnancy will be to maintain as much strength as possible, safely. Which means I WILL be lifting weights, despite the literally THOUSANDS of comments I've received about "what are you going to do now, you can't lift weights any more". Of course I can, and I should. - My workouts will differ in magnitude, NOT in kind. That means that I'll still be prioritizing the same movement patterns (hip hinge, squat, lunge, pushes and pulls) BUT... With less weight.


There may come a time when I'll need, or want to stop, later on in the pregnancy, but the beauty of strength training, that most people oversee is that you can ALWAYS modify the movement. - How much weight should I use? I get asked this almost daily. The answer is "it depends". I will be figuring that out workout to workout, and expecting a decline over the course of the pregnancy. - GUIDELINES FOR LIFTING WHEN PREGNANT:

💪 Whatever rep range you're using, make sure you can EXHALE throughout every rep #blowbeforeyougo (from Julie Wiebe)- this becomes more important as the belly gets bigger. We do this to regulate intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). Holding the breath can put excessive load on the pelvic floor and connective tissue like the linea alba. This is a safeguard for avoiding injury to the pelvic floor, diastasis recti and excessive tension in the pelvic floor.

💪 Stick to a higher rep range of 8-12 reps (no 1 rep maxes!). This is also to ensure regulation of IAP and prevent unnecessary load on the pelvic floor and core muscles. You'll still maintain muscle mass with this rep range and you will get a bit of a cardiovascular response, even though you might lose some maximal strength.

💪 Choose the weight according to what you are able to do within that rep range. What I like to tell trainees is that if you can do 12 reps with perfect form and while exhaling throughout the movement (and it feels good), you can add weight. If you can't do 8 it's a bit too heavy and you should lower the weight.

💪 Make sure you leave a couple in the tank (i.e. don't work to failure)

💪Prioritize the big compound movements and functional moves that will help you in everyday life (like deadlifts, squats, rows and presses) and give you the biggest bang for your buck

💪Have a slight bias towards posterior chain aka BACK and BUM (deadlifts, rows, squats, glute work)

💪 Keep form impeccable, if you can't do it with perfect form, it's either too heavy, or you should take a few steps back and learn technique first.

💪 Avoid core work, do some glute finishers instead.

💪Keep a positive mindset if you can't do as much as before pregnancy and don't try to break PRs... YOU ARE GROWING A HUMAN FFS - Here I managed 40kg for 10 (around the 3 month mark), and it felt easy. That's significantly less than I was doing before, but I that's not important. It's plenty to keep me fit and strong and maintain muscle mass. Some days are better than others, and a woman who was lifting before can't expect progress. Progressive overload doesn't apply here. It also won't be linear. Some days I'll lift way less, sometimes I might be pumped and squeeze out a bit more. I'll enjoy those training sessions, but it's all really quite irrelevant. An extra 5kg on my deadlift won't make my life any better. - HOWEVER, women who have never strength trained before SHOULD start during pregnancy and WILL progress, usually until the 7th month or so.

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