Belly Only Pregnancy Workout
Pregnancy means you will gain some weight-it’s inevitable. While you cannot completely control or physically distribute where your weight will go or carry, you can minimize the weight you will gain and where.
During my last pregnancy, I made the news headlines when I was able to carry on with my six pack almost until the end! Why this made headlines, I’ll never know, but I get so many emails daily from other ladies asking how they can have a “belly only” or “six pack” pregnancy as well.
Let me start by saying, a “six pack” or “belly only” should not be your primary goal for your pregnancy. Your goal should be to stay moderatively active throughout your pregnancy for a healthy baby and safe delivery and to keep yourself from gaining an unhealthy amount of weight-not just to sport some six pack abs. All of our bodies are so different so our weight gain during pregnancy will be different as well.
Throughout my pregnancy with my daughter, I stayed fit and made sure to work every body part in order to keep things tight and toned. However, I did do a few tummy tightening moves to keep my abs tight in addition to workouts that minimized weight gain in the areas that I typically gain the most fat during pregnancy: my love handles, butt, and thighs.
Though I was pretty much “belly only” with both of my pregnancies, I did know exactly what to do the second time around to have a healthier and fitter pregnancy than ever before. As you can see below from my 36 week pregnant belly comparison, my belly sizes were totally different despite the fact that I gained 30lbs each time. I was more relaxed with my first pregnancy so I decided to kick things up a notch by working out 5 days per week for 45 minutes mixing cardio and weightlifting.
You will have to watch your weight during pregnancy. It is very easy to gain weight because your hormones are playing some funny games with you. The textbook recommendation is anywhere from 25lbs-35lbs, but this will vary from woman to woman. There are also so many things that will go into how much weight you gain-see my chart below!
Here are my tips to gaining weight at a slow, steady pace:
- Eat 5-6 meals per day. No, not large meals, but small meals. You could also do 3 main meals and two snacks. You want to make sure that you eat lean protein at every meal/snack as well. This will help to keep you feeling full for a longer amount of time throughout your day. Lots of my pregnant clients love my 4 week clean eating meal plan!
- Workout at least 5 days per week for 30 minutes. It is best to do a combo of weight training and cardio, but if I had to pick one that you should be doing more of during pregnancy to control your weight gain, I would have to say that cardio is key. During pregnancy, you gain extra body fat due to those lovely hormones and what burns fat? CARDIO, baby! However, you do not want to neglect weights for 40 weeks and let your muscles turn to mush. You won’t be happy with what you are left with when you give birth. I know I wasn’t! So this time around, I do 45 minutes a day (30 min cardio + 15 min lifting) 5 days a week.
- Know your calories! This is the most important tip of all-you have got to get a grip on how many calories you should be consuming per day. The recommended amount is about 100-300 extra calories per day during pregnancy. Use this calculator to help determine your needs.
Remember: you WILL gain weight and that is absolutely OK! As long as you eat a clean diet and get moving often, you have done everything in your power to obtain a healthy weight gain range.
In order to keep your weight in your belly and even all over, you will need to work your entire body with various moves. I will share with you below my favorite moves that helped me during pregnancy:
“Belly Only” Workout
Standing Side Crunches: 3 sets of 20 reps (alternating sides)
Stand straight upward with your hands behind your head. Slowly bend to the left side as far down as you can (without feeling any pain or discomfort). Slowly come back upward, pause, and bend to the right side. Repeat.
Dumbbell Side Bends: 3 sets of 10 reps (each side)
Grabbing a 5lb or 10lb dumbbell, bend slowly to the left and hold it for a second. Let your body guide you and listen to your body to know how far down to bend. Slowly come back upward. Repeat and switch sides.
Side Plank: 60 seconds (each side)
Lie on side on mat. Place forearm on mat under shoulder perpendicular to body. Place upper leg directly on top of lower leg and straighten knees and hips. Raise body upward by straightening waist so body is ridged. Hold position. Repeat with opposite side.
Side Plank Hip Dips: 3 sets of 10 reps (per side)
Start in a side plank position with your elbow touching the ground. Drop your hips toward the floor, squeezing your obliques as you bring them back up. Repeat and switch sides.
Dumbbell Side Bend Variation #2: 3 sets of 20 reps (per side)
Stand with your feet 2-3 inches further than hip width apart.Keeping your hips facing forward, raise the dumbbell above your head (holding it with both hands). Drop your upper body to the right, shifting your weight and hips to the right. Keep your arms up and don’t let the weight drop below your head. Lift back up, returning to the top but keep the weight above your head. Repeat, alternating sides.
Dumbbell Elbows to Knees Side Crunches: 3 sets of 20 reps (alternating sides)
Similar to the move above, follow the directions the same way. The only difference with this move is that you will pick up the knee of the side you are bending toward. For example, if you are bending to your left, pick up your left knee and bring it to meet the dumbbell. Note: they don’t have to touch, but go as far as you can without having to strain or feel discomfort.
Modified Woodchoppers 3 sets of 10 reps (per side)
Standing tall, with feet shoulder width apart, hold a dumbbell with both hands. Engage your core and reach dumbbell straight over to one shoulder, tilting your body a bit. Bring the dumbbell downward in a quick chopping motion toward the opposite hip. Instead of bending down for a traditional woodchopper, you will simply bring your opposite knee upward as you bring the dumbbell down in a diagonal motion. Repeat and switch sides.
Standing Side Reaches 3 sets of 10 reps (per side)
This move is similar to a stretch and feels very nice! Slowly bend to the right side with your left arm extending overhead and over as if you are trying to touch the opposite side of your body. Your right hand/arm can rest beneath or on your belly. Hold for 5 seconds and feel the stretch. Repeat and switch sides.
Now, here’s a video that demonstates the entire workout:
To follow my exact prenatal routine, check out my Fit For Two: 12 Week Home Workout Plan! The workouts in the program are based off of my exact plan and I actually created it while pregnant with my second.
- NO GYM REQUIRED!
- Keeps you lean and toned during pregnancy.
- Strengthens your body for a shorter labor and delivery.
- A trimester specific workout plan broken down into 3 separate phases that you can do from home or anywhere!
- Over 100 different exercises with photo based step-by-step instructions.
- PDF format that is available to use on iPhone/iPad/Android/Kindle/Computer.
- An exercise glossary with a detailed written description of each move.
- Only one set of dumbbells are required.
Grab your copy by clicking here!