Pregnancy is a wondrous and beautiful thing.
It is also full of unwanted, yet needed, weight gain. Gaining weight is big part of pregnancy that women dread. We all fear ending up with a flabby booty or discovering that we now have thunder thighs and cankles rather calves AND ankles.
While the weight gain is important for your growing baby, it can be rather stressful for the mom to be. One way to combat this anxiety is to work on firming up your body. It isn’t terribly safe to try to burn off fat while building a baby, however, toning and shaping your muscles is a great way to build confidence in yourself and keep your body strong and shapely.
Legs, especially the thighs, get hit particularly hard when women are pregnant as the hormone estrogen causing more weight gain in this area. However, there are 5, easy exercises that you can do to combat this issue.
1. Plie or “Sumo” Squats: Squatting is one of the best ways to work your legs, particularly your thighs and booty, which we want to stay as tight and round as your front is becoming. Tradition squats, however, with a more narrow stance, can be difficult as your belly grows. Thus, Plie, also known as “sumo” squats are a great way to go. These squats will better target your inner thighs as well. which you may find are rubbing together a bit more than usual.
2. Lunges: Lunges are another great way to target your lower body. While the majority of the work will be done by the upper thighs and booty you may also feel these in your calves. As your belly grows you can take a slight wider stance so that your tummy has room. I also have found that, while during my first and second trimester, I have no trouble doing full lunges, where you step forward and drop down before stepping back, as I my hips are put under more pressure by my growing belly I have a harder time doing the full movement. Once the discomfort is obvious I will switch to pulsing lunges. In this form of lunge you simply step forward into lunge position and, after dropping as low as you can, simply pulse up and down. You can also do static lunges where you simply drop low and pop up and repeat without bringing the foot back to the starting position each time.
3. Deadlifts: This particular move will require a bit of resistance. You can start out using two 5 pound weights or even just a couple cans of beans. Deadlifts are great for the back of your body. As your pregnancy progresses the extra weight in your front may start to effect your back side. It’s important to strengthen your entire backside for this reason. Deadlifts target the entirety of the back your legs including your booty and even a bit of your lower back.
4. Side Leg Lifts: I don’t know about you, but one thing I always fear is the emergence of the dreaded saddle bags! The upper outside of your thighs can be a really difficult place to target however, and, if your like me, it is also where my extra pregnancy weight likes to congregate! Side leg lifts are a great way to target and tone this area, helping you beat the jiggle and wiggle into your jeans a bit easier. Be sure that you feel stable for this exercise. If you feel that you may teeter grab a chair or hang on to the wall to help you keep your balance.
5. Doggy-Style Leg Lifts: As the name indicated, this is another stabilization exercise that includes lifting the leg to tone it up! From your position on the floor, “doggy style,” there are three variations for this exercise. You can bend the knee and lift your foot straight to the ceiling (this targets your booty), you can straighten your leg and lift your toe to the ceiling (work that booty and the back of the thigh), or you can bend your knee and pull it out to the side (working your saddle bag area again). Be sure to keep your core tight for this exercise as you don’t want your back to curve downward. Gently tighten your abs muscles as if you are giving your baby a hug.
For a quick leg workout each day simply follow the routine below each morning or in the evening before dinner!
25 “sumo” squats
15 “doggy-style” side leg lifts
25 dead lifts
15 “doggy-style” bent knee leg lifts
50 lunges (25 each side)
15 “doggy-style” straight leg lifts
30 standing side leg lifts (15 each side)
If you’re a bad-ass REPEAT!