Welcome to week 1 of the Hey Fit Mama program which is actually around 20 weeks gestation. You may or may not be at 20 weeks and that is completely fine. During the first stages of pregnancy it is safe to continue with your normal workout routines. The reason we are beginning at week 20 is because this is when changes start to occur in your body that require you to modify your workouts.
My wish for you is that these programs inspire a safe and regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy. No matter how many weeks pregnant you are there are programs in here for you. If you feel they are progressing too quickly you can always repeat any program or week and take more time to master the technique and build endurance and strength. Do whatever feels right for you.
If you’re looking for something tougher then I’d recommend you build up how many repetitions and sets you complete and lengthen the program to 45 minutes.
It is important to complement the Hey Fit Mama program with regular cardio-focussed workouts, so remember to try walk on your days off for 30-45 minutes.
Each week will introduce a new exercise and focus. That way we can all be on the same page about what the aim of the week is. The majority of the weeks have a variety of workouts but in the first instances (like week 1) the focus is commitment and routine so the workouts are the same for each day.
The focus for week one is to:
Perform the same circuit on 3 days.
Commit to making the time and establishing routine.
Aim to complete at least one set of each exercise. If you complete all recommended sets the program will take about 30 minutes to complete.
To learn about the technique for activating your pelvic floor muscles and lower abdominals and to build this activation pattern into movements. You can read about this technique in the 'exercising your pelvic floor' and 'let's talk about your core' sections of this book.
Tips for technique
Workout 1, 2 & 3
Perform each exercise for 45 seconds on each side with 15 seconds rest.
‘x’ indicates the number of sets x 1, x 2, x 3
Perform each stretch for 60 seconds or 30 seconds on each side if required.
Prepare by engaging your pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles gently. Begin lying on your side with your knees bent up. Ideally your heels will line up with your buttock. Squeeze your heels together and maintain this contact as you lift the top leg upwards using the muscles behind your hip in your buttock. Slowly lower back down and repeat.
Prepare by engaging your pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles gently. Lying with legs straight on the floor or with the bottom knee bent (depending on comfort), and raise your leg up to the side. I always aim for a slightly backward lift to further target the bottom muscles. A common mistake is to lift the leg forward in front of you. Continue to lift the leg up and down for the duration of the set.
Prepare to balance by gently engaging your lower abdominal muscles. Make sure you extend the opposite arm to leg not the same side, and focus on keeping your back still and gaze down between your hands. Reach long out of your leg and arm like you are being pulled in each direction. Hold at the end of the movement for 3 seconds, then return. Alternate from side to side for the 45 second set.
In standing with straight arms pull the band straight backwards without rolling your shoulders forward. This is a great exercise for strengthening your tummy muscles, pelvic floor, shoulders and back. In standing bend your elbows and pull backwards to strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blades.
Begin in sitting with weights by your side. Prepare for the exercise by engaging your pelvic floor muscles. Bend the elbows to raise the weights up and then lower back down. Aim to isolate the movement to the elbow and avoid rolling forward through the shoulders.
Begin in sitting with weights resting on shoulders. Prepare for the exercise by engaging your pelvic floor muscles. Slowly raise the weights above your head and then lower them back down. Continue to lift up and down at a steady pace for the duration of the 45 second set.
Place the ball behind your back but not too low down. Ideally just above your lower back. Feet are hip width apart or a bit wider. Lean into the wall and walk your feet forward so they are in front of your hips. Prepare for the exercise by engaging your pelvic floor muscles. Bend your knees to squat down. Aim to keep your knees over your ankles and shins vertical. A common mistake is to have the feet too close and the knees moving forward over the knees. Continue to squat up and down at a comfortable pace for the duration of the 45 second set.
Begin in sitting. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your lower back. This is to help you check that you're not engaging your stomach or back muscles. Squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles and hold for 10 seconds. Continue to breathe normally. Let go and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Begin balanced on hands and knees. Gently engage your lower abdominal muscles by drawing your belly up towards your spine. Continue to breathe normally. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Stretching your quads is an exercise you would have learnt as a child in school. Keep it simple. Balance on one leg and bring your heel up to your buttock. The trick is to not lean forward or backwards and try keep your knee as close to the standing knee as possible. Adding a pelvic tilt to bring your pelvis forward will help bring the stretch closer to your hip. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
In sitting with feet and knees hip width apart. Slowly roll down through the entire spine and slide your hands down your shins to the floor. The return to sitting by slowly rolling back up. The stretch is aiming to mobilise the entire spine and create better articulation between each level of your back. Continue to roll down and up slowly for 60 seconds. Ensure your breathing stays relaxed and comfortable.
Being on your hands and knees and if you need more space, place your knees wide apart but keep your feet together. Slowly move your hips backwards until you are resting on your ankles. Arms reached out in front. Hold the stretch and breathe into the areas where you feel tightness for the duration of the set.
A great exercise for mobilising your spine in a supported position. The aim is full spine flexion to full spine extension. A common mistake in this position is to only arch your lower back and in the second position, to only press up between your shoulders. Make sure you involve the entire spine which involves the head and the pelvis. Continue to move from one range to the other for the duration of the set.
This stretch is safe for both during pregnancy and after, as you don’t spend much time lying flat on your back. Begin lying on your side with your arms on top of each other and knees bent. Reach the top arm up and across to the other side to stretch your upper back into rotation. Then return to the start and repeat. Try keep your hips facing forwards to isolate the movement to the upper back. Mobilise each side for 30 seconds.