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5 Exercise Modifications You Can Do During Pregnancy

Fitness • May 6, 2016

Trainers Dennys and Simon demonstrate 5 common exercises and the modifications they suggest for expecting mothers.

BURPEES: During your first trimester and before you begin showing, you can still do full burpees (lowering your body all the way to the floor).

MODIFICATION: Step Back Squat Thrusts – Similar to a burpee, you will step or jump your legs back to a push-up position. Instead of lowering your body to the floor as you would in a full burpee, you step or jump to the bottom of a squat. Dennys and Simon recommend starting to do this modification once you begin showing or when you enter your second trimester. This is also very dependent on the mother and how comfortable they feel doing these exercises.

CHEST PRESS: After your first trimester, research recommends stopping exercises that require you to lay on your back as blood circulation may be affected by the added weight of the baby and can make an expectant mother dizzy or nauseous.

MODIFICATION: Reclined Chest Press- It is important to find alternatives to exercises so that you do not neglect specific muscle groups while you are pregnant. You can get the same stimulus by doing chest presses in a chair or on a reclined bench.

RUSSIAN TWISTS: Abdominal exercises that require lying on your back are discouraged, but that doesn’t mean all abdominal exercises should be skipped! The Russian Twist is not recommended after the first trimester.

MODIFICATION: Seated Torso Twists- A great alternative to the Russian Twist, the Seated Torso Twist, allows the mom-to-be to work her core. Having a strong core helps your body cope with postural changes throughout the pregnancy and eases lower back pain.

PLANK SHOULDER TAPS: Nearly two-thirds of all new moms experience diastasis or ab separation. Planks are a safe option for abdominal strength during the majority of your pregnancy, and unlike crunches and sit-ups, they don’t worsen diastasis.

MODIFICATION: Wall Plank Shoulder Taps- By the third trimester, the weight of the baby may make it uncomfortable to hold a true plank. This modification ensures less pressure on the back while keeping the core and shoulders still engaged.


Squats encourage a strong pelvic floor. This is especially important for expecting mothers. The pelvic floor is underneath all of the organs and the weight of the baby. A strong pelvic floor will help during labor and aid in a speedy recovery.


Sumo Squat- Regular squats are great in the early weeks of pregnancy, but once the belly starts growing, the wide-angle of a sumo squat makes more room for a comfy baby. A Sumo Squat still works the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves similar to a traditional squat.

Before trying any of these moves at home, we recommend consulting your doctor, and if you are taking a Fhitting Room class for the first time, make sure to introduce yourself to your instructor and let them know you are expecting and what week you’re in. If you can’t make it to the studio, Dennys and Simon put together a workout you can try at home!

Perform the exercises in the order listed for 40 seconds with 20 seconds of rest between each movement. Repeat 3 times for a total of 4 rounds.

– Sumo Squats
– Wall Shoulder Taps
– Seated Reach and Twist
– Reclined Chest Press
– Step Back Squat Thrusts

Looking for more modifications for common HIIT movements? Dennys shared some with What To Expect. Read it here.

Read more FHIT stories on our FHITmoms; Michelle who continued to get her FHIX throughout her second pregnancy, and Alanna who started to come to The Fhitting Room just days before she found out she was pregnant with her first child.

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