Skip to Content

Safe Pregnancy Weight Lifting: How to Stay Strong and Active

Have you been considering safe pregnancy weight lifting as a way to stay strong during those long nine months?

Safe pregnancy weight lifting is a possible option to help you stay healthy, active and strong while you grow your baby.

It is very possible to practice safe pregnancy weight lifting. I was able to lift safely while pregnant for nearly 40 weeks of my pregnancy.

In fact, I taught others to lift safely as well. I have taught Les Mills BODYPUMP two-three days per week for several years. All through my second pregnancy, I continued to teach BODYPUMP and made it all the way to 39 1/2 weeks teaching this intense, rep-effect class.

While teaching, I definitely had to remember I was pregnant and I had to be safe for my body and baby.

I also practiced safe pregnancy weight lifting on my farmstead. I continued to do livestock chores and played midwife to new mother animals. While doing so, I had to be aware of the muscles I was working.

It really all comes down to this: Don’t strain those important muscle groups supporting yourself and baby.


Before we go any further with your guide to safe pregnancy weight lifting, please note I am a certified fitness instructor. I am not a doctor. The information I am about to give is based on my own experience and expertise. I understand every woman’s body and pregnancy are different. Please view my full disclaimer for more information.

I only encourage an active pregnancy. Lifting may not be an option for you, but healthy active pregnancy is important.

Use these tips for light activity to help keep important muscles from straining wherever you are.

Peachy? Now, on to the tips!

safe pregnancy weight lifting

Here are my three main tips for safe pregnancy weight lifting:

Use Your Legs

We’re starting at the base, ladies.

Legs and glutes are your largest muscle group. They can handle your body weight plus some but it’s important to keep them nice and strong.

Safe squats or lunges will help your glutes and quads stay nice and strong throughout pregnancy.

For safe squats, set back into your heels like you’re sitting in a chair. Keep the chest high. Feel it in your glutes. If you feel pressure in your knees, you need to set back into your heels. Wiggle your toes.

For safe lunges, spread your legs apart. Let the back knee lead and bend knees down to 90 degrees.

Not only will these exercises help keep you strong, but you will be able to continue to pick things up safely. If you have a toddler at home, you know what I’m talking about.

It’s not just the legs that support your growing body. The core needs to remain strong as well.

Squeeze the core

Your core will feel like it is falling apart during pregnancy. All the way around to your back.

No matter what you do, you use your core for many things. That is why it is called the core muscles.

Suck it in gently.

It may feel uncomfortable at first with that baby inside.

Pretend like you’re wearing a belt and squeeze the core gently as much as you can. This protects other muscles, such as your lower back and also helps to keep your body as straight as possible.

safe pregnancy weight lifting

Keep the shoulders pushed down.

Lifting things over your head is very possible while pregnant. Just as long as you are safe about it.

Keeping the shoulders pushed down will help keep the pressure off the neck.

You can practice this without lifting a finger. Do it now. Drop the shoulders away from your ears. Can you feel the difference?

Putting it all together

This is really where it all comes together. Use the legs to pick it up, squeeze the core to lift up to the upper body and push the shoulders down to lift above your head.

You just completed a cling & press while pregnant!

And it’s not only about strength, ladies. Focusing on these three main muscle groups while pregnant can also help with your posture.

If you are sitting right now, try this. Squeeze your glutes, core and drop the shoulders. You should be sitting up straight now. Did that help?

More Muscle Groups to Train

I’ve discussed the three main muscle groups. Other muscle groups you can train during pregnancy include the chest, back, and arms.

Like the legs, the chest is a fairly large muscle group. Usually, chest presses while lying on your back is the most ideal way to work the chest. However, if you’re very pregnant, it may be difficult to lie down on your back. Pushups is a great option instead.

Your back is a delicate muscle group. To protect it, squeeze the core. In BODYPUMP class, we train the back muscles with dead rows. Wide pushups can also train those back muscles.

Train the mommy arms with bicep curls. Biceps are in the front part of your arm, so squeeze those guns as you lift. The back of your arms are the triceps. Tricep dips, tricep push ups and overhead extensions are all great ways to train those hard to reach muscles.

As you watch your body change with pregnancy, remember it’s a normal process. Don’t get discouraged. Remember that any exercises you are completing now will help you bounce back quicker after baby’s arrival and your safe recovery.

Why I’m still lifting

I lift a lot in my day. Weights, boxes, feed and water buckets, and toddlers all fight for my attention.

Some routines in my day just couldn’t be avoided. My toddler still needs affection from me. The animals still need fed and watered daily.

I’m still lifting to keep my body strong throughout pregnancy. The main thing I am remembering each time I lift is to focus on the three main muscle groups that support my body and my baby.

safe pregnancy weight lifting

Every BODY is Different

You can’t lift while pregnant? I get it!

Since I’m an instructor, I completely believe that every body is different. My body is different as well because it cannot go into labor without the use of pitocin. In fact, the common phrase “Baby will come when baby is ready” makes me cringe and want to throw something.

So, with that said, be active during your pregnancy however you’d like. Walking, swimming, and yoga are also great weighs to stay fit and strong during pregnancy. In my first pregnancy, I took Zumba classes, which are really fun.

Listening to your body is the key to staying active during pregnancy. Focusing on the three main muscle groups (Glutes, Core, Upper Body) will help you to remain active and strong throughout pregnancy.

No matter what, you’ll still be using the three main muscle groups through your day. So be aware of how you are using them.

Enjoy your pregnancy and stay strong with safe pregnancy weight lifting.

~ Much Love ~



Jennifer Corter

Tuesday 29th of March 2016

I'm definitely bookmarking this for when I have my second child.

Mindy Young

Thursday 31st of March 2016

Thanks, Jennifer! I hope you have a very healthy and happy pregnancy. :)

Danielle Greco

Saturday 26th of March 2016

My fitness instructor did our body pump class until a week before she delivered!! And so did my sis! It's inspiring :) Great job Danielle |

Mindy Young @ Farm Fit Living

Sunday 27th of March 2016

Thanks, Danielle! It feels great to be able to continue to stay active during a time when the body is changing so much. I'm so glad to hear from women who aspire to work out during pregnancy. Even if it's light activity - It's still activity!

Comments are closed.