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Pregnancy tagged with 'arm exercises'

Pregnancy week by week

21 May, 2012

On Thursday, the first day of my third trimester, I mentioned that I managed to get back into the gym to do some non-painful exercise (click here to see what I did). After a week of doing very little, my thighs were killing me on Friday (which is a good thing as I felt like I had finally done something!) and spurred on my success I decided I’d do another exercise DVD review – to see how well it fares as far as pregnancy exercises go now I’m a little less mobile.

I reviewed Davina’s Body Buff a few weeks ago when I was 25 weeks pregnant and blissfully ignorant of any pelvis problems lurking around the corner! Now that things are beginning to seize up a bit I was intrigued to see how I’d get on with a different one of Davina’s DVDs (variety is the spice of life after all!), High Energy Five.

When I first got this DVD, Alex (bezzie mate, used to live together and were business partners until the beginning of the year) and I were soooooo excited to get stuck in because there was a 20 minute aerobic section that promised to burn fat. A workout? In 20 minutes? Hooray! We did it, completely ignoring the warm up and down sections and boy did we regret it. Neither of us could walk for the next few days and our carves were still hurting a week later. So my first word of warning is whether you’re preggo or not, don’t let your excitement get the better of you – always do the warm up!

Davina – High Energy Five [DVD]

Much like Body Buff, this DVD is separated into 5 sections so you can put together your own workout. If you do one section (plus warm up and down, of course), it’ll take about 30 minutes, which is ideal for anyone pregnant who’s looking to do 30 minutes of exercise a day. Here are the sections:

  • Warm up
  • Aerobics
  • Legs
  • Pump (for the upper body)
  • Abdominals *
  • Boxing
  • Cool down

*again, I didn’t do the abdominals section for obvious reasons but have done a lot in the past and it’s pretty good.

Friday – Pump and Boxing

Like I said, I was pretty spurred on after managing to go to the gym on Thursday so I did not 1 but 2 sections! This takes about 45/50 mins with the warm up and down.

The pump follows the usual 3 sections separated by 1-minute interval to raise your heart rate. For the intervals, I find that I can do ‘flick kicks’ (see first interval in the legs sections) and skipping on the spot quite comfortably. They have a low impact version, so it should be possible for you whatever your mobility, just tone it down if necessary. The arm exercises are not especially hard and I like doing them (again, time to get some heavier weights so it’s more of a challenge!).

I’d noticed, thanks to my new sports bra that is now too small… oh the shame, that my upper back is looking chubby. So, to follow on from the pump, I decided I’d also see what the boxing section was like. I remembered from doing boxing previously that I would always have sore muscles in my back the next day. It was great! It wasn’t too complex so my simple pregnancy brain could follow and there wasn’t too much jumping around. Plus, they combined some simple (non-pelvic painful) leg toning exercises as well. Next time I do it I’m going to use dumbbells to increase the workout my arms get.

All in all, it was a good workout.

Sunday – Aerobics

I was not looking forward to this as I hadn’t done it since doing it with Alex 3 years ago. I remembered it as being quite boring and repetitive. Turns out it is repetitive but it was really quite alright. I was able to do some jumping around and certainly finished the section with pink cheeks!

There were bits I couldn’t do, for example I didn’t want to do any spotty dogs or star jumps, so I just replaced it with the low impact version (half jacks) and when they do the jumping front, side and back (you’ll see what I mean when you do it), I replaced this again with half jacks. Also, because I knew I would be doing the low impact version for much of it I did the whole routine carrying some 0.5kg dumbbells in each hand, which worked out quite nicely to increase the intensity in ways that don’t hurt!

Monday – Legs

My beloved legs section – I mentioned in Davina Buff review that I love doing lunges but since my pelvic problem I found that I couldn’t do lunges anymore so I was expecting this section to be a pain in the arse. Literally. I’d prepared myself for doing some different exercises if necessary, for example, I’d found this exercise (see pic below) in this month’s Women’s Health Magazine, which doesn’t hurt.

With a bit of tweaking (for the front lunges, instead of alternating legs, which puts pressure on the pelvis to perform balancing duties, do 12 on one side raising up and down with feet fixed in one place, then 12 on the other side), it was actually alright. Even the side lunges were OK providing I didn’t stick my bum out too much or dip too low. In the last section, I couldn’t do the squat to kicks so I did squats to reverse leg lifts instead to work my bum (much the same as the exercise in the image above but without the step).

Warm up and Cool Down – I didn’t really like the warm up much when I first got this as I felt it was a bit drawn out. It’s actually ideal if you’re pregnant though because it’s not too hard core so you can comfortably mobilize yourself. I’m thinking that later in my pregnancy if I’m struggling with doing anything else I could at least do a couple of Davina’s warm ups back to back instead! The cool down is a nice one, particularly the sit down bit that is great for stretching the lower back (although bump is starting to get in the way). I find Davina says a few goofy things in the cool down that get on my nerves (I still love you though!). Just zone those bits out!

In my opinion another good one in terms of pregnancy exercises – the low impact versions of jumpy bits make it ideal and you still get a sweat on, and I think the boxing section is my new favourite going forward. Do let me know what you think and how you get on if you do get it!

NOTE: please do not do these or another exercises mentioned in this blog UNLESS you have OK-ed it with your midwife. Also, stop doing any move immediately if it hurts, you don’t want to end up like I was a few weeks ago!

Other Posts about Pregnancy Exercises you might like:

Exercise for Pregnant Women (a guide to the dos and don’ts)

Davina Body Buff Review

Trimester 3 pregnancy exercises

Workout for the arms

17 May, 2012

Well, here we are. I’m 28 weeks pregnant so the third trimester starts today and if the last week is anything to go by, it’s going to be pretty shit! However, I’m an optimist and hope that it’s just been a blip (‘FOOL!’ I hear mothers from around the world cry!).

Despite only really wanting to go home to put my feet up (with my pelvis aligned. Naturally.), I have broken the rut and got myself back in the gym! Wearing something entirely awful that was too tight, I did 30 minutes of happy, unpainful (in the nether region) exercise, so I thought I’d share what I did here as I think it really is still do-able as far as pregnancy exercises go:

Aerobic exercise: 15 minutes on the cross trainer (you could equally walk but I find that painful), set to ‘random’ at level 9 (calorie wise I did 117 calories in that time and I would have happily done longer if I wasn’t so bored! I need to get an audio book or good podcast)

Strength training:

2 sets of 10 squats

Using 5kg weight:

– 3 sets of 10 triceps extensions

– 3 sets of 10 bicep curls*

– 3 sets of 10 shoulder presses*

– 3 sets of 10 squats*

* I combined these 3 moves into one exercise and did try to take some photos but they are truly atrocious (while reminding me why I need to exercise, it has highlighted my tree trunk legs, wobbly arms, huge face and general massiveness!) so please be happy with a description! …stand with feet shoulder width apart, dumbells by your side, lower yourself into a squat (making sure your knees aren’t over your toes) while simultaneously curling your arms into a bicep curl. Then as you stand back up push your arms into a shoulder press above your head.

…see what you think and please share what you’re up to.


29 Apr, 2012

Ever wondered what a pregnant woman is like after a night out when she went to bed at 1am? Well, I tell you. She’s a pissed off grouch, with no sense of humour and her poor family gets it in the neck for a whole day. What a catch, eh? And that has been me all day thanks to a fun night out with a bunch of drunk people. (in case you can’t tell from my tone, I did really enjoy the night!)

I decided in the hope to release some happy endorphins I’d do some exercise but after spending 3 days doing all the exercises on the Davina – Body Buff DVD for today’s review post, I couldn’t face doing any more Davina. Having leant out all my other exercise DVDs I reached for my only other DVD – Ministry of Sound’s Pump It Up (image below for your enjoyment and to prove my point) and didn’t even manage to get past the intro before I wanted to kill myself. Super-skinny girls in knickers and a bra is not the domain for the pregnant (and sevearly pissed off) woman, let me tell you.

Ministry Of Sound: Pump It Up! See what I mean?

So, I reverted to one of my tried and tested Davina DVDs and I must say I’m feeling a bit better (I think sleep is the only thing that will really work). Despite being known as a wee bit annoying, I don’t find her DVDs annoying at all – they’re on the fairly to very tough scale (so you feel like you’ve done a decent workout), they are quite amusing (even though I’ve seen them a hundred times – e.g. today I still laughed at a boob related comment while doing my arms. Easily pleased perhaps), and they aren’t perfect (they haven’t spent forever trying to edit all the life out of the routines, so they make mistakes, which makes it all the more endearing and not annoying). Despite being able to recite it word for word, I think this is why I still enjoy doing the DVDs.

After doing Davina Body Buff Legs section on Wednesday, I decided I would do the rest of the workouts to see how appropriate the rest of the DVD still was for someone who’s nearly 6 months pregnant. I’d been focusing my excise efforts at home on non-cardio workouts, think lunges and arm exercises, so time to see how I fare with a couple of cardio sessions! Here’s your review.

Davina – Body Buff Menu – whole DVD is 2 hours

Buff Warm up

Buff Cardio – 25 mins (plus 5 mins abs*)

Buff Boxing – 25 mins (plus 5 mins abs*)

Buff Legs and Core – 20 mins

Buff Arms – 15 mins

Buff Abs – 10 mins*

Buff Stretch – 5 mins basic with a further 5 mins deeper ‘yoga-style’ stretch

* I’m not doing any of the abs workouts as they are all crunch based – I’m sure these will be great once I’m trying to get my stomach back and I’ll be doing them everyday!

Wednesday – Buff Legs

I’m not going to lie, I love lunges. I’m obsessed with trying to get smaller legs so I do this one all the time. It’s quite hard work (in fact I’d almost go so far as to say it’s the best of her legs sections on the DVDs I have)  so it feels like it’s doing some good. The section takes the form of 4 sections of legs (squats, sumos, lunges, side lunges, etc) each seperated by 1mins of cardio to loosen the legs up again and raise the heart rate (aka fat burning while you’re doing the resistance work).

From a pregnancy point of view, it’s getting harder to do some of the moves. For example, squats are harder as my belly is beginning to get in the way, so I’m using a bit of artistic licensing and am doing sumos (wide legs, upright back – see this post for full explanation) instead of squats. All in all, I love the DVD for this section alone.

Thursday – Buff Cardio

I’m not as keen on cardio sections as a rule and I think it must be because I like the predictability of the resistance training – the sections interrupted by 1 mins of cardio – you just know where you are with it. With the cardio I tend to spend my time thinking, when’s it going to be over? Am I even halfway through yet? Etc. I’m not the spontaneous person I once thought I was.

Having said that, I think this section is pretty good, especially for pregnancy. There’s a low impact version which I think (she says know sweet F.A. about trimester 3) I’ll be able to do for quite some time yet. On Thursday I was able to do quite a bit of jumping about, I got at least half way through before I had to start doing the lower impact versions of the exercises. So, all in all, it was a nice variation on my resistance stuff and I ‘m going to do it more now (particularly when I’m feeling extra flabby and want to burn a few more calories).

Friday – Buff Boxing and Buff Arms

After 2 days on the trot doing the warm up I was getting a bit sick, so I decided to do the last 2 sections at the same time… Buff Boxing, much like Buff Cardio, was pretty alright and a nice change. It’s lower impact than the cardio (i.e. less jumping around) and with all the kicking and what not, you do feel more like you’re working your muscles, which I’m keen on. The only thing I’m not keen on is the twisting, due to the reliance on your core, but I just ad-libbed so it worked out fine.

The arms, like the legs, is one of my favourites. It’s especially good if you’re short of time, not really feeling it or want to tag it onto one of the other workouts, but still quite hard (although I really need to get some heavier weights). Unlike their other resistance workouts, this one doesn’t use their tried and tested ‘section, 1 min cardio, section’ formula, but combines the moves with some cardio to African style bongo beats. Just what you always wanted from your arms workout.

Warm up and Stretch – just a quickie about this…the warm up does what it meant to, it’s entirely non-offensive so no comment. The stretch – the first section is a stand up stretch so ideal if you’re feeling stretch lazy. The second section is more tricky and my belly does get in the way bit (plus my amazingly unlimber bits didn’t help either) but I think I should try and do more of it.


There you have it! I personally think it is definitely a good one for pregnancy exercises and with the added abs sections, I’ll be doing it (probably everyday!) to try and claw back some semblance of my former body.

13 Feb, 2012

And finally – exercise. I don’t know why I’ve been putting it off for so long, I guess I’ve been worrying that it needs to be all serious because we’re talking about exercise during pregnancy but everything I have read about it has said it is really good for us and baby bean.  I’m not sure if Beanie was enjoying it but today I was on the treadmill (mainly walking but I did break into a bit of a jog), and I’m sure I felt the baby join in for a little while – I can’t say it was all that comfortable but it amused me to think of it in there with a sweatband on working out.

When you google exercise during pregnancy it mostly points to sites that tell you to do fairly lame back exercises and to spend the rest of you day doing your pelvic floor. However, with a baby on the way, in under 6 months time I’m going to be lugging bags, babies, carries and more all over the place, so I want to be as fit as I can be. One of the key areas I’m focusing on is my arms, not least because I’m going to be at my most pregnant in the middle of summer and if everything else on me is going to be a lot bigger, I at least want arms like Madonna.

I have learnt all my arm exercises from Davina – she has a bunch of exercise DVDs, a handful of which have arm specific sections with weights. My favourite of her DVDs at the moment is Davina – Body Buff. The arm section is pretty good (and the leg bit is hardcore! I really like it but I have to tone it down a bit). If you can’t be arsed to get a DVD, here are my favourite arm exercises (do 12-15 reps of each exercise and do the whole set twice – repeat 3 times a week):

  1. Bicep curl – stand with feet hip-width apart (repeat for all exercises), and keeping your arms (from shoulder to elbow) fixed by your sides curl your hands up to your shoulders then return to starting position. If you want to increase the intensity on each arm, do alternate arms with a heavier weight.
  2. Should press – raise your hands to shoulder height, then extend your hands above the head and return to shoulder level.
  3. Upright row – start with your hands by your sides then raise them up to chest height with your elbows pointing out to the side in opposite directions, as if rowing.
  4. Lateral raises – start with you hands by your side again, keeping your arms straight and with the little finger leading, raise your arms laterally (to the side) up to should level and return.
  5. Triceps extensions – raise you arms above your head and bend your elbows so your hands are behind your head. Then, keeping your elbows pinned by your ears, extend your hands above your head then slowly return to starting position.
  6. Triceps kickbacks – with soft knees, bend forward at the hips about 45 degrees. Start with your arms in a bicep curl, keep your elbows fixed by your sides and extend your arms behind you so your arms are parallel to the ground.

I would experiment with weights, starting with 1kg and the upping the anti to 3-5kg. You won’t get hugely muscly arms because you’ll not be bulking up on protein (I assume). Once you get bored of these there are loads more, which can specifically target your personal favourite (or they will be) areas.

If you’re worried about exercising during pregnancy, speak to your midwife FIRST. However, the main rules are:

  1. Don’t do anything you haven’t tried before (unless it is specifically postnatal)
  2. Listen to your body and stop if you are uncomfortable. In early pregnancy, some days I would get on the bike and feel like a million dollars, then the very next time I’d feel like I had sausages for legs.
  3. Don’t do crunches (because they squish your stomach) but you can still do stomach exercises – there are some great stand up exercises that can be done, along with things like the plank.