TL;DR: Squats are a fantastic compound exercise to work your body. Mix them up with different variations.
Exercise fads and silly machines might come and go, but sometimes it’s the classics that have real staying power. Squats are just one of those exercises. They are one of the first movements that we learn, and they are also one of the movements that can have the greatest impact on our health and fitness. This can be especially true for pregnant women. So, if you are sitting on the fence about adding squats to your exercise routine, get off the fence and start squatting. The benefits make it very worthwhile.
The Benefits of Squatting
Squats strengthen your posterior and leg muscles for the work they will do during the contraction phase of your labour. This can make labour faster and easier for you.
Squats strengthen your glutes and give your body a big muscle group to stabilise the weight of your baby bump. This stability and strength reduces your chances of getting lower back pain when supporting your growing baby. For more detail, check out this article:
Squats are a great way to improve your coordination and balance, because you’re shifting your body around its axis and stabilising yourself in a wide variety of positions. Now who doesn’t want to be more coordinated and balanced?
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, how about this? By exercising and toning the muscles in your posterior chain, squats will make your ass look even better.
Squat Variations for Pregnant Mums
There are a bunch of different squat exercises, which range from beginner friendly to advanced, so it’s very important to know where to start and where to adjust depending on your ability and your trimester. In this video, we cover 17 variations. As a general guideline, here are squat variants for each trimester:
Variations for All Trimesters:
00:30 Heels Elevated Squat
03:46 Deep Squat Hold
Variations for Your First Trimester
00:08 Air Squat
01:11 Dumbbell Goblet Squat
01:26 Dumbbell Front Squat
01:54 Kettlebell Goblet Squat
02:05 Kettlebell Goblet Squat (bottoms up grip)
Variations for Your Second Trimester:
00:50 Miniband Squat
01:36 Offset Dumbbell Squat
02:13 Offset Kettlebell Squat
02:50 Exercise Ball Wall Squat with Dumbbells
03:35 Squat Pulses
Variations for Your Third Trimester:
00:18 Sumo Squat
02:32 Exercise Ball Wall Squat
03:05 Exercise Ball Wall Squat Isometric Hold
03:15 Eccentric Bodyweight Squat
03:26 Isometric Bodyweight Squat
When Not to Squat
While squats are normally an amazing exercise for pregnant mums, there are a few circumstances when you should play it safe and hold off on this exercise.
Avoid squats if you experience any pain in your pelvic region while performing the movement. This could be because your pelvic joints have become more sensitive and more pliable due to the hormonal and biomechanical changes your body undergoes during pregnancy. If this is the case, there is no benefit in pushing through the pain. Instead, consult a physiotherapist that specialises in women’s health. They will be able to diagnose your individual issues and instruct you in the best and safest alternative exercises.
Also, as always, avoid squats or any other exercise if you are experiencing any pain in other areas, or if you have been advised by your doctor to avoid them. It’s always best to be safe and consult your doc before continuing.
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