WATCH: 6 best exercises for runners during pregnancy


A consistent running regimen during pregnancy is impressive, but an afternoon run alone is not enough to maintain your current level of strength. And in many cases, pregnant runners have a hard time pounding the pavement while they’re expecting. But there are a handful of exercises all pregnant women, especially runners, should do regularly to help with strength, posture, and comfort in the later stages of pregnancy.

“One of the main things about all of these exercises is that they can be done no matter where you are in your pregnancy,” said instructor and personal trainer Kari Dougan. “These can be done throughout the entire time, whether you’re in your first, second, or third trimester.”

The goal of this set of moves is simply to preserve your current level of fitness by targeting areas such as the core and back while also working on your overall balance, all of which will help you stay strong during pregnancy (especially if you’re running). For example, the supported V-sit roll back will help during labor when you are in a similar position for a long period of time. Dougan emphasised the importance of women doing these exercises frequently, regardless of whether they are pregnant.

“Especially the kegel,” Dougan said. “That’s the number-one exercise that all women should be doing anyway.”

Perfect the six moves below, and you might be surprised how strong you really are – even as your body changes.

The Kegel

This exercise helps strengthen the pelvic-floor muscles to improve bladder control during and after pregnancy. Your pelvic-floor muscles are what you’d use to stop urine midstream. Breathe normally as you tighten your pelvic floor muscles for 10 seconds, then relax them for 10 seconds. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions a day.

The Bird Dog

This exercise can help ease back pain and improve balance by strengthening your abs, back, and butt muscles. Kneel in a quadruped position (on all fours) hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips. Inhale, then exhale as you lift your right arm toward the wall in front of you and lift your left leg straight back, foot flexed. Tighten your abs and squeeze your glutes. Breathe normally as you hold for 5 seconds and then inhale and exhale as you switch sides. Do three sets of eight reps on each side.

Related: 8 Tips For Running During and After Pregnancy

Supported V-Sit Roll Back

Keep your core strong with this easy move. Sit up tall on the floor with your knees bent and your hands holding the back of your thighs. Inhale, then exhale as you slowly roll back to a V position until you feel your abs engage. Keep your chest open, pause for one second, and then slowly roll up. Do three sets of eight reps.

Ankle Alphabet

This exercise may help with swelling of the feet and ankles. Breathe normally as you use your ankle and foot only to trace the letters of the alphabet. This exercise can be performed in a seated or side-lying position. Do twice a day or more as needed. Bonus fun: Try spelling out the baby names you are considering!

Chest Stretch

This exercise can help with posture and breathing. Stand up tall, abs and glutes tight, shoulders back and down. Lift your arms up, out, and back. Take five deep breaths as you feel the stretch in your chest muscles. Repeat as needed.

RW in your inbox: Have the latest news, advice, and inspiration sent to you every day with our Runner’s World Newsletters.

Band Pulls

Stand up tall, abs and glutes tight. Hold an exercise band out in front of you just below shoulder height, shoulder-width apart. Inhale, then exhale as you pull the band into your chest, drawing your elbows back. Inhale as you return to the starting position. Do three sets of eight reps.

Did you try any of these exercises while you were pregnant? Did they help you during your pregnancy? Tell us by commenting below.

Read more:

Sign up to our weekly newsletter to receive Parent24 stories directly to your inbox.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
6% - 208 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
81% - 2703 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
12% - 411 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.