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Kettlebell Exercises for Pregnant Women That Are Safe for Baby

Want to prep your body for the marathon that is motherhood? Why not toss around the piece of workout equipment that's arguably most like a baby: the kettlebell. Contrary to what some people might think, it's perfectly safe to lift weights while pregnant, as long as you don't get too crazy. (Here's everything you need to know about safe pregnancy workouts.)

Just listen to your body and remember that this isn't the time to try to PR anything or to aim for six-pack abs, says Amanda Butler, trainer at The Fhitting Room, a HIIT studio in New York City. This dynamic kettlebell workout will help keep your body strong. The movements that recruit multiple muscle groups and keep your full-body coordination on-point—so you can be that much better at chasing after your little one when he or she can finally crawl. (Want to steer clear of weights? No worries—Butler also has a bodyweight workout for expecting moms.)

How it works: Butler demonstrates each move in the video above. Do each exercise for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds before moving on to the next one (but take more rest time if needed). Start with one full set and work your way up to two or three sets, depending on your fitness level.

Goblet Squat

A. Standwith feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell sideways in front of chest, hands wrapped around the bell.
B. Send hips back and bend knees to lower into a squat, keeping back flat.
C. Press through mid-foot to stand and return to starting position.

Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds.

Deadlift

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell by the handle in front of hips.
B. Send hips backward to hinge forward and slightly bend knees to lower the kettlebell between feet.
C. Tap the bell to the floor (if possible), then press hips forward to return to starting position, maintaining a flat back throughout the entire movement.

Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds.

Bent-Over Row

A. Start in a deep lunge position* with the left leg in front, holding the kettlebell by the handle in the right hand. Hinge forward with a flat back to place left elbow on left knee, and lower kettlebell down next to right ankle to start.
B. Row kettlebell up to chest level, keeping back flat and weight evenly distributed between both feet.
C. Slowly lower kettlebell back to starting position.

*You may find it easier to balance with your feet wider instead of tight-roped in a very narrow lunge position.
Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.

Kettlebell Swings

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with the kettlebell on the floor about a foot in front of feet. Hinge at the hips to bend over and hold the kettlebell by the handle to start.
B. Swing kettlebell back between hips, then allow it to swing forward.
C. Snap hips forward and lift chest, swinging the kettlebell up to chest level.
D. Allow the kettlebell to swing back down,* reversing the movement so it swings back between legs.

*You may need to soften your elbows to allow them to rest outside your belly while swinging.
Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds.

Triceps Extension

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, staggered so one foot is in front for balance.* Hold a kettlebell by the bell in both hands overhead.
B. Lower the bell behind head, elbows pointing toward the ceiling.
C. Squeeze triceps to return to starting position.

*Staggering your stance helps with balance and puts less strain on your core muscles.
Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds.

Lateral Lunge

A. Stand with feet together, holding a kettlebell by the bell horizontally in front of chest.
B. Take a large step out to the right with the right foot. Lower into a lateral lunge, sending hips back and bending right leg, but keeping left leg straight (but not locked).
C. Push off right foot to return to starting position, then repeat on opposite side.

Repeat, alternating sides for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds.

Halo

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell by the horns in front of belly button.
B. Lift left elbow and circle kettlebell around the head to the right, then behind head, then around the left side and back to starting position.
C. Repeat in the opposite direction, passing kettlebell by left side first.

Repeat, alternating directions for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds.

Modified Windmill

A. Stand with feet in a wide stance, left arm reaching directly overhead, biceps next to ear. In the right hand, hold a kettlebell by the handle in front of right hip. Keep left toes pointed forward and turn right toes out to the side to start.
B. With straight legs, lower kettlebell along right leg toward the floor (going only as far as is comfortable). Left arm is still reaching toward the ceiling.
C. Reverse movement to return to starting position.

Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.

Curl to Press

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell by the horns in front of hips.
B. Curl bell up to shoulders, then press overhead, extending arms directly over shoulders.
C. Slowly reverse movement to return to starting position.

Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds.

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