Kettlebell Exercises for Pregnant People That Are Safe for Baby

Having a bun in the oven doesn't mean you can't work out with a kettlebell.

Want to prep your body for the marathon that is parenthood? 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. Just listen to your body and remember that this isn't the time to try to beat any personal records or to aim for six-pack abs, says Amanda Butler, a NASM-certified personal trainer based in New York City.

This dynamic kettlebell workout will help keep your body strong without working you too hard. The movements will 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 they can finally crawl. (Want to steer clear of heavier weights? No worries — try this prenatal workout that only requires a light pair of dumbbells.)

Prenatal Kettlebell Workout

How it works: Do each exercise — demonstrated by Butler in the video above — 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.

You'll need: One kettlebell (choose a weight that feels doable but still a bit challenging)

Goblet Squat

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell sideways in front of chest, hands wrapped around the bell.

B. Send hips backward and bend knees to lower into a squat, keeping back flat.

C. Press through mid-foot to stand and return to starting position.

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.

Bent-Over Row

A. Start in a deep lunge position* with right leg in front, holding a kettlebell by the handle in left hand. Hinge forward with flat back to place right elbow on right 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 the kettlebell back to starting position. Do a set on this side, then rest and switch sides; repeat.

*It might be easier to balance with feet wider instead of tight-roped in a very narrow lunge position.

Kettlebell Swings

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with a kettlebell on the floor about a foot in front of feet. Hinge at hips to bend over and grab the kettlebell by the handle with both hands 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.

*It might be necessary to soften the elbows to allow them to rest outside the belly while swinging.

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.

*A staggered stance helps with balance and puts less strain on the core muscles.

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 right foot. Lower into a lateral lunge, sending hips backward and bending right leg, keeping left leg straight (but not locked).

C. Push off right foot to return to starting position, then repeat on opposite side. Continue alternating.

Halo

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell by the horns in front of belly button.

B. Lift right elbow and circle kettlebell around head to the left, then behind head, then around the right side and back to starting position.

C. Repeat in the opposite direction, passing the kettlebell by right side first. Continue alternating.

Modified Windmill

A. Stand with feet in a wide stance, left arm reaching directly overhead, bicep next to ear. In 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 the movement to return to starting position. Do a set on this side, then rest and switch sides; repeat.

Curl to Press

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell by the horns in front of hips.

B. Curl the bell up to shoulders, then press overhead, extending arms directly over shoulders.

C. Slowly reverse the movement to return to starting position.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles