With the stability ball, a small movement can make a big impact. You will feel this in your chest, shoulders, biceps and forearms.
How to: Standing tall with knees slightly bent and shoulders down, hold the stability ball in front of you with hands on either side. Arms should be bent with your elbows out, parallel to the floor. Inhale with your core breath and exhale as you squeeze the ball. Be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and do not allow the ball to rest on your chest.
Get ready to carry your baby around (a lot!) by keeping your upper body strong.
How to: Standing tall with knees slightly bent, hold two hand weights at your sides with palms facing forward. Inhale with your core breath and, as you exhale, bend at the elbows and bring your hands towards your chest. Be sure to keep your wrists in neutral position at all times. Inhale and slowly lower to the starting position.
Beginner: Sit on a stability ball and use light weights. Advanced: Do bicep curls standing on one leg.
Here’s a great upper-body exercise that tones and strengthens the posterior part of your arms.
How to: Standing tall, step back with your right leg and place your left hand on your left knee or a chair. Holding a hand weight in your right hand, bend your right arm and keep it close to your side while bringing your elbow back towards the ceiling. Leading with your core breath, exhale, extend the arm back and squeeze your tricep. Inhale and bend. Keep your elbow up and back. Repeat with the other side.
Although squats and lunges are great for all-around leg strength, a hamstring curl is a more isolated exercise for the backs of the thighs. Using a stability ball adds some core toning, too.
How to: Standing tall with your back against a wall, place your hands against the wall at your sides for support. Place one foot on top of the stability ball and find your balance. Starting with your core breath, inhale. As you exhale, dig your heel into the ball while slowly rolling the ball away from you. Keeping control of the ball, inhale and roll the ball back toward you, to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
This exercise works to stabilize the muscles that help support your pelvic girdle and control the way you walk.
How to: Standing tall, place a stability ball against a wall at thigh level. Place one hand on the wall for balance only. Stand as close to the wall as you can, holding the ball in place with your inside leg; bend that leg, keeping your knee back and legs parallel. Inhale using your core breath and, as you exhale, press the ball into the wall with your inside leg. Try not to lean into the wall. Repeat with the other leg.
The squat strengthens your quads, hamstrings and glutes. Add a pelvic floor contraction and it’s a bonus.
How to: Stand tall with a stability ball between your back and the wall. Extend your arms out in front of you for balance. Leading with your tailbone, sit your bum back as if to lower into a chair; bend your knees, ensuring that they stay behind your toes. Inhale with your core breath on the way down; exhale while engaging your glute muscles and your pelvic floor to return to the starting position. Repeat.
TIP Check your form! Work out across from a mirror if you can, or ask a friend to troubleshoot.
How to: Sitting tall on a stability ball, place both hands on the sides of the ball for balance. Inhale with your core breath; slowly lift one foot off the floor and try to raise your knee while keeping the ball still. Exhale and extend the leg. Inhale and bend the knee to return to the start. Repeat with the other leg.
Beginner: Place the ball against a wall and put your foot down after each repetition. Advanced: Move the ball away from the wall and keep your knee up until you’ve completed all your repetitions
The lunge strengthens your quads, hamstrings and glutes – muscles that help carry around the extra weight of pregnancy.
How to: Stand tall and extend one leg behind you, keeping the heel up (place one hand on a chair for balance if you’d like). Leading with the back leg, inhale and bend the knee until both legs are at approximately 90-degree angles. Be sure to extend the back leg far enough behind you so the front knee stays behind your toes at the deepest point of the lunge. Exhale and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Advanced:Hold a weight in each hand while performing lunges.