Why Strength Training Matters for Moms

By Kevin Atkinson
April 24, 2024

Building strength for life

Personal training, in gym & online

You might have heard that a dedicated strength training program can be a really good thing for expecting and new moms—and it definitely is.

But figuring out what to do (and when) can be overwhelming. Strength training while pregnant might seem a little daunting, but we explain three of the big benefits moms get from consistent pre- and postnatal workouts.

 1.Strength training helps ease common pregnancy ailments

The good news is that exercise is safe throughout most pregnancies. The first trimester of pregnancy can be especially hard, but working with a well-informed trainer to create a tailored exercise plan can make some of the physical symptoms moms experience more manageable.

Experts recommend exercise throughout pregnancy to manage weight gain, maintain blood pressure, and ensure a normal delivery. Consistent movement helps with digestion, and improves circulation and reduces dizziness. The body experiences so much change during pregnancy, but strength training generates mood-boosting endorphins that offset stress and relieve pain. Resistance exercises can also alleviate some of the common pregnancy discomforts—like back pain and soreness—by strengthening the muscles that support the spine and pelvis.

Targeted exercises can also improve posture and stability, reducing the strain on joints and ligaments as the body adapts to changes during pregnancy. During the second trimester, the body’s center of gravity naturally shifts, causing the lower back to sway, shoulders to round, and neck to push forward. Unilateral strength training, where you focus on one side at a time, improves balance even as the body continues to change.

2.Strength training keeps you strong through physical changes

Once you know you’re expecting, it’s time to start prepping your body.

Low-impact resistance exercises have been linked to increased physical and mental energy throughout pregnancy, and helps with injury prevention while pregnant. Strength training builds a powerful lower body and back that makes carrying the added weight of pregnancy much easier, and prepares the bones and joints to handle additional pressure.

Having a super strong pelvic floor also helps women during and after delivery. The lower abdominal muscles help with bending and lifting while pregnant, and pushing during delivery. A strong pelvic floor has been linked to easier deliveries and better bladder control after childbirth—and mothers who kept strength training through their pregnancies have reported fewer complications than those who stopped training before delivery.

For those who did regular strength training before and during pregnancy, it’s often a lot easier to get back up to speed after delivery. Many moms will be cleared to return to exercise at their six-week appointment, though every body is a little bit different. But once you’re complication-free and cleared for activity, it’s safe to start exercising again.

Reintroducing pelvic floor exercises and weight-lifting helps improve balance, flexibility, and strength. According to the American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, postpartum exercise also reduces fatigues, helps with weight maintenance, and boosts your mood.

3.Strength training helps regulate your hormones and emotions

We know our minds and bodies are intricately connected, and a healthy lifestyle and mindset is crucial to a successful exercise program.

Pregnancy comes with plenty of hormonal fluctuations and emotional challenges, and strength training can be a great outlet for releasing and managing heightened emotions through pregnancy and postpartum. About one in seven women are susceptible to postpartum depression, and recent research has shown exercise can even help combat its symptoms.

Want to learn more about creating a motivating and pregnancy-safe personal training plan? The Sweat 60 team specializes in prenatal and postpartum strength training. Reach out to set up a free consultation and strategy session with us in.

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