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 "Ultimate Exercise Routines for Riders" by Laura Crump Anderson

by Laura Crump Anderson

Pregnancy is such an exciting and nerve-racking part of a woman’s life. There is no denying that it will impact your riding as your body adapts and changes to the challenges of becoming a mother. While most doctors and literature on the subject will tell you not to ride while you are pregnant, if you are healthy and your pregnancy is progressing normally, you can certainly continue to exercise. You may need to make some modifications for your changing body, and that’s what a pregnancy-specific routine is designed to help you do.

There are some exercises that are very safe to do while you’re pregnant; there are also some things you should avoid doing, such as deep twists, exercises on your stomach, and after your fourth month, exercises that have you on your back for extended periods of time. Be aware that expectant mothers often tire sooner, so don’t push yourself too hard as exhaustion leads to an increased risk of injury. The last thing you want from your exercise program is an injury that would make life even harder while you’re pregnant, so make sure you listen to your body and back off when it tells you to.

I developed a special strength-building routine after working with riding clients who wanted to stay active during their pregnancies. Pregnant women are some of my favorite to work with because it is such an exciting period in their lives. They know that they need to work hard and take care of their bodies. Some days are harder than others, but they always show up and give it everything they have. As a personal trainer, I could not ask for more.

The intent of my fitness routine is to keep you limber and at a base level of strength as your body changes and you may become more limited in exercise options. For some parts of this routine, you have the option of adding light weights (or cans of food) to increase the intensity.

You can also do these exercises without weights. You need to decide what your body can handle.

The first exercise from my Pregnancy Routine is Windmills:

  1. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your arms reaching straight out to the sides, like a star.
  2. Bend at the waist and reach for your left toe with your right hand. You do not need to touch your toe—just get as close as you can.
  3. Return to your starting position.
  4. Go the other way. Bend at the waist and reach for your right toe with your left hand.
  5. Continue, alternating sides for two minutes. Move deliberately, finding the pace that is right for your body. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, sit down. You can find the complete Pregnancy Routine in my book Ultimate Exercise Routines for Riders.
  6. Photo courtesy of  Laura Crump Anderson
    Photo courtesy of Laura Crump Anderson
    Photo courtesy of  Laura Crump Anderson
    Photo courtesy of Laura Crump Anderson

    There are a couple of additional exercises to use during pregnancy I want to share with you. They’re client favorites that you can use anytime you want to get your body moving, are feeling stiff, or need a warm-up before your chosen form of low-impact cardio.

    The first is great for working your pelvic floor. It is important to work your pelvic floor when you are pregnant because this area “holds in” your baby. Having a strong pelvic floor also helps with delivery. This is also a great exercise for targeting the deep muscles of the core, which often grow weaker from lack of use during pregnancy.

    1. 1 Find a comfortable seated position, either in a chair or on the floor. If you are on the floor, try sitting on a pillow or cushion as this will help with any pressure you might experience in your lower back.
    2. Inhale, bringing your stomach forward and arching your lower back, and as you exhale, round your lower back. You should feel your pelvis rocking back and forth on the cushion or in the chair.

    Another beneficial exercise to do regularly while you’re pregnant is barrel rolls.

    1. Find a comfortable position on all fours, hands and knees planted.
    2. Smoothly bring your body to one side, then up, where you exhale and round your back.
    3. Continue rolling your body to the other side, and then down, arching your back as you inhale. Make this motion as smooth as possible. Imagine that you are churning your midsection.

    This excerpt from Ultimate Exercise Routines for Riders by Laura Crump Anderson is reprinted with permission from Trafalgar Square Books (

    You can find more interesting stories is our section on Health & Education.

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