One of my biggest struggles during this pregnancy has been finding time for myself—not just for the relaxing or fun stuff, but to exercise. Once my doctor informed me that I had gained about twice as much weight one month as is advisable, I knew it was time to start taking my health more seriously. Couldn’t I at least carve out 30 or 40 minutes a day to get my blood pumping?
Now, I have to admit that I’m not a super fit person. And, actually, I hate to exercise; I only do it because I know I should. That’s why I tend to exercise in the privacy of my own home, on my own time, in my pajamas :) I’ll never be motivated enough to get to the gym routinely, and I’ll always be self-conscious there. So, exercise DVDs are my best friend.
During my first pregnancy, I struck gold with a prenatal Pilates DVD that I just loved. But, doing the same exercise routine every day is boring. Without a limitless budget to try out a bunch more DVDs that I might hate, I turned to our amazing county library for some new (to me) prenatal exercise videos. I checked out each and every one, and proceeded to try them all, jotting down notes about what I loved or hated about each.
Since great prenatal exercise DVDs are so hard to find, I’ll share my research with you!
- My go-to DVD, I love that it’s broken down into 10-minute segments (great for people like me who have a short attention span or lack of time!), so you can create a personalized workout that meets your body’s needs.
- The DVD has five segments, which you can select from or do all together:
- Standing Pilates
- Pilates for buns & thighs
- Core Pilates
- Total body Pilates
- Pilates for flexibility
- (Plus, a “Flat belly fast” postnatal workout)
- The pace is pretty fast, transitioning from exercise to exercise quickly to make the best use of the ten minutes, but it never feels strenuous. It’s also hard to get bored, because you never do more than 8-10 reps of any given exercise.
- The Pilates exercises in this video don’t vary too much from those in the regular 10 Minute Solution: Pilates video (which I also own and love). There are just lots of thoughtful adaptations to accommodate a growing belly.
- Note: You do spend some time on your back, especially doing the “core Pilates” segment, but it’s a matter of a few minutes, which my doctor has assured me is totally fine for you and the baby.
- This is, by far, the best prenatal yoga DVD I found! The old version that I checked out of the library had only one 75-minute-long practice, which was just too much. Now, they’ve got a “short forms” version that offers 15-, 30-, and 45-minute practices—just right!
- Not that I’m a yoga fanatic, but I’ve taken my fair share of classes over the years, and I tend to prefer something that will actually get me sweating. Since Ashtanga is out of the question this late in a pregnancy (for me, at least!), Vinyasa, with its focus on breathing and flow, is a perfect middle-ground.
- By about halfway through the 75-minute DVD, I was definitely breaking a sweat, but the pace and poses never felt too strenuous, and overall, it was a relaxing experience.
- I also appreciated the variations that were offered for each trimester.
- The only caveat? This DVD may not be ideal if you’ve never done any yoga before. It does assume a certain level of background knowledge.
- If you’re looking for a slow-paced, super relaxing, aesthetically pleasing yoga workout, this is the way to go.
- The DVD is broken down into five segments:
- Meditation (2 min.)
- Floor sequence (10 min.)
- Standing sequence (20 min.)
- “Restoratives” (10 min.): stretches
- Shavasana (3 min.)
- I loved the beautiful indoor setting and relaxing music in this DVD. You can also choose whether you would like to hear the instruction (voice over) + music, just listen to music, or get a Spanish audio track.
- However, despite the package’s claim that “you’ll work on strengthening your body and increasing energy and stamina,” the pace was so slow that my heart rate was never really elevated. I didn’t even feel particularly loose at the end of the 45 minutes. This was relaxing, but it was not “exercise,” in my book.
- If you’re just looking to get a pleasant, relaxing stretch and don’t mind the out-of-date, industrial scenery, start here.
- After all the introductory chatting, there’s really only 30 minutes of yoga instruction, which incorporates some “half sun salutations,” two or three modified standing poses, and some floor stretches.
- Although this wasn’t a traditional “workout” in that it got my blood pumping, I did feel especially limber afterward, especially in my hips, which are a huge trouble spot for me.
- Unlike some of the other yoga videos, this one had a whole classroom full of women, most of whom it was obvious are not trainers or yogis themselves—just normal women at different stages of their pregnancies.
- Some modifications were offered, but they were largely unnecessary for me, even late in my pregnancy, since the routine was so slow and gentle to begin with.
- If you want a quick, 20- to 30-minute workout made up of lots of reps but low resistance, try this DVD.
- I liked that this video offered three separate workouts for each trimester, but I was disappointed to see that only the first- and second-trimester segments are 30 minutes long; the third-trimester segment is a too-short 20 minutes.
- The (rather bland) setup for the third-trimester workout consisted of a pregnant woman performing standing or seated exercises (some with optional weights) alongside trainer Joel Harper.
- I appreciated that my heart rate was up, even during this brief workout, which incorporated some unconventional exercises, like “butt clenchers” and “tight jeans.”
- If you’d like a traditional, fast-paced, aerobic workout, this video’s the way to go.
- Generally, I’m not really coordinated enough for aerobics, but this DVD offered lots of explanation and repetition, so I could keep up.
- By the end of the 40-minute workout, my legs and arms definitely felt toned, but my lower back was actually sore from some of the bending.
- Most of the moves were done while standing, with some floor work. Occasionally, adaptations were offered (e.g. using a chair for support, or avoiding curls).
- This workout felt pretty intense, but it wasn’t super long when you account for the warm-up and cool down, so it wasn’t unreasonable.
- Although this video looks amateurish (literally shot in someone’s living room), it definitely provides the most intense workout of the bunch. If you want to get your heart rate up (at the risk of feeling sore for the next couple of days, which I did), this might be your video.
- The DVD is broken down into four segments:
- Warm-up (7 min.)
- Dynamic movements (15 min.): think squats, push-ups, and some ballet
- Floor work (10 min.)
- Stretch & relaxation (6 min.)
- O’Brien is a “pre/postnatal exercise specialist” whose fast pace and talk of keeping our heart rates up sounds like what you’d get from any personal trainer in a gym.
- Although I found I could keep up, this DVD’s “modified Pilates, kegels, sports conditioning, and true-blue body sculpting” are probably too tiring to do more than once a week during your third trimester.
- If you have a fully stocked arsenal of exercise equipment and a friend nearby who can assist with some of the exercises, you can get a nice workout akin to what you might get with a trainer at the gym from Reece’s DVD.
- The DVD claims to offer six 15-minute workouts, but they’re actually broken down like this:
- First-trimester warmup, exercises, and cool down
- Second-trimester warmup (7 min.), exercises (20 min.), and cool down (9 min.)
- There are no workouts for the third trimester.
- The exercises offered are definitely designed to keep you toned and tight, even during pregnancy, but…
- I was surprised by how much equipment was necessary/suggested to complete the exercises: an exercise band, 3 sets of weights(?), an exercise ball, a chair, a towel to use as a “splint,” etc.
- Without some of these materials, I had to abstain from or modify probably 20% of the exercises, making me feel like I got less than a full, well-rounded workout.
- Plus, Reece has a trainer on-hand to help her setup for all these exercises, which almost seemed necessary given the pace at which they jumped from exercise to exercise.
- I was left wondering about the trainer’s knowledge of prenatal concerns since the substantial cool down missed major pregnancy trouble spots, like calves.
- Sadly, you probably want to skip this DVD all together, unless you’re a huge Leisa Hart fan (you know, Buns of Steel lady) or really want a prenatal Salsa workout.
- Being that I’m not a super coordinated dancer when I’m not pregnant, doing fast-paced Salsa in my third trimester is a ridiculous notion for me, so I stuck with the other segments on this DVD:
- Yoga Fat Burn (20 min.)
- Labor and delivery prep (6 min.)
- Prenatal stretch and relax (8 min.)
- Just to clarify, the “Yoga Fat Burn” segment does not constitute yoga! There was one variation on the warrior pose in the super repetitive sequence, which neither felt nor looked like yoga. And in terms of “fat burning”? Not a chance.
- The L&D portion could have been useful, but it was really short (6 min.), and it probably wouldn’t have been as helpful to a first-time mom, unfamiliar with Kegel exercises, since there was no explanation of them, whatsoever.
Do you have a favorite prenatal exercise DVD? Please share!
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