I’m in my second trimester, currently 25 weeks pregnant, and am starting my annual P90x winter workout with my husband. When it gets cold we are less motivated to leave the house, so working out in the living room ensures we get our workouts in.
This year I am changing it up and regressing all of the exercises for a healthy pregnancy workout.
*Disclaimer: I am assuming if you are attempting P90x during your pregnancy that you have consistently been exercising before you got pregnant and are very aware of your body. I’ll show you how I regressed the exercises, and what worked for me, but always listen to your body and know your limits. Don’t push yourself too hard, if you have any hesitations please talk to your doctor first.
P90X Pregnancy Workout: Chest and Back
Standard push up
This one is pretty basic and definitely an exercise you want to continue doing during your pregnancy. Pushups are one of the best upper body workouts and do an excellent job of strengthening your core, preparing you for labor and protecting your back. Do as many as you can in a full pushup position and if you feel your form getting worse, drop to your knees and continue the set on your knees for a modified pushup.
Wide front pull ups
I personally will commend you if you can do pullups while pregnant – you go girl! They are generally safe, but I opted to change-up this exercise during P90X. I used a lat pull down machine and did wide grip lat pull downs instead, still focusing on strengthening my back muscles.
Military push ups
These are pushups where your hands are closer to your body and your elbows should ‘brush’ your sides (like you are trying to do a pushup in a very narrow space) and will hit your triceps differently than standard pushups. Also, your feet are closer together, typically no more than 12 inches apart. My main regression for a pregnancy workout would be to drop to your knees when you feel your form giving out, and avoid completely working your muscles to exhaustion (this goes for the entire workout).
Reverse grip chin ups
Similar to the pull ups, I personally haven’t felt comfortable with chin ups. You might feel a tugging in your abdomen, especially as your belly grows. I always err on the more cautious side when exercising pregnant and skipped these for my workout. To regress this, I again used the lat pull down and simulated a reverse grip chin up while seated at the machine.
Wide Fly Push ups
Move your hands outward so they are further than shoulder width. Do as many as you can and drop to your knees when you feel you’re losing your form.
Closed Grip Overhand Pull Ups
Same as the previous pull ups in the set, I used the lat pull down machine to work similar muscles without pulling up my body weight and risking unnecessary strain.
Decline push ups
I personally wasn’t comfortable with my feet raised up and putting the extra weight on my upper body. I modified this and did standard push ups instead.
Instead of using dumbbells, I lowered the weight and only used resistance bands for this exercise. Reach down as if you are getting ready to put on pants, bring the weights or bands towards the hips or chest, mimicking the motion of pulling up a pair of pants, lower and repeat the motion.
Diamond push ups
Move your feet apart so they are shoulder width or wider and bring your hands in close centered on the chest, forming a diamond shape with your thumbs and forefingers. Modify for less straining by dropping to your knees once you feel your form failing.
I did these pretty much the same as they do in the P90X program, the only modification I did was to use lower weights than I did pre-pregnancy, and slow down the motion to be very deliberate and in control as I twisted. Go at your own pace, you don’t have to keep up with the reps on the TV.
Dive bomber push ups
With feet wider than shoulder width, walk your hands back slightly and raise your hips into a downward dog position. Move your chest downward in a curved motion with your hips following as the chest raises up slightly. You should end in cobra pose, return to downward dog and repeat.
As my belly grew in the second trimester, I felt less comfortable with the stretching and strain these were putting on my stomach, so I modified them to do less “dive bombing”. I still raised into a semi downward dog position but instead of doing a dramatic dive and cobra stretch, I would lessen the arch in my back and simply glide through the movement with less strain on my stomach and back. If you do have a weak back I would consider skipping these altogether when you are pregnant, there is no need to put the excess pressure on your mid section.
In the P90X program they have you sitting in a chair, for me it was uncomfortable with my belly to bend over while sitting, so I opted to stand up. I used light bands, bent over at the hips keeping my back straight and brought the bands up, elbows leading and the pulling my shoulder blades together toward the center of my back.
Listen to your body and don’t overdo it.
These are the main exercises in the P90X Chest and Back workout and hopefully my modifications for a healthy pregnancy workout have helped!
Even though you could easily get through these exercises pre-pregnancy, your body is changing and you need to adjust your workouts accordingly. Go slow and take more breaks when you feel you need them. Keep a bottle of water nearby and make sure to stay hydrated throughout your workout.
Good Luck – Let me know how your P90X Pregnancy Workout was in the comments!