The list of exercise benefits during pregnancy is more than a mile long, and most women are well-aware that they should include physical activity during the nine months of their child’s development. But let’s face it: Pregnancy isn’t a cakewalk for most women. Nausea, sleepless nights, hip and back pain, round ligament pain and weight gain are just a few of the many discomforts women may experience during their pregnancy, making a fitness plan less and less appealing.

While some women are able to continue to run marathons and participate in vigorous boot-camp classes, others find it a struggle to simply stand up and walk across a room. With TRX Suspension Training, movements can be regressed and progressed to adapt to any ability level, making it the perfect fitness tool for all stages of pregnancy. The Suspension Trainer is also essential to help alleviate the aches and pains women may feel along their pregnancy journey.

Below are six stretches or movements using the TRX Suspension Trainer for stability and assistance during pregnancy.

TRX Lower-Back Stretch (wide stance)

Because of the forced anterior pelvic tilt caused by increased weight in the belly, the lower back and hamstrings often tighten up. This natural traction will help decrease discomfort and lower-back pain from carrying a baby.

  • With the Suspension Trainer at midlength, stand facing the anchor point and walk back so that your arms are straight out in front of you.
  • With a shoulder-width or wider stance, press your hips back and fold your body in half, leaning away from the anchor point.

TRX Chest Stretch

Many expectant mothers experience a shortening in the muscles of the chest.

  • Adjust the straps to midlength and stand facing away from the anchor point.
  • Walk forward so that your arms form a perfect “T,” and then step forward with one foot to create a stretch across your chest and shoulders.
  • Ensure you do not walk too far forward to avoid lower-back pain or the shoulders rolling forward.

TRX Low Row

Along with the shortening of the chest muscles, the upper-back muscles can weaken, leading to a “hunched” posture. TRX low rows are a great modifiable exercise to combat this.

  • Fully shorten your Suspension Trainer straps and stand facing the anchor point.
  • Select an angle that is comfortable for you (the steeper the angle, the harder the exercise) and begin with your hands at your rib cage with your shoulder blades engaged behind your back.
  • Slowly lower down, maintaining a perfect plank.
  • Keeping your shoulders down and back, pull yourself back to the starting position.

TRX-Assisted Squat and Lunge

Strengthening the glutes is important to help stabilize the hips and improve posture during pregnancy. Assisted lunges are also great for improving both balance and leg strength. As pregnancy progresses, a woman typically gains more weight and her joints become more lax, which can make lunges more difficult. Squats and lunges can be unloaded using a Suspension Trainer for support.

TRX-Resisted Heel Tap

Gently training the transverse abdominals can help prevent or alleviate diastasis recti, a thinning of the linea alba and a protrusion in the middle of the belly.

  • Begin lying on the ground facing the anchor point.
  • Place both hands in the foot cradles and press down. Keep your core braced and knees bent at 90 degrees.
  • Slowly lower one heel toward the ground until just before your lower back rises up. Return to the starting position, keeping pressure down in your hands.
  • Aim for two 30-second sets of this exercise. (Note: Because this move is performed in the supine position, avoid doing this exercise any longer than 30 seconds and roll to your left side between sets.)

Prenatal precautions: The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AGOC) published its first recommendations on exercise in 1985. Since then, these have been updated in 1994 and again in 2002. You can read the complete current ACOG Clinical Guidelines to learn how to identify absolute and relative contraindications to exercise during pregnancy. Reasons to discontinue exercise and seek medical advice include vaginal bleeding; sudden swelling of the ankles, hands or face; dizziness or faintness; persistent, severe headaches and/or visual disturbances; chest pain, excessive fatigue or palpitations; unexplained abdominal pain; calf pain or swelling; persistent contractions that may be indicative of preterm labor; insufficient weight gain (less than 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) per month during the last two trimesters); and amniotic fluid leakage. (Source: American College of Sports Medicine. (2000). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.)

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