Should you try to gain muscle while you’re pregnant? • Common Purpose

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Should you try to gain muscle while you’re pregnant?


Words by Common Purpose Team

Published 7th October 2021

Gaining muscle requires a progressive resistance training program and a nutrition plan focused on adequate energy intake and protein. It requires high amounts of muscle stress and adequate rest for recovery, repair and growth. All of these are very difficult to attain when going through pregnancy, which uses up a large amount of energy and resources, as well as taxing the body physically and psychologically.

Exercises to avoid during pregnancy 


Most resistance training is perfectly safe to perform whilst pregnant. It’s important to know that exercise during pregnancy and maintaining muscle mass is healthy for both you and your baby. However, there are certain types of exercises to avoid due to the risks associated with them; 


  • High impact exercises/sports
  • Putting excessive pressure/weights on your stomach
  • Core exercises that feel painful/uncomfortable
  • Performing exercises/sports with a high risk of falling
  • Lying on your back or your stomach for extended periods


Exercise can add pressure to your body that may result in you feeling faint, or cutting off vital blood supply, you can find more information in this guide from the NHS. But while there are exercises you should avoid, it does not mean you should stop exercising altogether.


Maintain strength, muscle and fitness with pregnancy-safe training 


While gaining muscle might be off the menu for your exercise regime while you are pregnant, maintaining muscle is fine. Resistance training to maintain muscle is a good approach. You need to train your body to handle the extra weight you will be gaining.


Focusing on your posterior chain, the glutes, hamstrings and lower back, in a considered and strategic manner, would offer you increased stability as you advance through each trimester. If you are used to heavy-lifting and regularly strength train, your goal should not be to max out as usual. Instead, focus on maintaining strength and muscle, perhaps with lighter lifts and higher repetitions.


If you are looking for a training program or some of the best exercises, we have put some together in a pregnancy exercise article


Opt for light cardio for a body already that’s already under stress


We are sure you will not forget, but just in case you do: your body will be under a lot of stress while you are pregnant. So intensive cardiovascular training should be programmed with care and attention. You may find yourself fatiguing quicker than usual, so replacing HIIT sessions with light cardio might be a viable option. 


Yoga, Pilates and Pelvic Floor exercises are all going to be highly beneficial for your training regime. 

Looking for further advice? 

We believe in the journey, and our fitness programs go beyond the gym. By focusing on our four pillars balanced nutrition, progressive and engaging exercise, recovery and restoration alongside mindset we help bring our clients to a new level of confidence, ability and fitness. If you are looking for a fitting pregnancy fitness program, whether that’s one-to-one or small group sessions

Contact our Mayfair club today to start your journey or explore our membership options.