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Experts Corner

Fitness

Arm Strengtheners During Pregnancy
By Lisa Stone, ACE

Q. I am 8 months pregnant and don't really exercise. I want to start doing some "little" things to help tone and keep me in shape. I have found some leg and butt exercises but nothing for my arms. I don't have any dumbells. Is there anything I can do besides pushups that would help tone my arms and keep them from getting too flabby?

A. Try standing push-ups. I really like these, especially for pregnant women, because you can effectively work the entire upper body just by slightly changing your hand position.

To do this exercise, stand facing the wall with your toes up against the wall (or as close as your belly and breasts will allow!). Next, take 2 steps backward and place your hands on the wall shoulder height and shoulder width apart. Bend your knees slightly and tighten your abdominals by hugging your baby into your body with your ab muscles. Inhale as you bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the wall; exhale as you tighten your chest muscles and push away from the wall back to the starting position.

Do 8-15 repetitions. Then, change your hand position by turning your hands so that your fingers are pointing toward each other. Do 8-15 reps in this position. Then, point your fingers up the wall again, but open your arms a bit wider than your chest. Do 8-15 reps.

Once you've done all the reps, you'll want to stretch by keeping your hands high on the wall and taking another big step away from the wall; bend your knees a bit more and lower your chest toward the floor - you should feel a good stretch throughout your upper body.

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