Any exercise while pregnant should be performed under the supervision of an appropriate medical professional. The information here is not provided as medical advice.
Pregnancy is a time of many changes—but abandoning your exercise routine doesn’t have to be one of them. Under the guidance of medical supervision, rowing, skiing or cycling can be excellent ways to stay healthy and fit before (and after!) baby. If you’ve been using Concept2 equipment before becoming pregnant, this may be a great way to continue staying active.
All Concept2 ergs—RowErg, SkiErg and BikeErg—allow the user to easily adjust intensity. The harder you work, the faster the flywheel spins, and the more wind resistance will be generated. This user-controlled resistance makes our ergs versatile fitness tools. Whether you’re looking to maintain intensity or bring your workouts down a notch, Concept2 ergs give you control of your workouts. With a few adjustments for comfort, Concept2 ergs may provide options to continue exercising up to your due date.
Rowing can be a great option for those who prefer an exercise that is no-impact and seated. This may help alleviate pressure in the hips and added support, depending on the baby’s position. The rowing motion works through a large range of flexibility, so it is important to maintain proper technique even if the relaxin hormone allows for greater flexibility than usual.
Although the footrests on the indoor rower are not adjustable in width, there are other ways to adjust the indoor rower for a growing belly, such as moving the footstretcher settings down lower. You may also want to consider reducing the amount of knee bend in your rowing stroke.
I rowed throughout my first pregnancy, even racing in a double with a “little coxswain” on board. Exercising gave me a boost of energy during the day, even when I felt more tired at night. I enjoyed the seated position of rowing because my balance changed throughout my pregnancy. Postpartum, rowing was a great way to ease back into working out because there is no impact. (You should specifically ask your medical care team about the rowing stroke if you’re recovering from a c-section).
Concept2's Judy Geer, and mother of three, also reports that “my children would start to track me with their eyes through the rowing stroke, and it would put them to sleep!” A double win! A workout for mom (or dad) and a sleeping baby. The flywheel provides wonderful, calming white noise.
The SkiErg offers both standing and seated options for a low-impact pregnancy workout. Few adjustments need to be made to use the SkiErg while pregnant: the standing position gives plenty of room for your changing body. The seated position provides additional support; we recommend trying a stool or chair. Seated may be a preferable position if the added weight of pregnancy has caused discomfort such as swelling in the legs or plantar fasciitis. It may also be an option if you’re feeling off-balance while standing.
SkiErg technique engages the core muscles, which are important for supporting the abdominal muscles as the uterus pushes against it. (Traditional core exercises are usually avoided in pregnancy; please consult your doctor.) The full-body workout also engages the triceps, lats and trapezius—great strength for holding a nursing, feeding or sleeping baby.
Indoor cycling focuses on building strong legs. To accommodate widening hips, you may want to consider a different saddle. The handlebar position may also need to be extended for a more upright position; leaning over can cause the knees to awkwardly contact the “belly” on each pedal stroke. Similar to rowing, a seated exercise like cycling can offer additional support or can be uncomfortable. This can depend on a range of factors including the baby’s size and position.
One of our employees, Kate Smith, is currently expecting her first child. "Pre-pregnancy, I biked outside and used the BikeErg often, so when I got pregnant, I was able to continue using the BikeErg without any issues. The BikeErg allows me to keep my fitness routine intact and consistent throughout my pregnancy. I've been motivated to maintain the same length workouts even as I get a little slower. As my belly grew, I moved the handlebars up and out as far as possible for a more upright stance. I also get off the saddle to adjust the damper instead of reach down. Otherwise, my workouts are the same as pre-pregnancy."
Many moms here at Concept2, including myself, take pride in erg workouts to build strong, athletic moms and strong, athletic kids.
Again: Be sure to check with your medical professional to find out what exercise works best during your pregnancy.