Jenn’s Tips (Vol. 2): My favorite workout videos for moms and moms-to-be

I think workout videos are awesome for moms because of the flexibility they offer. I enjoy walks or runs as a staple in my exercise routine, but workout videos can be great for strength training or when you can’t get out easily due to time of day, weather, kids sleeping, etc. I especially love workout videos during pregnancy because it’s encouraging to see another mom-to-be working out, and I like knowing the workout is safe for pregnant women as well.

One of my favorite workout videos for moms-to-be is Summer Sanders’ Prenatal Workout. Summer (an Olympian) is in her third trimester of pregnancy in this video, and I find her to be very warm and funny. Her sister-in-law, Keri Crockett (a personal trainer) has put together a nice strength training routine that largely involves bands, but I personally prefer to do the majority of the exercises with hand weights. There are three workouts tailored to each trimester, and there are options for an express workout or full length workout. The full length workout basically involves going through each of the exercises a second time, and as I generally only have 20-30 minutes available for working out I usually do the express workout. Somehow this video actually makes me want to workout, and I feel like it challenges me without frustrating or exhausting me.

One of my other favorite prenatal videos is Erin O’Brien’s Prenatal Fitness Fix. A great thing with this workout is that it requires no equipment which adds another level of flexibility to it. The quality of the video is not the best (note: this only applies to prenatal video- all her other videos are fine), but I just love Erin. She’s passionate about exercise and also extremely knowledgeable. As she is an experienced trainer with a pre and postnatal speciality, you can feel confident that the workout is safe during pregnancy. I also find her to be encouraging without being annoyingly peppy, which I think is because she is so down to earth. In the prenatal video Erin is in her third trimester of pregnancy. Besides the regular workout, there is also a partner workout which she demonstrates with her husband James Denton. You can buy the prenatal video by itself or the set that includes the postnatal video (Complete Pregnancy Fitness with Erin O’Brien). I really like the postnatal video as well (Postnatal Rescue). It has a progression of workouts specifically designed to help you rebuild your strength after pregnancy- targeting the key areas most effected by pregnancy and birth.

I also love Erin’s regular workout videos. My favorite is Strong Body, Ageless Body. The first part of the video is a weight training workout and the second part of the workout is floor work. As I mentioned earlier, I prefer to keep my workouts to 20-30 minutes, so I usually do either the first part or the second part even though it is officially designed for you to do both. I should mention that there are options to increase the intensity of the weight workout if desired, and I occasionally throw in a modification or two just for the sake of variety.

I’m not a flexible person, so yoga isn’t a natural fit for me, but I have found that I really enjoy Shiva Rea’s yoga videos. Her Prenatal Yoga video is excellent if you can get past the full body spandex outfits (this really freaks my husband out). Shiva isn’t pregnant in the video (she demonstrates the first trimester workout), but there are two girls in the video that are pregnant (demonstrating the second and third trimester modifications). What I love about this video is that it stretches you out, and I don’t know about you, but my muscles get all sorts of sore and tight during pregnancy. All the exercises are also very doable. The video is divided into multiple sections, and I select which sections to do based on time constraints (anyone else noticing that I modify videos to accommodate my schedule?).

I also enjoy her Power Flow Yoga video. This video includes workouts from six of her exercise videos with a matrix that allows you to pick and choose which workout or combination of workouts you want to do on any given day. I love having variety so that I can select the type of workout and length of workout that best fits what I need that day. If you want to see if Shiva Rea’s yoga style is a fit for you, this video should give you a good feel for her and the many options available in her collection. One thing I enjoy about her is the way that she makes the workout flow, so it feels more like working with your body than just doing a bunch of yoga poses. Even though Shiva is ridiculously flexible and strong, her style usually makes me feel like I can easily adapt the workout to my capabilities without becoming discouraged or making the workout useless.

There are a number of other workout DVD’s that I’ve tried and use to spice things up if you want to ask me about any others, but these are my favorites. Hope you enjoy!

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