Summer Sanders' Prenatal Workout

Keri Crockett, Summer Sanders
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Pregnancy/Postpartum

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There are 3 workouts on the DVD, one for each trimester. Each workout has a warm up, a strength workout, and a nice stretch at the end. The 1st and 2nd trimester workouts are about 50 minutes long, and the 3rd trimester workout is about 45 minutes. The DVD also has an “Express Workout” option for each trimester, which are edited versions of the full workouts that run about 30-35 minutes. It’s a Gaiam production, so the production quality is high.

Each workout uses a resistance tube (a band works, too, as would dumbbells for most exercises), and depending on the trimester you may also need some pillows (or yoga blankets) to prop yourself up at an incline for floor work. The third trimester workout also uses a chair.

So far I’ve done the second trimester workout several times, and I enjoy it and will keep it as part of my pregnancy exercise routine. If you’re already pretty fit then the second trimester workout isn’t very hard (which seems true of most pregnancy DVDs). This workout leaves me feeling pleasantly exerted, though not exhausted for the day or sore later on. On its own this workout doesn’t feel like it has enough upper body work for me (again, true of most pregnancy DVDs). The third trimester workout seems like it might be more challenging just given the increased belly size, changes in center of gravity, and general fatigue/discomfort that many women experience in this trimester.

For comparison with other pregnancy DVDs, this one is more intense than the strength work in Denise Austin’s Fit & Firm Pregnancy, and definitely more intense than Tracey Mallett’s 3-in-1 Pregnancy System. It is less challenging than the Perfect Pregnancy Workout, and is probably in line with Tracey Mallett’s Fit for Pregnancy (though that one is a cardio-strength circuit workout). If you feel up to doing your pre-pregnancy workouts when you’re pregnant (which I don’t!), then this workout is probably not for you. If you’ve just started exercising during your pregnancy, this will probably be somewhat challenging, but good in combination with some lower intensity pregnancy workouts.

Warm up (9 minutes): The warm up is pleasant and quite thorough, in that I feel pleasantly moved and stretched out by the end of it.

Workout (36 minutes): You run through your whole body with one set of each exercise, and then this whole sequence is repeated. The Express Workout cuts out the second run through, so you still get in exercises for all body parts. (Well to be precise, there is not an exercise for the chest, but you get legs, back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps in.) You mostly do around 15-20 reps per exercise.

Squats with tubing
Plie squats without tubing
Bridge work lying on pillows to create incline
Standing outer thigh lifts with tubing
Labor lunges (side-to-side lunge with legs in plié position)
Double arm row
Lateral raise, one arm at a time
Labor lunges
Bicep curls front and side
Labor lunges
Overhead tricep extension
Tricep kickbacks
Repeat whole sequence
Crunches lying on pillows to create incline

Cool down/Stretch (7 minutes): The stretch is quite pleasant and feels good for a pregnant body! Start seated with nice neck and shoulder stretches, seated side-bending stretches, inner thigh, end with cat-cow and child’s pose.

Warm up (8 minutes): Start with stretches in a chair then move to standing exercises

Workout (29 minutes): Structure is same as the second trimester workout: start with lower body then move to upper body with lower intensity leg exercises in between upper body parts. Go through the whole body sequence and then repeat. Again, around 15 to 20 reps per exercise (maybe more for some of the lower body exercises). Again, there’s no chest work, and there’s no ab work for this trimester.

Plie squats with biceps curls using tubing
Labor lunges
Bridge work propped up on pillows
Outer thigh lift still on pillows for an inclined upper body
Plie squats without tubing
One arm lat pulldown using tubing and seated in chair (2 sets on each side)
Alternating leg extension (no tubing) seated in chair
Reverse flies (for rear delts/upper back) using tubing, seated in chair
Plies without tubing
Triceps dips using chair (2 sets)
Plies without tubing
Repeat whole sequence

Cool down/Stretch (7 minutes): Again, a nice, complete and pleasant stretch.

Instructor Comments:
Summer Sanders is a former Olympic swimmer. She is quite pregnant in this workout, which she co-instructs with her personal trainer (who is not pregnant). Summer does all of the exercises and her trainer joins her for the warm up and stretching and instructs Summer during the body of the workout. Summer also provides instructions and pregnancy-related exercise pointers. They’re both appealing as instructors, friendly and encouraging, and they work nicely together.