Are you looking for safe and effective butt exercises you can do in pregnancy?
Well, I have just what you are looking for.
In this post you will learn:
- How to train your glutes during your pregnancy,
- The 7 best butt exercises for pregnant women, and
- Other safe leg exercises you can do.
Let’s get started.
Although I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. This information is for informational purposes only and should not substitute the advice from your healthcare professional. All kinds of exercise and dietary changes are potentially dangerous, and those who do not seek counsel from the appropriate health care authority assume the liability of any injury which may occur. Please read my full Disclaimer for more information. Also, this post may contain affiliate links: meaning I may receive a commission if you use them.
Ok, moving on.
How can I train my glutes while pregnant?
To train your glute muscles properly, you need to perform three types of exercises:
- hip extension,
- hip abduction, and
- hip external rotation.
Each one of these movement patterns will train all the different muscles of the glutes which include the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.
Let me show you what each movement looks like.
1. Hip extension
Hip extension exercises target the gluteus maximus and the upper hamstring muscles.
In this movement, you are either straightening your hips from a bent position, or bringing your legs behind you while your hips are straight.
These exercises help to strengthen and lift the booty, specifically the underbutt area.
Here is what a hip extension looks like:
2. Hip abduction
Hip abduction exercises target both the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.
In this movement, you lift your leg straight out and away from your body. It can be done with a bent knee or a straight knee.
These exercises help to strengthen the outer / lateral aspect of your booty and the saddlebag area as well.
Here is what a hip abduction looks like:
3. Hip external rotation
Hip external rotation exercises target all three areas of the glute muscle.
In this movement, you will rotate your leg outward as you open your groin. It can be done with a bent knee or a straight knee.
These exercises also help to open up your hips which is important for getting into the pushing position during labor.
Here is what a hip external rotation looks like:
What About Squats? Can I do squats while pregnant?
Squats are safe to do during pregnancy and are a great way to strengthen your legs, glutes, core muscles, and even the pelvic floor.
In fact, if you think about it, you squat every single day during your pregnancy, multiple times a day.
You sit down on the toilet and stand back up.
You bend down to pick up groceries and stand back up.
These are all variations of the squat. Squatting is a natural movement!
With that said, if you want to include external resistance to your squat (like a resistance band, kettlebell, dumbbell, or even barbell), just make sure that you speak with your doctor first before doing so.
Are glute bridges ok when pregnant?
In general, glute bridges should be avoided during pregnancy if you are in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. This is true for any exercise that requires you to be flat on your back for prolonged periods of time.
The reason you should avoid being flat on your back during pregnancy is that your gravid uterus can compress one of the major veins bringing blood back to your heart.
As a result, your heart will pump out less blood to your body.
Instead, you can perform a safer variation of this exercise called the hip thrust.
Here’s what it looks like.
Hip thrusts are an amazing butt exercise that is safe to do in pregnancy.
It is very similar to a glute bridge, but instead of being flat on your back, your upper back will be supported by a couch or a bench.
They are classified as a hip extension exercise.
Now let’s go over other glute exercises you can do.
The Best Butt Exercises For Pregnancy
Now let’s go over the best exercises to target the three areas of the glute muscle.
If any of these exercises cause pain or discomfort, please STOP and speak to your doctor.
Lateral Band Walk
The lateral band walk is one of the safest glute exercises you could perform in pregnancy.
This movement trains hip abduction, which targets the gluteus medius and other small muscles that externally rotate the hip.
You will need a resistance band (which you can get here) to perform this exercise.
The reverse lunge is a great exercise to target the underbutt as well as your hip flexors.
It does require some sort of balance and mobility so make sure to perform it slowly. Feel free to also use a chair to lean against if needed.
If you would like to make this exercise more difficult, you could stand on some sort of platform to increase the range of motion.
This exercise trains both hip extension and hip abduction from an isometric position.
The cursty lunge is like the reverse lunge except you will add a little twist by crossing one of your legs behind your body.
It really targets the gluteus medius and inner thigh muscles. Like the reverse lunge, it trains hip extension and abduction.
To increase the difficulty, feel free to hold a dumbbell up at your chest.
If this movement causes any type of hip pain, then don’t do it!
Side Lying Hip Abductions
The side lying hip abduction is another very safe exercise to perform in pregnancy to target the saddlebags, the outer gluteus muscle, the outer thighs, and your core!
Here’s what it looks like.
The kneeling squat is a great way to train the squat from a safer position.
It combines the glute bridge and squat exercise, really focusing on the lower glute-hamstring complex.
To make this exercise more difficult feel free to hold dumbbells at your shoulders or at your chest.
Band Quadruped Hip Extensions
The banded quadruped hip extension is one of my favorite exercises.
It really targets the entire glute one side at a time.
You will need a long closed loop resistance band to do this exercises.
Seated Hip External Rotations
Lastly, the seated hip external rotation will train the third gluteal action.
To do it, you will need a glute resistance band.
Here’s what it looks like.
Other Related Questions
Can you do hip thrusts while pregnant?
Hip thrusts are a safe glute exercise you can do during pregnancy as it doesn’t require you to be flat on your back.
You can do this exercise several ways:
- perform the exercise with a 3 second hold at the top,
- lower using a 3 second tempo, or
- adding a small dumbbell to rest on your lap
Why does your bum get bigger in pregnancy?
If your butt grows during pregnancy, it is likely due to weight gain.
Unfortunately it is so common for pregnant women to think they must “eat for two.”
This is rarely the case!
In fact, you don’t even need to increase your caloric consumption in the first trimester as your baby is so tiny.
During the 2nd and 3rd trimester aim to increase your calories by 300-500 calories.
This can be just a small snack!
In addition, your butt may appear bigger if you develop anterior pelvic tilt. This is a condition where your pelvis changes position, which causes your butt to stick out a bit more.
How can I reduce my butt during pregnancy?
It is unlikely that you will be able to reduce the size of your buttocks during pregnancy, as I do not recommend that you try to lose weight / fat.
With that said, it is important for you to still train your butt muscles and eat as healthfully as you can.
This will help tighten and lift your butt and improve it’s appearance.
To learn more about healthy eating, check out my Fit Pregnancy Diet.
Can I use the leg press machine while pregnant?
If your leg press machine allows you to maintain an upright posture, then it is probably okay to use it. Just don’t load it up too heavy or overexert yourself.
If your leg press machine places you on a negative decline, then it should be avoided during pregnancy.
The latter variation causes you to be flat on your back and has the potential to be extremely dangerous as the weights can come down on you!
I am not a fan of leg press in general, and recommend that you stick to safe free weight alternatives.
There are plenty of other safe ways to train your legs in pregnancy without endangering you or your unborn baby.
Other safe leg exercises during pregnancy
Are you looking for tips on how to get thicker thighs while pregnant?
I have an entire article on 9 amazing leg exercises you can do while pregnant which you can check out here.
It also covers an in depth lower body pregnancy workout you can do!
Final words on how to get a bigger bum while pregnant
So those are the 7 exercises I recommend that you do to train your butt in hip extension, abduction, and external rotation.
Start building strong glutes today!
Now I want to hear from you.
Which exercises are you most excited to try in your butt workout?
Comment below and let me know!
- Warland J. Back to basics: avoiding the supine position in pregnancy. J Physiol. 2017;595(4):1017-1018. doi:10.1113/JP273705
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Brittany N Robles, MD, MPH, CPT
Brittany N Robles is a full-time OBGYN, a NASM certified personal trainer, and health & fitness expert. She holds a Masters of Public Health degree in maternal health with a special interest in exercise and nutrition. She is also the co-author of The White Coat Trainer. Learn more about her here.
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