The Best Resistance Band Pregnancy Workout [To Build Muscle]

Are you looking for a safe pregnancy workout using resistance bands?

You are in the right place!

In todays post, you are going to learn 

  • The benefits of using resistance bands in pregnancy,
  • The best resistance band exercises that are safe in pregnancy, and
  • How to build a resistance band workout you can do at home

So if you’re ready, I’m ready.

Let’s dive right in.


Are resistance bands safe during pregnancy?

Resistance bands are a safe way to exercise during your pregnancy. You can control how much resistance the band provides, and you do not have to worry about a weight potentially falling on you or your toe.

The important thing is, you must inspect your bands before every use for signs of defects. If a band snaps while you are using it, you can definitely hurt yourself.

Thankfully, good quality bands are hard to break.

Do resistance band workouts really work?

Yes, resistance band workouts work! That’s because they provide you with the stimulus needed to gain strength and build muscle.

The important thing is that you use them correctly in order to be effective. This means that you must:

  • use the band properly to create enough resistance, and
  • use appropriate exercises to help you achieve your goals

I will show you how to do exactly that in just a minute!

Do resistance band exercises build muscle?

Yes, resistance band exercises can build muscle.

To build muscle, you need three things:

  1. Resistance
  2. Recovery, and
  3. A small progression to that resistance

The nice thing is that the resistance can come from multiple sources. This can be from dumbbells, kettlebells, your own body weight, or resistance bands.

As long as your muscles have to work against some force – muscle growth can occur.

Secondly, you must recover; aka sleep, eat high-quality nutrients, and allow your muscles to recover before training them again.

Lastly, you must create a small progression, over time, to the specific exercise you are performing This is the concept known as progressive overload which I will go over in more detail in the future.

What Types of Bands Should I Use?

There are two different types of resistance bands I recommend you get.

The first one are long, closed-loop resistance bands. These bands do not have handles on them, and such are a bit more versatile.

They come in different strength levels. The thicker the band the stronger the resistance. I recommend that you get at least two different sizes.

This is a great set from Amazon.

The second type of band you should get are hip bands. These are much smaller but wider than the closed-loop resistance bands.

These bands go around your legs/knees to help add inward resistance to your lower body exercises. They are amazing at teaching you the proper way to activate your glute muscles.


You can get an exclusive pair of Postpartum Trainer hip resistance bands here.

Okay, now that you have your bands, let’s get to the workout.

A Simple Total Body Pregnancy Resistance Band Workout

Below you will find two unique workouts you can do in pregnancy with resistance bands.

*Don’t forget – it is absolutely important that you get clearance from your doctor before doing any type of exercise in pregnancy.*

If anything feels funny, stop.

If any exercise causes pain or discomfort, stop.

If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, faint, or uterine cramping, stop.

If you see vaginal bleeding, stop.

Always listen to your body and take it slow.

Workout 1

Resistance Band Rows3 10-12
Hip Band Squats310-12
Resistance Band Bicep Curls315
Hip Band Walks38 per leg

Here are descriptions of the exercises:

Resistance Band Rows

The row is the best exercise for strengthening and developing the muscles in your upper back. This includes the rhomboids, the trapezius, and the posterior shoulders.

You will need a long, closed-loop resistance band to do this exercise.

You can do this exercise from a bent-over position, or sitting down. In the example below, I am sitting:

pregnant woman performing seated resistance band rows
  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
  • Place the band around your feet and grab the two loops.
  • Keep your back straight throughout the exercise and brace your core.
  • Begin the exercise by pulling the band toward your waistline.
  • Drive your elbows back and focus on squeezing your upper back muscles together.
  • Hold this position for 1-2 seconds.
  • Return back to the starting position and repeat.

Hip Band Squats

The next exercise is the hip band squat. You will need a hip band to do it.

This exercise strengthens your quads, your adductors, your core, and your glutes. The hip band further activates the glutes by forcing you to actively externally rotate your legs, making the squat much more challenging.

pregnant woman performing banded squats

Here’s how to do it:

  • Place the hip resistance band around your legs, up to the level of your knees.
  • Next set your stance slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing outward.
  • Brace your core and squeeze your glutes.
  • From here, simultaneously bend at the hips and knees and push your butt back behind you.
  • Keep you chest up and your back flat.
  • As you are descending, make sure to actively push out against the band with your knees.
  • Once you reach the bottom of the squat, pause for a second and slowly reverse the movement.

Resistance Band Curls

The third exercise is for the arms! The good ‘ole resistance band bicep curl. You will need a long, closed-loop resistance band for this exercise.

There are so many ways you can do this exercise. Pick a variation that you like and stick with it!

Here are a few versions you can do.

pregnant woman performing standing resistance band bicep curls
pregnant woman performing one handed resistance band bicep curls
pregnant woman performing kneeling resistance band bicep curls

Hip Band Walks

The last exercise in this workout is the hip band walk.

This movement is to further activate the glute muscles and the other small muscles that externally rotate the hip. The reason why we are focusing on the glutes so much is that these are the muscles that tend to get weak during pregnancy.

Here’s how the exercise looks:

Pregnant woman performing hip band forward walks
  • Place the hip resistance band around your legs, up to the level of your knees.
  • From here, bend your knees a bit and push your butt back to get into a semi-squat position.
  • Next, begin walking forward without letting your knees collapse inward.
  • After doing 8 repetitions with each leg, try walking laterally for 8 repetitions, with each leg.

Workout 2

Resistance Band Press310-12
Hip Band Clamshells310-12
Resistance Band Tricep Extensions315
Hip Band Straight Leg Donkey Kick Backs3 8 per leg

And here are the exercises:

Resistance Band Press

The resistance band press is one of the best exercises for developing your shoulders and tricep muscles. To do it, you will need a long closed-loop resistance band.

pregnant woman performing standing resistance band over head press

Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand inside one loop of the band with a shoulder-width stance.
  • Next, grab the other end of the loop and bring it up toward your shoulders with your palms facing forward.
  • From here, brace your core and squeeze your glutes.
  • Begin the exercise by pressing the band up directly overhead until your elbows are locked out.
  • Do not let your back arch throughout the exercise.
  • Slowly lower the weight back down to your shoulders and repeat.

Hip Band Clamshells

The second exercise in this workout is the hip band clamshell. This is yet another great exercise for strengthening the glute muscles through hip external rotation.

pregnant woman lying on her side performing clam shells with band around upper knees

Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your side with the hip band around your knees.
  • Next, bend your knees to a 90 degree angle and place your knees and heels together.
  • From here, begin rotating your top knee up toward the sky while keeping your heels together.
  • Hold the top position for 1-2 seconds and slowly lower your leg until your knees are back together.
  • Finish all the repetitions on one side before moving on to the next side.

Resistance Band Tricep Extensions

The third exercise will now target the back of your arms. The triceps muscle. This is an isolation exercise, so it will benefit from higher repetitions.

You will need a long, closed-loop resistance band to do it.

Here’s how it looks:

pregnant woman performing kneeling banded tricep extensions
  • Bend down and kneel inside one loop of the band.
  • Next, grab the other loop and bring it up over your head with your palms facing the ceiling and your arms extended.
  • Next, bend at your elbows, without moving your upper arms.
  • This should bring your hands to the level of your neck.
  • Then, straighten your arms by extending your elbows, again keeping your shoulders in place.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Hip Band Straight Leg Donkey Kick Backs

The last exercise in this workout is the hip band donkey kick backs. This movement is great for targeting the under-butt and improving your hip extension strength.

Here’s how it looks:

pregnant woman performing leg extensions with a band around her ankles
  • Place the hip resistance band around your legs, just under your knees.
  • Next, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Brace your core and squeeze your glutes.
  • While holding on to a ledge for support, pick up one leg and kick it straight back behind you without bending your knee.
  • Do your best to initiate the entire movement using your glutes and minimize any arching of your low back.
  • The range of motion is actually quite short.
  • Do all of the repetitions on one side before moving on to the next side.

How To Use This Workout

So there you have a total body workout with resistance bands you can do during pregnancy.

As you can see, there are two workouts you will be performing. I recommend that you do them with 1-2 days of rest in between.

For example, you can do a 3 times per week workout such as:

  • Workout 1
  • Rest
  • Workout 2
  • Rest
  • Workout 1
  • Rest
  • Rest

Or you can do a 2 times per week schedule, such as:

  • Workout 1
  • Rest
  • Rest
  • Workout 2
  • Rest
  • Rest

Related Questions

Are resistance bands better than weights?

Resistance bands aren’t necessarily better than weights but they are a great alternative with unique benefits.

First and foremost, bands can be safer to use in pregnancy as you don’t have to worry about weight falling on you – or using weights that are too heavy. You can control how much resistance the band provides as you are using them.

The second advantage of resistance band workouts during pregnancy is that they can be done anywhere. Resistance bands are portable and take up very little space.

That way, you can get a great total body workout with minimal space and minimal equipment.

If you are unable to use resistance bands or weights feel free to workout using your body weight in my 10 minute prenatal exercise routine.

What exercises should You avoid during pregnancy?

So what resistance band exercises you should avoid during pregnancy? Well, the exercises you need to avoid aren’t necessarily specific to the resistance band.

The number one rule is:

You must avoid any exercise that causes pain or discomfort. It’s not worth it. There will always be plenty of variations you can choose from.

The second thing you need to avoid are exercises where you are lying flat on your back. This includes exercises like the glute bridge and sit ups.

Lastly, you should avoid any exercise that cause overexertion, exhaustion, or really high heart rates.

Check out Exercises to Avoid In Pregnancy for more detailed information.

Thankfully, resistance band exercises are unlikely to cause any of those problems.

Final Words On Working Out During Pregnancy

Resistance bands are a great way to strengthen your full body during pregnancy.

To get the most out of resistance bands, its best to get a long closed-loop band, as well as a short hip resistance band.

Now I want to hear from you.

Which of these exercises are you most excited to try?

Comment below and let me know!

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Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Brittany Robles is a full-time OBGYN physician, a NASM certified trainer, and a prenatal and postnatal fitness specialist. She holds a Master 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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