10 Minute Prenatal Arm Workout

10 min arm workout

*Update: Since having Luna, I’ve created more “10 Minute workouts with a toddler“. Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you and your new little one can continue exercising and having fun together!

I am now almost 32 weeks pregnant (8 more weeks!) and I am still keeping up with my daily workouts. I’ve got be honest though…it is NOT easy. Everyday I discover a new move I can longer do full-out. I’m learning to modify most exercises and learning to except the fact that I just cannot do what I used to do.

At almost 8 months pregnant I am modifying, taking more breaks, drinking more water and need more rest time after my workouts. I went swimming for about an hour the other day and accidentally took a half-hour nap the second I got home. The energy that came during my second trimester is definitely leaving, and I found myself needing extra encouragement from Husband to keep it up.

The good news is I am still able to workout and it still helps me feel better every single time I do it. Some days the last thing I want to do is push play and hear Shaun T yell at me to “dig deeper”.  I want to stop half-way through and I get angry that it’s SO hard, but afterward I feel awesome! Not only do I feel like a bad-ass for completing the workout, but everything just feels better. I sleep better, eat better, have less back aches and my anxiety is always lessened after a good workout.

I want you to reap these benefits too! Today, I put together a 10-minute arm workout that uses no weights. I love using weights, bands, balls and a myriad of other tools, but I don’t always have these on hand, and I know you most likely don’t either. So, let’s keep it simple and just use our body for some much needed resistance training!

Here’s my 10 Minute Prenatal (or not) Arm Workout:

  1. Push-ups (1 minute)– targets chest, core and upper arms

Let’s get everyone’s least favorite out of the way! Get into a plank pose (keep your tailbone, spine, neck and head in a straight line) and do as many push-ups possible for one minutes. Take breaks when needed or even break it up into 20 or 30 second intervals. Set a goal. Can you do 10 push-ups in one minute? 15 push-ups? 20? To modify, put your knees down OR elevate your upper body. Doing “girl push-ups” (ugh I hate that term) is still a very effective workout. I often have to elevate my upper body by putting my hands on the bottom step in our living room. My acid reflux is so bad during my pregnancy that if I don’t elevate myself everything just comes right back up. For a challenge, try moving push-ups. Open up your right arm and leg to the side and do a wide push-up. Do two to the right, two to the left and repeat!

plank pushups

  1. Planks (2 minutes)– targets arms, triceps, biceps and shoulders

Okay, this is a long plank section, but no worries… you’re strong and tough and I know you can do it! So, get into plank position with straight arms and keep your head back and hips aligned. Now, hold for 30 seconds. Immediately, move down to your elbows, now hold a low-plank for 30 seconds. Right after, switch your weight to your right elbow, turn to your side and raise your left arm straight up towards the ceiling. Keep your hips off the floor and hold for 30 seconds. Switch; do the same on your left side for 30 seconds. To modify, take breaks between the planks or put your knees down. Even in the side-plank you can put one knee down. For a challenge, lift one leg and switch legs for each plank. This can get pretty challenging on the side planks!

elbow plank side plank

  1. Arm Circles (3 minutes)– targets shoulders, biceps, triceps and back

The key to this exercise is to keep your arms straight and keep the movements small. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and hold your arms out straight to each side. Do small arm circles to the back for 30 seconds, then to the front for thirty seconds. WITHOUT DROPPING ARMS, pump your arms up for 30 seconds, then down for 30…again these are small movements. Immediately pulse forward for 30 seconds, and then back for 30 seconds. Now, shake it out! To modify, Take a break after each minute, or cut it down to 20 seconds intervals. For a challenge, add small hand weights. Seriously, even holding some canned food will make a big difference with this exercise.

arm circles pulse up pulse down

  1. Tricep dips (1 minute)– triceps, shoulders

Find a chair or short table to support yourself. Sit at the edge of chair and place your hands on the very edge, fingers facing out. Now scoot your bottom off the chair and hold yourself up with straight arms. Do tricep dips by bending your elbows straight back to a 90 degree angle. Do full tricep dips for 30 seconds. Now stay down and pulse for 30 more seconds. To modify, move to the floor. For a challenge, lift one leg for the first half and switch for the second half.

tricep dips

  1. Shoulder-tap push-ups (1 minute)- targets chest, core and upper arms

Get in your plank position and do two shoulder taps (one on each shoulder). Tap your left hand to your right shoulder, then your right hand to your left shoulder and then do one push up. Continue this pattern for one full minute. Hold your core tight and keep your back, tailbone and neck in line. To modify, put your knees down. For a challenge, you can do two push-ups after the shoulder taps, or lift one leg as you do the exercise.

shoulder taps more shoulders

  1. Downward dog (1 minute)- targets shoulders, arms, wrists and core muscles

Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands and feet shoulder width apart. Press up, booty to the sky, keep your arms and legs straight and try to press your heels towards the ground. Hold for one minute. To modify, simply bend your knees or place your hands on a higher surface, like a chair. For a challenge, lift one leg for half the time, then switch.


  1. Stretch (1 minute)

While sitting or standing cross your right arm across you chest and press your elbow. You should feel the stretch in you right shoulder and upper arm. Now lift the same arm over your head, reach you hand down your back, and press your elbow down, stretching your tricep. Repeat on the other side.

stretch arm stretch

Now breathe, you did it!

If you need to get your cardio in for the day try 30 minutes of dancing. Try Zumba, hip-hop class or just turn on some music and dance around your house for half an hour. Need more? Try my 10-minute Prenatal Booty Workout.

Don’t forget to stay safe and follow the 10 Tips for Prenatal Exercise.

prenatal exercise

Alright, what workouts would you like to see next?