Protect the Bump: Exercising While Pregnant the Total Row way

Why Total Row’s rowing-centric workouts are the key to a healthy lifestyle both during and after your pregnancy

Written by: Total Row Owner’s Elliott and Lauren Smith
Contributions from: Megan Kober of the Nutrition Addiction

You’ve found out the wonderful news that you are pregnant! You’ve been to your first doctor’s visit. Everything is going great except one thing: INFORMATION OVERLOAD!

Everyone has an opinion on everything, and you simply can’t parse truth from fiction.

In the above scenario there is one area that constantly comes up in discussions with family, friends, and doctors: should you be exercising, what should you be doing, and what should you be eating?

Your health is of critical importance during and after a pregnancy (spoiler alert, labor is hard), and that is what we are exploring today. Specifically, we will be looking at how a centuries old, zero-impact, total body exercise can make all of this back and forth so much easier.

With the addition of a healthy diet (discussed in detail here), rowing is the answer to your healthy pregnancy prayers.

Rowing, the gift that keeps on giving

Your pregnancy is not one smooth trail. Further, it is incredibly different for everyone. Many people will move from fatigue and morning sickness in your first trimester, to a brief sense of normality in your second semester, to your largest body change in the third (or any of another 100 different sequences!).

We will look at some of rowing’s major benefits and characteristics that will help you thrive in each of these phases. However, it is important to point out a key piece of medical advice: it is not recommended to drastically increase the level of intensity you are training at from where you were pre-pregnancy.

To translate into a basic running analogy, if you usually run 5Ks don’t sign up for a marathon right after seeing those two lines. Even if you spend more time on the couch than in the gym, start slow. While you can begin something new, it is generally better to keep your exercise intensity in a similar level as before. Also, don’t start any fitness routine (or much else for that matter) without discussing it with your doctor.

Zero Impact, Zero Bounce
Rowing is a zero-impact activity that is completed while sitting down in a nice upright position. This is one benefit that can be appreciated by everyone.

No matter if you are feeling the fatigue of your first trimester, or can hardly move around at the very end of your pregnancy, the ability to complete one of the best workouts available without beating down your body cannot be overstated.

Total Body
Another amazing benefit that everyone can enjoy, is that rowing is the definition of total body workout. With each stroke, expect to work nearly 90% of your body, incorporating 9 different muscle groups!

During a pregnancy, functional training across your entire body is extremely important (just wait until tying your shoes becomes a challenge). Especially relevant is your core, which is trained during the middle phase of each stroke, and is unfortunately undertrained in many plans.

Many women will experience lower back and core weakness as they gain weight and their center of gravity shifts. Rowing will help provide a strong center, strengthening the front, side, and rear core.

Slogging away on a treadmill or stationary bike is not everyone’s idea of a good time. Because so many more muscles are incorporated during a rowing stroke, your calories burned and effort required is multiplied.

As a new or expectant mom, time is usually not on your side. You need to be able to squeeze in an effective workout quickly – rowing does just that.

Because rowing also incorporates more muscle activity at a higher intensity than most other exercises, expect to continue burning calories well after your workout ends. This is called the Afterburn effect (or EPOC), and it is a staple of Total Row classes.

Intensity Control
We like to brag that our classes have seen senior citizens with knee replacements working out next to Olympians (yes, this actually happened). Total Row classes are easily scalable to athletes of any level, which is a direct benefit of our beautiful Water Rowers.

Because the resistance in our Water Rowers is generated 100% from your power vs. the water in the tank, it responds exactly to the effort you put in! This allows everyone in the class to work through the same waves, while exactly controlling the intensity they desire.

Additionally, one important factor to keep in mind while working out when you’re pregnant is your core body temperature. It can be dangerous to become overheated. At Total Row, we are firm believers in air conditioning, fans, and breaks when you need them! We are a highly encouraging community and always put your (and your little one’s) health and safety first!!

We also have world-famous chilled lavender towels for a quick cool down!

As you move through a pregnancy, you will have some days better than others. The ability to easily manipulate intensity while completing the same workout as your workout partners, make class more enjoyable and rewarding.


From our favorite nutritionist, Megan Korber from the Nutrition Addiction!

A healthy diet during pregnancy is INSANELY important, but not just for the reason you might think. Yes, it’s very important that your baby gets the proper nutrition it needs, but more than likely, it will anyways. Your body prioritizes your baby, so it’ll do everything it can to ensure it’s getting all the nutrients it needs.

Not getting enough calcium or vitamin D? Your body will start pulling it from your bones to make sure your baby is getting enough. That’s great for your baby, but that’s not so great for you.

This is a time to pay extra attention to what you’re putting into your body every day. Aside from taking prenatal vitamins, here’s a list of nutrients + nutrient-rich foods you should be incorporating into your diet daily!

Now, check out Megan’s Foolproof Pregnancy Nutrition Guide!

The most important goal at the end of pregnancy is bringing home a healthy new baby! Even healthy and “easy” labor and delivery is a traumatic event for even very fit and healthy moms. So, a period of rest and recovery is important. This again is something that is highly individualized and differs from person to person, so be sure to listen to your body, and your doctor before resuming exercise after delivery.

However, once you are cleared to resume working out, we know you will be eager to bounce back quickly so you can keep up with the rigors of keeping up with your new little bundle of joy! Nearly all of the aspects that make rowing a great option during pregnancy continue to apply after pregnancy too! You are able to easily transition into a no-impact workout that is set your own unique fitness comfort level.

Rowing provides cardio and strength training into one highly efficient and effective workout. This allows you to quickly burn calories, eliminate fat, and strengthen those baby toting muscles!

Pregnancy is an incredible, and exciting time. But it can be overwhelming to consider the unknowns that will happen to your body, especially for first time moms. The key is to pay attention to your body, not be hard on yourself when you need a little extra TLC, and do all you can to stay as healthy as possible so that you can be your best self as you bring about this miracle!

We have pregnancy on our minds here at Total Row as our own crew will be growing soon! So stay tuned for more pregnancy posts, encouragements, and ways to have a fit and healthy pregnancy!

Check our our schedule to find the perfect first class, and get started on your FREE WEEK!