There’s something cheesy about pregnancy workout DVDs. I don’t know if it’s the New Age music, the calming voice overs or the overuse of words like ‘miracle’, ‘precious’ and ‘joyous time’ that are so prevalent in these videos, but I know I was really hesitant to go ahead and buy one. And while I’m in no way a bad-ass when it comes to workouts, I was also worried that anything labeled ‘prenatal’ would be way too easy. Sure, there’s a lot to be said for taking it easy when it comes to working out during pregnancy, but I can glide slowly across my living room floor and breathe deeply without having to plunk down $30 for video instructions. For all these reasons and more, I’ve been loving Lauren Brooks’ Baby Bells Fit Pregnancy Kettlebell workout DVD.
This video focuses on strength-training (there’s no cardio) and uses kettlebells throughout the workout, although Lauren herself says it’s fine to use dumbbells or your own bodyweight instead. Whether you use kettlebells or dumbbells, you’ll probably want 3 weight levels: light, medium and heavy. I purchased a 15-lb. kettlebell and used my 10-lb. and 5-lb. dumbbells, which has been perfect so far; I may end up ditching the 15 pounder once I get closer to the end of pregnancy, but right now (at 26 weeks) I can still manage it well. Other than that you won’t need any equipment except an exercise mat for the floor exercises (of which there are only a few) and the stretches at the end.
The workout is divided into 3 sections, each consisting of 3 to 5 exercises which are repeated twice. I’ve enjoyed this format, as it prevents boredom (a big problem for me) and keeps me from feeling like I’m doing endless amounts of repetitions. There’s a lot of classic strength-training moves throughout the video – push-ups, lunges, sumo squats – plus some exercises that were new to me as a kettlebell novice. Lauren provides modifications for all levels of fitness and pregnancy, although at this point I’m still able to do all the moves without any modifications.
What I love most about this DVD is that the level of challenge has been absolutely perfect for me. As I mentioned, I was worried that most pregnancy workout DVDs out there would be too easy, not because I’m such an advanced exerciser but because maintaining my muscle strength (as much as possible) was my number-one fitness goal for this pregnancy. Because the exercises in the DVD are the same moves you’d find in any other non-pregnancy program, they’re as easy or as hard as you want them to be, and I’ve definitely found them appropriately challenging. On the other hand, Baby Bells isn’t too hard, either; it’s relatively short, which is good for those of us who are seriously low on stamina: the workout itself is 38 minutes, including warm-up and cool-down. Still, I’m not sure I’d recommend it to pregnant ladies who have never done any sort of strength-training before, since Lauren doesn’t spend a lot of time discussing form or technique on each move. However, you don’t have to know anything about kettlebell training as long as you have minimal lifting experience (I’d never picked up a kettlebell until trying this video).
As for the production of the video, it has somewhat of a low-budget feel that I actually find appealing (if you’ve ever done The Firm workout videos, you can think of this one as the opposite of that – no cheesy grins or 80′s-style sets). While Lauren’s personality seems a bit dry in the video, she’s a good, no-nonsense instructor; she comes off as a trainer, not an actor. If you’re not familiar with her, she’s a California-based trainer, certified kettlebell instructor and is pretty much the “kettlebell queen.” She has a whole series of kettlebell workout DVDs (which I plan to try after pregnancy). Plus, even at 6 months pregnant, she looks awesome in the video, which is great motivation when working out!
See a preview of the workout on YouTube.
Lauren Brooks’ Baby Bells DVD is available for about $25 from Amazon.com.
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