Is PiYO Safe during Pregnancy?

Is PiYO Safe during Pregnancy?

Short answer: ask your doctor / Long answer: keep reading – updates & modifications at the end of post

As with everything related to pregnancy what you can and can’t do during is sort of up in the air.  Conservative doctors and experts will say don’t move, contain yourself in bubble-wrap for 40 weeks and hope for the best.  Then there is the other side of the spectrum.  The amazing moms running marathons the day they gave birth. They make it seem like anything is possible while pregnant.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason once you wade through all the information out there so why not go with what feels safe and comfortable to YOU?

So here I go, creating my very own “choose-your-adventure” book with my first baby.

PiYO for pregnancy.  When I read that PiYO was low-impact and based on Yoga & Pilates I was sold.  I knew that for me this could be the perfect pregnancy program.  I’m not very good at sitting still or going slow, so hearing that Chalene Johnson had upped the speed and intensity of yoga sounded attractive to me.  I’m also not doing so well with high-impact at the moment due to ligament pain.  So low-impact it is!  And if I can keep my core even partially as strong as before I’ll be thrilled!piyo pregnantHow pregnant am I?  For reference I started my 60-day PiYo program at 16 weeks along / finishing at about 20 weeks and just in time for Labor Day fun!  Well, as much fun as you can have pregnant, haha.    (Edit: As of Sept 4th, I’m still going.  Might do this the WHOLE pregnancy!)

So, with the caveat that I’ve recently done P90X, Body Beast, T25, Chalean Extreme and the 21-Day Fix I’ve had almost no problem doing PiYo while pregnant.  For others who are new to working out, perhaps following the modifier would be more appropriate.  And yes, there IS a modifier that anyone with limits to their mobility can follow.

What do I think of the program so far?  I’ve been slowly adding my reviews of each workout at various stages of +more pregnant below.  You can scroll down for my thoughts.

So as A Beachbody Coach, I of course have a whole Challenge Group full of people doing PiYO right along with me.  We are always happy to have new members, so if you would like to join us let me know.  Pregnancy is not a prerequisite to join.  this program is good for everyone!  You can order your Challenge pack below.

In January I’ll be running a “Drop The Baby Weight” Challenge group as well.  New & veteran moms are all welcome.  You can find that group HERE on Facebook… I hope you join us.  The conversation has already started!



Align – The Fundamentals
Success with today’s day one workout! Chalene spent this one-time workout showing us how to do properly do the different yoga poses. Proper posture and alignment are what gets us results and keeps us from getting hurt.

  • 16 Weeks Pregnant: The only pose I had to modify was laying flat on my stomach.
  • 24 weeks pregnant slightly slower, but the same.

Define Lower Body
Here is the yoga class I always wished for. Chalene crams about 30 minutes of yoga into 20 minutes by going fast. I never got a chance to get bored and it was over. If this was the only workout you did you might think it was too easy, but I have a feeling by the end of the week I will be hurting for its return. I was able to do all the moves pregnant, I just had to be careful of some of the lunge-stretches so I didn’t over-extend myself. Chaturanga might need to be eliminated when I am further along, but I’ll wait and see how that goes. Overall that stretch was GREAT! Here are some more tips about staying safe while doing yoga pregnant – CLICK.

  • 26 weeks: I can still do all these, but definitely no Chaturanga!

Define Upper Body
The Upperbody workout is in some ways the easiest workout.  If you already have a little upper body and core strength you’ll breeze through it.  For pregnancy however, I think so far this may be the most difficult. With some good modifications you can do it all however. Best part, is this workout is only 18 minutes! For the V-hold, Child’s pose & triceps-pushups a big belly might get in the way. These are easily remedied by lifting one leg at a time (v-hold), downward dog (instead of child’s pose) and using blocks or a low chair for the triceps pushups.  The crouching pushups will need to be changed to downward dog push-ups, or stay on your knees.  Listen to your body and just do your best to work the muscle groups in question.

  • 27 weeks: V-holds have been replaced with single lifts, child’s pose is now down-ward dog and triceps are now done doing dips using a chair.

And sweat I did! This workout starts with some speed sun salutations. Then we move to a lot of lunge, squat, upside-down leg work. Ending with push-ups/burpies and a few other gems to work core and upper body. I found the first run of this workout thoroughly frustrating. Not the workout itself, but its going to be a lot better when I have the sequences memorized. As far as doing this pregnant..I had to go to my knees to modify Chaturanga (there were only a few, no biggie) and I had to go half the speed on the burpies just to make sure I didn’t get sloppy on my form. I could have kept up, but I didn’t want to risk tweaking my knee that has been sore lately. In my opinion this is totally doable pregnant, but speed may need to be adjusted to your own needs.

  • 27.5 weeks: I can do this still, but slower. Burpies are done sumo-style and one leg at a time (no plyo movement). Still a good workout!

So far in the PiYo program, this is the hardest workout I’ve done. And it isn’t hard because of pregnancy, its just a darn good core workout!  I really like that half the time is NOT spent doing traditional (on your back) core work.  So pregnant ladies, you may have to modify this workout a bit, but you should be fine for the 1st half as is.  When Chalene says to get on your back, or plank on your elbows, you might need to instead to standing, alternating leg crunches.  just try and mimic the same muscles being used in the floor exercises.  You should be able to resume the last bit of the workout again as is.  I found that I had a harder time finding the strength in my arms than in my core for this one.  Gulp, guess I’m not as strong in my upper body as a thought!  I didn’t have to modify much at 17 weeks.  Perhaps go slightly slower, a few less reps.  But if you are in good (core) shape you’ll be able to do this.  And if not…. there is a good modifier on screen to help you.

  • 28 weeks: all core work is done standing now for the most part. Last thing I want to do now that I’m getting big is to separate my abs.

Buns is an awesome 28 minute workout for pregnancy. I love all the leg & butt work plus all the squats! Number one thing to be aware of is proper form so you don’t hurt your knees. I wrote a post about squats 7 lunges HERE, read up!

Stability.  You may want to add a chair or tall stool for stability depending on how your belly is effecting you these days.  At 21 weeks, I’m fine without it, but I still had to pay attention.
Narrow Squats. You may not be able to go as low, but these are totally doable.
SQUEEZE YOUR BUTT. Chalene doesn’t mention this much, but if you want to get the most out of your squats, squeeze your butt at the top! Don’t just stand up and take a break.
Burpees. Use the wide leg (sumo) stance at the beginning and end. I can still do these at 21 weeks, but I can see I may have to do a few less per set as I get bigger.
Combo. Around 17min or so she has a combo sequence that goes pretty fast. Don’t worry if you can’t keep up. just do your best wile keeping PERFECT form.
Bowler Lunges. You may not be able to go as low and you might need a chair for stability.
Planks. I skipped the planks and stayed on my knees for the floor work. Early on you’ll still be able to do planks. You’ll have to see how you feel.
Pigeon. Your joints may be loser than usual so be careful not to over-stretch during pigeon and the following cool-down. Good rule is to not go further than you could pre-pregnancy.

  • Week 29: everything i said above applies. Especially using the chair for stability.

Strength Intervals
You know how sometimes you just want what seems like an easy workout? I think this is it.  Except if you do it right, its not really all that easy, haha. I’m reviewing this one at 22.5 weeks pregnant. So I’m still not too big and can pretty much do all of this.  But, its pretty obvious as I get bigger that I will have to make some modifications. I’ve noted those here for you.

Bra.  Yup, wear a good bra for this one.  There is a little bit of impact in the cardio moves.  I just put on two.
Warm Up. As you get bigger you may not be able to do the warm-up squats with your legs quit so close together. Its fine to have your feet slightly wider than Chalene, just make sure you have good form.
Cardio. Between the squats and lunges she does on this program she is adding a cardio element. If you are not comfortable with the jumping definitely follow the modifier. I could do most of it, but took it down in intensity just a little bit.
Lunges. If you feel unstable at all doing all the lunges, grab a chair to balance yourself. Just don’t use the chair to help you get up or you aren’t getting the benefit of each lunge.
Burpees. I can still do these at 22.5wks, but you may not be able to. Either go slower, follow the modifier or just do sumo-squats for these.
Push-ups. To keep from putting too much strain on my abs, I’m doing all the push-ups on my knees. You might even want to do them with your hands on the edge of a stable chair. It will depend on your ability to do push-ups prior to pregnancy.
Beast + Twisting Leg Lifts. Here is where it starts getting hard for me. Of course it is also the end of the workout so I’m getting tired. I can do all the Beast holds & leg lift holds, but I can’t go as fast as Chalene. Do your best here, follow the modifier if you need to.


In the home gym at 22.5 weeks!

2 thoughts on “Is PiYO Safe during Pregnancy?”

  1. Great blog!! I’m a fellow PiYo used and started the program when I was 20 weeks pregnant. I too think it is a fantastic program for pregnant mammas for opening up joints and areas of the body (lower back) that can become cramped from that little one growing inside. I too am a huge fitness person, having used a number of Beachbody programs AND I ran a half marathon at 8 weeks pregnant.

    I’m also a personal trainer and because of that knowledge base I wanted to offer a couple of things to be aware of, not so much for the yoga portion but for the Pilates side. I attended Pilates classes at my local yoga studio up until I was 12 weeks along. After 12-16 weeks (usually you can go longer with a first child) you do need to keep in mind that your rectus abdominis muscles will start to spread and doing any sort of core strength work is not recommended. Core engagement is different and that is ALWAYS recommended to support the growing belly and mom’s lower back.

    Something else to keep in mind is pregnant women have a hormone that is released to allow a softening of ligaments to make childbirth possible. This hormone, relaxin, is produced and released significantly before labor starts so I have to be very conscious of this when I do yoga. As a pregnant lady you are not suddenly, magically more flexible. I feel like I can get much deeper in stretches (where my belly isn’t interfering) and this started to become much more apparent around 18 weeks for me (currently 24.5 weeks along). Nobody wants to pull a muscle or strain ligaments anytime especially not during pregnancy. My prenatal yoga instructor says, “If you weren’t stretching that far (deep) before you became pregnant, DON’T do it now that you are.” For more info check out this webpage:

    I hope this helps!! I doubt I would have know to Google these things if I wasn’t a trainer/coach and that’s what we are great for!!

  2. I’m just getting started on the Piyo program. I am in my second week and 24th week of pregnancy. I can’t wait to see your workout reviews for the second month!

Love to hear your thoughts!