Megan Roup Shares 5 of Her Favorite Prenatal Exercises

Megan Roup Prenatal

Megan Roup/Design by Cristina Cianci

Fitness influencer, queen of dance cardio, and mom-to-be Megan Roup has made a name for herself in the online workout space. Roup, who began dancing at a young age, previously danced for the Brooklyn Nets, worked as a fitness model, and taught dance on the side.

Born from her personal journey to feel empowered through movement, Roup's fitness program The Sculpt Society (TSS) offers dance and sculpt classes incorporating lightweight resistance bands and sliders for an all-over body burn. And, most recently, she's revving things up in the pre and postnatal space with The Sculpt Society Mama program.

Although Roup has always had prenatal and postnatal content on TSS, a lack of inspiring prenatal workouts sparked the initial idea to launch the TSS Mama program, a fitness routine that grows with you throughout each trimester, extending into postpartum. “I found a huge gap in pre and postnatal programs, with many of the workouts too slow and not dynamic enough in nature to keep my attention and give me the workout I needed,” she says.

Roup began filming behind-the-scenes footage early into her first trimester and continues to add content during her pregnancy. “I wanted to develop a more robust program to take mamas through their first, second, and third trimesters, as well as postnatal.”

Certified in both pre and postnatal, Roup has created safe and effective workouts for pregnant women of all fitness levels. “In listening to my community and sharing information, I was steered towards creating this program, which is perfect for the stage of life I’m in now, and I hope to continue to support all the other moms-to-be out there.” Ahead, Roup shares just a few of her favorite prenatal exercises from the TSS Mama program.

A Word on Working Out During Your Pregnancy

Though many are still hesitant, more and more studies have emerged promoting the positive effects of exercising while pregnant. “There's a real [disconnect] between traditional thought and more up-to-date research, which can cause confusion," says Roup. "However, cardio and other forms of exercise are safe to do while pregnant, and if you worked out before pregnancy, you can keep it up whilst lowering the intensity and modifying.” Roup recommends first being cleared by your doctor to workout. “It's one of the best physical and mental things for both you and your baby," she says. "Just make sure you are working out with someone certified who knows what exercises you should be doing, and the ones to avoid.”

During your second and third trimesters, Roup stresses the importance of modifying your exercises. “At this stage, there should be no ab work on the back or twisting motions, which isolate the top and bottom part of the body, and definitely nothing performed on your stomach.” However, exercises such as planks are safe to do, especially if elevated on a chair. Also recommended: pelvic floor exercises and 360-degree breathing, which are essential tools for pregnant women. And of course, if a workout feels too strenuous, listen to what your body is telling you.“It’s important to remain mindful that we each experience pregnancy and bodies in a unique way, so it’s crucial to listen if something feels off.”

Recommended Prenatal Exercises

The following prenatal exercises—handpicked by Roup herself—are safe for both prenatal and postnatal women. For additional padding during each movement, place a rolled-up towel or cushion under the supporting knee.

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Close Lift Hydrant

Close Lift Fire Hydrant 1

Megan Roup

Close Lift Hydrant 2

Megan Roup

An exercise to sculpt the glutes and improve back pain, the close lift hydrant is performed on your hands and knees.

  • Bend and lean onto your left elbow, keeping a soft bend at your right arm and making sure your hips and knees are aligned.
  • Activate your glutes as you lift the right leg, maintaining a 90-degree angle.
  • Lower the leg back down for one rep and repeat. Switch the arm position for the other leg.
  • Perform 24 reps.
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Hydrant Extensions

Hydrant Extensions 1

Megan Roup

Hydrant Extensions 2

Megan Roup

Similar to the close lift hydrant, the hydrant with an extension adds a leg kick for an enhanced burn.

  • Start in the same position as the close lift hydrant, maintaining a lean on your left elbow and keeping a soft bend in your right arm.
  • Bend the right knee and raise it up high before extending the leg straight back to align with your torso, and hold for a second.
  • Bring the leg back to the starting position for one complete rep before repeating.
  • Perform 24 reps.
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Tap Backs

Tap Backs 1

Megan Roup

Tap Backs 2

Megan Roup

This exercise also targets the glutes, specifically the side glute, given the leg position.

  • Start in the same position as the two previous exercises.
  • Squeeze your glutes and extend your right leg back.
  • Keeping the leg straight, tap the foot to the ground, leading with the toes, and then raise it back up.
  • Repeat through the repetitions before switching the leg and arm position.
  • Perform 24 reps.
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Knee Pulls

Knee Pulls 1

Megan Roup

Knee Pull 2

Megan Roup

The knee pull is effective at working the glutes and gently targeting the muscles of the lower back.

  • Balancing on your left bent elbow and (softly) bent right arm, kick your working leg directly back and up, keeping a 90-degree bend at the knee.
  • Bring the bent knee down and curl the spine as you draw it forward toward the chest. That’s one rep.
  • Repeat this motion before switching to the other arm and leg.
  • Perform 24 reps.
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Pulse at Hip Height

Pulse at Hip Height

Megan Roup

Adding a pulse to this movement is guaranteed to fire up the glutes and lower back muscles for a lower-body burn.

  • Starting in the same position as the knee pulls, squeeze your right glute and lift your leg up, keeping a bend at the knee.
  • Holding the leg at hip height, pulse the foot directly up, controlling each rep.
  • Make sure to keep your pelvis and the working hip pointing down.
  • Perform 24 reps.
Article Sources
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  1. Mcmillan A, May L, Gaines G, Isler C, Kuehn D. Effects of Aerobic Exercise During Pregnancy on 1-month Infant Neuromotor Skills. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2019;51(8). doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000001958

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