Sheryl Swoopes's Challenge: Pregnancy

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is not meant to replace the advice and recommendations of your doctor and/or midwife. Please consult your caregiver before beginning any exercise program.

gym tips photo from conde' nast sports

When basketball star Sheryl Swoopes, 27, gave birth last June to her first child, Jordan Eric Jackson, the inaugural WNBA season was already under way. "My first question to the doctor was , 'When can I start working out?' " says Swoopes. The doctor told her to hold off for two weeks. Because she was 40 pounds over her playing weight at 145, David Macha, a physical therapist at Houston's Health South Sports Medicine and Rehab Center, developed a program that increased gradually in intensity. Six weeks later, Swoopes was back on the hardwood, helping lead the Houston Comets to the WNBA championship.

How she did it:

Daily stretching: "I'd lost all flexibility."

Low-impact activities (recumbent bike and water exercises).

Lifting weights, light weights at first.

Crunching with caution: "The first time I tried, I couldn't do a single crunch. A week later, I could do ten."

Drills for balance and agility: "I stood on one leg and played catch with a medicine ball."

A good support bra: "I was breastfeeding."

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