The Most Fun Ways to Work Out With Your Baby
As a new mom, it can be challenging to find the time and energy to squeeze in a workout. Your life becomes a little crazy — your schedule is unpredictable, and you’re not able to leave your baby alone. This can make getting to your favorite 6 p.m. spin class seem pretty impossible (unless your S.O. wants to step in and be a dear, of course).
The solution? Exercise with your baby, during which you can stay by their side and get your sweat on. Plus, it can be really enjoyable and add to that mom-and-baby bonding time.
Try these seven exercises the next time you’re looking for a fun and effective workout routine. “All of these exercises really add resistance for mom, allowing her to get more bang for her buck during what’s usually limited time,” certified personal trainer Katie Dunlop, owner and founder of Love Sweat Fitness, tells SheKnows.
Bridge Hip Lifts
Start on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the floor. Press your heels into the ground, lifting your hips up off the floor and squeezing and engaging your glutes. This exercise is a major booty worker.
“This exercise targets your booty, helping lift and shape your backside, and is easy on your knees,” she says, which can also be good for new moms who might have joint tenderness or who have been out of the fitness realm for a bit. “It’s also a great one to help heal diastasis recti,” she adds.
“Depending on your baby’s age, you can hold your baby so they are sitting on your hips and resting against your bent knees, sitting upright, or on their tummy against your thighs,” she says. This exercise is great because it’s pretty mellow for your baby — they may even nap right through it.
There’s nothing like a good ol’ push up to fire up your chest and arms. Start in a full plank position. Bend your elbows as you inhale and lower your chest toward floor. Exhale and push back to a starting plank position. You can do this on your toes or knees, depending on your activity level.
“The push-up targets your chest and will help perk things up on the front, which every mom will be happy about,” she says. (If you know what we mean.) “Your baby can be lying on their back having playtime on the floor below your chest,” she says. To take the cuteness factor up a notch, “as you lower down, you can make silly faces or even give your baby some kisses,” she suggests.
Start seated on the floor. Lean back slightly, keeping your chest lifted and core tight. Lift your feet off the ground and bring your hands to center. Twist side to side, keeping your legs and upper body stable. Repeat. “This move targets your obliques and deep core muscles helping to draw in your waistline and shape your beautiful bod,” says Dunlop.
Hold your little one in front of your chest and lift them playfully while twisting. “This one is super-fun for Baby and Mom! It’s very playful, and having Baby in hand gives Mom a bonus arm workout and increases the workload for her abs,” she says.
Start with your feet wider than hip-distance apart, your heels facing in and your toes pointed slightly out. Keep your body weight in your heels with your chest lifted and core tight. Sit your hips back and down as you lower into a “seated” position, bringing your hips down in line with your knees. Push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to come back to standing. Repeat.
“This exercise targets the thighs and glutes and is especially good for the ‘saddle bag’ area that can appear post-pregnancy. Hold baby any way that is comfortable with your arms or in a BabyBjörn,” she says. “This one is amazing for moms because it can be a time to play and interact with your baby or rock baby to sleep with your squats,” says Dunlop.
Stand holding your baby with your elbows bent at your sides. Inhale and prepare, then exhale and press your baby up overhead toward the sky, holding securely. Lower them back to your shoulders and then to the starting position. Repeat.
“This move targets your shoulders to help sculpt and shape them, plus strengthening your shoulders is key for all the baby-carrying you’re going be doing,” she says. Hold your baby at your chest and lift up, Lion King style. “What baby doesn’t love to be ‘tossed’ up high? Of course, I recommend holding onto them securely, but mimicking that feeling for all the laughs and a great arm- and shoulder-sculpting workout,” she says.
Reverse Lunge Rotation
Stand up straight with your gaze forward, chest lifted and core engaged, holding Baby at the center. Step one leg back, and bend the front leg to a 90-degree angle, keeping your knee stacked over the ankle (don’t let your knee bend over your foot). Squeeze your midsection and twist your torso in the direction of your front knee and then return to center and repeat on the opposite side.
“This exercise is another goodie for your quads, hamstrings [and] glutes, and also targets your obliques with the rotation,” Dunlop says. “Holding Baby at center, allow them to move with your body or even lift them up and over your front leg for a deeper rotation. You can also have them on your back for general added weight rather than targeting the abs by holding them on the front of your body,” she says.
It’s the perfect exercise for either a baby that wants to be close to Mom to play or for a napper on your back. Just make sure to do an equal number of reps on both sides.
Lying on your back, bend your knees to 90 degrees, stacking them over you hips with feet out in front. Tuck your pelvis, engage your lower abs, and tap your heels to the floor. Exhale as you bring your heels off the floor and knees back to their starting position.
“This move targets lower-abdominal muscles and can be a great exercise to get rid of lower-belly pooch. Baby will be on their tummy lying on your shins. Hold their hands or body to keep them snug and secure as you lower and lift your feet to the floor,” she says.
Think of this as a modified (and safer) airplane for babies. “They will love that weightless feeling as they ‘fly’ up and down, and Mom will love the added weight to get those lower abs working and tighten up her core,” she says.
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