As mothers we know a certain truth: Some days our babies only want to be held and even the most expensive carrier, swing or stroller can’t help us. Which is wonderful if you’re having a relaxing day, but because those don’t happen often as mothers we need to be flexible (and learn to do a lot of things one-handed.) But when it comes to working out, that baby appendage can be a chance to add a little intensity (read: weight) to your fitness routine.
At Baby Boot Camp we have a handful of exercises that our clients can do while holding their children, but before we get into those, we have to keep in mind some alignment cues.
When you’re holding your child make sure you’re not tilting your pelvis forward (a common mistake when arms get tired) and keep a nice vertical line down through your tailbone to avoid lower back pain. Also, some women tend to lift their ribs high and tense their trapezius muscles when holding children. Try to keep those shoulders and ribs down so you don’t cause neck strain. Lastly, engage that core. Use your tranverse abdominis (the inner-most “corset” muscles) to stabilize the spine; you know that tensing feeling when you’re coughing or the tightening you feel if you’re about to be hit in the gut (moms of jumpy toddlers; you know what I’m talking about) – that’s your tranverse abdominis working: engage those muscles throughout these exercises to keep a tight core and reduce back pain.
Elisa, Baby Boot Camp client and mom to Justin, 7 months and Jason, 3 1/2 years demonstrates the following exercises for us.
Squat: Hold your child close to your body. Stand with feet hip width apart and slowly lower your body like you are about to sit on a chair. Once your butt is parallel with your knees (making sure your knees don’t go past your toes), slowly come up to a soft-kneed standing position. That’s one repetition.
Pulsing lunge: Hold your child close to your body. Bring one foot back behind you and put your weight on that foot’s toes. Slowly pulse down that leg’s knee as close to the ground as you can get. Continue those slow pulses for multiple repetitions and alternate legs.
Curtesy lunge: Start with feet hip width apart. Slowly bring one leg laterally behind the other and bend that knee (like you’re curtsying). Come back to center and repeat with the other leg. That’s one repetition.
Calf raise: Start with feet hip width apart and hold your baby close to your body. Bring your weight on your toes and slowly raise your heels up and then bring them back down. That’s one repetition.
Front raise: Feet hip width apart. With a slight bend in the arm, hold your child in front of you (facing you). Slowly raise the child about 12 inches to just above your head. Repeat.
Chest press: Feet hip width apart. With bent arms hold your child close to your chest. Press your child out and slightly up. That’s one repetition.
Squat and Press: Follow cues for squat and press only keep child close to your body on the down movement of the squat and press out the child once you’re back to standing position.
You can rotate through all of these exercises to get a fat-burning, muscle building workout – while bonding with your baby! It’s a win/win.
Sample baby-holding workout:
- Warmup: Power walking while holding baby for 8 minutes.
- Each exercise 3x through:
- 10 squats
- 10 pulsing lunges (each leg)
- 10 curtesy lunges
- 20 calf raises
- 10 front raises
- 10 chest press
- 10 squat and press
- Slow walking while holding baby and stretching legs and arms.
~Liz Learner, Baby Boot Camp Trainer
Be Fit. Be Strong. Be Together
Liz Lerner is a mother and AFAA certified personal trainer and Baby Boot Camp fitness instructor. Interested in trying Baby Boot Camp? Sign up for a free class at www.babybootcamp.com or email Britta at email@example.com.