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Now not that I’m one to exploit my child or anything but here’s a fun post that’s been brewing for about 7 months. The idea first came to me when feeling my burning biceps having held our tiny baby daughter for what felt like hours. The idea gained momentum in my brain as I was waging war against the battle of the tummy bulge that many new parents are all too aware of.
So this is my solution. How to keep fit whilst keeping your child entertained. A classic two birds with one stone. But there are of course some factors that need to be overcome. Firstly the mood of your child. Some days it just isn’t going to be possible. Secondly, the ever increasing weight of your child. We’ll call this progressing the intensity of the exercises!
Baby Bench Press
Our first exercise is our baby equivalent of the classic bench press. I’ve imaginatively called it the Baby Bench Press.
To start simply roll back with baby in arms. Getting an appropriate grip on said child is vital. We don’t really want to damage the child after all!
The hips and pelvis are the most sturdy part of any human. So I recommend a double handed grip just around the crest of the pelvis for maximum baby safety.
With baby in line with your chest push upwards in a slow steady movement until you child a full arms length away from you. Then slowly lower and repeat. Do three sets of ten repetitions each – or until your child has a meltdown.
Our baby version of the good old fashioned squat. I’ve called it the baby squat – have you worked out the theme yet?!
Great for building up strength in your quads, hamstrings and glutes. Also great for coordinating the contraction between these muscle groups to give you the most stable movement. Very important for your child’s safety!
With regard a safe hold on your child my experience is this varies from day to day. In this picture a hugging embrace seemed to work best as she was going through a phase of the wriggles. Never work with animals and children!
With a firm, yet caring, grip on your child bend you knees as deep as your child’s wriggling will allow. Then back up again. Three sets of ten reps looking to increase the amount of reps each day.
In this pic I also added in some plyometric work for the upper body. In English that means I near dropped the child by accident and caught her on the way down. I’ll leave it up to you if you feel this progression of the exercise is suitable for both child and parent.
It is absolutely vital during the entire set that you have an inane grin on your face and intersperse movement with raspberries to keep child engaged and entertained!
Baby Shoulder Press
Shown here kneeling due to modelling constraints (did I mention I’ve been modelling for the Huffington Post!) that the backdrop didn’t go high enough. This exercise can also be performed standing or sitting.
You may see from the picture that again I have used the ‘safe’ grip on the pelvis to restrain the child and avoid any slips which may cause dropping of the child! The upside-down baby element of this exercise is entirely optional but is a firm favourite with little Thea.
With the firm grip securely in place extend the arms to full length lifting your baby upwards. There is an optional extension of your wrists in this picture – it just felt like the right thing to do!
This exercise is primarily focused at the muscles around the shoulders. Deltoid mostly for people who care about names and also a little bit of bicep and tricep to control the elbow extension.
If you do it seated it will bring in an element of core stability which makes the exercise even more functional. Theoretically you could sit on a Swiss Ball to increase the challenge. But not even I would recommend such a thing as it’s asking for trouble!
Start with three sets of ten repetitions and add an extra rep when you feel able.
N.B. Cheesy expression on parents face is obligatory.
Baby Skull Crusher
It has not escaped me that this is a terrible name for an exercise! But the exercise is genuinely called a Skull Crusher. We are using a baby as the weight. So unfortunately there can be no other name for it.
It’s actually quite a tough exercise this one even with a small fourteen pound baby. You may wish to consider if you are going to be strong enough to do this one. You should be ok. My triceps are as strong as a wet paper bag and I managed.
Using our now tried and tested grip bring your baby to horizontal above your head and lower out behind your head until your elbows are at about 90 degrees – or as far as you can manage. Taking care not to drop your child as you do so!
Again our obligatory three sets of ten. If it’s tricky you can do less reps. There’s no point tiring yourself out to the point of dropping the child! Or you can reduce the amount you bend your elbows. This will also make the exercise easier.
Baby Isometric Bicep Hold
An absolute must for all parents. It’s amazing how much those biceps burn holding the little one. I was quite shocked as to how much holding a new born baby at just six pounds could give you an incredible bicep workout. My guns have not been this big since I retired from the gym 5 years ago.
It was that experience that inspired me to write my first article on this theme: 5 Physio Exercises Parents Really Need To Know. I was reminded of this at the weekend when I walked back home in this position with baby in her sleepy head sound asleep. I certainly felt the burn and for the following 2 days!
The exercise is simply to hold your baby out in front of you with the elbows at 90 degrees as shown. The baby doubtless will provide endless wriggling which makes it a very functional exercise. Ideal preparation for those long nights where our joyous little ones want to party at 4am!
Baby Exercise Conclusion
There you have it. This concludes our fun look at exercises with babies. You can take it as seriously as you wish. I think all parents find themselves doing variations of these exercises. Whether they want to or not. We all know who’s in charge. If you have any ideas for additional baby exercises drop me a line at the bottom of the page and I’ll try to add it in.
If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy our post What Mum’s Need to Know to Avoid Burnout!