For a fun – but effective – twist on strength training, I have crafted what my husband has dubbed the “Med-Ball-Baby Workout.” Wait! Before you gasp thinking I’m tossing my 6-month old baby about in the air, let me assure you: I am not chucking the baby around, but I am using her (not insignificant!) weight to augment the body weight strength training routine I have been doing lately.
A cautionary note: before doing any strength routine, be sure you are aware of your current health, strength and flexibility limitations. Also, be extremely cautious with your baby, and be sure that your baby has excellent head control before attempting this type of activity with your child. As you gain strength and balance, increase the number of repetitions in each exercise.
Do you readers have any suggestions for other exercises? Modifications? Other ideas for being active with your child(ren)? I look forward to hearing from you.
Baby Strength Routine – Part 1
Start with some kind of warm up! A short routine of jumping jacks, high knees and wiggling with your baby will do the job.
Start with legs slightly more than hip width apart, baby held at torso. Slowly crouch down as far as you are comfortable without extending your knees too much in front of your ankles. Return to upright, standing position. Alternate which arms hold front/under baby.
Begin with legs spread in a wide stance, hips facing forward, baby held at your torso. Lunge forward with right leg, keeping the right knee from extending in front of the ankle. Return to standing position. Repeat with opposite leg.
Begin with hips more than hip width apart, holding baby at your torso. Lean to one side, bending knee. Do not extend your bent knee over your ankle, and be sure to keep back straight. Return to center standing position. Repeat on opposite leg.
Begin on your back, knees bent, baby sitting on pelvis (1). Press hips up, do not let knees splay apart (2). Keep abdominals contracted. Hold onto the baby, but do not use your arms or elbows to prop you up. Return to floor position (3). To make this exercise more difficult, straighten and extend one leg (4). Press upward, keeping straight leg extended and hips as level as possible (5). Return to floor position. Repeat with other leg (6).
Hold straight body position, facing down, propped on elbows and toes. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your butt from sticking up or getting too much arch in your low back (1). Hold position for 20-60 seconds, as you are able. Too increase difficulty, hold plank position 1 and lift one leg (2)keeping hips and back level. Raise and lower leg 10 times. Switch legs. Side planks also add difficulty and strength. Hold a straight body position (3), propped on one elbow and same side foot (or both feet one in front of the other) for 20-60 seconds as you are able. Too increase difficulty, lift upper leg while maintaining straight body position (4). Raise and lower leg 10 times. Repeat on opposite leg side.
Part 2 – coming up soon – includes more upper body and core strength exercises. Stay tuned!