This is a guest post from Alex Megan, a postpartum corrective exercise specialist who has made it her mission to help women rebuild their foundational strength and physical confidence after pregnancy and delivery. Take her free quiz about your exercise readiness and find out more about her 6 week postpartum recovery course on After Baby Fit and follow on Instagram @aj.afterbabyfit.
At home workouts may end up looking like mommy & me (or dog/cat & me) classes whether you want them to or not - we know they find a way in! If you are embracing mommy & me movements out of interest or sheer necessity, let’s find a way to incorporate enjoyable and motivating movement into your days. Chances are, with a little one, you are spending plenty of time on the ground or in “play mode” so let’s grab a few of those minutes and make them work for us!
These movements are not only engaging for your baby or toddler but they really serve a purpose. The exercises themselves focus on posture, glutes, inner thighs, and of course, core! Add the uneven weight of a child and it increases the challenge of these movements. And when it comes to exercises where you are holding the baby, there is an increased awareness of posture and the need to stand up tall, increasing your back strength and balance!
Movement with your child may look different depending on life stage, mood, or time of day, here are a handful ideas in different positions for you to try!
Infant that doesn’t want to be put down and needs to keep moving → holding exercises!
Hold baby with his/her back to you, fully supporting the head and neck. If that doesn’t work, a rocking position works too. Try to switch your grip halfway through to keep everything even.
- Squats – keep feet parallel about hip distance apart, sitting down into the movement with feet fully engaged with the ground (keeping toes down helps the front of your core fire!). Keep that chest proud!
- Switch up the movement with wide legs or a plie (standing tall, no hinging at the hips)
- Back Lunges - Keep feet parallel and step back into the movement. Keep hips level and tall posture.
- Oblique Stretches - imagine you have a pane of glass in front and behind you. Bend your upper body side to side opening the space between your ribs and hip bone and have your obliques (abdominal muscles on the side of your body) pull you back to neutral.
- Squat Taps - find a mid range squat and tap one leg out and in as you keep the standing leg bent. Add taps to the back as well.
Infant is happy laying down on back or doing tummy time
- ½ Plank taps – hold the position reaching towards baby, alternating hands and tapping toes/belly/nose - whatever makes them happy!
- Bridges with baby on hips
- Bird dogs - extending opposite arm and leg while baby is under you
- Leg lifts - laying on your side (challenge: try a low side plank) or in hands and knees over the child
You’re on your 100th walk of the week (we know how that goes), let’s spice it up!
- Single leg lunge press - back foot on front of stroller, push out and in, balancing on bent standing leg
- Side crunch knee to elbow - using stroller handle to balance
- Push/Pull - stay in a low squat position and push & pull stroller towards you (like a row) squeezing your shoulder blades together
- Walking lunges
- Side shuffles
BONUS: Your big kids want in on the action! Here are a few ideas to exercise together!
Piggy back squats
Piggy back side lunges
Plank holds with kid on top or using you as a bridge, crawling under
“Frog jumps” aka squat jumps
“Shooting Stars” aka jumping jacks (once you are ready for impact!)
But here’s the thing... we aren’t saying you should exercise all day, every day with your little one. But if you are trying to find a way to squeeze it in and it just doesn’t seem possible, or you are feeling some monotony in the routine, these are ways that you can sneak in some seriously beneficial, mood boosting movement for yourself! Even 5 or 10 minutes will feel great!