As a new parent, we’ve all said it at one time or another, “It’s impossible to find ways to exercise now that we have a baby or toddler.” To that, we say Boo! It’s time to join the HipFit revolution. Now that you’re part of the team, we’ll show you a list of exercises and stretches that you can do with your baby or toddler that’s longer than your list of excuses.
Busy mom? No problem, our micro-workouts take just a minute or two. Dad works out of the home office? No sweat, all you need is an available wall or small section of open floor. Fussy baby who won’t let you put her down? Great! Our workouts work best when you’re holding her. See? No excuses.
The good news is we have found interesting ways to show you how to sneak in a workout just when you thought it was impossible to get it done. Instead of waiting for your toddler to get a nap or go down for the night, including her. We’ll show you how.
1. Kiss Me Baby Plank
What’s In It For Me. When it’s done right, a properly executed plank really fires up your core. Besides, babies love up-close eye contact and kisses, and the Kiss Me Baby Plank positions him beneath you, right in line for some lovin’. Planks keep you low to the floor, bringing you close to your little one. It’s a passive exercise so there’s virtually no chance of startling him, unless of course you’re a grunter. Heck, he might just think that’s funny and give you a giggle. If you’re a beginner to the joys of planking, set both knees on the ground for the first 30 seconds of your plank.
How To Do It. The basic forearm plank requires perfect form to engage the muscle group in your core. Oh, and our version requires a baby. Start in the pushup position and lower your forearms to the floor, extending your hands in front of you. Your shoulders are directly over your elbows. Both knees can be touching the floor to begin. Tuck your navel in, keep your back in a straight line and elongate your spine from your tailbone to the crown of your head. Now is a good time to give your baby a little kiss. Once you have mastered that position, tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Concentrate on keeping everything straight and tucking your navel. Hold the position for 45 seconds.
2. Baby Carrier Squat
What’s In It For Me. Your baby will enjoy being involved in this exercise because there’s a lot of up and down movement- a motion that babies love. You’ll be working on developing strength in your legs- crucial for mobility and balance. While you’re at it, she’ll feel safe and secure, bundled tightly against your body while you tone and tighten your butt, abs and legs. She’s facing out and has a height advantage every time you straighten up. Make the squats enjoyable for both of you and give her a gentle squeeze and hum her favorite song during your reps.
How To Do It. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders and put your baby in a front carrier. Turn your toes out a little bit, inhale and lower your body down like you’re about to sit in a chair. Keep your back straight, concentrate your weight over your heels and tuck your navel in tightly. Exhale and return to the standing position. For your baby’s sake, don’t jerk and hurry these motions. Take your time and let her enjoy the ride. Do sets of ten, and it’s OK to do fewer if she’s a heavy baby.
3. Baby Lunges
What’s In It For Me. Hugs. You get hugs from your biggest fan while you work those quadriceps and buttocks. Because it’s a unilateral exercise (one that works one side of your body at a time), it helps fine-tune weaker muscles for better stability and balance. Target each side independently to “even out” asymmetry. You can modify baby lunges into a walking lunge, or just lunge-in-place. Do some of them with him facing you so he can laugh at the funny faces you make with each lunge, and do some with him facing out so he can check out his world.
How To Do It. Choose which position is best for your baby: facing you or facing out. Hug him close to your chest and stand tall, looking straight ahead. Take a wide step forward (now is NOT the time for baby steps) with your right leg and position both knees with a 90 degree bend. Focus on your front knee, keeping it over your ankle while your back knee heads to the floor, heel lifted. Switch focus to your back leg, push off and step your feet together. Now, repeat the motion with the opposite leg.
4. Baby Pike Stretch
What’s In It For Me. Start your day with the Baby Pike Stretch and you’ll feel good knowing it’s done before anyone makes demands on you. Your little guy gets to lay down and look up at you while you stretch your way into the busy day ahead. Improve limited range-of-motion due to tight hamstrings with this gentle stretch. Perform a seated pike stretch to provide relief for low back pain and help with hip tightness.
How To Do It. Find a comfortable position for your toddler in your lap as you sit with your legs out straight, ankles touching. Focus your eyes on your toes and reach for your feet. Resist the temptation to bend your knees because- if you do- you won’t stretch your hamstrings at all, and your little one could get launched off your lap, making for an angry toddler. This stretch should not hurt. If it does, you’re reaching too far, too fast. Go easy, go gentle, go YOU!
5. Baby Squat Shoulder Press
What’s In It For Me. You won’t need a lot of repetitions to benefit from Baby Squat Shoulder Presses. You’ll feel the burn almost immediately as you combine resistance training with strength training during this micro-workout. Baby gets a free ride up and down the elevator while you work on those shoulders, legs and your back. One word of caution though; If your baby is heavy, she might want to sit this one out. You could become injured by attempting this with too much weight.
How To Do It. Begin this exercise with your baby facing you, at eye-level. With a slight bend in both elbows, extend your arms outward to a comfortable distance. Stand tall and turn your toes out as you prepare to perform a squat. Inhale and lower your body down like you’re about to sit in a chair. Gaze into your child’s eyes as you keep your back straight, concentrating your weight over your heels. Exhale and return to the standing position. Modify this exercise for greater difficulty by lifting your baby up over your head as you rise to the standing position at the end of the repetition. Don’t jerk and bounce her. Take your time and let her enjoy the ride.
6. Baby Wall Sit
What’s In It For Me. A better question might be, “What’s NOT in it for me?” Wall sits work your core, sculpt your butt AND shape your legs. Admittedly, wall sits are primarily a lower-body exercise but they also engage your abs and help to stabilize your back. You get to do all that while snuggling with your baby. Now, that’s how we do it at HipFit.
How To Do It. Pull your little guy in close to your body and glue your shoulders, back and hips to the wall. Pretend there’s a magnet pulling you in to the wall- make solid contact. Slowly walk your feet out, drop your butt and bend your knees until your legs are at a 90 degree angle. Push through your heels until you feel the burn in your quads and glutes. Hold the sit as long as you can, but don’t let it hurt. Pass the time by chatting it up with your baby and giving him some lovin’.
7. Baby Cobra Stretch
What’s In It For Me. Give your inner-yogi an outlet and spend a few minutes with your toddler in an early-morning Baby Cobra Stretch. The cobra stretch elongates the abdominal muscles while mobilizing and relieving your hip joints and stiff lower back muscles. Revisit this core stretch when you feel the need to alleviate cramps in the torso. It is a quiet, gentle movement that can soothe your toddler as she watches you stretch, cleansing your body of the day’s pent-up stress.
How To Do It. Place your toddler on her back. Lie on your stomach, making room for her so she can marvel at all your yoga awesomeness. Place your feet together with toes against the floor. Place both hands flat on the floor on either side of your toddler’s head. Keep your elbows against your rib cage, arch your back and inhale. Imagine your pelvis and thighs are anchored to the floor. Narrow your hips while you try to distribute the stretch all along your spine. Hold this pose for five to 10 seconds. Exhale slowly and spend a few seconds gazing down into your toddler’s eyes.
8. Baby High Chair Lunges
What’s In It For Me. Here’s a high octane micro-workout that your baby will enjoy because of all your movement. It’s the millennial version of the airplane and choo-choo-train feeding game we all grew up with. It’s fun, it’s fast and what’s not to love about a little multi-tasking? The lunges in this exercise will help develop your quadriceps and sculpt your buttocks. By lowering to one knee at a time, you’ll develop better balance and coordination. After all, you have to keep his food on the spoon in between lunges. If your baby responds the way ours did, you’re in for a treat. When we tested the Baby High Chair Lunges with our littlest HipFit crew members, we all agreed on the outcome- FUN.
How To Do It. Take a couple small steps back from the high chair. Stand tall and look straight ahead at your baby. Take a long step forward with your right leg and position both knees with a 90 degree bend. Focus on your front knee, keeping it over your ankle while your back knee heads to the floor, heel lifted. Switch focus to your back leg, push off and step your feet together. Simply alternate to the other leg and repeat.
9. Baby Hugging Squats
What’s In It For Me. If you’re a regular HipFitster, you may recognize this exercise. It’s a lot like the Baby Carrier Squat, with one variation. The Baby Hugging Squat requires you to engage your arms and hold your baby as you squat. Similar to the carrier squat, get ready to feel the burn in your thighs and calves with your repetitions. By the second set, you’ll feel it in your glutes too. It’s just another way to help develop your balance and stabilization. Babies love the up and down motion of a squat. They feel safe and secure, bundled so tightly against your body. Make the squats enjoyable for both of you and give her a gentle squeeze and hum her favorite song during your reps.
How To Do It. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders and hold your baby tight, supporting the legs and shoulders. Turn your toes out a little bit, inhale and lower your body down like you’re about to sit in a chair. Keep your back straight, concentrate your weight over your heels and tuck your navel in tightly. Exhale and return to the standing position. Make your movements deliberate but gentle for your baby’s sake. Take your time and let her enjoy the ride. Do sets of ten. It’s OK to do fewer if she’s a heavy baby.
10. Baby Bridge
What’s In It For Me. Consider this a “crossover” of sorts. It’s as much of a stretch as it is an exercise. Otherwise known as a hip bridge, it stretches your quadriceps while simultaneously strengthening your butt and hamstring muscles. We recommend that you only do the baby bridge with smaller, lighter babies. Don’t try the Baby Bridge with heavy babies or your toddler. And don’t let the cute baby on your lap fool you- this workout can get a little intense.
How To Do It. Lay flat on your back with your legs bent at a 45 degree angle and put your baby on your lap, facing you. Hold your baby steady, push through your heels and lift your butt up, in line with your spine. Squeeze your glutes as you rise. Exhale as you lift your butt and that causes you to contract your abs. Drop back down to the floor and repeat 10-20 times. Reward your baby on the last one, with a ride down the slide, and give her a kiss for being such a good workout partner.
The next time you catch yourself making excuses for not having the time or energy for a workout, turn to this list of micro-workouts and dedicate a couple minutes of fitness and fun with your baby. Your toddler doesn’t have to slow your roll. Instead, let them squat, stretch and exercise right along with you. HipFit’s workout routines don’t take a lot of time and you can incorporate them throughout the day, no matter how demanding your kids can be.