For new mothers (or those of us who have been tasked with babysitting duties), finding time to keep in shape seems almost impossible in between cooking, feeding and bathing the baby, on top of all the other household chores to tend to. Even on the rare occasion where you have an hour or so, is it worth owing someone a favour by entrusting them with the baby while you sweat it out at the gym? Sadly, many mothers have left their fitness to languish after birth.
Thankfully, many multi-tasking mothers have come up with ingenious workouts that keep the baby close by your side. This is a great bonding session as it can help you learn more about your baby’s character as you “go down at their level” by crawling on the ground for a bit. Furthermore, these workouts help the little ones develop essential motor skills from a young age. For mummies, mother-baby workouts allow you to progress at a sustainable pace, where your strength naturally increases with your baby’s weight.
Trains: hips, butt, hamstrings and quadriceps in your thighs
Keeping the baby tightly wrapped to your body, preferably without any dangling limbs, take a big step forward, bending your legs to 90 degrees. Make sure your back is in the correct form by keeping it straight at all times.
2. Leg Extensions
Sit on a bench with the baby lying stomach down on one shin, and hold her hands with yours. Lift your leg up and down in sets of 10 without touching the ground, with the other leg securely rooted to the ground. Alternate between both legs for each set.
3. Leg Lifts
Lie down on a comfortable yoga mat, with your feet firmly on the ground a thigh’s length away from the butt. Balancing your baby on your shins and hold her hands tightly, lift your legs up and down in sets of 10.
In a regular position for crunches, place the baby in an upright position on your abdomen area. Secure her in place by gently holding her with your hands. Do this more as a precautionary method as she finds her own balance. Contract your abs, and lift your head and shoulders off the floor in sets of 10, remembering to inhale when contracting, and exhaling when relaxing.
Trains: quads, calves, biceps
This might look like one of the simplest exercises in this list, but it is actually one of the toughest as it requires strong stamina. Hold your baby facing outwards and climb each step slowly. (Doing a regular activity like this with a newly-added load might not seem difficult, but you would be shocked how that additional weight can throw you off your balance!) If you’re just starting to train up your stamina, climb stairs in steps of 10-15 before taking a short break and repeating.
Trains: hamstring, hips and back
Place the baby on his back and on a yoga mat in front of you, placing additional blankets under him if needed. Stand with your feet an arm’s length apart with hands on the hip, and slowly bend forward to tickle your baby’s feet while keeping your back straight.
7. Prolonged Half-Squat
Trains: legs and butt
With your back against the wall, hold the baby in your arms facing out. While keeping your feet a forearm’s length apart, bend your legs at 90 degrees and hold that position for 15 seconds. Revert back to the original position to take a 10 second break. Go back to the squatting position, this time holding it for 30 seconds, and then increasing it to 45 seconds, eventually reaching 1 minute.
8. Shoulder Press
Trains: biceps and triceps
Sitting up straight, hold the baby in front of you so that both of you face each other. Lift the baby away from your body diagonally outward and inward, completing this in sets of 10.
9. Wall Push-Ups
Trains: biceps and triceps
You might not be ready for a full-fledged push up yet, much less with the load of an extra being. Try the wall push up while working your way up to a regular one again. With your baby securely fastened to your body without any dangling limbs and standing at an arm’s length away from the wall, place both palms flat against the wall. By isolating the weight to your arms, do a regular push up and repeat the process in sets of 10.
Trains: abs, biceps and triceps
Place the baby on a mat below you, adding additional cushions and blanket to make her comfortable. Stay in a high plank position, with your shoulders directly above your wrists and ensure your body is in a straight line. Keep in this position for 30 seconds, or the length of your baby’s favourite lullaby!