Ok, so you got inspired and banished the “mom guilt” from entering your brain and now you are searching for a starting point. How do you ease back into activity, without overdoing it, and without taking away too much time, all at once, from your beautiful babies? What can you do to start strengthening the weak links and help with your low back pain, shoulder pain, etc?Start by devoting 30-60 min, 3-5 times a week, and get active! (WITH or without YOUR KIDS). You can exercise in the house, outside in the yard, or at the gym. Planning a day at the park with the little one? Go in your favorite gym sweats, and be productive with your time! Below, I’ve put together FIVE basic exercises that will give you a full body workout while also helping to strengthen and stabilize your center. You can do them anywhere, any time, and the only equipment they require is YOU, (and/or your baby, toddler, or kid).
** If your children are older, or you don’t have children yet, you can substitute babies for small weights, or simply do them with body weight**
Did you know that October, is officially “Squatober”? This is the perfect time to SQUAT!. With that said, squatting is a fundamental movement in our development. When we started standing and walking at 9-12 months old, one of the next things we develop is perfect squat form. So if you don’t know how to squat, watch your baby do it! A squat that is performed with proper technique and form will adequately challenge your legs, your core, and your thoracic spine and upper body.
2. Side Lunges
Side lunges are similar to squatting, but we are adding in lateral movements to tone our inner thighs, challenge our balance, and strengthen our hips. In order to perform a side lunge properly, you must engage your core to create tension in order to return to a starting position. When you execute the movement, think about sitting back (as if there is a chair behind you). If you look straight down, your knee should be in line with your ankle (if you cant see your toes, you need to sit back further and feel the weight through your heels). You also want to make sure that you are not allowing the lunging knee to collapse in. (see photo below)If you decide to do this exercise with your kids, hold them like above. You want to extend your mid back and pull your clavicles away from midline so that you can maintain an erect posture and engage your spinal stabilizers
Anyone else HATE planks? I do! BUT, planks were one of the exercises, that once I started incorporating it as a prep exercise to some of the lifts I have been doing, helped me to start “feeling” my abs engaging again. This is an exercise that is not only great as prep work for lifting, but if you have low back pain. If you are planning to work your way up to some form of weight lifting in the future, planks are an excellent way to make sure that you are creating tension and engaging the core properly before you start loading with movement. This is an easy exercise to progress by adding time, having a friend push you around, or letting your baby climb on you ;)(move your mouse over the photos above to see the DONTs and DOs of planking)A few pointers on planking:
Your back should not be hunched over. Your shoulders should be retracted and down
an easy way to make sure you’re doing this, is to drive your elbows down, as if you are trying to pull the floor/mat under you towards your feet. This engages your lats and scapular stabilizers
PINCH THE PENNY. This means that your glutes should be squeezing as if you have a penny in between your cheeks and you don’t want it to fall
Lock out your knees. Squeeze your thigh muscles and fully extend the knees. If someone were to push you any direction, you should be a brick house and not move
Pull your navel down and back. If your back is hyper-extending, or looks like a half-pipe, you are “leaking” from your belly.
IF YOU SUFFER FROM DIASTASIS RECTI, SEE A HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL BEFORE BEGINNING PLANKS.
Another excellent way to prep yourself for lifts, or help your low back pain, is to perform bridges. If you have pain in your back, you can start by lying on your back with your knees bent, and squeezing your glutes together. You can progress to a posterior pelvic tilt (if you think of your pelvis as a bowl of water, you are trying to pour that water onto the table – your back should be flat against the table/mat). When you are ready, you lift your hips off the table. Your shoulders and knees should form a straight line, with your hips being the mid point of that line. Ready to progress? Add a band around your knees or a ball between them, and work on squeezing the ball or pushing out against the band.
5. Overhead Press
So, if you don’t have a baby, or weights to do this with, then I may have lied about not needing equipment (you could also make this work with therabands, tubing, or power bands, or household items with a little bit of weight to them)If you are overhead pressing your baby, be aware of three things:
If you are not squeezing your glutes, and you are not engaging your abdominals to create tension, then it is very possible that you will hurt your back doing this exercise incorrectly.
If you are performing this exercise with correct form, but your baby (or weights) are too heavy for you, try light 5-10lb dumbbells, and then work your way up.
Make sure the weight is close to your body, the further away you hold it, the harder, and less efficient the exercise will be.
What exercises do you do with your babies? What has been the most difficult part of exercising and/or taking the next step in your own health? What kinds of post-baby aches and pains are you experiencing, and if you’re not a new mom, or a mom at all, what kinds of barriers are you facing?
Located in the Miami area and ready to take your body back?! Leave a comment below and I will reach out to you via email! Let me help you reach your goals!!