In my postpartum fitness life I’ve had to adjust my thinking a little. I used to think that if I didn’t have an hour to set aside to work out, why bother? Now I know that those hours of free time are rare, so I’ve started to break my exercise into bite-size pieces. I’ll do squats with the baby to entertain her or do a workout DVD until I get interrupted. Luckily, Linda Gisburne, a personal trainer and lifestyle coach, understands the time constraints new moms face. Here she offers exercises that new moms can do anytime, anywhere with little to no equipment (other than your little one from time to time) to whip back into shape. I can personally vouch that squatting with a baby will get your fit bottom burning in no time!
7 Anytime Exercises
1. Hand to knee on hands and knees. On a mat or carpeted surface, get down on your hands and knees in a table-like position. Extend your right arm out in front of you. As you balance on three limbs, create tension in your body and extend the left leg behind you. You want to keep your back flat and immobile. Take you right hand and bring it in towards your belly. At the same time, pull your left knee in towards your belly. The two will touch just below your naval and then return to the starting position. Repeat this 10 times then switch for 10 more reps.
2. Hip bridge with leg extension. Lie down face up on the floor or a mat. Place your hands at your side, palms up and feet flat on the floor, hips distance apart. Pressing your feet and shoulders into the ground, lift your butt/hips up to the ceiling, creating a straight line from your rib cage to hip bone to knee. Extend your right leg straight out from the knee, keeping the thighs parallel. Set the right foot down and while hips are still elevated, repeat with the left foot. Set the left foot down and then lower the butt to the ground. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
3. Baby-swing squat. Pretend to hold your little one, or hold a weight or weighted ball, or if your little one is old enough, hold them straight out in front of you. Imitating a baby swing, sit your butt back, bend at the hips and bend your knees, swinging your arms down towards the ground, but do not touch the ground. Using your legs, not your arms, push and swing your body back up to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
4. Baby curl and overhead. Hold your arms or weights at your sides—or if your little one is old enough to be lifted up over head, hold them about waist height. Simply curl the arms, weight, or baby up to upper-chest height. Then press your arms, weight, or baby up over your head as high as you can. Pull your arms, weight, or baby back down to your chest and then to your start position. Remember to press the arms straight up, lining your hands with your shoulders. If the baby enjoys this, do it as many times as you can! If you are using no weights or small weights do 10 to 15 times.
5. Elevated push-up. Use a flat elevated surface that is approximately hip height. . Place your hands on the surface directly under your shoulders. Your chest should be in line with what ever you have your hands on, and your legs will be straight back with the balls of the feet pushing into the floor. Keeping your shoulders down, elbows near your body and your body stiff like a board, lower yourself down to the top of your surface. Let your chest touch for a second and then push right back up to the start position. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
6. Side plank hold with side leg raise. Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders. Your chest should be in lifted, shoulders down, and your legs will be straight back with balls of the feet pushing into the floor. Turn on the balls of your feet towards your right side, putting all your weight on your left arm and left leg. Your right arm will lay on your side and right leg will stack on top of your left leg or on the floor in front of the left leg for support. You want your shoulders to stay stacked over your wrist and your hips, knees and ankles to line up with each other. Once supported, lift the right leg up sideways, as high as you can, without bending at your hips and waist. Bring the leg back down. Repeat 5 to 10 times. Come all the way down to the floor, before setting yourself up to repeat the process on the other side.
7. Stationary caterpillar. Get into a plank position; hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, legs straight back and straight, and toes curled under. Start to walk your hands back towards your feet. As you do this, let the hips naturally push back and up towards the ceiling. Keep your feet pushing towards the floor; do not allow yourself to pop up onto your toes. Walk only as far as you can, keeping your legs straight, and hands flat on the floor. Then walk back out to the starting plank position for one rep. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
These seven moves are easy to fit in throughout the day as you have time. When your baby is doing tummy time try to fit in a few of the floor moves. Hit a few more during nap-time and you’ve fit in a full-body toning workout! —Erin