Workout With Your Baby

By: Sarah Zahab BSc., R.Kin, CSEP-CEP exercise with baby 250

Let’s face it, it’s not easy to squeeze a workout in when you have a new baby. Our intentions in the prenatal period are great! “I’ll workout when baby sleeps” or “We’ll jog everyday in the stroller” or “I’ll workout when hubby gets home”. For those who can make this happen, Yay! For many, it’s a struggle to find the energy, time and resources to help you get fit after baby.

Pregnancy can wreak havoc on your body. Depending on your circumstances and individual weight gain, it can take time to return to your pre-pregnancy shape. You might have had pubic symphysis pain, low back pain, diastasis recti and could still be battling all of those things post baby.

Let me tell you, mamas, it IS doable and you can exercise with your baby and get fit and healthy and happy. It will take time and consistency and some work but it can be done. There are a lot of wonderful workouts out there and you should find one that you enjoy. Many ask what the best cardio workout is and my answer is “the one you will actually do.” I won’t prescribe running if you hate to run.

Cardio, strength training and good nutrition are all important in helping a new mom lose the baby weight and get back into shape. For
many, strength training is lacking but in my opinion, it’s just as important. Strength training boosts your metabolism, tones muscles, improves posture, can help with correcting muscle imbalances, weight loss and more. A full set of machines is not necessary. All you need is your baby! Your baby can be the perfect weight and training buddy. One of the reasons I created the Postnatal Strength Workout DVD is so that new moms can workout with their baby and when baby sleeps, you can use the time to sleep, cook, clean, work…

Here are a few exercises to try with your baby. These exercises are suited for babies who have sufficient neck control (usually over four
months). Try one or two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions a few times a week. Note that right after feeding might not be the best time to try these. Please note that it’s best to check with your health care provider before beginning any exercise program.

1. Squats: Hug baby close to you or for more of a challenge, hold baby under each arm. Keep your chest up and shoulders down and imagine you’re sitting back in a chair. Move your hips back, bend your knees and lower your hips down (to parallel, above or below — whatever feels best for you without any knee pain or discomfort). Push through your heels and squeeze your glutes as you rise back up to standing.

2. Shoulder press up: Hold baby under each arm facing you, bend your knees and engage your core (draw your navel in towards your low spine). Keep your shoulders down and slowly raise your baby up to the ceiling, maintaining a slight bend in the knees and keeping the core engaged throughout. If you feel any discomfort in the low back, stop. Start with small raises and slowly increase the height.

3. Bridge: From a lying down position with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent, place baby on hips sitting up. Push through your heels to lift your hips up. Focus on squeezing your glutes to push up. Slowly lower down and repeat.

4. Plank: Place baby on the floor face down or up. Prop yourself up onto your elbows and knees or feet. Your back should be straight, look down to keep your head neutral and keep your hips up. Try not to sway your back or let your hips drop down to the floor. Focus on pulling the navel in and engaging your core to maintain a straight spine. Hold for 15-30 seconds and stop if you feel any back pain.

Looking for more exercise ideas? Check out the Postnatal Strength Workout DVD available at or Happy training!

Sarah studied Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa with a minor in Biology. She is a Registered Kinesiologist, Certified Exercise Physiologist and Group Fitness instructor. She has been working full time in the fitness industry for 15 years and has created the Prenatal and Postnatal Strength Workout DVDs. Sarah is a former international fitness competitor and current race walking enthusiast. Sarah has two girls aged two and five.


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