During my pregnancy, I experienced severe round ligament pain and was told by my ob-gyn that I needed to quit running. I was upset, as I wanted to stay active during my pregnancy and was afraid I would gain a lot of unnecessary weight if I couldn’t run. Thankfully, I found DEFINE’s spin classes and continued to do personal training sessions with the most amazing instructor, Mike Bina, until the day before I gave birth. Therefore, a week or so after Isla was born, I felt pretty darn good (remember this post?), as my body will still relatively in-shape from working out. It’s not recommended that you exercise for at least six weeks after delivery (for natural births), and even after that period of time, I was faced with the tough reality: when in the world would I be able to go to the gym? All of a sudden, the years of being a gym rat and workout lover seemed threatened by this adorable bundle of joy who needed my constant attention.
Fortunately, I am now able to leave Isla at the Life Time Fitness day care, but for days when the weather is nice or I don’t want to drive to the gym, I prefer to work out with Isla. Not only do we go running ‘together’ three times a week, I’m also able to work my core, legs, butt and arms with her right beside me in the stroller. My trainer, Mike, put together an amazing set of stroller fitness exercises so that moms can workout with their little ones. There are descriptions next to each exercise below, and I’m showing you some step-by-step photos for some of the tricky ones. These photographs were taken by the ever talented Paige of Awake Photography, who also took our family photos (here and here). There are more photos of Isla and I below all of the workout examples.
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be on Great Day Houston this morning at 9am CST. If you can’t catch it live, you can watch it here later in the day. It’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, but I would be lying if I said I am not nervous! I’m going to be showing some of these exercises alongside my friends, Sara and Kristy (of Seven Graces).
In the photos below, I’m wearing tops and pants from Albion, which is by far my favorite fitness line. Those Antigua leggings are perfect, and the Go Long Crew top is so comfortable. I feel so fancy wearing both! In honor of this stroller fitness post, Albion is offering the winner a $100 gift card. The giveaway will end on Friday, March 13th at 11:59pm. Good luck!
Before you start doing stroller cardio, you need to set workout goals: What do you want to accomplish? You are going for distance, time, speed/pace, etc. For example, jogging for 20 minutes, jogging for 2 miles, jogging for 2 miles in 20 minutes – these are are all different workouts. You could jog 1.80 miles in 20 minutes, or take 23 minutes to run 2 miles. Once you’ve decided what your goal is, stick to it. Having this in mind is key to staying motivated during the workout.
When you’re getting back into running after having a baby, it’s important to start slowly as your body is still recovering. Some good beginning cardio routines would include:
- Jogging for 10 minutes straight, then walking for 3 minutes, and jogging another 10
- Jogging for 20 minutes straight
- Jogging for 5 minutes, then doing a 2 minute walk (repeating five to eight times)
STROLLER CONDITIONING (Reps & Sets Below)
- Handle Tap Sit-ups: Laying on the ground/mat, set toes under back cross bar of stroller with your legs at 90 degree angles. Sit-up until you can reach the handle bar of the stroller and lay back down.
- Toe Tickler: Get into a push-up plank position facing your stroller. Make sure that your feet are spread wide, and then reach up with one hand and grab/tickle the feet of your baby, place hand back in original spot and switch hands.
- Peek-a-boo Planks: Get into a plank position on your elbows, and push up on your right hand so that the right arm is straight, while the left is still bent. Then push up on the left arm to straighten it, and finally lift your head up (like ‘peek-a-boo’!). Reverse the exercise in the same order you started (going back left to right). Repeat using the other side.
- ‘Round the World: Get into a push up position, start facing the stroller (i.e. your “world”). Pick up your right hand and right foot at the same time, and move them in the right direction. Then pick up your left hand and left foot and move them in the same direction. Go all the way around the stroller in a circle. Repeat both directions (not necessarily back to back).
- Toddler Chasers: Get into a push up position facing stroller, bring one knee towards elbow, foot off the ground, switch feet quickly so you have both hands and one foot contacting the ground (also known as ‘Mountain Climbers’).
- Baby Tucks: Laying on your back/mat, holding the cross bar under the stroller, bring your knees to your chest and lift your legs and butt upward off the ground. Then roll back down to the ground, keeping your feet hovering over the mat, but not on it.
- Squats: Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. Sit back and down like you’re sitting into an imaginary chair (make your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles). Press your weight back into your heels, and then keeping your body tight, return to standing position.
- Tip Toe Squats: Perform this move like a regular squat but on the tips of your toes.
- Walking Lunges: Holding the stroller bar, take a step forward into a lunge position, then return to original standing position and repeat on other side.
- Lateral Leg Lift: Grasp the handle with your left hand and lift your right leg to at least a 45 degree angle and hold for 2 counts and return to the starting position. Try and maintain a neutral position as you lift and lower your leg. Be sure you are keeping your abs engaged.
- Side Step Squats around Stroller: Start standing with your legs together then squat to one side of your stroller, then bring your legs together and move in a circle doing squats until you return to your starting position.
- Curtsy Lunges: Start with your feet shoulder width apart, then push gently off your right foot into a curtsy position with your right leg crossing behind your left. Keep your hips square and your feet both facing forward. Repeat this by stepping back into a side lunge and curtsy using the opposite foot.
- Frog Jumps: Start with your feet shoulder width apart and your finger tips on the ground in front of you. Pushing off the ball of your foot, leap straight up with your arms by your ears, then immediately return to your crouched position.
- Fire Hydrants: Get on your hands and knees, which should be shoulder width apart. Raise your left leg straight up to the side (similar to a dog, ahmmph, peeing on a fire hydrant!), then return to original position. Do on both sides.
- L – ups: Lay down on one side, and with your toe pointed towards ground, lift leg as high as you can using your butt muscles (make sure your foot turns down, if not you will use inner thigh muscles!).
- Back Hypers (or ‘Superman’): Lay on your stomach and put your hands behind your head. At the same time, lift your head/hands and feet making a u-shape. Then return your body flat to the mat.
- Back Bridge: Lay on your back with your legs bent at the knees. Lift your butt off the ground using your glutes, then return it back flat on the mat.
- Squat side leg lift: Grasp the handle with your left hand and lift your right leg to at least a 45 degree angle and hold for 2 counts and return to the starting squat position.
- Lunge back leg lift: Step back into a lunge, then lift your back leg as you stand. Replace the foot and repeat on the same side as needed.
- Wide Arm Push Up: Put your hands directly outside of the mat (or wider than your shoulders if you’re not using a mat) and do a push up. You can use your knees if you want to do a modified push up.
- Narrow Arm Push Up: Put your hands directly below your shoulders and do a regular push up, or use your knees if you want to do a modified push up.
- Mountain Peak Shoulder Press: Get into a push up position with your butt in the air like a mountain peak. Bend arms at the elbow to lower head towards the ground to activate shoulders. Press down to lift the body back up. This one is much harder than it looks – one of my favorites!
- Single Arm Baby Bag Press : If you have your baby bag with you or have a weight, then stand perpendicular to your stroller handle bar and put one hand on the bar and take the bag/weight in your other hand and lift it directly from your shoulder upwards, until your arm is fully extended.
The number of repetitions and sets for each of these exercises varies depending on your level of fitness. The two workouts below are for someone with mid-level strength (works out 4+ times per week and typically uses 10-12 pound weights). Adjust the repetitions in accordance to your own strength.
Workout Example 1 (Do 3 sets of the below reps)
- Squats: 15 repetitions
- Wide Modified Push Ups: 10 repetitions
- Squat Side Leg Lift: 10 lifts on each side
- Handle Tap Sit Ups: 15-20 sit ups
- Side Step Squat Around the Stroller: 2 laps around the stroller
- Mountain Peak Shoulder Press: 10 presses
- Back Bridge: 15-20 bridges
- Peek-a-Boo Planks: 10 repetitions for each arm
Workout Example 2 (Do 3 sets of the below reps)
- Walking Lunges: 10 lunges for each leg
- Narrow Arm Modified Push Ups: 10 push-ups
- Fire Hydrants: 15 repetitions on each leg
- Toddler Chasers (Mountain Climbers): 20 for each leg
- Curtsy Lunges: 10 for each leg
- Single Arm Baby Bag Presses: 10 for each arm
- Good Mornings: 15 repetitions
- Toe Ticklers: 10 on each arm