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Baby Steps

For housebound new Mums, here are nifty ways to bounce back into shape with baby-in-law. Keeping fit when you are a busy new Mum definitely isn't child's play. It can be hard work as you juggle different demands - but there are ways you can shape up, while still being able to spend time with your baby or toddler. Mavis, a trainer, helps women who have just given birth to regain their pre-pregnancy figures. She's drawn up some exercises that can be done by Mum and child. These exercises can be done according to your energy level. When you feel tired, relax and move on to doing another set or to the next exercise.

Wide Squat

What It Does: Strengthens the quadriceps (front of thigh), tones the adductors (inner thighs) and glutes (buttocks). Can improve posture, thus indirectly strengthening the abdominals and lower back.

How To Do It: Stand with legs spread wide and hold your child in front of you, close to the abs. Keeping an upright posture, squat slowly by using the quadriceps. When the knees are bent 90 degrees, slowly return to standing position by using the adductors and glutes.

Tip: To maintain a neutral lower back throughout the exercise, keep the lower abs taut by holding in the belly button. Also, breathe in on the squat, breathe out on standing.

Pilates Squat

What It Does: Strengthens the quadriceps, tones the thighs, (especially the adductors). Improves core strength (mid-section) and improves lower-body muscular endurance.

How To Do It: Squat like the Wide Squat. When the knees are bent 90 degrees, hold the pose with the lower abs and pelvic floor tucked in. Inhale, raise your right heel off the floor, using strength from the right inner thigh, exhale and lower the heel back to the floor. Repeat with the left leg.

Tip: Keep the shoulders and hips squarely to the front, maintain core strength control and good posture.

Chest Press On Fitball

What It Does: Strengthens and tones the arms, shoulders and chest. Also works the abs because of the balance required to stay on the ball.

How To Do It: Sit on the Fitball, holding your child in your arms. Maintaining balance, slowly lean back and roll into a position where you are resting your shoulders and upper back on the ball. Using the abs to maintain balance, with shoulders and hips in a straight line and neck relaxed, slowly lift your child away from your chest as you exhale as you return to starting position.

Tip: Keep the legs wide apart, as this helps to maintain balance.


What It Does: Strengthens the abdominals.

How To Do It: Lie on your back, knees bent and feet about shoulder-width apart. Balance your child on the lower abs (this can act as a support to your lower back posture by keeping your hips straight and flat). Exhale as you curl the upper body up and off the floor, inhale as you return to start position.

Tip: Again, use each crunch to bond with your child.

Modified Push-Up

What It Does: Strengthens pectorals (chest), shoulders, triceps and upper back.

How To Do It: Place your child on his back on the floor. Get on all fours, face-to-face with him. With hands wider than shoulder-width apart, hold in your abs, inhale and lower the upper body towards the child by using the muscles in the chest, front shoulders, arms and upper back. Exhale as you return to the start position.

Tips: Have some fun by kissing your child or rubbing noses with him each time you lower the upper body.


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