This simple routine from Mom Squad fitness expert Sharon Monplaisir can be done at home or at a playground. Challenge yourself (and have more fun) by including your toddler in each exercise! (Best for toddlers 18 months or older, with good neck control.)
Benefits: Tones chest and triceps.
Ready: Get on hands and knees, with ankles crossed and palms on floor slightly wider than shoulders.
Go: Contract abs, and without overarching your lower back, bend your arms and lower yourself until your chest is in line with your elbows. Lower in 3 counts, hold for 2 counts, and push up for 3 counts.
Challenge: Have your toddler straddle your hips, horsie-style, and hold on to your shirt collar. Work up to 2 sets of 10 reps each; when you can do that with ease, switch to straight-leg pushups.
Tip: To really work your triceps, when lowering your body, your elbows should rub against your rib cage as if scratching an itch.
Next: Plank Pose With Moving Arm
Plank Pose With Moving Arm
Benefits: Tones abs.
Ready: Get on hands and knees.
Go: Straighten legs so you're in a plank position resting on your toes. Hold the position for 2 sets of 30 seconds each. When you can do that easily, try raising one arm at a time, keeping hips level and torso in line. Alternate raising and lowering each hand 5 to 10 times each.
Challenge: Have your toddler straddle your hips.
Best Ab Workouts for Moms
Benefits: Tones thighs and buttocks.
Ready: Place a chair against a wall, and stand in front of it.
Go: With feet slightly wider than hip width and hands in front (as shown) or on your hips, slowly stick your butt back and lower yourself towards the chair as if you were sitting - but don't touch the chair. Lower down in 4 counts, hold 3 counts, come up in 4 counts.
Challenge: Hold your toddler against your chest, monkey-style.
Next: Hamstring Pushups
Benefits: Tones hamstrings and buttocks.
Ready: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Cross one leg over your thigh.
Go: Raise your hips until in line with your torso, squeeze your butt at the top, and then slowly lower hips to the ground. When you can do 2 sets of 10 reps, try moving the foot on the ground much father away from your butt; this works the hamstrings more as you raise your hips.
Challenge: Have your toddler straddle your hips. If your hips don't stay level as you raise and lower, your child will tilt to the side where the hip is sinking. This is a great way to check that you are performing the exercise correctly and in balance.
Next: Recline Pull-up
Benefits: Tones upper back and biceps.
Ready: Place a broom handle across 2 stable chairs of equal height. Lie on your back below the bar with your knees bent.
Go: Grab the bar, palms facing you. Slowly pull your entire body off the floor, almost touching your chest. Hold as long as you can, up to 2 minutes
Challenge: Have your toddler straddle your hips, facing you, for extra resistance and strength building.