At this point in your kid’s little life, “play” and “baby exercise” are pretty much interchangeable. Every twist, squirm, and kick builds important muscles that will one day your help your tater tot gleefully destroy some object that is precious to you. (Give it time, it’ll happen. Isn’t parenthood awesome?) While you joke about your 16-ounce curls, your baby is dominating you by doing a few reps with Sophie the giraffe. Every time they put that thing in their mouth they’re basically taunting you. “Do you even lift, dad?”
Of course, everyone knows the best way to deal with a gym bully is to start spotting them, and that’s your play here. Fact is, you can help your baby get pumped — tasteful Chris Evans pumped, not gross Chris Hemsworth pumped — which will actually help them be safer as they build towards the greater mobility you so rightfully fear. So get down (for real, like on the ground) with some full-body workout tips for your little Ahnold that will have them, and hopefully you, getting way stronger.
Tummy time helps your kid develop the abominable abdominals that help them sit up and eventually steady themselves as they cruise. It also helps them stay safe by allowing them to lift their cute little melon should they get into trouble while face-down. But normal tummy time is for tummy twerps. It’s time to step it up with a couple killer (but no, they’re totally safe) variations.
Start tummy time chest to chest. This encourages bonding and is super comfy for both participants. Only bring this one to the gym if you and your workout partner are really close.
A month in, transfer to a soft spot on the floor and place a rolled towel under baby’s pits. Start with 30 second intervals and gradually work up to 10 minutes per session. Do some planks while you’re down there, mostly because the noises you make will be hilarious to your kid.
Get the kid out of that amazing burrito swaddle you learned and let them kick and stretch like an adorable little ninja assassin. The kicks will eventually help them crawl and cruise, while their wee little punches will help them aim and grasp.
They will need a target and that target is you. (And it always will be. For punching, love, affection, derision, embarrassment, etc.) While they’re on their back have them kick at your hands and forearms and belly to give them a bit of resistance. Take the time for some good tickles and dangle things for them to reach and bat at. If those things make noise, even better. That’s motivation!
The Gun Show
Biceps are key for kids as they help babies to get up, stand up. As noted, every day is arm day for your kid, but here’s how you can improve it:
- Entice them to grip. Offer a variety of easy-to-grip toys in an immovable toy bin to encourage reaching in and lifting out.
- Gradually add weight. Give them progressively heavier toys that require 2 hands to lift.
- Encourage planking and pulling up. Place a pillow under their belly briefly during tummy time and put toys on low objects.
You’ll want to do these too, not just because your doughy features are slightly less than impressive, but because your participation makes it more fun for Junior. Just mind your surroundings when busting out the ol’ Hans and Franz routine. There’s nothing a mom wants to hear less, while mechanically expressing milk into plastic bottles, than you bellowing, “I want to pump” *clap* “You up!” You’ve been warned.