Vail Daily column: Fresh workout ideas for new moms
June 13, 2014
Last week, I discussed how simple exercise can be for new moms who have difficulty finding time. I detailed the concepts of crawling and getting up off of the ground to reset and create a good movement foundation. After several weeks of inactivity, new mothers benefit from these basic crawls and get-ups as they help with coordination, mobility and core stability. This week, I will offer some fresh ideas to help mothers graduate to more difficult movements to further progress their fitness.
One of my favorite workouts for new moms is uphill walking or running with your stroller. The benefits are numerous. The first advantage is having your child with you minimizing the need for daycare. Secondly, the stroller adds significant resistance to your movement adding mechanical load to your muscles safely. Walking or running uphill is optimal because the pitch of the slope minimizes joint stress and auto corrects your stride. Slips and falls notwithstanding, it is almost impossible to hurt yourself walking or running uphill. The best option is on the Avondale Lane walking path en route to Beaver Creek Village. There is free parking at the Elk and Bear lots, and you can ride the free shuttle back down to your car as downhill travel can increase joint stress.
Once you have established a good base of uphill walking and running, incorporate lunges with your stroller. The lunge is ideal as a strength move with your stroller because the handle minimizes any forward torso bend that is indicative of mobility problems, mainly at the hip joint. The handle keeps you honest as you move through this exercise. As you progress, increase the distance that you lunge with the stroller and try to decrease the rest interval. The final progression is to skip along as high and as fast as possible. This rebuilds your fast twitch muscle fibers and will absolutely smoke the leg and butt muscles that women desire to have sculpted in the first place.
Lastly, I suggest rotating push-ups into the workouts. If you can perform push-ups from the toes, then you can likely drop right down on the pavement. If your strength is lacking, then try them from your knees in the grass. Regardless, for repetitions try a ladder system. For example, perform three push-ups, two push-ups,and one push-up with a 30- to 60-second rest in between each rung on the ladder. This will yield six push-ups. However it's a lot easier to achieve six push-ups when you ladder your reps because you're never doing more than three reps in a row. For progressions initially, add sets not rungs to the ladder. For example, start with three, two, one and repeat three times (18 total push-ups). Once you can perform the set of three, two, one (five times), add a rung to the ladder. Now perform four, three, two, one and repeat four times (40 push-ups). Keep progressing until you can perform 15 push-ups in a row from your toes. This system will easily get you there.
Regardless of what you decide to do for your fitness as a new mother, the only limitation is your own lack of creativity. The suggestions in this article are only a starting point. Walking to Beaver Creek may take an hour or more, which can be performed during your child's nap time in the stroller. For shorter workouts such as lunging, skipping and push-ups you will need no more than 10-15 minutes. Be safe out there and happy motherhood!
Ryan Richards has a B.S. from Ohio University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is the personal trainer at the Sonnenalp Golf Club and the owner of R2HP, an athlete consulting and personal training company. Richards' passion comes from overcoming childhood obesity and a T1-L3 spinal fusion. Contact him at r2hp.com or 970-401-0720.