Exercising With Your Child: Upper Body Workout

How are those getting-back-in-shape New Year’s resolutions coming along so far?

We all know it’s hard to squeeze in a workout when you’ve got small children to keep an eye on. That’s why, here at the Defense Department, we’ve started a series of exercise segments that can help you work out using your children as the weights.


Video by Air Force Staff Sgt. Da’Nette Bruton

If you missed Part 1, it explained the perks of exercising with your kids, and it focused on the lower body. In this blog, we’re going to focus on the upper body.

Exercise 1: Push-Ups

What They Do: Push-ups are a classic exercise that works a majority of your upper body: the chest, shoulders, triceps, the back of your upper arm, and even your core.

Involving Your Child: This one’s pretty simple. You can just lay your baby underneath you as you do push-ups over them. Give them a kiss or make a funny face at them, and they’ll love it!

  • Set your hands on the ground at a distance that’s slightly wider than your shoulder width.
  • Feet: You can put them together or shoulder-width apart. Generally, the wider apart your feet are, the more stable you’ll be.
  • If being on your feet is too hard, try it on your knees first, then work up to the feet.
  • Make sure your butt is neither sticking up nor sagging. Try to keep your body in a straight line.
  • Lower yourself to a 90-degree angle (or smaller if needed), keeping your elbows relatively close to your body.
  • Push yourself back up!
  • Start with three sets of five reps, then work your way up to 10 reps.

Exercise 2: Military Seated Press

What They Do: This works your triceps, traps, shoulders, chest and core.

Involving Your Child: You can replace a barbell with your baby.

  • Sit on the ground with your knees crossed, or on a bench.
  • Extending your arms, lift your baby above your head (but slightly in front of you – not directly over top).
  • Slowly lower him/her down to your lap.
  • Lift your baby back up to the starting position.
  • Do three sets of 10 reps.

Exercise 3: Bench Press

What They Do: These work your pectoral muscles, chest and posterior deltoids (the back of the shoulder).

Involving Your Child: It’s almost like playtime for them. Grabbing them by the bottom and chest, you simply push them up into the air.

  • Lie down flat on the floor.
  • Pick up your baby with one hand on their bottom and the other on their chest, then hold him/her to about your mid-chest.
  • Press your baby up, straightening your arms.
  • Lower your arms back down, while squeezing your shoulder blades (try not to have your elbows out to 90 degrees. It can hurt your shoulders).
  • Do three sets of 10 reps.

Exercise 4: Bicep Curls

What They Do: In case the name doesn’t make it clear for you … it works the biceps.

Involving Your Child: Hold your baby in front of you.

  • Start with your arms by your side and extended down, holding your baby.
  • Slowly lift the baby up using your forearms. Try to keep the area from your elbow to shoulder still.
  • Once your hands are almost to your chest, slowly lower the baby back down to the starting point.
  • Start with two sets of 12 reps.

Exercise 5: Front “Plate” Raises

What They Do: These work your anterior deltoids (front of your shoulders), upper chest and pectoral muscles.

Involving Your Child: Hold him or her in front of you, much like the bicep curls.

  • Start with your arms straight down in front of you. Push your shoulders back and brace your core.
  • While keeping your arms straight, lift them (and the baby) out in front of you, holding him or her there for about 30 seconds before slowly lowering back down.
  • Do several reps until your arms are tired.

Stay tuned to DoDLive for more workouts you can do with your kids!

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