Playgrounds. Thoughts about them prior to having a child: (pre-mom) “Yuck. Germs and rusty swings.” Thoughts after having a child: (post-mom) “Child energy-burner mom haven.” Thoughts after this post: (fit-mom) “Total-body mommy workout. Yippee!”
I have a whole new respect for playgrounds not only because of the free babysitting factor, but the amazing workout intervals you can do with common playground equipment. On a side note, I don’t advocate neglecting your child while you focus on your workout. I mean, put a long leash or strap an ankle monitor on ‘em. Mom tips for the winnnnnn!
This total-body playground workout for busy moms may be one of my favorites because it’s fun and do-able with a toddler. Do you even KNOW how many things are truly do-able with a toddler? Of course you do, not many! Even though this workout is designed to do while kids are at play, I can’t guarantee you won’t be interuppted a bajillion times… “Get that out of your mouth,” “Take turns,” “Slow down,” “Don’t lick that,” “Stay here,” “Put your shoe back on,” etc. etc.
Grab your kids, invite your mom friends, and start looking like a hyper over-aged kid – toning those mom muscles and workin’ your butt off.
Swing Squats – With your chid (or without), push the swing and take a deep squat, lifting your arms overhead and lowering your tush to the ground. As the swing comes forward, straighten your legs to stand and push the swing back to squat again. Do two sets of 12 repetitions each.
Swing Mountain Climbers – This is way harder than it looks! Why? The swing is not stationery so you really have to use your abs to keep your balance. Start facing the swing and rest your stomach on the seat. Walk forward a few feet creating a slight diagonal with your body and the ground. Bring your right knee in towards your chest then quickly switch to your left, hopping in-between, keeping your body in the diagonal position. Do two sets of 12 repetitions each (counting each time the right legs comes up as one rep).
Swing Leg Lifts – Stay lying on the swing and lower yourself so your body is parallel with the ground. Place your hands on the ground to maintain stability. Engage your abs and glutes, and lift your right leg up as high as possible, then lower it back to the ground. Do the same thing with your left leg. Do two sets of 12 repetitions each (one rep consists of one leg raise with each leg).
Swing Rocking Planks – Rest your forearms on the seat of the swing and walk up a few feet to create a diagonal line with your body. Maintain a flat back and rock your forearms forward, engaging your abs to keep your body in a straight line. Keep your feet stationary, being mindful not to rock your heels back and forth. Bring your arms back to the original position. Do two sets of 12 repetitions each. If you are unable to complete 12 repetitions per set, walk your feet forward into a more vertical position.
Slide Tricep Dips – Rest the palms of your hands on the edge of a slide, fingertips facing your body, and rest your left ankle on top of your right knee. Bend your elbows towards the slide and execute a tricep dip, keeping your right knee stationary and hips high. Repeat this 12 times with the left leg up, then 12 times with the right.
Slide Pushups – Place your palms on the bottom of the slide or grip the sides. Walk your feet out to create a diagonal line with your body, and stand high on the balls of your feet. Bend your elbows and execute a full pushup. Do two sets of 12 repetitions each.
Slide Step Ups – Stand and face the slide and rest your left foot on the top of the slide. Use your left leg to lift your body off the ground and bring your right knee up towards the sky. Drop your right foot back to the ground and do this 12 times on one leg, then 12 times on the other.
Find a set of playground stairs with a railing
Jumping Stair Lunges – Bring your left leg into a forward lunge position up a few steps. Keep your right leg stretched behind you, foot resting on the bottom level. Take hold of the side railings. Jump as high as you can, straightening your arms. While in the air, switch feet so your right foot lands on the stair. Do two sets of 12 repetitions each.
Railing Dips – Place your palms on any two parallel hand rails and lift your body off the ground, bending your knees and crossing your ankles. Bend your elbows to execute a dip, then straighten your arms to the original position. If you aren’t able to execute a full or half dip, you can rest one (or both) of your tippy toes on the ground for support. Do two sets of 12 repetitions each.
Hopping Ladder Taps – Stand facing the ladder, grip both sides of the vertical bar, and rest your right foot on top of one of the horizontal bars (the highest one you can). Then hop to switch legs, tapping the same bar and keeping your grip on the sides for support. Do two sets of 12 repetitions each (counting each time the right legs comes up as one rep).
Ladder Curtsey Raises – Keep your grip on both sides of the ladder, rest your left foot on the first horizontal bar, with your right leg stretched behind you and slightly across the midline of your body. Lean back slightly so your arms are straight. Using your arms to hoist your body up, straighten your left leg and bring your right knee up and out to the side. Then straighten your arms and return back to the original position. Do this 12 times one on leg, then 12 times on the other.
Inverted Pull Ups -Find a bar or diagonal ladder (something you can walk under). Take hold of a horizontal bar with an underhand grip (palms facing your body) and straighten your arms, pushing your heels into the ground, creating a diagonal line with your body. Keeping your heels where they are and knees straight, pull your chest towards your palms. Lower yourself back to the original position. Do two sets of 12 repetitions each.
Monkey Bar Jumps – Find a set of monkey bars, an elevated bridge, or a point that you can jump up to. Lift your arms overhead and jump to reach the top of the highest bar or point. Set a timer and do this as many times as you can for one full minute.
Done! Kids still playing? Take a few laps around the park for a nice cool down. Kids whining? Can’t help you there – still trying to figure that part out.
Are playgrounds your BFF since becoming a mom?