Friday, January 29, 2010

Top Ten Ways To Use Your Child(ren) As Free Weights

Don't have kids? Just read the preamble and go get yourself a decent workout book and some actual weights; THEY are less likely to puke on your head.

So everyone should know the basic benefits of exercise by now. Better sex, more energy, sounder sleeping, and, of course, a better looking body. Unfortunately, when Ace the stork drops a smart bomb on your place of residence (or in my case, a cluster bomb) one of two scenarios tend to play themselves out over the following months and years:

a: Exercise is de-prioritized. You and your partner are so tired/stressed/baby-obsessed/homicidal that you daily decide to forego the very thing that would create more time, energy, and sanity.

b: Exercise is inequitably scheduled. To cite an example for a stereotypical year of maternity leave, Dad gets the gym membership and goes after work; Mom gets the Thai Cho KickPunching DVD set and plans to use it while the wee one naps. Logical, economical, efficient... and a total recipe for disaster. Here's why:

Mom gets a rotten night of sleep followed by an equally rotten day with little Damien. Maybe the workout happens... probably it doesn't. Meanwhile, Dad strolls into the gym, rocks out to Linkin Park in a room full of toned women, and glides through the front door refreshed and stress-free. Mom might not say anything... but the bitterness is there. (Possibly some guilt as well for not having worked out)


Mom lights the Brat Signal and summons Dad home early. Dad, not having witnessed the 360 head spinning and record setting poop jet, might not say anything... but the bitterness is there. (Possibly the stress of a tough day as well)

Solution: Mom gets the regular, scheduled gym escapes- Dad gets the baby... and some glory...and a happier partner... and one hell of a unique exercise regime.

I give you the Top Ten Ways To Use Your Child(ren) As Free Weights

10. Double Car Seat Shoulder Shrugs

Unless your home (like mine) features identical and therefore equal-weighted twins lurking around every corner, you need to spend some money here. Get yourself a used and disastrously unsafe (cheap) near-match to your good one. No need to replace Tickle Me Elmo's stuffing with ball bearings... your baby's weight in plates will do. With the car seats facing each other, slowly shrug your shoulders whilst keeping your back straight. If you want to know what muscles this works out... Google it. I just know from the three weight lifting books I've read that shoulder shrugs are a good exercise.

9. Return-To-Sender Arm Exercises

If you believe in a God above, formally offer him your baby by holding him high in the sky. Then slowly change your mind. Repeat as many times as you can

8. Double Car Seat Bent-Over Rows

An even better core-builder. Bend your knees as close to 90 degrees as you can, KEEP YOUR BACK STRAIGHT by sticking your behind out as far as you can, grab the handles with your palms facing up, and slowly lift the car seats up and down.

7. Video Games

Specifically things like the Wii Fit or Dance Dance Revolution. Haven't you always wanted to downhill ski, hula hoop, and head soccer balls with a baby in your arms? No? Well your baby has. In fact, your free weight will be laughing and smiling so much that you MAY just forget how much you're sweating. The only reason this option isn't #1 is because I favour muscle building over cardio. Personally, I would rather look like Ryan Reynolds in Wolverine than the last cover man for Runner's World.

6. Baby Bjorn Pull-Ups

If you're in the early stages of weight training (ie. noodle arms or basketball gut) you may want to skip this one. Otherwise, install a chin-up bar in a door frame, strap Baby into a carrier (which are INCREDIBLY handy by the way) and start wearing down your will to live by doing as many controlled, slow pull-ups as you can.

5. Double Car Seat Deadlifts

Along with bench presses and squats, the deadlift stands in the holy trinity of efficient and effective strength building. Assume the starting position of the shoulder shrugs and the bent over posture of the rows, then stand tall and drop slowly. Your quads, the best possible muscle to build if you're interested in burning fat, will be screaming at you within minutes. Your baby won't be though. As with the other exercises, Baby is having a blast. Just keep reminding yourself that she's not laughing AT you.

4. Crunches

Since deadlifts do more for your abs than any other exercise, I'm not fond of this one. However, it's high quality baby bonding time and doesn't require you to strap them into anything.

3. Piggy Back Push-Ups

By now your 3-7 year old IS laughing AT you. They also want in on the fun. That's when I lie face down on the floor, tell my four year old to climb on my back, and try to do as many push-ups as I can. Arms wide, back straight, SLOW throughout. For extra fun, tell your kid to count for you... or cheer for you... or scream, "Work those pansy noodle arms, Private!" until your ear drums explode. Either way.

2. Chair Stands

Hug your child in the centre of your chest while sitting on a firm(ish) chair with your back arrow straight. Now stand up. Now sit down. Now stand up. Now sit down.

1. Lunges

If you don't know what this is, just search it on YouTube to see its proper form. Whether you're like me with a baby in each arm, like most with a single baby, or bold enough to let your baby hold the ball bearing-loaded Elmo doll, this exercise can be done almost anywhere. I can't say enough about working those quads if you've got some pounds to lose.

Next Week: The Top Ten Ways To Get More Free Time


  1. Great ideas..
    Can't wait to read next weeks so that I might find the time to actually do some of the work outs!


  2. My very first blogger comment of all time! Thanks for taking the interest. I can't believe I have to disagree with you. The very point of using your children as free weights is to transform quality time with your kids into quality time with your kids AND your newly bulging muscles. Concurrent... not consecutive. Like desert pizza, it's a meal and a desert at the very same time. The very LAST thing you want to do with your "free time" is tear your muscles apart in a bizarre tango of baby giggles and man screams. I don't know about you, but I long to play video games... read the great Canadian novel... have more sex with my wife. By all means, check out my blog this weekend, but for goodness sakes, don't use your newfound freedom to lift babies. Lift a brew instead!

  3. Jack, Where did you go? I want to share this with another audience.