5 Movements All Moms Should Be Strong In
Most moms don’t realize it, but our days are pretty physical (read about why we need muscle here)! With little ones at home we’re constantly picking them up, carrying, tidying and attempting to complete everything else to run a smooth household. Being strong and proficient in these movements, naturally, makes them easier.
While moms don’t need to be insanely strong to get through our day (though it makes it easier!) we do need to have some baseline strength and be able to perform our tasks correctly. Unfortunately, most of us go about these basic movements with poor form and with little strength. So it’s no wonder many moms complain of pain and fatigue.
The good news is that these issues are easily fixed! Learning to perform daily movements correctly as well as strengthening the muscles you use to do the tasks will result in an easier time day to day.
Below are five exercises I think all mamas should be doing. Not only do these exercises help improve your overall strength but they’re all movements you do each and every day without knowing it. These exercises are crucial for moms and will help you carry, pick up, and maneuver your babe all while trying to do everything else at the same time (carry groceries, clean, cook).
While I believe every mom should be making use of the exercises, if you’re a brand new mama, my advice would be to meet with a pelvic floor physio prior to jumping in to any workout routine. You want to make sure you’re able to engage those deep tissue muscles and a physio will help you with that.
Tip: Check out the video demonstration of these exercises here
Exercise #1 Goblet Squat
We squat each and every day multiple times. We squat when we sit down in chairs or on couches. We squat while holding out kids when we’ve dropped something on the floor. And we squat when we play at a toddlers level.
Squatting is essential to daily function and performing the movement incorrectly day after day can cause pain and poor mechanics.
While I love all squats, one of my favorites is the goblet squat when it comes to mamas. Keeping in mind that you should be comfortable with a bodyweight squat before adding any weight. I like the goblet squat because it mimics holding a babe the best and adds load to an everyday movement. Make sure you are sinking your weight backwards slightly while still keeping even distribution within your feet. Never lean into the balls of the feet when descending. Instead, sink your bum back and drop your hips between your knees. Working on your hip and ankle mobility will improve your range of motion and depth.
Exercise #2 Suitcase Deadlift
I love deadlifts for everyone, not just moms. But I know that they can be overwhelming and scary. The reason I love them SO MUCH though is because they teach us how to pick things up off the floor properly. And by properly I mean hinging or breaking at the hips and using the muscles on the back of the body. Not just by rounding the low back (check out this video on how to hinge properly)
By implementing and really understanding deadlifts, you’ll increase your overall strength and help prevent your back from injury. For moms, my go-to is either a suitcase deadlift. The suitcase deadlift is great because the weight is evenly distributed beside you (not in front) making it easier for beginners to master.
Keeping in mind that the point of a deadlift is to break at the hips and sink the weight backwards that should be your first movement. Learning this movement, perfecting it is what will benefit you in the long run and save your back as your kids get heavier and heavier.
Exercise #3 Bentover Row
Rowing of any sorts should be in everyone’s programs. Rowing improves postural muscles which help prevent low back pain and they also strengthen your back making it easier to carry babies/toddlers.
Too often we hold out toddlers by slouching through the low back, leaning out hips forward and our upper backs falling backwards. This is easy, it requires no muscle, no strength and no focus. It’s also the fastest way to injure yourself.
Instead, by strengthening the muscles of the back you’ll be strong enough to hold your little one while standing upright, using your muscles and maintaining good posture.
Personally, I like the bentover row for moms because it reinforces the hip hinge movement and it mimics picking up a babe from the floor (which we do each and every day). However, any type of rowing movement will help. Pregnancy causes a massive shift of gravity in the body and our back muscles become lax as our breasts become bigger and we round our shoulders forward. Rowing movements help correct this thus making them pretty important.
Exercise #4 Glute Bridge
Making use of your glutes is a must for moms. Glutes, when trained properly, help correct poor posture and support the pelvic girdle (here’s a video of my favorite glute exercises!)
Unfortunately, while many people work their glutes they rarely come into a hip hyperextension. Losing this crucial top range of motion causes most glutes to be under activated compared to their full potential.
Glute bridged, hip thrusts, quadruped hip extensions are all amazing ways to train glutes. The biggest thing to remember is to ensure you’re not over arching the low back but instead squeezing the glutes and lifting the hips to come into hyperextion (of the hips not the back). This alone is what will train glutes the most. And since glutes are a pivotal part of both posture and holding your pelvis into place they’re one of my favorite mom exercises.
Exercise #5 Deadbug
As I said previously, us moms tend to over arch our low backs.. a lot.. we do it when holding kids, when standing and when staring at our bums in the mirror (no, no one else does this??).
Unfortunately, one of the purposes of our core muscles is to keep the body upright and to prevent this over arching. Thus, when we’re over arching, or extending, the low back our muscles are not firing, our body is not in an ideal position and this is where injuries are made.
Deadbugs, are one of my favorite anti-extension exercises (and just one of my favorite ab exercises overall) to teach us moms how to resist the pull to extend the low back. While this exercise id done lying down, once it becomes easier and easier you’ll be able to resist arching while standing because your muscles will be stronger and better able to fire.
Make sure you move slowly through this exercise and only go as far as you need to. Just going through the motions won’t help you. You’ve got to learn to engage the muscles to really strengthen them.
In case you missed it, check out a video demonstration of these exercises.
Don’t forget to pin these exercises for other moms!
Being a mom is demanding. We’re always on our feet, carrying, picking up, bending over and moving. Thus, learning how to move properly and strengthening our body to perform tease movements makes our everyday lives easier. Becoming stronger and more proficient leads to less injury, more smiles and definitely more playtime!
What’s your go-to exercise to help you manage day to day?