Tips for Using Your Kid Like a Dumbbell

October 21, 2021

Do you ever use your kid like large, awkward, kinetic dumbbell?

If you haven’t yet, now is a good time to start. Or at least try.

Here’s why:

Nothing has made me more creative than navigating my movement practice as a mom.

That might not be what you expect to hear.

Wouldn’t it be taking classes with other teachers or studying with someone in a different modality or with a slightly different style?

Sure, those can help.

But hands down, managing the intersection between movement and my kids has made me way more creative.

When you have to dodge small moving objects on your mat, you have to get creative.
When you have to incorporate your kids into your practice like large, awkward, kinetic dumbbells, you have no choice but to embrace creativity.
When you have to squeeze a 60 minute practice into 10 minutes, creativity is a necessary skill.

This applies not only to my own home practice, but to my teaching.

It’s part of why my live classes in my online studio MOVE with Naomi are only 30 minutes long. They are built and intentionally sequenced with mom life in mind. That’s also why my pre-recorded classes are 8-15 minutes long and the meditations I record are no longer than 15 minutes, too.

Moms need to make the most of their time on their mats.

It’s a lot easier to squeeze in a 30 minute live class than a 60 minute live class.
It’s a lot more doable to squeeze in 15 minutes of movement when you realize the day has flown by and you only have 20 minutes before the bus drops your kids off from school.
It’s a lot more likely you can do an 8 minute class vs a 60 minute class while your kids eat their breakfast.
Why make it harder on yourself by insisting that 60 minutes is the only way you can get a satisfying practice?

But then there are times when your kids won’t get off of your mat or need to be held or just want to join in.

What do you do then?

I created a video with my 2 year old, showing a few of the ways you can incorporate your kiddo into your workout and still have fun.

Need some simple suggestions?

Here are a few simple tips for using your kid like a dumbbell

1. Keep it super simple:

Don’t go with complicated sequences or moves. Save those for when you aren’t also trying to entertain a small child. Think of single action movements like squats, deadlifts, or bear crawls.

2. Engage with your kids in playful ways:

Think high fives in bridge lifts or forehead kisses when you’re lowering down in push-ups. Also fun are reaching for your kids toes when you lower into a squat.
You can make them feel like a part of the workout without sacrificing your workout. You just have to find easy ways to make it fun.

3. Do fewer reps. And be ok with it.

Lifting a 35lb dumbbell over your head is easier than lifting a 20ish lb kid. I know from personal experience. The dumbbell doesn’t move when you lift it, while the kid might kick you in the face.
My point is that when you’re working out with kids, you should do fewer reps.
Yes, this might not be your most intense workout and that’s ok. Better to move than not. Plus, you’re working your muscles differently because a moving load impacts your body differently than a static load.

4. Working out should be fun.

So embrace the silliness of it. Do things you might not usually do because you can include your kid. I don’t usually do bear crawls, but having my 2 year old on my back made it a lot more fun than usual.
Lunges with a rotation were a bigger challenge holding my kid. I lost my balance and nearly fell over. Instead of getting frustrated and annoyed, I laughed. And adapted how I moved so my balance could be better.
Be curious and playful. Use your stumbles as opportunities for learning.

Like these tips?

See them in action here:

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