The internet is littered with articles about working out. I am, by no means, an expert and hardly qualified to offer workout tips and techniques, however, I do have a bit of experience on one form of workout worthy of a dads blog – working out with young kids. For all you folks doing body weight and cardio exercises at home, throw in the kids for some fun and an added challenge!
Before I get into a few of my favorite exercises made better with the little ones, I’ll give a couple of obligatory reasons why working out with the kids is actually more important than the workout itself.
- You get to spend some unique time with your kids and continuing developing that father-child bond while focusing on yourself. Your kids will love every second of it. So will you.
- It shows your kid the importance of taking care of themselves. Kids soak up everything you do, from the way you speak, the (bad) words you use, and your every day habits and activities. I’d offer that this is a great activity for your kids to see daily. If you are lazy, your kids will be lazy. If you eat terribly, so will your kids.
Ok, so on to a few exercises we all do at home and I’ve been doing with my boys for years. These are common-sense exercises, and you’ve probably done them before just goofing around, but let me tell you – this takes the exercise to a whole new level when you add it to the routine.
Quick note: an alternative to actually using your kids in an exercise is to have them perform it next to you while you do it.
- Push-ups: with the kid on the back. Get a few sets in au naturel, and have the kid jump on your back for a few sets to get that final burn going.
- Pull-ups: with kid on back, waist, or standing on your feet holding on for dear life. Same strategy here, just trying to get that final burn going.
- Sit-ups: hug your kid tightly, like when they were infants. Then execute. When my youngest was much younger, he’d lay flat and I’d raise him above my head as I rose. The hard part is getting the kid to stop laughing so much.
- Running: either in place or around your kitchen or couches, if you have the room. I run around our kitchen and living room and then up and down the stairs. I’m weird. But I like the constant angles, the objects, the toys, the stairs, the kids, and the ability to answer the phone when work is to be done. It’s like a trail run in your home. And the kids love to get involved and run with you. And it tires them out like no activity can!
- Burpees: standard burpees, the only difference is you encourage your kid to participate alongside you. They get a kick out of this one.
- Lunges: standard lunges, grab weights if possible. The kids also love this one and make it look much easier than it is!
I realize these are challenging exercises for many fathers in the first place, but the principle idea isn’t necessarily to utilize your kids as a weight, rather to engage your kids in the activity. For instance, I am a huge fan of the pull-up, sit-up, push-up pyramid. As I go through each exercise, my kids will join along and try their best to get some sit-ups and push-ups in (and jumping jacks while I do pull-ups).
Get your kids involved in your next exercise, you might like it. I know they will!