Playground Workout

11 easy exercises moms can do at the playground

On March 31, 2012, I lied in my hospital bed, just one day after giving birth  to my daughter, Sophia. I’m a fitness enthusiast, so I had exercised my entire pregnancy. But when I reached for my once toned abs, all I found was mush.

I had always told myself that I was not going to lose my identity — who I was at the core — even after becoming a mom. Growing up in Manhattan, I always wanted to do “it all.” A three sport varsity athlete and captain while playing jazz at Lincoln Center, I was never one to shy away from challenges. By the time I was 38, I graduated from Cornell, completed four marathons, was a news producer at CNN, studied International Affairs and Arabic, worked at the NYPD as an Intelligence Analyst, started two fitness companies, got married, had a child and got divorced. Through all of this, exercise made me feel stronger, more independent, and more grounded.

After giving birth to Sophia, I remained as passionate about fitness as ever, but realized so many moms felt they couldn’t prioritize their own fitness over the needs of their little ones. So I created a class where moms could get a good workout with their little ones in tow with nothing more than, well, a playground.

Here are five pieces of playground equipments that you can use for the ultimate postpartum workout.

SWINGS

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TRX with Swing. with or without your child in the swing, hold the sides of the swings, place your heels on the ground and lean backwards. With a straight back, pull yourself up towards the swing and slowly let yourself go back to the starting position. Repeat 12 reps. Muscles targeted: back, hamstrings, core.

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TRX Lunge and lift: start with one foot forward and the other one back, your knee an inch from the ground in a lunge position. Hands on sides of the swing. Pull yourself up, bring your knee in towards the swing, and go back into a lunge position. Repeat 12 reps. Do both sides. Muscles targeted: back, glutes, core.

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TRX Curtsy Lunge and kick: start with one foot forward and the other leg behind the front leg. Your hips are squared, and your hands on sides of the swing. Lunge down into a curtsy lunge, then pull yourself up and kick your leg out. Repeat 12 reps. Do both sides. Muscles targeted: outer glutes, back, core.

BENCH

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Side planks on bench: the great thing about this is you can do this while watching your child. Choose a side, preferably in the direction where s/he is playing. Muscles targeted: core, obliques.

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Tricep Dips on Bench: start sitting on the bench with your fingers facing out. Slide yourself off the bench and lower yourself down by bending at the elbow. Then lift yourself back up. Repeat 12 reps. Muscles targeted: triceps.

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Reverse Plank: place your palms flat on the bench, fingers pointing out. Straighten legs and lift up. Hold for 30 seconds.

STEPS

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Step-ups: facing the step, place your right foot up, then left, then down right and down left. Go as fast as you are comfortable with for 30 seconds. Then lead with the other leg. Muscles targeted: cardio, glutes.

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Side Up/Downs: facing one direction, place your foot on the step, then the other foot, then step both down. Go as fast as you are comfortable for 30 seconds, then start with the other side. Muscles targeted: cardio, glutes.

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Step-Plie: stand with your legs wider than hip distance. One foot is on the step, the other is on the ground. Feet turned out. Lower down into a plie position and plie back up. Repeat 12 times. Then turn and have the other foot on the step. Muscles targeted: inner thighs, glutes.

MONKEY BARS

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Monkey Bar Crunches: place your hands on the monkey bars, keeping your legs down. Lift one leg at a time so they are parallel to the ground. For added challenge, lift both at the same time. Do three times: first time, walking lunges from each station; second time, side lunges to each station; third time, run to each station.

SLIDES

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Slide Incline push-ups: place both feet on the slide. With your hands in push-up position, do a push-up and repeat 12.

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About Laura Kovall

Born and raised in Manhattan, Laura always wanted to do it “all.” From her days as a three sport varsity athlete and captain in High School, to her completion of three New York City Marathons while news producing at CNN, working at the NYPD as an Intelligence Analyst, and studying International Affairs and Arabic at Columbia University, fitness has been the one constant in Laura’s life. But it wasn’t until she was pregnant with her daughter, Sophia, born in March 2012, that she was determined to turn her love for exercise into a career. Laura owns The Fit Co The Fit Co, a boutique studio in Manhattan. Here the mission is consistent and efficient fitness where circumstances don’t stop you; she offers MamaFit and Buggy Barre classes as well as a range of other classes.

Laura Kovall

Laura Kovall

Born and raised in Manhattan, Laura always wanted to do it "all." From her days as a three sport varsity athlete and captain in High School, to her completion of three New York City Marathons while news producing at CNN, working at the NYPD as an Intelligence Analyst, and studying International Affairs and Arabic at Columbia University, fitness has been the one constant in Laura's life. But it wasn't until she was pregnant with her daughter, Sophia, born in March 2012, that she was determined to turn her love for exercise into a career. Laura owns The Fit Co The Fit Co, a boutique studio in Manhattan. Here the mission is consistent and efficient fitness where circumstances don't stop you; she offers MamaFit and Buggy Barre classes as well as a range of other classes.

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