Kathy Stevens, a Reebok series veteran and mother of five, leads you through a total body workout you can share with your new baby. A front-facing baby carrier is required, though newborns should be kept face in until they can hold up their heads.
Kathy stars with her six-month-old daughter Amber, and two other new moms follow along with their babies, aged 4 and 5 months. The set looks like a living room, with a fireplace and lots of plants surrounding the workout area. The music is on the quiet side, with synthesizer-based instrumentals.
The workout consists of a 5 minute warm up, two 10 minute low impact cardio segments, 9 minutes of standing lower body toning using your body (and baby) as resistance, a nine minute abdominal and posture conditioning routine.
The warm up includes very simple moves such as side steps. Kathy leads you through shoulder blade stretches and "baby curls" with a pelvic tilt, which temporarily releases the pressure of the baby carrier on your shoulders.
The two cardio segments feature basic, low impact steps, such as marches, heel digs, V-steps with a turn, scoops, knee ups, squats and mambos. Little Amber often steals the show! She sometimes spontaneously creates her own choreography or sings along, and seems to enjoy it when Kathy grasps her hands to help her imitate the moms' arm movements. At several points you'll be amused to see the babies sleeping or sucking their thumbs while their moms do all the work.
The standing lower body toning section uses your own weight and baby's as resistance. The exercises include forward lunges, side squats, abductor lifts, plie squats with Kegels, glute squeezes, more of the "baby" curls, and a one legged quarter squat.
The abdominal and posture conditioning segment is designed to help strengthen muscles weakened by childbirth. The ab work is done with the baby between the legs or on the thighs. You do curls down from a seated position, as well as up towards the baby, as well as pelvic tilts. For the posture, some upper body exercises are included, such as a chest press using baby as the weight and modified push-ups called "kiss-ups", where you lower yourself within smooching range of the little tyke.
Kathy also includes lower back strengthening exercises similar to those in Keli Roberts Abs and More video and Kari Anderson's Fitness Formula. I'm always glad to see this type of exercise, which balances the abdominal work.
At the end there is a "play and stretch" session. For example, you stretch your hamstrings while bicycling baby's legs, or during side stretches you wiggle your fingers overhead to amuse the little one.
Very fit exercisers who have continued to work out during their pregnancies may not find this workout very challenging, but don't underestimate the increased challenge of having baby strapped to you for most of the workout! Moms who are nuts about complex choreography should note that the steps are quite simple, but you can't exactly do spins, turns and leaps with baby on board, of course.
All in all, I thought this video was adorable without crossing the line into cutesy. It was well-conceived (no pun intended), thorough, and would make an excellent gift for a new mom who wants to regain her fitness while spending time with her child.
Wendy Niemi Kremer
The video is divided into sections that you can do separately or together for one workout. I do it all together for one workout. Warm up 5 mins,2 low impact aerobic sections each one is 10 mins long, standing lower body toning 9 mins, abs and posture conditioning 9 mins, and stretch and play with baby 5 mins. You use a front carrier and "wear" your baby as you workout. The baby really makes for added intensity. I thought the video was adorable and very fun. My daughter feel asleep about 15 mins into the workout. Although this workout is not real challenging it is a fun way to spend time with your baby and workout. I found that if I can include my baby in workouts I am more likely to workout. I think this tape is good to use to keep working out while your baby is young and the demands and responsibilties are too much to be able to spend hour or so away from baby to workout. I workout usually to Cathe and the FIRM but found this tape to be good for me for now.
Instructor comments: She is the mother of five and looks wonderful for starters. She has a friendly likable attitude and seems genuine. She cues wonderfully.