What Are The Best Strength Training Exercises For Parents?

Are you a busy parent looking to incorporate strength training into your fitness routine? Look no further! In this article, we will explore the best strength training exercises specifically tailored for parents. Whether you’re chasing after your little ones or simply want to improve your overall strength and functionality, these exercises will help you achieve your fitness goals while keeping up with the demands of parenting. From squats and lunges to push-ups and planks, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to take your fitness game to the next level while being the superhero parent you aspire to be!

Upper Body Strength Training


Push-ups are a classic exercise that target a wide range of muscles in the upper body, including the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. To perform a push-up, start by getting into a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping your back straight, until your chest almost touches the ground. Push back up to the starting position, engaging your core and keeping your body in a straight line throughout the movement. Push-ups can easily be modified by doing them on your knees or against a wall if you’re a beginner.

Overhead Press

The overhead press is a compound exercise that primarily targets the shoulders, but also engages the triceps and core. To perform an overhead press, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Lift the dumbbells to shoulder level, palms facing forward, and press them overhead until your arms are fully extended. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat. You can also perform the overhead press with a barbell or resistance bands depending on your preference and equipment availability.

Bench Press

The bench press is a popular exercise for building upper body strength, particularly in the chest, shoulders, and triceps. To perform a bench press, lie on a bench with your feet flat on the ground and a barbell or dumbbells in hand. Lower the weight to your chest, keeping your elbows at a 90-degree angle, and then press the weight back up to the starting position. It’s important to maintain good form and keep your back, shoulders, and feet firmly planted on the ground throughout the movement. If you don’t have access to a bench, you can also do floor presses or use resistance bands.

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Seated Rows

Seated rows are an effective exercise for targeting the muscles in the back, including the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and rear deltoids. To perform seated rows, sit on a rowing machine or at a cable machine with your feet firmly planted on the footrest or ground. Grab the handles with an overhand grip, keeping your arms extended in front of you. Pull the handles towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together, and then slowly extend your arms back to the starting position. Seated rows can also be done with resistance bands or using a TRX suspension trainer.

Lower Body Strength Training


Squats are a compound exercise that target the muscles in the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. To perform a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Lower your body by bending your knees and hips, as if you’re sitting back into a chair, keeping your chest lifted and your weight in your heels. Make sure to engage your core and push through your heels as you stand back up to the starting position. Squats can be modified by using a stability ball against a wall for support or by holding onto a sturdy object for balance.


Deadlifts are a compound exercise that primarily target the muscles in the lower body, including the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, but also engage the upper body, particularly the back and core. To perform a deadlift, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward. Bend at the hips, keeping your back straight and your chest lifted, and grip a barbell with an overhand grip. Push through your heels and stand up, extending your hips and lifting the weight with a controlled motion. Lower the weight back down to the starting position and repeat. If you don’t have access to a barbell, you can also perform deadlifts with dumbbells or kettlebells.


Lunges are a unilateral exercise that target the muscles in the lower body, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. To perform a lunge, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips or by your sides. Take a big step forward with your right foot, lowering your body until your right thigh is parallel to the ground and your left knee is just above the ground. Push through your right heel to stand back up and repeat on the other leg. Lunges can be done stationary or walking, and you can also add weights by holding dumbbells or using a barbell.

Calf Raises

Calf raises are a simple yet effective exercise for building strength and tone in the calf muscles. To perform a calf raise, stand on a step or ledge with the balls of your feet on the edge and your heels hanging off. Hold onto a railing or wall for balance if needed. Raise your heels as high as you can, lifting your body onto your tiptoes. Lower your heels back down to the starting position and repeat. You can also do calf raises on a flat surface or use a machine or resistance bands to increase the intensity of the exercise.

What Are The Best Strength Training Exercises For Parents?

Core Strength Training


Planks are a foundational exercise for building core strength, targeting the muscles in the abdomen, lower back, and hips. To perform a plank, start by getting into a push-up position, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Engage your core and hold this position for as long as you can, making sure to keep your hips in line with your shoulders and your abs engaged. If holding a traditional plank is too challenging, you can modify by placing your forearms on the ground instead of your hands or by doing plank variations, such as side planks or plank hip dips.

Russian Twists

Russian twists are an effective exercise for building core strength and targeting the oblique muscles. To perform Russian twists, sit on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly, keeping your back straight and your core engaged. Hold a weight or medicine ball in front of you, and twist your torso from side to side, gently tapping the weight on the ground on each side. Make sure to keep your abs engaged and your spine in a neutral position throughout the movement. Russian twists can also be done without weights or with a resistance band for added resistance.

Hanging Leg Raises

Hanging leg raises are an advanced exercise for targeting the muscles in the lower abdomen and hip flexors. To perform hanging leg raises, hang from a pull-up bar or sturdy overhead structure with your arms fully extended. Contract your abs and lift your legs up, keeping them straight, until they are parallel to the ground. Slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position and repeat. If hanging leg raises are too challenging, you can modify by performing knee raises or leg raises on a captain’s chair or dip station.


Supermans are a bodyweight exercise that target the muscles in the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. To perform Supermans, lie face down on the ground with your arms extended in front of you and your legs straight. Lift your arms and legs off the ground simultaneously, squeezing your glutes and engaging your back muscles. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower your arms and legs back down to the starting position. Make sure to keep your neck in a neutral position and avoid straining your lower back. For added challenge, you can hold a light weight or resistance band in your hands.

Cardiovascular Exercises


Running is a great cardiovascular exercise that can be done anywhere, at any time. It not only improves cardiovascular fitness but also helps to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight. Start by choosing a comfortable pair of running shoes and finding a safe and suitable location to run. Begin with a slow jog and gradually increase your pace and distance over time. Whether you prefer running outdoors or on a treadmill, it’s important to listen to your body, stay hydrated, and warm up and cool down properly to prevent injuries.


Cycling is a low-impact cardiovascular exercise that is gentle on the joints while still providing a great workout for the legs and cardiovascular system. You can choose to cycle outdoors on a bike or indoors on a stationary bike. Cycling outdoors allows you to enjoy the fresh air and scenery while challenging yourself with different terrains. Indoor cycling classes or using a stationary bike at home or the gym are also great options for staying active. Adjust the resistance and intensity according to your fitness level, and gradually increase the duration of your rides for maximum benefits.


Rowing is a full-body cardiovascular exercise that engages the upper body, core, and lower body muscles. Whether you have access to a rowing machine at home or at the gym, or you can row outdoors in a kayak or canoe, rowing provides a low-impact, yet intense, workout. Begin by sitting on the rowing machine or in your boat with your feet securely strapped in the footrests. Grip the handle with an overhand grip, keeping your arms straight and your shoulders relaxed. Push through your legs, engage your core, and pull the handle towards your chest. Extend your arms and lean your body forward to return to the starting position, and repeat in a smooth, controlled manner.

Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are a simple, yet effective, cardiovascular exercise that can be done anywhere with minimal space and no equipment. They elevate your heart rate and engage multiple muscle groups, including the legs, core, and arms. Start by standing with your feet together and your arms by your sides. Jump up, spreading your legs shoulder-width apart and raising your arms above your head at the same time. Quickly jump back to the starting position, bringing your arms back down and legs together. Repeat this motion in a continuous, rhythmic manner for the desired duration or number of repetitions.

What Are The Best Strength Training Exercises For Parents?

Functional Training

Squat to Overhead Press

The squat to overhead press is a compound exercise that combines the lower body strength of squats with the upper body strength of overhead presses. To perform a squat to overhead press, start by holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand at shoulder level, palms facing forward. Lower your body into a squat position, keeping your chest lifted and your weight in your heels. As you stand up from the squat, press the weights overhead, extending your arms fully. Lower the weights back down to shoulder level as you squat back down. This exercise not only improves overall body strength but also mimics functional movements like lifting objects overhead.

Farmer’s Walks

Farmer’s walks are a functional exercise that strengthen the muscles in the upper body, core, and lower body, while also improving grip strength. To perform farmer’s walks, grab a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand and stand tall with a straight posture. Engage your core and walk forward, taking small, controlled steps while keeping your upper body stable. The weights should be held by your sides, and your arms should remain straight throughout the exercise. Maintain a slow and controlled pace, focusing on engaging the muscles in your arms, shoulders, core, and legs.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are a dynamic compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including the core, glutes, hamstrings, and shoulders. To perform a kettlebell swing, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands in front of your body. Bend at the hips, keeping your back straight and your chest lifted, and swing the kettlebell between your legs. Use the power generated from the hips and glutes to swing the kettlebell forward and up to shoulder level, using your arms as levers. Lower the kettlebell back down between your legs and repeat in a smooth, continuous motion.

Medicine Ball Slams

Medicine ball slams are a dynamic exercise that target the entire body, particularly the core, upper body, and legs. To perform medicine ball slams, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball with both hands in front of your body. Lift the medicine ball overhead, extending your arms fully, and slam it down to the ground in front of you with full force. As you slam the ball, engage your core and use your legs and upper body to generate power. Catch the ball on the bounce and repeat the movement in a continuous, controlled manner. Medicine ball slams are a great way to release stress and build functional strength.

Flexibility and Mobility


Yoga is a discipline that combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to improve flexibility, strength, and mental well-being. Regular practice of yoga can help parents enhance their flexibility and mobility, alleviate stress, improve posture and balance, and prevent injuries. From beginner-level classes to more advanced styles, there are various types of yoga to suit different fitness levels and personal preferences. Whether you choose to join a studio, follow online tutorials, or create a personal practice at home, incorporating yoga into your daily routine can bring about tremendous physical and mental benefits.

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling, also known as self-myofascial release, is a technique used to release tight muscles and improve mobility. It involves using a foam roller to apply pressure to different muscle groups to reduce muscle tension and promote circulation. Foam rolling can be especially beneficial for parents who may experience muscle soreness or tightness from daily activities or workouts. Simply choose a foam roller of appropriate density and length, and spend a few minutes each day rolling it over the desired muscle groups, applying pressure to areas of tension or discomfort. Regular foam rolling can help improve flexibility, reduce post-workout muscle soreness, and prevent adhesions in the muscles.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching involves controlled movements that bring muscles and joints through a full range of motion, helping to improve flexibility and warm up the body before exercise. This type of stretching differs from static stretching, where you hold a stretch for a prolonged period of time. Dynamic stretching involves movements such as leg swings, arm circles, and walking lunges. By incorporating dynamic stretching into your warm-up routine, you can increase blood flow to the muscles, enhance joint mobility, and prepare your body for the demands of exercise. It is an excellent way for parents to loosen up their muscles and joints before strength training or cardio workouts.


Pilates is a low-impact exercise system that focuses on developing core strength, flexibility, and muscular endurance. It emphasizes precise and controlled movements that engage and activate deep core muscles. Pilates can help parents improve their posture, strengthen their core muscles, and enhance overall body awareness. From mat-based exercises to using specialized equipment such as the Pilates reformer and stability chair, there are various options available for practicing Pilates. Joining a Pilates class or following online tutorials can provide guidance and ensure proper form and technique.

What Are The Best Strength Training Exercises For Parents?

Safety Considerations

Proper Form and Technique

When engaging in strength training exercises, it is crucial to maintain proper form and technique to minimize the risk of injury. This entails using the correct posture, maintaining proper alignment, and executing the movements with control and precision. It is important to seek guidance from a qualified fitness professional or trainer, especially if you are new to strength training. They can teach you the correct form, offer modifications or progressions based on your fitness level, and ensure you are performing exercises safely and effectively.

Gradually Increasing Intensity

As with any type of exercise, it is important to gradually increase the intensity of your strength training workouts over time. Start with lighter weights and fewer repetitions, and gradually increase the weight, repetitions, or sets as your strength and endurance improve. This progressive overload helps to challenge your muscles and stimulate growth, while also reducing the risk of overexertion or injury. It is also important to listen to your body and give yourself ample time to recover between workouts. Remember, consistency and patience are key when it comes to strength training.

Listening to Your Body

One of the most important aspects of any fitness regimen is listening to your body. Pay attention to any pain, discomfort, or unusual sensations during or after exercise. If something doesn’t feel right, it is important to stop and seek guidance from a healthcare professional or fitness expert. Avoid pushing through pain or ignoring warning signs of injury. Your body knows best, and it is important to prioritize your health and safety above all else.

Warming Up and Cooling Down

Warming up before a strength training session and cooling down afterward are vital for injury prevention and optimal performance. A proper warm-up should include dynamic stretching, light cardio exercises, and mobility drills to increase blood flow to the muscles, warm up the joints, and prepare the body for the upcoming workout. Similarly, a cool-down should involve static stretching, gentle movements, and deep breathing exercises to promote relaxation and recovery. Integrating warm-up and cool-down routines into your strength training sessions not only enhances safety but also helps reduce muscle soreness and promote flexibility.

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Incorporating Strength Training into Daily Routine

Setting Realistic Goals

Before incorporating strength training into your daily routine, it is important to set realistic goals that align with your personal aspirations and lifestyle. Define what you want to achieve from your strength training journey, whether it’s building lean muscle, improving overall fitness, or increasing strength and endurance. Setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals can help keep you motivated and focused, as well as allow you to track your progress along the way.

Finding Time for Exercise

As a parent, finding time for exercise can be challenging, but it is crucial for your overall well-being. Prioritize your health and make it a priority to schedule regular workout sessions into your daily routine. Look for opportunities to exercise, such as during your child’s activities or at home during nap time or after bedtime. Even taking short exercise breaks throughout the day, such as a 10-minute workout during a lunch break, can help you stay active and reap the benefits of strength training.

Creating a Home Gym

If time or accessibility to a gym is a concern, consider creating a home gym. You don’t need a large space or expensive equipment to get started. Invest in basic equipment like dumbbells, resistance bands, a stability ball, and a yoga mat. These versatile pieces can be used for a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can transform a corner of your home into a dedicated workout space that suits your needs and schedule.

Scheduling Workouts

To ensure consistency and accountability, schedule your strength training workouts in advance. Treat them as important appointments that you cannot miss. Find a time slot that works best for you, whether it’s early morning, during nap time, or in the evening. Aim for at least two to three days per week of strength training, allowing for rest days in between sessions. Having a set schedule helps you prioritize your workouts and increases the likelihood of successfully incorporating strength training into your daily routine.

Benefits of Strength Training for Parents

Improved Physical Health

Strength training offers a multitude of physical health benefits for parents. By engaging in regular strength training, parents can increase muscle mass, improve bone density, and enhance overall muscular strength and endurance. This can lead to improved posture, balance, and stability, making everyday tasks easier and preventing potential injuries. Additionally, strength training increases metabolic rate, helping to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight.

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Increased Stamina and Energy

Parenting requires a significant amount of physical stamina and energy. By incorporating strength training into their routine, parents can enhance their cardiovascular fitness and endurance. This not only allows them to keep up with the demands of everyday life but also boosts their energy levels, enabling them to fully enjoy and engage with their children.

Boosted Mental Well-Being

Strength training has positive effects on mental well-being, helping to reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. Engaging in regular exercise releases endorphins, known as the “feel-good” hormones, which contribute to an overall uplifted mood. Strength training also provides a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence as parents see improvements in their physical strength and appearance.

Enhanced Posture and Balance

The physical demands of parenthood can take a toll on posture and balance. Strength training exercises that target the core, back, and lower body can improve posture, alignment, and stability. Enhanced posture not only improves overall physical appearance but also reduces the risk of back pain and promotes spinal health. Improved balance is particularly beneficial for parents who may be constantly on the move, whether it’s chasing after their kids or navigating busy schedules.

Adapting Exercises for Different Fitness Levels

Modifications for Beginners

For individuals who are new to strength training, it’s important to start with exercises that suit their fitness level and gradually progress as strength and confidence increase. Beginners can begin by focusing on bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups, squats, and planks, before incorporating external weights or resistance. It is also important to focus on proper form and technique to ensure exercises are executed safely and effectively. Seeking guidance from a fitness professional when starting out can provide valuable guidance and help prevent injuries.

Progressions for Advanced Individuals

As strength and fitness levels improve, advanced individuals can incorporate more challenging exercises and variations to continue stimulating the muscles and increasing strength. This can involve increasing weights, performing exercises on unstable surfaces such as a balance board or stability ball, or incorporating more explosive movements into workouts. Advanced individuals may also incorporate interval training or circuit training to further challenge their cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance.

Exercises for Older Adults

Strength training is highly beneficial for maintaining muscle mass, bone density, and overall health in older adults. However, it is important to consider any specific limitations or concerns and adapt exercises accordingly. Older adults may benefit from using lighter weights or resistance bands, focusing on exercises that promote joint mobility and stability, and incorporating more rest days for recovery. Consulting with a qualified fitness professional or healthcare provider is highly recommended to ensure exercises are appropriate and safe.

Postnatal Strength Training

After pregnancy, it is important for new parents to gradually ease back into strength training to allow the body to recover and rebuild strength. Postnatal strength training exercises should focus on rebuilding core strength, pelvic floor strength, and overall muscular endurance. It is important to start with gentle movements and do exercises that target the deep core muscles, such as pelvic tilts, pelvic floor exercises, and gentle lower body exercises. As strength and comfort levels increase, exercises can be gradually progressed to more challenging movements.

Overall, incorporating strength training exercises into a daily routine can have numerous benefits for parents. It not only improves physical health and stamina but also enhances mental well-being. By following proper safety considerations, adapting exercises to different fitness levels, and finding ways to incorporate strength training into daily life, parents can enjoy the rewards of a strong and healthy body that supports them in their busy roles. So, don’t hesitate to start incorporating these exercises into your routine and feel the difference they can make in your life. Keep up the great work, and enjoy the journey towards a stronger and healthier you!