The Karate Dad Workout: Simple Home Workout for Dads with Kids or Who Are Quarantined

Being on lockdown due to COVID is kind of like being the parent of a newborn.  You barely leave your house, you don’t sleep very much, food gets delivered to you, and worst of all…you pack on the pounds!  Now, imagine combining the two.  When you add the stress and anxiety of being on lockdown due to COVID with the stress and anxiety of having a newborn, it’s like pouring gasoline on a fire.  The problem is you aren’t burning the calories, you’re actually accumulating excess ones.

One of the hardest things about being the parent of a newborn is finding the time to exercise.  At first, I would try to work out during nap time.  Often times I would have to stop in the middle of the workout because my son would wake up, only taking a short nap (he was notorious for taking short 20-30 min naps).  Then I realized, when he sleeps, I could be sleeping too!  I love a good nap and continue with that strategy to this day.

Running with your kiddo in the stroller is great.  I like doing that from time to time as well.  I found 2 problems with that: motivation and Seattle.  I would have to muster up the motivation to bundle up my son, put on all my running gear (just shoes, I know), and strap him into the stroller.  It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal now when I look back but at that time it seemed like attempting to climb Mt. Everest.  The other problem is living in Seattle.  There is a greater than 50/50 chance that on any given day it will rain.  The stars would have to be in perfect alignment to have the motivation and not be raining.

Using exercise equipment like treadmills, stationary bikes, and ellipticals are also great but often times you need to hop off when your little one needs you.  How about weights?  Tough to do, not to mention a little dangerous, without your full attention focused on the weights.  Workout videos/online aerobics are great too, but it gets too annoying having to pause and restart when you need to change a diaper.  If you are able to accomplish any of these workouts while being the primary care giver for a new baby, then keep doing it.  I found it difficult, if not impossible, and extremely frustrating.

All that being said, I decided to adapt a fitness routine I use for my black belt karate students as my new parent workout.  This workout is also great if you are traveling or can’t make it to a gym.  Will this routine get you a six pack?  Nope.  Will you get in better shape?  Probably.  It all depends on your initial fitness level and how often you do it.  There is no equipment required and it only takes 10-20 minutes.  There are 4 levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and black belt.  Start at beginner level.  If you can perform the beginner level in its entirety in 10 minutes or less, move up to intermediate.  If you can do intermediate in 10 minutes of less move to advanced.  If you can do advanced in 10 minutes or less move up to black belt.  Finally, if you can do the black belt level in 10 min or less, try to do it twice in under 20 min.  Each exercise set must be done entirely before moving to the next set.  You can take a break when needed.  If you don’t finish, write down how far you made it in 10 minutes and try to get further the next time.  This short, total body workout is something you can certainly do every day.

Beginner Level

40 jumping jacks

3 burpees w/ pushup

5 squat jumps

15 pushups

30 situps

Intermediate Level

60 jumping jacks

5 burpees w/ pushup

8 squat jumps

20 pushups

50 situps

Advanced Level

80 jumping jacks

10 burpees w/ pushup

12 squat jumps

30 pushups

75 situps

Black Belt Level

100 jumping jacks

15 burpees w/ pushup

20 squat jumps

50 pushups

100 situps

The Karate Dad at home workout

When doing these I would often have my son on the floor with me.  When he was really young, he would just lay in his boppy.  When he got a little older, he would be on his tummy.  Once he got mobile, he was crawling, rolling, and walking in my way or on top of me.  I would keep my eyes on him while I did the exercises.  He thought pushups were hilarious.  I would play peekaboo with squat jumps.  He would jump on my belly when I did situps.  Even now, when I work out, it is like playtime with daddy.  Hopefully this will instill in him a good appreciation for exercise, so he thinks exercise is fun when he is older.  If not, at least I am getting my workout in!

Published by masterelmore

I have been involved in martial arts for over 30 years. I own and operate a studio in Seattle. I am also a father to an awesome kid. My websites provide information, tips, and videos on parenting and martial arts.

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