Joe Wicks amazing pic of 7-month-old daughter Leni divides opinion

Last modified on Friday 14 April 2023

Fitness guru and dad of 3 Joe Wicks posted the astonishing image of the baby to his Instagram and the comments came thick and fast...

Body Coach Joe Wicks, 37, has delighted his fans by sharing some gorgeous snaps from his family holiday in California – but one picture in particular stunned his followers!

Joe uploaded 10 images with the caption 'Back In Santa Monica', followed by the American flag and a red love heart. Many of the snaps were just your usual family-fun holiday pics; one showed his wife Rosie Jones holding a very smiley baby Leni on her hip, others showed daughter Indie, 5, and son Marley, 4, leaning against a graffiti wall, posing on some steps, and variously enjoying scooters and skateboards.

So which snap was it that caused so much, er... interest?

It was the first picture in the series that set the comments on fire – and it was of Joe and Rosie's youngest child, 7-month old baby Leni .

What was Leni doing in the picture?

In the pic, the baby is seen hanging from a pull-up bar while dad Joe stands off to the left looking up at her adoringly.

Little Leni, who is wearing a white baby grow and cute hat, has a look of absolute concentration on her face as she determinedly grips the bar above her head.

'So stupid to do it with a baby'

Joe's followers were quick to share their views on the picture – and opinion on it was VERY divided!

'Is that safe for her shoulders and joints to hang onto bars supporting her own weight like that?' queried one fan.

'JESUS, is the first pic photoshopped??' asked another, resulting in another poster to write: 'I hope so… so stupid to do it with baby…'

'I got told off by the HV for letting my young baby balance on his legs at about 5 month old, I knew nothing about babies and thought it was a good thing but she said apparently their joints are immature and can be damaged by that kind of pressure,' warned someone else.

'They all do it don't they?'

Some fans leapt to Joe's defence though, and pointed out that the trainer not only knows his stuff but that as a dad of 3 is hardly inexperienced when it comes to keeping his kids safe!

'Okay. He did it with his other two children when they were small too. Guess what? They're also fine. Not one thing wrong with any of them,' said one supporter.

'I’m sure he knows what is good or not for HIS own child,' chipped in another.

'Gorgeous pics Joe👍 Baby’s natural reaction is to hold on tight, they all do it don’t they?' said a third.'

What do the experts say?

We spoke to soft tissue therapist Greg Pritchard from clinic State 11, who explained the science behind Leni's weight-bearing prowess to us:

'Joe Wicks' baby is able to hold onto the bar and support her weight due to a baby reflex called the palmar grasp. If something is pressed into a baby’s palm, the baby can grip it incredibly strongly,' he explained.

'A baby is able to support their own weight for a short period of time, and confidence with the palmar grasp has been linked to confidence with sports later on in life,' he said, adding that 'obviously care should be taken and the baby monitored during any activity like this.'

'It's instinctive'

Greg went on to say that the palmar grasp is 'instinctive' and will fade by around 6 months or a bit earlier.

'After that a baby can choose to grip and move things between their hands,' he said.

And, said Greg, many of us will already be very aware of just how tightly our little one's can grip on to something when they want to!
'Most parents have experienced the palmar grasp when baby has grabbed their fingers and not let go,' he said.
(Oh yes! Not to mention our hair! Owwww!)

'It's great to see Joe bringing awareness'

Meanwhile, Lauren Sims, marketing director at The Little Gym Harpenden, and mum of 2, was so impressed by little Leni's grip she felt compelled to comment on Joe's pic, letting those who thought it was Photoshopped know that 'babies can absolutely grasp and hang' at such a young age.

We caught up with her to find out more:

'Seeing Leni hanging on the bars is fantastic,' she told Netmums. 'It is great to see Joe bringing awareness to our little ones physical capabilities. Babies primitive reflexes develop in the womb and continue to grow after birth.

'From as young as 4 months we can see our children in The Little Gym participating in activities where they can hang and weight-bear through their upper body. This builds strength, bone density and the fine and gross motor skills needed for handwriting.'

All good to know!

So what do you think of Joe's pic? A bit of fun in a controlled setting with a dad who knows what he's doing, or an image that made you go a bit 'eeeek!' with worry?! Let us know.

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