As a working mom, you probably don’t have time to go to the gym but don’t let this stop you from pursuing your fitness goals. We’ve put together 8 simple workouts that you can do without taking too much of your time, so you can look good and stay healthy while taking care of business. To make these exercises more effective, perform them like a circuit, with little rest in between.
Planks are great for working your core and abdominal muscles. Not only do they strengthen your midsection and burn belly fat, they also strengthen your legs, hands, and butt muscles. Here’s how to do planks effectively:
- a) Lie down flat on your belly.
- b) Place your hands together at shoulder-width apart, and use your elbows to support your weight.
- c) Lift your body off the ground using only your toes and elbows for support, and hold this position for as long as you can.
- d) Lower your body to start, and then repeat.
This is more of a stretching exercise for your back, hips, thighs, butt, and tummy. It is not very intense so you should be able to do it comfortably the first time; it’s good for your core and lowers back when done regularly. Here’s how to do it:
- a) Lie flat on the ground on your back.
- b) Extend your arms to the sides to gain support, and bend your knees so that your feet stay flat on the ground.
- c) To form the bridge position, lift up your hips in the air, keeping your shoulders down for support. This should lift up your body while squeezing your butt and abs.
- d) Lower your hips slowly (but not all the way to the ground) and repeat.
Lunges are a great leg and butt workout, and a good alternative if you don’t like doing squats. They are the perfect home workout since you can do them while doing errands or walking around in the house. Not sure how to do lunges? Here’s how:
- a) Stand straight and put your arms akimbo (with hands on the hips and the elbows turned outwards).
- b) Stretch one leg out in front of you as if you’re about to take a step forward, and with the other leg, bend your knee and get it close to the ground but not all the way down.
- c) Keep your upper body straight at all times as you stretch your thigh and butt.
- d) The leg in front should bend at the knee, and it should remain perpendicular to the toes.
- e) Push yourself back up and repeat with the alternate leg.
Holding one dumbbell in each hand, place your right foot onto a bench or chair, and use your right heel to press as you step onto the platform. Once you place your right foot on the chair or bench, step up using your left foot, and then step down with your left foot first, and repeat with starting with your left foot on the platform. Do this 10 times while keeping your chest lifted, with arms straight down.
Step ups help to improve balance and symmetry, and they also increase your squat and deadlift strength. This is in addition to strengthening your legs and lower back.
This is a supplementary exercise for anybody who’s starting a strengthening program for the upper arms. Start by seating on the floor with your knees bent and hands placed flat on the floor. Your fingers should point to your feet.
To begin, lift your hips off the floor using your hands and feet for support, and keep your elbows bent and your body close to the ground. Tighten your abdominal muscles and keep your shoulders down when raising and lowering your body. You can also bend your legs to modify the exercise.
Being a mom means you don’t have time to go outside for runs, but since your body requires regular jogs and runs to stay in shape and improve health, it makes sense to use a treadmill. Just 20 minutes on it will be like taking a run around your block, and your body will feel great afterward.
Get yourself some nice running shoes and jump on the treadmill to warm up your body. A 5 or 10-minute run can act as a warm-up for the other exercises because it will loosen your joints and get your muscles warmed up and ready to flex.
Down dog leg raise
Down dog with leg raise strengthens the hamstrings and calves and works the glutes of the raised leg. Here’s how to do this exercise:
- a) Take a plank position and press your butt up, making sure your back and legs stay straight. Sink your heels towards the floor to stretch the calves and hamstrings, and press your shoulders towards the heels.
- b) Lift your leg up high and keep it straight with your hips squared towards the floor, and contract your glutes.
- c) Hold the position for 30 seconds and breathe smoothly throughout the exercise, and repeat. Remember to close the hips and squeeze through the glutes.
- Side leg lift with shoulder raise
Side leg lifts target the abs, especially the obliques, which are much harder to reach, and also the inner thighs. By lifting the legs together you keep the inner thighs and butt engaged as you pull your abdominals in and up – and it also strengthens your core.
- a) To do a side leg lift, lie on your side keeping all parts of your body lined up (ears, shoulder, hips, knees, and ankles should make a straight line).
- b) Move your legs in front to make a banana shape – this will keep you balanced – and prop your head upon your hand. Keep your rib cage lifted away from the mat.
- c) Pull in your abdominals to improve core strength and stability.
- d) Inhale deeply so your breath moves down the full length of your spine. When exhaling, engage your leg muscles to bring your legs up a few inches off the mat.
To modify this exercise, you can leave your head down on an outstretched arm, and use your front arm for balance.