Are you a working or stay-at-home mom struggling to make time for exercise? We know how hard it can be to find the energy and the time to work out, but exercising is a great way to boost your energy and elevate your physical and mental health.
When you have so much to do and others to care for, taking time to work out can feel selfish. But taking time for essential self-care will help you show up better in all other areas of your life - your marriage, your work, your kids.
If you’re ready to get moving again, get started with these 6 bodyweight exercises that can be done anytime, anywhere. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know, from how to perform the exercises to incorporate them into your routine - and a practical and doable example schedule you can use to increase physical activity, build strong, lean muscle tone, burn calories, and feel amazing!
6 Bodyweight Exercises for Busy Moms
How to: To perform a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed straight forward. Sit back with your hips as if sitting in a chair, keeping your chest upright, back neutral, and core activated to maintain balance. Push through your heels as you extend back to your starting stance, squeezing your glutes at the top of each rep.
Tip: If adding weight to this exercise, you could hold two dumbbells at your sides or hold a single weight with both hands at chest level.
How to: To perform a pushup, begin with hands below shoulders, core tight, and body in a neutral position - a straight line from head to heel, in a high plank position. Bend at the elbows to lower your chest towards the ground, keeping elbows tight to your torso. Press your hands into the ground as you push back up to your starting position.
Tip: To modify push-ups, try knee-performing pushups on your knees, or eccentric push-ups where you focus on performing the lowering phase of the pushup as demonstrated, then using your knees to help as you push yourself back up.
How to: To perform mountain climbers, begin with hands below shoulders, core tight, and body in a neutral position - a straight line from head to heel, in a high plank position. Lift one leg off the ground, drawing your knee as close as you can to your chest. Return to starting position, and switch legs, alternating between right and left.
Tip: Try to keep your hips stable and avoid rocking side to side while completing this movement to make it both more challenging and effective.
How to: To perform stationary lunges, begin in a split stance with feet hip distance apart. Keeping weight through your front leg, bend down, bringing your back knee nice and low until it hovers just above the ground. The front knee should remain behind the front toes, and both legs should form a 90-degree angle. Press up through the front leg to return to the starting position.
Tip: If adding weight to this exercise, you could hold two dumbbells at your sides.
Downward Dog to Upward Dog
How to: To perform downward dog to upward dog, begin in a pushup position, then bend at the hips, keeping knees straight and spine neutral to shift hips up and back, pushing through the upper body to achieve a stretch in the calves and hamstrings, while pressing through the upper body to bring your chest closer to the ground. Bend at the elbows, and swoop into an upward dog position, extending through the chest and looking up towards the sky. Pause to breathe. Push back into downward dog and repeat.
Tip: Focus on keeping your core engaged and activated as you shift through each position.
How to: To perform glute bridges, begin lying flat on your back with knees bent, feet firmly planted on the ground, and hands at your sides for support. With core tight and spine neutral, engage the glutes to press up through the hips. Slowly lower to the ground and repeat.
Tip: Glute bridges are a great glute isolation exercise, but you can incorporate the hamstrings more by keeping toes pointed upward and away from the ground, with your heel as your base of support.
Busy Mom Fitness Plan
While the above exercises are awesome for incorporating into your regular routine, and I highly recommend adding them in however you can, they’ll be even more effective when paired with a consistent workout routine. If you’re interested in getting more consistent with your regular fitness routine and seeing results, the simple fitness plan below is a great place to start.
When creating this fitness plan, I was aiming to keep it simple but effective. I can’t say I understand how busy you are as a mom, but I’m busy, and I don’t even have kids, so I can only imagine. I figure the last thing you need is a lengthy, complicated workout plan.
In this plan, you’ll find a user-friendly structure, short sessions 20 minutes and under, and practical workouts focused on maximizing your time and results.
How it Works:
If you’re ready to get active and start prioritizing your self-care, it all starts here! Watch the video below and keep reading for everything you need to get started.
|Day Of The Week||Workout|
|Monday||Full Body Workout|
|Tuesday||20 Min Active Cardio|
|Wednesday||Mobility Routine (optional)|
|Thursday||20 Min Active Cardio OR HIIT Cardio|
|Friday||Full Body Workout|
|Saturday||20 Min Active Cardio|
Full Body Workout
For your full body workout, we will be incorporating our 6 bodyweight exercises above into a complete workout. When used in combination, the exercises above will target a wide variety of muscles in your body and help you to be more functionally fit.
Functional fitness means working on building strength that will translate into your regular everyday life - so building up those muscles to hold and play with your kids, pick up a basket of laundry off the ground, carry groceries in from the car, etc.
3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Mountain Climbers
- Stationary Lunges
- Downward Dog to Upward Dog
- Glute Bridges
How you decide to complete your sets and reps is completely up to you. I encourage you to listen to your body and decide what you’re up for on any given day. At a minimum, you’re completing 3 sets of 10 reps of each exercise at your own pace, meaning as much rest between sets as needed.
If you’re feeling great and down to push yourself, I’d recommend completing the exercises in a circuit or one after the other, back to back with little to no rest, completing 3 total rounds of the circuit. Or, try using dumbbells to add some weight to your workout. There are tons of options to make your workout more challenging, and that will be up to you when you’re ready to take that step.
Active cardio is simply taking 20 minutes of your day to move. Your active cardio sessions should be moderate intensity and enjoyable! Like the full body workout above, feel free to be flexible and choose something that fits your lifestyle, preferences, and mood.
Pushing the stroller around the block, taking the dog for a walk, or jogging all count here. Traditional cardio will also be an awesome choice if you have cardio equipment at home.
For those who can’t get away from the kids, try a workout with your kids like a workout from our kid friendly workout series, or take your kids to the park to play soccer, tag, tennis, or kickball! While it’s not a traditional workout and may not qualify as that precious self-care time, it’s still a great way to get moving and burn some calories, plus your kids will love it!
Can you take a total rest day on Wednesday? Absolutely! However, incorporating a mobility routine into your recovery day can help to increase blood flow and range of motion, plus it just feels amazing! Check out a few of our mobility routines below designed to help you get moving and feel good.
You’ll notice on Thursdays; I included an option for active cardio or HIIT cardio. High intensity interval training is great for increasing your calorie burn to help you lose or maintain weight, and training at a higher heart rate can help build your fitness level to increase your speed and endurance.
HIIT training is essentially alternating intervals of high-intensity work, with low-intensity recovery, and repeating those intervals several times. Interval length may vary depending on your fitness level and goals.
If you’re interested in incorporating HIIT training into your routine and have access to fitness equipment, check out the guided workout videos to help you amp up the intensity of your workout and really push yourself.