Posted: Jun 18, 2014 8:00 AM
 
Busy summer days don't have to mean your workouts go undone. Try our quick, simple, at-home workouts for total body workouts you can do while the kids play or while your favorite show is on.
Photo credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/ Wavebreak Media/360/ Getty Images

Healthy mamas share their best at-home exercises with photos. Find out what to work, how to work it and for how long to work it. Mom to Mom, let's help one another get our workouts in at home — with the kids — when we have minutes and not hours to spare.

^Yoga: A core workout

Christine Yu is a freelance writer and mom of two who blogs at Love, Life, Surf.

Yu practices yoga — inside and outside of a studio — whenever she can. About her at-home yoga workout she says, "I used to think that in order to 'do' yoga, I had to go to an hour- to hour-and-a-half-long class at a yoga studio. But that's far from the truth. I find that it's more important to practice consistently, whether it's five minutes or half an hour, than the length of time that I practice yoga. I will often do a few rounds of sun salutations, either to start my day or in the afternoon if I need a pick-me-up. Not only does this help to get my blood flowing and help to improve my physical strength and flexibility, but it also helps me to clear and focus my mind." To do sun salutations at home, follow Yu's steps, repeating as often as you like.

At home exercises- yoga
Photo credit: Christine Yu
  1. Stand at the top of your mat, feet together with the big toe mounds touching and a slight space between the heels. Find all four corners of your feet — inner and outer heel, inner and outer ball of the foot — and root down through there. Hands are alongside your body.
  2. Ground down through your feet as you stretch your arms up overhead on an inhale. Straighten your arms, and bring them alongside your ears if you can.
  3. Exhale, and fold your body over your legs. Your hands can come to the floor, to yoga blocks or to your shins.
  4. Inhale, look up, and lengthen your spine and the crown of your head toward the front of the room. Come up onto your fingertips, or bring your hands to your shins. You want to have a long spine.
  5. You have 3 options here: 1) Step your feet back to a high plank position, and then lower down to chaturanga. 2) Jump back to chaturanga directly. Please only do this if this is in your practice, and land with bent elbows, not straight arms. In both variations, hug your elbows in toward your chest, thrust your chest forward, and press through your heels toward the back of the room. 3) Step your feet back to a high plank position. Lower your knees to the ground. Lower your chest and chin to the ground while keeping your tailbone high in the air.
  6. Inhale, and rise up to upward-facing dog. Press the tops of your feet into the mat, and broaden across your collarbone. Alternatively you can come to cobra pose, where your legs remain on the ground.
  7. Lift your hips up and back for downward-facing dog. Stay here for 5 breaths.
  8. On the bottom of your 5th exhale, step your feet or hop forward to the top of your mat.
  9. Inhale, lengthen your spine forward, and look up.
  10. Exhale, and fold your body over your legs.
  11. Inhale, and stretch your arms up overhead.
  12. Exhale, lower your arms, and come back to mountain pose or tadasana.

^Tricep dips: For toned arms

Poppy J. Marler blogs at Facing 40 about living fit, fierce and fun, because the alternative sucks.

Marler explains how to work your triceps — the muscles that run on the backside of your upper arm, from your shoulder to your elbow — without using any fancy equipment. We love that these dips can be done while the kids are playing or are right by your side. Marler says, "A set of tricep bench dips can be done in the kitchen, the park or wherever you can find a bench or a chair." Tricep dips can be done on the ground and modified with straight or bent legs. If you're using a bench, then keep your back close to it. Follow Marler's steps for perfect dips.

At home exercises- Tricep dips
Photo credit: Poppy J Marler
  1. Place your hands on the edge of a bench, with your feet facing away.
  2. Lower your body by bending your arms and aiming your booty toward the floor.
  3. Dip and lift, starting with 2 sets of 12.

^Planks: Get those killer abs

At home exercises- Planks
Photo credit: Bethany Meyer

Bethany Meyer is a published author and fit mom raising boys, questioning her sanity, laughing at her circumstances and blogging at I Love Them the Most When They're Sleeping. And Kelly Pugliano is an avid runner of half marathons and a freelance writer and photographer who shares her stories on life, food and fitness on her blog Mom Got Blog and her favorite recipes, travel and photos on her food blog, Eatpicks.

Both these fit moms give the same core advice: Planking is the new (working out) black. And there's a good reason for this. Pugliano says, "If you want to tighten your abs, shoulders, biceps, lower back, chest, bum, thighs and calf muscles, then planking is for you." To plank, follow these steps.

At home exercises- Planks
Photo credit: Kelly Pugliano
  1. Start in a push-up position, and either hold the position like Meyer does, or lower your forearms to the ground like Pugliano does, keeping your hands balled directly beneath your shoulders.
  2. Pull your belly button in, and keep your body straight.
  3. Try a side-plank variation to work your waistline by propping one elbow directly beneath your shoulder or straightening one arm and propping your weight entirely on one hand.
  4. Extend the opposite arm, and hold the pose.
  5. Pugliano recommends challenging yourself to hold this position for 3 sets of 30 seconds and working your way up to 1 minute, then 2 minutes and more if you're up for it.
  6. And Meyer says, "I do repeats of 60-second planks when I'm watching TV but really feel like relaxing on the couch. I'm a runner who doesn't get to [do] yoga as often as I should. Keeping my core strong protects me from injury, and planks are the best core exercise around. Sidebar: I find planks just as effective without the ridiculous facial expressions."

Squats: Great for glutes

Maureen H. blogs at Scoops of Joy about being on a journey to find joy in life one scoop at a time while focusing on healing naturally from the inside out through raw food and healthy living.

Maureen is a big fan of squatting because it packs a powerful workout punch in just a few minutes. Maureen says, "The lower you squat, the better your results will be. Squats burn a lot of calories because they work large muscles — your legs and thighs. Make sure to tighten your core the whole time, and squeeze your glutes as you go up to work deeper muscles. Do 2 to 3 sets of 20 to 25 squats." Maureen moves her arms or holds a baby with each squat and shares that she usually sneaks in some squats in the shower. To squat properly, follow these steps.

At home exercises- Squats
Photo credit: Maureen H.
  1. Place your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, with your hips stacked over your knees and your knees over your ankles.
  2. Roll your shoulders back, tighten your core, keep your back straight, send your hips backward and bend your knees.
  3. Lower yourself until you're in a sitting position.
  4. Exhale, and pull yourself back up to standing with a straight back.

^Spider-Man kick-through: A whole body challenge

Tayarra Sharp is a fit, hard-working wife with three awesome boys.

Sharp is also a fan of body weight exercises. Body weight exercises don't use free weights or any other type of machine or equipment. Instead, the person exercising uses her own body weight as the sole form of resistance for the workout. Increasing the number of repetitions you do adds to total strength and endurance, as does changing the exercises slightly or by working out at the extreme ranges of motion. This can mean working out with your legs or arms either fully extended or mostly drawn into you so that you're forced to exercise different muscles. Sharp shares a body weight exercise called a Spider-Man kick-through that works the entire body. When Sharp says, "You'll definitely feel this one," we believe her! Follow her steps to give these a try.

At home exercises- Spiderman kick thru
Photo credit: Tayarra Sharp
  1. Start with a push-up.
  2. Then move knee to elbow and back to a plank position.
  3. Then step up with your leg, and bring your hips through.
  4. Switch to the other side, and do about 3 sets of 10.

^Running: A calorie burner

Greta Funk is a mom of four in the Kansas countryside, who runs Today's Work at Home Mom, a place for empowerment, insight and resources for work-at-home moms.

At home exercises- RunningPhoto credit: Greta Funk

Funk is now a regular runner, and she got there by using a great app and by not letting the fact that the kids are around deter her from getting her workout in. We love her clever idea of making her running an outing. Funk explains, "I love the Couch-to-5K app because it helps you start with walking and build up to more running. Another way to do this is to walk past 3 houses, then jog past 2. Or walk 1 lap at the track, jog a half a lap. And I love taking my kids to the track so they can play, ride bikes or ride in a stroller while I run. Whatever it is, start slow, and work up. Find a fun race to work up to, like a color run, so you have that goal. I didn't run at all when I started, but small goals and walk-run intervals made me a runner!" Many schools have tracks with playgrounds right next to them, making this workout outing absolutely doable.

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