Quick 15 Minute Workout For Busy Moms
by Marion Paetznick
Disclosure: Before beginning any new exercise regimen, especially if you are not used to regular exercise, it is important to consult with your primary care physician. People who are not used to regular exercise should meet with their doctor to assess overall health, blood pressure and other vitals before beginning a vigorous exercise program.
Sometimes you only have 15 minutes during your child’s nap to squeeze in a workout. Luckily you’re probably already in your yoga pants. Do your workout first! Make it a priority! Not only will it feel good to check this off the list but it’ll boost your heart rate, give you a rush of endorphins and prime you to complete the other 9,000 tasks you wanted to get done during your child’s nap.
For that 15 minutes I’d recommend a brief warm up, HIIT training with integrated moves, a quick abs exercise and a brief stretch. Allow me to explain what HIIT is and why you should be doing it.
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It’s high intensity work, like sprints, layered with lower intensity work, like walking. There’s a large body of research that suggests HIIT can improve your fitness and body composition a lot faster. In fact, an Australian study showed HIIT burns up to 6 times more fat than steady state cardio. (pubmed.gov) What are the secret to HIIT’s magic? It lies with the surge in your resting metabolism post workout. Integrated moves are exercises that use your entire body. The more of you that is moving, the faster your heart rate is elevated, the faster you feel the burn.
1 Minute: Jumping Rope, Jogging in Place or Jumping Jacks
30 Seconds: Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers recruit the big muscles in your chest and back for a huge calorie burn. Keep your gaze fixed straight ahead on the ground to keep your neck and back in alignment. Brace your core the entire time to help stabilize your lower back. Drive your knees towards your chest.
30 Seconds: Walk
You must actually walk and not collapse into a heap on your couch! It’s important for circulation!
30 Seconds: Squat Jump
Bring your hips back and down. Draw your arms back and jump as high as you can into the air. Land with bent knees and use the tension in your muscles to absorb the impact.
New Moms or new exercisers, feel free to take out the impact and only come up to your toes.
30 Seconds: Walk
60 Seconds: Burpees
The Mother of all exercises, the burpee! Another great move for your chest and back, this move adds the functional training of getting up and down. Keep your core solid, especially through the plank, to support your back.
New Moms or new exercisers, feel free to take out the complexity and do some pushups on your knees instead. Keep your gaze fixed on the floor. Your back and neck need to be long.
45 Seconds: Walk
60 Seconds: Lunges
This is the final interval. It’s a good time to check in with your body and see where you’re at. If you feel like you’ve hit your max, back off the intensity this round. Keep doing this HIIT circuit! Next time try a more difficult option for the last 15 seconds. You will get more and more fit, but like all things consistency is key!
Lunges are a difficult move to master. Squeeze your butt and keep your abs tight the entire time to help stabilize this move. Please do a few slow and check your alignment first. You want your front knee directly over the front ankle. Your chest should be lifted with your shoulders stacked above your hips. Let your back heel lift up off the floor. The movement should be up and down as opposed to forward and backward. Proper alignment keeps the pressure in the muscles and off of your knees.
There are lots of ways to dial the intensity up and down. Here are some options to play with!
For The Athletic Super Mom Looking To Push Her Limits
Plyometric Lunges – Step your leg back into a full lunge, then explode into the air and switch legs landing in a lunge with the opposite leg forward. Use your arms to help you.
For The Mom Who’s A Bit Gassed And Happy To Just Cross The Finish Line
Stationary Lunges – Drop your back knee straight down and lift back up. Switch legs after 30 seconds. Try to get your front thigh parallel with the floor.
For the New Mom or New Exerciser
Assisted Lunges – Are you experiencing pain when you lunge? Did you just have a baby? This lower body conditioning move is going to whip you back into shape! Get out your Swiffer and turn yourself into a tripod! The bar of the Swiffer will help keep your posture upright and your spine aligned. Drop your back knee straight down and come right back up. Your goal is to have your front thigh parallel with the floor. Switch legs after 30 seconds.
Repeat this circuit!
Ankle Cross: 3 sets of 30 seconds
There are large variety of abdominal exercises out there. I’m going to focus on the lower abdominals here because I feel that’s an area Moms need to pay special attention to.
Lying on your back extend your legs straight into the air. Your ankles should be directly above your hip joint. Brace your abs tight and press your lower back into the floor. Criss cross your ankles over one another quickly alternating feet. To make this move more challenging lower your legs to 45 degrees. The longer you make the levers, the harder your muscles have to work. If you feel your lower back pulling away from the floor lift your legs higher and take some of the load off.
In my years as an instructor, this is the area of fitness people tend to ignore the most. Keep your joints mobile with a decent stretch.
Lying on your back extend one leg straight into the air and flex your foot. Point your toes to your nose. You’ll feel it in the back of your thigh. Switch Sides.
Cross one ankle over to your opposite knee. Flex your foot and slowly bring your top leg closer to your chest. Consciously think about keeping your hips square and lengthening your butt muscles. Switch Sides.
Hip Flexor/Chest Stretch
From a kneeling position bring one foot forward. Ensure your knee is directly above the ankle. Bring your pelvis forward until you feel the stretch in your hip. Keeping your chest lifted, lace your fingers behind you and stretch your chest. Switch sides.
From a standing position grab your shoe with your hand and bring your heel towards your butt. Keep your chest open and lifted. Switch sides.
Congratulations on destroying this workout!