Earlier today in the Strong Mom Tribe I posted a workout called “The Only Strength Workout You’ll Ever NEED”
Bold claims I know! I guess I should say this workout is the base of the only strength workout you'll ever need. In the Strong Mom Tribe each Friday, I post a lot of different fun ways to get a workout in, but let’s get back to basics for a second...
If you are only doing one strength workout, it really needs to be Full Body.
To be considered "Full Body" a workout it should be comprised of exercises from EVERY movement pattern -Vertical/Horizontal Push and Pull, Quad and Hip/Hamstring Dominant, and Core. Using movement patterns to design your workout is the most efficient way to make sure you are training your whole body the right way.
The thing is, to make progress, you don't need to be switching up your workouts like crazy every day.... actually it’s the opposite. You should slowly, and intentionally be building the challenge.
First let’s start with the base workout.
Warm-up with 5- 10 minutes of light cardio, then dynamic stretches (leg swings, arm circles, etc.). After the workout, cool down with light cardio (walking, etc.) to bring down the heart rate, and then stretch.
Equipment needed: Resistance bands with anchor (door, pole, tree, etc.)
Complete each circuit 3 times: (The movement patterns are in orange. You can find more information about movement patterns here.)
15 - Windmill Pushups (T-Pushups): Horizontal Push
Start at an incline that allows you to move the full range of motion. Lower your chest down to almost touch the surface between your hand. Keep your core engaged and neck neutral (gaze just beyond your fingertips). Push back up.
Never let gravity do all the work on the way down, you should be in control. To start move very slowly with gravity (down) before you push up.
15 - Band Rows: Horizontal Pull
Stand with your knees bent slightly, feet hip distance apart. Bands should be anchored about halfway between your chest and waist. Pull back band back to your waist, keeping shoulders down and back.
Do not let the bands do the work on the release. The bands should not be pulling your arms out, you should be in control.
15 - Downward Dog Pushups: Vertical Push
Start at an incline (lower than the regular pushups), hands placed down, chest drawn toward your thighs. Slowly lower down (don’t let gravity do all the work) so that your head falls in between your hands. Stay on the balls of your feet for a smooth pivot point. Push back up through your shoulders.
15 - Lat Pull Downs: Vertical Pull
Stand one foot in front of the other, front leg bent and back leg strength, facing the anchor point over your head. Hinge at the hips so that you form a straight line through your extended leg, back and arms. Pull bands down toward your shoulders, pause and slowly release.
Never let the bands do all the work on the release. The bands should not be pulling your arms out, you should be in control.
15 - Squats: Quad Dominant
Stand with feet hip width (or slightly wider) apart. Squat down lowering your bottom down and back. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up. Your goal should be to lower your bottom down at least far enough for your upper leg to be parallel to the ground.
15 - Bridges: Hamstring Dominant
Lie face up on the floor, with your arms straight, palms down. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground a few inches from your fingertips. Inhaling: With your weight in your heels, use your hips to lift your butt off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze those glutes and engage your core as described above. Pause at the top. Exhale as you ease back down.
Focusing on your breath in this move will make this a really effective core move too!
15 - Dead Bug: Core
Start laying flat on your back. Bend your knees up so that they make a 90 degree angle with your lower leg parallel to the ground. Hold your arms straight up and out from your body. Press your lower back into the floor and keep it pressed throughout the whole motion. Exhale as you lower your right leg down, straight out. Try to get your heel as close to the ground as possible without touching while keeping the lower back pressed. Inhale as you pull it back up to the starting position (keeping the lower back pressed). Alternate legs for 1-1 count.
As you continue to exercise with this routine your body will get used to it, you will need to change your workout. However, you don’t need to change it all around and start doing something completely different.
It doesn’t need to be fancy and complicated! Keep it simple! All you need to do is progressively make little changes to this base workout, increasing the demands on your body therefore increasing your results! This idea of progressive overload is built directly into my Body After Baby Program.
Below you will see how to progress each of the moves in this base workout AND a sample schedule to effectively increase demands on your body. This is only one example of how to do it, the best way depends on your body and your goals.
This applies to both types of pushups above.
The base workout starts out at an incline. To increase the difficulty progressively lower the inclined down. Always insure you are able to do the full range of motion at said level, if not go back to higher incline and increase repetitions (15 → 20 for example). To progress past flat ground you can do decline pushup with your feet on the higher level instead (#badassmother).
This applies to the band rows and lat pulldowns.
Start with a resistance band level that, on your last set, 15 is all you feel like you can do. As it becomes easier, begin doing one arm at a time. Then you can progress to a higher level resistance band with two arms, then one...then higher level resistance band… and keep going with that pattern.
To effectively access your glutes during squats you should be able to put your weight back in your heels and sit your booty down and back. This might feel awkward, like you will fall over. If that’s the case start with a chair behind you and squat to sit. Make sure when you stand back up you press through your heels. (This is something to keep in mind every time you get up from a chair to engage your glutes more through daily activity too, #efficientasamother).
Then you can progress to a regular air squat. For the next progression add weight with a goblet squat. Finally, you can begin to progress to single leg squats with a single-leg-squat-to-sit following the same progression patterns as the two legged squat.
The bridge base workout has both feet on the the floor. The next level progression is to single leg bridge with one leg extended out. Then when that becomes easier progress to adding weight (a dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell across your hips...or a small child). When starting with weight go back to two legs before progressing back to single leg weighted bridges.
Dead Bug Progressions:
Begin by lowering only your legs down one at a time. Ensuring your lower back stays pressed into the floor. Once you can easily complete 15 reps in the manner begin working in your arms. The first level is opposite arm and leg (contralateral), as that become easier you can progress to same arm and leg (ipsilateral).
Progression Plan Example:
You don't want to change it up every workout but progressively build week to week. Here is an example of how to progress through on a schedule.
Week 1: Base Workout 3 Sets
Week 2: Base Workout 3 Sets
Week 3: Base Workout 4 Sets
Week 4: Base Workout 4 Sets
Week 5: Next Level Progressions 3 Sets
There are other ways to challenge your body with progressions. Tempo , levels of instability (challenge your balance), amount of rest and repetitions/sets can all be used to create progressions too.
Also, there are other exercises for each movement pattern that can be interchanged... but keep it simple!
Remember though, it doesn’t have to be complicated, don’t just change it up randomly, do it with intention...and then see dramatic results.
This is how we progress through in the Body After Baby Program!
All the workout are intentionally progressed to move from getting developing good posture and form, learning to engage your core and build your deep core stabilizers through rebuilding stability muscles, improving balance and continuing with strengthening your deep core stabilizers and finally toward increasing strength and building lean muscle. You will feel stronger, look more toned, and fire up your metabolism.
Drew and I had so much fun doing this animal themed workout...… don’t worry if yours get distracted and only participate part of the time like Drew did 😂
For the first 5, set up two stations across the room or yard. If you can spread out 20-30 feet that’s perfect, if not, do what you can with the space you have. Then finish with the inchworm.
Don't forget to warm up too! Continue with the same theme and use animal themed yoga poses (Downward Dog, Cobra, Cat/Cow)!
Last week we busted the myth that you can spot treat fat loss. That is is simply not the case! Calories in must be less than calories out for fat loss to occur, there is no way around that.
However, having the stomach you dream about may involve more than just fat loss, especially after having children…. hello mommy pouch. On top of that, it’s about so much more than aesthetics. Without a strong core you can expect persistent back pain, poor balance and muscle recruitment during exercise (leading to injury), and that nagging need to cross your legs when you sneeze.
The number one thing you should do to build back those core muscles is learn how to properly engage your core IN ALL THINGS that you do, including daily life and exercise. CLICK HERE to read all about that.
Once you have that down, you need to understand that the CORE is much more than just your abs. The CORE is made up of your rectus abdominus AND your hips spine, and glutes… basically everything that connects your lower body to you upper body. Efficiently and effectively strengthening your core means making sure all of these parts work TOGETHER!
My go to core moves:
These are the 3 go to core moves:
In all of these moves, the abs are working in conjunction with the rest of the core muscles.
As with all exercises, form can make or break their effectiveness. Watch the video for step by step instructions to ensure you get the most out of each move!
How do you integrate them into your workouts?
You can integrate these core moves into your workouts in one of two ways.
Do you have 15 minutes each day this week you can commit to burning fat and making muscles?
The “Muscle Maker” is the hallmark workout of my Signature Online Challenge.
These Muscle Makers serve 2 purposes:
Burn fat and build muscle as efficiently as possible.
The 15 Minute Muscle Maker is a 9 minute high intensity, strength building workout, plus a short warm up and cool down. All of the movements are based on functional movements, movements you use in daily life. To make it efficient they are turbo charged! No equipment is necessary. You just have to promise to push yourself and not stop until the workout is complete (short breaks are allowed).
Measure your increasing strength and endurance over time.
Each Muscle Maker will also act as a competition with yourself (or your husband, neighbor, workout buddy...). You will record a piece of data for each workout then repeat the same workout daily (every other day, once a week...that’s up to you.)
Click Here to access your Muscle Maker tracker for the week. In the Challenge the Muscle Makers are all different throughout the week for the first two weeks. Then you would repeat the same workouts to measure your increase in strength and endurance.
With this little sample you will do the same workout for one week and see how much stronger you get!
Resistance bands and a few other items are on my list of Living Room Workout Must Haves. Of course there is a lot you can do with no equipment but if are ready to kick up your living room workout game add these to your shopping list!
My favorite resistance bands are the Black Mountain ones that have a nice soft handle and come with a door anchor. You can buy them on Amazon (where I buy pretty much everything in life. I wish they paid me like my grocery store). I suggest you start with medium or heavy. If you don’t get one with a door anchor you can easily make one out of an old sock (don’t rewind the video if you don't want to be grossed out by where that sock came from). If you are like me, you have a ton lonely mismatched socks lying around anyway.
If you already have a resistance band, try this Full Body Workout now!
*you can find more details below the video*
Squat w/ band resistance
Stand on band with feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Holding a handle in each hand, bring the top of the band over each shoulder. Squat down as low as you can go with your chest up and core engage, sitting back on your heels to ensure your knees don’t go too far past your toes. Press through your heels and rise back up to start position and repeat for 12 to 15 reps.
Stand over the center of a tube band with feet shoulder-width apart. Grip each handle, positioning your hands at shoulder level with palms facing each other so your thumbs touch your shoulders. Press straight up, rotating your palms forward as you fully extend your arms. Lower back down slowly and repeat for 12-15 reps.
Lie belly down and loop a band around your ankle, anchoring the other end to a door or support. Scoot away from the anchor to create tension. Tighten your core and bend your leg at the knee, bringing your heel toward your glutes as far as you can comfortably go. Slowly return your leg to starting position and repeat for 12 to 15 reps, then switch sides.
Anchor the band waist height. Stand facing away from the door with legs hip width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Grab the band with both hands, arms extended and palms facing each other. Standing nice and tall, with your tailbone tucked and core engaged, bend at the elbow and pull the handles into your waist, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 12 to 15 reps.
Anchor the band at the height of your breast bone. Turn your body so your left side is in line with the band. Pull the band using both hands into the center of your chest. Push the band straight out in front of you, keeping your body in a straight-line with no rotation. Hold it in front for a 2 count, then slowly return the band to your chest. Do not allow the band to rotate your upper body back towards the machine. Repeat for 12-15 reps, then switch sides.
Anchor the band waist height. Stand facing the door with legs hip width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Grab the band with both hands, arms extended and palms facing each other. Standing nice and tall, with your tailbone tucked and core engaged, bend at the elbow and pull the handles into your waist, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 12 to 15 reps.
Lat Pull Downs
Anchor the band to the top of the door, pulling the free ends down at your sides. Kneel facing the anchor so the bands are positioned in front of you, gripping each end with arms extended overhead and hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Bending the elbows, pull the band down toward your shoulders while contracting your back muscles. Once the hands reach your shoulders, slowly raise them back to the starting position and repeat for 12-15 reps.
Repeat the circuit 2-3 times through.
As always, when designing my workouts I used this Plug and Play template as a guide. I can’t stress enough, using movement patterns to design your workout is the most efficient way to make sure you are training your whole body the right way. If a pattern is missing in a workout, you are failing to train your entire body. If a pattern is consistently missing from your workouts, you are setting yourself up for muscle imbalances and inevitably injury.
For this workout, I pulled one from each category and viola! This time I arranged them in the order that minimized how many times I needed to move the resistance band anchor. Efficiency is number one in my book! The combination are really endless. This was just one example. You can find a bunch more resistance band exercises here.
Can't get out of the house for your cardio? No treadmill available? No excuses!
Getting in your cardio doesn't have to mean going out for a 3 or 5 mile jog. In fact, with intervals you can get better results in less time. You burn m ore calories in less time AND tap into the after burn that comes with a high intensity workout.
Try this Living Room Cardio Circuit during nap time today!
Do each move for 20s, followed by 10s of active recovery (jogging in place) before moving onto the next. The whole circuit takes 2 minutes. Repeat 5 or 10 times for a full cardio workout or cram in a few of these throughout the day.
Come on it's only 2 minutes!
If the jumping in the high knees is too intense (especially for my preggo mamas). Try marching in place. Pull your knees up as high as you can.
While there is a lot you can do with no equipment (no excuses right?), I highly recommend a set or two of dumbbells for your living room workouts. Dumbbells and a few other “must haves” will help you make the most out of your workouts Check out my last post on Living Room Workout Must Haves if you are ready to kick up your living room workout game!
As promised, over the next couple of weeks I will work through that list with a workout designed using each. Today of course, is a full body strength workout using dumbbells (and a stability ball if you have it).
When designing my workouts I always use this Plug and Play template as a guide. Using movement patterns to design your workout is the most efficient way to make sure you are training your whole body the right way. If a pattern is missing in a workout, you are failing to train your entire body. If a pattern is consistently missing from your workouts, you are setting yourself up for muscle imbalances and inevitably injury.
For this workout, I pulled one from each category and viola! I arrange them in this order of movement pattern most of the time, but the combination are endless. The following is just one example:
Horizontal Push: Chest Press (with stability ball option)
Vertical Push: Overhead Press - Single Leg Standing (with stability ball option)
Quad Dominant: Reverse Lunge
Horizontal Pull: Alternating Bent Over Row
Vertical Pull: Dumbbell Pullover (on ball, give floor option)
Hamstring Dominant: Straight Leg Dead Lift
Do 15 of each exercise (both sides where applicable). When you get to the bottom of the list stop and rest 1-2 minutes. You have completed one circuit. Then repeat the circuit 2-3 more times. Watch the video for instructions on how to perform each exercise with proper form and engage your core!
A little glimpse into my exact core workout from leg day last week! It's important to remember that your core is more than just your abs. Everything is connected through your core! Read more at bit.ly/StrongCoreMom.
Here's the workout:
15 Bridges -push through your heels
15 Hamstring curls - keep your pelvis lifted and core engaged throughout
15 Hip abductors - both sides; lift quick, lower slowly
15 Dead Bug - keep lower back pressed into the mat throughout
Repeat for 4 total sets.
Stop doing those boring crunches! These are some of my favorite CORE exercises that you can do with your little one in the stroller. Remember your core is not just your abs, these exercises work the whole lumbo – pelvix – hip region.
Click Here to for the full workout at My Atlanta Moms Club!
You can find all my other MAMC workouts here!
Every year on Memorial Day, crossfitters around the country do a crazy intense workout called the “Murph” in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan. During his military career, Murphy received 11 different military decorations, including: the Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Navy Commendation Medal to name a few. This year I decided to attempt it myslef. Next thing you know I’m bawling like a baby laying on my living room floor. There is something about complete and utter physical exhaustion that make me vulnerable to raw emotion. I spent much more time than I would normally do thinking about what that day really means. It was the best way for me to really honor the service and sacrifice. I will definitely do it again next year. If you want to know more about my Murph experience click here – especially if you want to commiserate with me about child birth and bladder control.
Anyway, it got me thinking Murph had a mom and her name was Maureen. I thought it would be nice this week for us to do a workout (more manageable for us busy moms) in her honor. What do you say? Hope on over to my post on My Atlanta Moms Club and try The "Maureen".
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