Last updated on February 5th, 2018
11 Bodyweight Exercises For Mamas
Bodyweight training is not only simple but effective for new moms. I’ve blogged before about how to fit workouts into the busy mama life and how to create routine and the truth is, bodyweight exercises helps you do both of those! Using your own bodyweight as resistance not only helps you become strong but allows you to workout anywhere.
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There’s definitely something to be said for bodyweight exercises because it comes with quite a list of benefits!
And while being strong and functional is awesome (umm really awesome, and crucial haha), the biggest perk for moms is that you can train anywhere!
One of the biggest struggles new moms face is how to find time to workout. Hitting the gym multiple times per week is great, it’s just not always practical. If you learn to master training sans equipment, you have the luxury to workout whenever and wherever- perfect to keep up with kids!
Just like any other workout, bodyweight training can be scaled to your particular goals (read how to maximize training for your goals here). Why I personally love training this way is that, when used correctly, your body provides quite a bit of resistance!
This resistance challenges your muscles, stimulates development and makes you strong.
Plus, if you ever want to progress to more advanced types of workouts, you need to have mastered your own body to start. Bodyweight training helps really nail down the mind muscle connection which is crucial for results.
I bet part of you is wondering how to truly get a workout in though. Most people associate bodyweight exercises with basic squats, push ups, planks and burpees. While those are all great exercises, they’re not the only ones.
Below are a few of my favorite bodyweight exercises (and a fun workout!)- no jumping or crazy intervals required. Master the exercises before you scale up.
Exercise #1 Bulgarian Split Squats
When it comes to bodyweight exercises, this lovely unilateral exercise is a doozy! It is super challenging all on its own and will have your legs on fire.
I love it because, depending on the angle of your torso, you can fit it to work more anterior muscles (like your quads) or posterior muscles (like your glutes and hamstrings). That said, most people despise it- and rightly so! But it is insanely effective and you can use a stair, table, bench or box to elevate that leg. Check out this video on a fun split squat challenge!
Exercise #2 Push Ups
This exercise is just classic. And there are so many ways to perform it (check out 82 ways to do a push up here). Find the variation that best suits your skill level and get to it.
Though, as a new mama I wouldn’t advice doing crazy volume push ups. They work a lot of anterior (front of body) muscles and most mamas need more work on their backs. But, don’t omit them, the push up really is a classic badass exercise.
Exercise #3 Glute Bridge
There are few exercises better than the glute bridge for brand new mamas! I am a huge sucker for glute training (read why you should hit glutes here) and truly think everyone should be targeting them. They keep you strong, injury free and proper glute activation makes your booty look good!
Not only does this exercise work the glutes but it can be done with a focus on pelvic floor engagement – perfect for mamas. You can also advance this to a single leg variation. For more awesome butt building exercises click here.
Exercise #4 Squats
Another classic and for a good reason! While bodyweight squats are amazing, you can easily switch them up to provide more of a challenge: paused squats, squats with slides etc
Squats are an awesome hip opener and are one of the most functional exercises for day to day life.
Exercise #5 Bodyweight Romanian Deadlift
This exercises is perfect when learning to hip hinge as it gives you instant feedback. I personally believe we all need to focus more on our back of body muscles (with these posterior exercises) and the hip hinge is crucial to that.
This exercise makes a great warm up but you can also progress it to a single leg variation once you master it- thus increasing the difficulty.
Exercise #6 RKC Plank
Most people butcher planks on a daily basis making them useless. The RKC Plank is different.
This variation teaches you not only to engage but hold and contract of every possible muscle. If you can hold this for more than twenty seconds, you’re probably doing it wrong. Here is a really awesome demo on how to perform it.
Exercise #7 Reverse or Sliding Lunge
Who doesn’t love lunges?! This sliding lunge is great at targeting the lower body. So long as you ensure you’re not arching the low back you’ll feel those glutes and hammies!
This exercise does work best on a floor with socks or towels. That said, walking lunges work amazingly too if you’re at a park and have some room!
Exercise #8 Supine Heel Slides
Grab a towel or wear socks on a hardwood floor. This exercise hits the hamstrings and hard. If you’re a beginner, my advice would be to start with a single leg variation to take the resistance off a wee bit.
Exercise #9 Hollow Holds
This exercise is a classic for any gymnast! And while you may have no acrobatic goals, this is still amazing exercise for a bodyweight workout.
It challenges your core and you’ll probably only be able to hold it upwards of ten seconds.
Exercise #10 Hip Thrust
Elevate your back on a table, couch, whatever you can find and give your glutes a bit more range of motion!
This glute bridge variation is a fun one because it gives a bit more range of motion. Switch up your stance and go narrow or wide to keep progressing. When it feels easy- opt for a single leg variation.
Make sure you’re performing hip thrusts flawlessly and truly activating your glutes. Check out one of my favorite exercise demos on how to hip thrust here.
Exercise #11 Deadbug
I just couldn’t NOT have this exercise included. The deadbug is a classic exercise to teach stabilization and muscle engagement. It’s one of my favorites for new moms and any lifters as it teaches you to control unwanted extension.
Don’t forget to pin these awesome bodyweight exercises for later!
Bodyweight training is not only practical but functional. It’s easy to adapt to your goals and effective also. Here are a couple of fun workouts but the truth is, it’s easy to just pick 4-5 exercises and rock a circuit. Below is one of my favorites!
Quick Bodyweight Circuit Workout
A1. Walking Lunges 12/leg
A2. Feet Elevated Glute Bridge 20
A3. Tricep Push Ups 10
A4. Hollow Holds 2 x 10s
Four sets with little rest between each set.
If you’re a mom with littles, you know how hard it is to schedule a workout. Bodyweight training allows you the luxury of working out wherever and whenever. It teaches great muscle activation and will give your body activity it needs.