A Mom’s Ultimate Guide To Working Out At Home
All the tools and resources you need to smash your goals while working out at home. As a busy mom, rocking a home workout can seem far more practical than hitting them gym. If you’re not sure where to start though, this guide will help walk you through getting set up and ready for working out at home
This blog post contains everything you need to ROCK working out at home. Here’s what you have in store:
- Why Moms Need A Home Workout Plan
- What equipment You Need
- How To Build A Home Workout Plank
- Working out at home for women
- What to do with kids during home workouts
- Bodyweight style training
- Actual Workouts You Can Use
As a strength coach most moms that come to me wanting to start a fitness program they're just not sure where to start.
When it comes to getting fit with little kids the biggest obstacle most moms are presented with is not having enough time.
It’s a hassle getting to the gym, getting ready, figuring out what to do with kids, packing them, traveling, post workout changing. Gym time ends up being pushed lower and lower onto the to-do list
Which makes working out at home have three benefits:
- It saves time
- It keeps you consistent
- You can work out at home
By cutting out travel time and get kids ready time, finding time for at home workouts becomes practical. And the more practical a routine is the more likely you are to adhere to it.
And further than that, the more consistent you are in working out at home the better results you’ll see. Just like your baby took nine full months of day to day growth, your fitness goals will take time too.
Goals require day in and day out consistency. That can be broken down into an actual home workout, a stretch session, active recovery (walking). All of it adds up.
And of course, if you work out at home you save massive time because you can work out in your pajamas! Haha. But really, save on laundry, save time packing a bag and be utterly comfortable- home workouts in your pj’s are just as effective.
The truth is, there’s lots of options when it comes to equipment for working out at home. Much of it is preference and cost based.
That said, you don’t need all the things. While a full gym set up is great- and I’m totally spoiled- it’s not necessary. Any piece of equipment (or none at all) can give you a great workout. You just need to know how to use it.
Below are the most common pieces of equipment for working out at home and the ones I recommend most often to my clients. You can read more about why I chose these pieces of equipment for working out at home but the four below provide a quick summary:
I grab most of my equipment now from Pro Source as they have some great pieces. And, if you use code mamabear15 you can save some money on your purchase!
- They’re cost effective
- They take up next to no space
- You can travel with them
- They’re low impact (so great to prevent or rehab injuries)
- You can target your posterior muscles easier
The main reason I love them for working out at home is that they help you target the muscles of the posterior chain. specifically the upper back muscles. These muscles tend to be trickier to hit with just bodyweight training when you’re starting out.
As well as allowing you to get a great workout, resistance bands are also super cost effective and they take up little place.
Here’s a fun arm workout you can do using only a red resistance band.
If you’re looking to get fit but are unsure where to start or you don’t have a lot of money to spend, a red strength band is the best way to.
A Set Of Dumbbells
You’re probably wondering why I said “set” there. While having options is awesome, it’s not always necessary. If you want to save money, grab two dumbbells of the same weight and you’ll have a ton of workout options.
As a lover of strength training, dumbbells are at the top of my list for working out at home. If you’re new to resistance training you can check out some beginner tips.
Learning to add resistance to your workout brings a whole new element to your results. The benefits of resistance training are so much more than just your body looking great.
Having a set of dumbbells at home opens up a whole new world of exercises and honestly makes workouts a little easier because you don’t need to be creative.
They’re a great way to target all muscles of the body and allow you to progress
And as I mentioned, it’s great to have multiple weights however, one set (a pair of 15’s) is a great place to start.
Tip: whatever you do, do not but the dumbbells that you add plates onto to increase the weight. They’re horrible, they get in the way and it takes too long to adjust
Stability balls, or swiss balls, are a tool like anything else. I like these best for low impact or supported movements (wall squats).
You can use swiss balls in a variety positions (standing, sitting on the ball, laying down and holding the ball) but you do need to get creative.
Kettlebells are similar to dumbbells in the sense that they:
- Provide weighted resistance
- Are a great place to start when learning to strength train
- Are versatile in the fact that you don’t need many
For the most part dumbbells and kettlebells are interchangeable, you can do the same exercises with either. However, if you’re looking to add in more power movements or dynamic movements (like a kettlebell swing or a clean and press) to get your heart rate up, kettlebells are worth having.
I also prefer them when teaching people how to deadlift. Kettlebell deadlifts are an amazing way to enforce the hip hinge pattern and begin to load it while reducing some risk of injury.
The same principal applies with kettlebells though- you don’t need many! I tell clients to start with a 25lb kettlebell and work around from there
TRX Suspension Straps
This is the most expensive piece of equipment for working out at home but one of the best. I’ve been using trx straps since 2010 and still love them. Some perks are:
- You can adjust the difficulty level of an exercise based on where you stand
- You can target your back muscles in a variety of ways
- They’re portable
- You can hook them off a door
- They’re low impact
I cannot say enough amazing things about suspension straps when it comes to home workouts. Because you’re in charge of the tension, these straps are perfect for low impact exercises.
However, you also have the option to make the exercises more intense and even plyometric.
I used trx a lot when I was pregnant for my workouts because it’s so easy to change to accommodate the day.
Plus, you can target your entire body with just these straps, especially your back muscles. Strengthening these muscles helps reduce aches and pains from postural issues and helps you better carry your kids.
I personally prefer to have suspension straps fixed to a hook or bar on the ceiling but you can also (and I have many times) use them on the back of a door also (the kit comes with the door jammer)
There’s no perfect piece of equipment for working out at home. As I said, much of it is preference and cost.
But that also means that it’s possible to be fit and complete your workouts without any equipment at all. So if you want to set yourself up- do it! If you can’t afford it right now, that’s okay too.
And as I mentioned, I grab most of my gear at Prosource. They have great selection and if you use code mamabear15 you’ll save some money.
The next step in your adventure of working out at home is to figure out a plan! There’s a lot of different ways to train and some of the craziness I’ll guide you through below.
However, if you want a more “done for you” approach or you just really don’t want to think, I have you covered. I actually offer FREE at home workouts for mamas.
They’re sent to your inbox each Sunday morning and include video demos.
How Long Should Home Workouts Be
The golden question when it comes to any workouts. I’m constantly asked how long workouts should be. And the truth is.. it really doesn’t matter.
Any time you can get to work out is awesome. As an average, 30-40 minutes four times per week is great.
But if you have kids, it’s not always going to happen. It’ll be broken up, sporadic, happen at different times each day. And that’s okay.
My strength workouts are about 40 minutes long but my circuit workouts are a quick twenty.
There’s no “perfect amount of time” that suddenly makes you fit. Some of it depends on your goals and the way your body responds. But you definitely do not need to be rocking two workouts per day for sixty minutes each.
What I mean by workout style is the kind of workout you’re doing (hiit training, strength training, pilates etc).
Much of this is preference but some of it is goals based.
I’m a huge fan of finding something you LOVE and effing rocking it. However, if you’re looking for something specific, you’ll need to gear towards that.
Plus, some body types respond better to certain workouts than others. For example:
- Running is awesome but it normally doesn’t get you super lean unless you’re already an ectomorph (born slender)
- Pilates is awesome but doesn’t have enough progressive overload to give great weight loss results
- Circuit training can definitely be geared towards weight loss and work well but it doesn’t build muscle
- Strength training helps immensely with weight loss and that “toned look”
So, my advice is the start by choosing a style you somewhat enjoy and then tweak as needed. The best results normally come from combining two styles.
For example, I strength train three days per week no matter what. Then I alternate between running or a circuit on my other workout days.
This is a big one when it comes moms working out! Many mom focus on the basics like squats and pushups. And while those are AWESOME exercises, they both target a lot of the front of the body.
Since many mamas are tight there and weak in the back, this only makes things worse (sorry not sorry).
Instead, we need to place more focus on the posterior chain to:
- help improve posture
- correct imbalance
- improve proper core function
- increased strength
There’s a few exercises I think all mamas should be strong in but if you’re looking to make your own routine or checking out others, look for some of the following exercises:
- Rows, any and all kind
- Face pulls
- Romanian deadlifts
- Glute bridges, raises and thrusts
- Hamstring curls
Some of those exercises should be in every single workout you do. Keep in mind too, your workouts will look very different depending on where you are in your postpartum journey.
For the most part, home workouts for males and females can be the same. The differences come about during and after pregnancy obviously.
Along with these differences, there’s also two aspects to consider when it comes to training for your fitness goals.
Working out at home to lose weight
For women, our bodies were made to store fat (yay). Males (especially younger ones) tend to have an easier time with weight loss goals.
If you’re working out at home to lose weight, intensity matters.
My best advice to you is to vary between home at home cardio workouts and at home strength workouts to give you the best bang for your buck.
You’ll need workouts, and frequent ones, that get your breathless and sweaty instead of just going through the motions.
The strength workouts will help you build muscle (which in turns burns calories when not working out) and should be the base of your at home workout routine.
And keep in mind of course that weight loss is surprisingly determined by nutrition and not actually exercise. You’ll want to check out the four pillars of weight loss if you’re serious about those goals!
Working out at home for fitness
If your goals are fitness based (meaning you just want to enjoy your workouts, keep up with kids and move your body), home workouts rock! They’re easy to fit into a schedule when your short on time and a great way to get your heart rate up!
There’s a lot of different ways to be “fit”, so find something you enjoy and rock it.
Just because you’re planning to work out at home doesn’t mean it’ll be easy if your kiddos around, it can get pretty chaotic.
However, there are some easy solutions:
- Let them join
- Give them activities
- Make use of screen time
Let Your Kids Join In
This one is easily the most practical of the options because your kids are going to want to join in anyways. So, let them!
The truth is, it’s crazy working out with kids. But you make it work. You change diapers between sets, you laugh *a lot*, you sing on rest times. You make fitness fun.
Somedays it’s worse than others but after a while everyone somewhat learns the game plan.
That said, this is not a great option for you if you truly need your workouts to zone out. I love working out with my kids and showing them that exercise is fun, but it’s not peaceful by any means.
And half of my focus is definitely placed on them and not what I’m doing. But sometimes, it’s also the only option, so roll with it
You can also try desginated activities for the gym. We’ve done this on occasion and it works pretty well. For example, playdough was only played with while mama was doing a workout. Specific coloring books were used etc. it gives them something to look forward too and distracts them
Yup, I said it. The dreaded words! I totally and 100% use a tv to finish off my workouts- and you should too!
Sometimes it’s just about priorities and working out is one of mine. Which means if all shit is breaking lose, I’d much rather give them a show than cut my workout. But that’s me.
But, if you’re kids are going to watch a show for twenty minutes, you might as well do something productive (and no, checking out ig is not productive!) and rock a workout with it.
At Home Bodyweight Workouts
Alright, so I’ve touched on almost all the things when it comes to working out at home but I haven’t explained at home bodyweight workouts!
Bodyweight workouts are a killer way to train and have a ton of benefits. And if you think you can’t get fit using just your bodyweight, your wrong. . Learning how to maximize bodyweight training for your goals is crucial and so is choosing the right exercise progressions.
- Work out any where
- Cost effective
Really and truly, learning to master your body is a great place to start when working out at home. And truthfully, you can take it pretty far if your goals are calisthenics based!
Regardless, the biggest benefits or bodyweight workouts are the ability to work out literally anywhere and that it’s cost effective. If you don’t know where to start, bodyweight workouts are it.
Best bodyweight exercises
Just like exercises with equipment, there are some bodyweight exercises better than others. And I’m totally biased here because I’m totally going to include pull ups (more below)
- Single leg deadlifts
- Hip thrusts
- Bulgarian split squats
- Push ups
- Pull ups
- Reverse planks
Seems basic, right? And yet most people overlook using these exercises. But basic works. And when you’ve mastered an easy 10-20 repetitions of basic, make it harder! Single leg squats, paused reps, eccentric deadlifts. The ways you perform the exercises can change the difficulty.
And yes, pull ups are on the list. Pull ups are a movement all people should work towards. Strengthening the shoulders and the back muscles are insanely important for posture, to carry babes and to reduce injury risk.
Even if you don’t think you’ll ever be able to complete one, you can’t deny that they’re a great exercise. Use bands if you need them or work on strategic pauses. Learn more about practical pull up methods and how to train them to help streamline your bodyweight training.
And now what you’ve probably been waiting for! What in the eff to do. Truth be told, you’ve got a lot of options here:
- Create your own programs by choosing 10-12 exercises and making circuits
- Hire someone
- Pull workouts off the internet
All of the options are completely awesome. If you need a place to start, I do offer WEEKLY workouts delivered to your inbox complete with video demos.
If you’re looking to make your workouts more cardio based you can rock:
For this you’ll need to sort through workouts based on your equipment but there are lots of options:
- Simple resistance band workout
- 1 dumbbell workout
- Trx workout
- DB strength workouts
- Kettlebell workouts
So, there you have it! Everything you need to set you up for working out at home. Remember, life as a mom is chaos. Embrace it! Being fit and healthy doesn’t have to be insane, find a system that works FOR YOU and rock it.
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