5 Of the Best Exercises For Moms
Achieve weight loss goals, prevent injuries, and carry kids easier all by mastering the 5 best exercises for moms – and there’ no equipment needed! These exercises are not only functional for everyday activities but they also make a base for best workouts for busy moms too!
With so much workout pressure on moms. It’s a wonder, we’re not all in tears. I’m a firm believer that you need to find a workout system that you both enjoy as well as one that pushes you towards your goals (like finding the unique time when it’s best for YOU to work out!)
If you’re suffering through your workouts, you’ll never be consistent and thus have a far less chance of achieving your goals. However, and yes, there’s a big old buck coming in here. There are some movements I believe all moms should be strong in no matter what and burpees aren’t one of them.
These exercises are the baseline for everyday activities: for carrying kids easier, for reducing back pain and yes, for any composition goals. Regardless of which style of exercise you choose to partake in, moms need to master these movements for everyday function.
- Introduction (1:35)
- The Best Exercises Are Not Jumping (2:26)
- The Hip Hinge (5:58)
- Rowing (7:40)
- The Squat (9:19)
- The Glute Bridge (10:40)
- The Deadbug (12:24)
- These Exercises Are Long-term Exercises (14:04)
- Resources Mentioned In The Podcast
Welcome to the fit of the mama bear podcast. I’m Shelby and certified strength coach, nutrition coach, mama to two, and all-around health nut. This show is about a little bit of everything healthy, fit, and natural related. So, if you’re striving to smash goals, eat better, feel better, and enjoy the occasional mom rant, this is the place for you.
Thank you to today’s sponsor Pro Source. Pro source is a fitness equipment company that has just about everything you need to set yourself up at home.
I’m a firm believer in doing home workouts you enjoy and making them crazy simple. At-home workouts mean no travel time. Working out at home is the best advice I can give to busy mommas.
To set yourself up to rock home workouts, head on over to Prosourcefit.com and because you’re an awesome listener, save some money, and use code mamabearfit. Get ready to smash some goals.
Hello friends. So Thank you so much for letting me jump into your ear today. I’m super excited to be chatting solo about today’s topic, but I feel I have to warn you that I may go off on a mini-rant or tangent.
This is a topic which I’m super passionate about, but I find the best exercises for moms is so often butchered, which means many rants.
Before we dive in, if you’re familiar with the podcast, thank you truly! Your support means everything to this coach turned blogger. There’s no team here. It’s just me. And I’m thankful you choose to listen in.
If you’re new here. Welcome. I hope that you take a little bit of knowledge and some inspiration from today’s episode, and don’t forget to hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss another one.
So, for those of you who don’t know in the real world, I’m a personal trainer, a certified strength and conditioning specialist actually, which means a very fancy personal trainer.
I’ve been a certified personal trainer since 2010 and a strength coach since 2012. And while my style of training has shifted so much over the years, there are a few movements that haven’t fallen off the rotation.
And after being a mom twice over myself and training moms, I’ve come to realize just how crucial these movements are.
Today what I’d like to do is go over those movements to break them down as much as possible and leave you with a bit of motivation to master them.
The thing is so many exercise programs targeted to moms promote high-intensity jumping, countless burpees, or crazy core work. And it drives me bananas.
So when we look at jumping, the reason why I get so frustrated when moms are told to jump is that we’re not told to be strong before that jumping (learn more about why new moms should avoid jumping).
Jumping is a great movement. It’s a great fat loss movement. However, if you don’t have the strength in your glutes to support the landing, or you find your knees, caving in, jumping is really not awesome for you.
Likewise, if your core isn’t engaged or if your pelvic floor is on the weaker side, all that pressure is going down and that’s going to make symptoms like leaking a lot worse.
I feel like we need to open up the conversation about jumping before we tell moms that they should just start doing burpees.
Also, I think that burpees have their place. I definitely do. Burpees are a great way to randomly work up a sweat or as a finisher, but they’re not for beginners.
Master The Basic Exercises First
Teaching people how to master the basics that they’re going to use every single day should come before you just try to teach them for no reason. It is really easy to do an exercise for a specific amount of time and working a failure super easy, but what are you accomplishing?
You should always know the answer to that question before you’re doing something. The programs I make are geared towards being strong because moms need to be strong. The exercises I use are not just a happy, fun time.
They’re not just there to burn out your muscles, that that’s easy. I want to make your daily tasks easier and don’t even get me started about core work postpartum.
I get really frustrated with this one too because it’s easy to program in situps or planks or any type of vsit, but should postpartum moms be doing those? Have you talked about why they maybe should be doing those exercises?
I think that we just need a little bit more information. And the truth is I think that we need to focus on the basics before we jump into any of the fun or crazy things.
The best exercises for moms (and the best workouts for moms) are the base exercises for everything else. These exercises are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck in preventing injury. They’re going to help you strengthen your back so that you don’t have back pain, which means that they’re going to help you carry kids easier.
Because God knows we do that until they’re like seven.
These are the exercises that if you have performance goals in the gym, you need to master. They’re going to strengthen your core, which again comes into injury and carrying kids.
Basically the best exercises for moms are functional and I get frustrated with a lot of training programs because they’re very random and people haven’t mastered these exercises.
Intensity should not be increased until you dominate these exercises. I know that sounds snotty. I know it sounds very sure, but I am sure of this. You need to master these.
As I mentioned, there are five and the first one is a hip hinge or a deadlift. Now, before everyone starts freaking out about the word deadlift…The deadlift is a hip hinge.
What I mean by a hip hinge is that you are breaking at the hips.
If you think of a squat, your knees are bending up and down. That is the dominant area. Whereas with a hip hinge, you’re hinging from your hip flexors.
And the reason why this is one of the best exercises for moms is that when you strengthen the posterior chain, which is predominantly what’s happening when you learn to hip hinge, you prevent a lot of injuries (check out how to best strengthen the back of the body and why).
You’re looking at your back muscles, your low back muscles, your glutes, and your hamstrings. That is what the hip hinge accomplishes.
And I think what I’m going to do is record a mini video for this podcast to link to showing these exercises.
But when you think of a hip hinge, what I want you to focus on are two parts. Your torso and upper body and your lower body. With the hip hinge, you want a slight bend in your knees, but your knees shouldn’t be moving up and down.
Your upper back needs to be flat. That’s the biggest problem I see with hip hinges is that people around their upper back and the reason I love teaching the hip hinge is that its instant feedback.
If you try your hip hinge and you don’t feel a stretch in your hamstrings, you’re wrong. I’m terribly sorry. You don’t need weight to make this exercise feel intense. You are actually just in the wrong position. So I teach this with a dowel (learn how to hip hinge). I find that the easiest or with bum taps to a wall.
Think of yourself as a Dodo bird and you have two parts, you have your lower part and your upper part, and you are literally hinging over. You’re not rounding. You are sticking your bum backward as if you were reaching your bum towards the back wall. And then you are thrusting forward.
That is your hip hinge.
And this movement is going to help you with absolutely everything. It is the dominant movement in strengthening the back of the body, which is your biggest issue when it comes to posture or low back issues.
The next best exercise for moms is a row. There’s a lot of different ways to row:
- TRX rows
- Bentover rows
- Dumbbell rows
- Ring rows
You can do rows a million ways but the principle remains the same.
The biggest problem I see with rowing is that people use their biceps and not their back. Now part of this is due to thoracic mobility (here’s a few stretches to do to improve your upper body mobility).
Your upper back actually has to be able to move in order to perform a row properly. But you want to engage the back muscles, not just the bicep muscles. You actually want to see your back muscles move and kind of pinch your shoulder blades behind your back and then release.
This doesn’t mean just thrusting your chest out, but it does mean moving the shoulders and engaging the back muscles.
And the reason that a row is one of the best exercises regardless of what variation you choose is that as moms, we are constantly carrying.
Everything we do is forward. When we’re pregnant our shoulders round forward, and then we breastfeed and our shoulders are forward and we need to strengthen our back muscles to help pull our shoulders back and open up our chest.
Having a stronger upper back actually helps take a lot of strain off of your lower back. That’s going to help prevent injury and improve posture.
And it’s also going to make it easier to carry kids because when you have a stronger back, you’re not just relying on your arm muscles to do the holding. And you’re not rounding forward to do that.
Now I know that you know that you should, squat.
Squats are awesome. When you think of a squat, the biggest problem I see with my female clients is two-fold.
They are pushing themselves forward and they’re letting their knees cave in. What I want you to do is take a wider stance. And I want you to focus on sitting back. You can actually do this by putting a chair, a bench or a stair behind you.
Something to fall on. Because I know sitting backward kind of freaks everyone out a little bit. So you need to sit back to that. Shift the weight more into your heels. You are not just thrusting your knees forward. Everyone says squats are bad for your knees, but they’re not.
Unless you do them poorly.
So you need to shift your weight backward and then you need to drive your knees out. And what I mean by this, isn’t rolling on to rolling your ankles. I want you to actually use your bum muscles to push your knees out on both parts of the squat.
You sink your hips back and down between your knees and then using your glutes and driving your knees out to push up (strengthen your glutes to help with this).
Those are the two biggest issues. And as you know, we squat all the time. Having a strong squat is important as a mom.
And once you master your squat, there are so many squat variations to play with!
I’m a glute fanatic. I have been that way for about five years now. I actually have a whole course on a mini-course on how to strengthen your glutes and learning how to activate them.
Glute bridges are one of the best exercises for moms because our glutes are very under-activated and it causes a lot of problems.
Strong glutes are going to help hold you up. They are going to help performance and they are going to help relieve low back pain (learn more about why you need strong glutes).
Your hips and your hips should be strong and mobile. Now mobility is a factor there, but that’s a topic for another day.
With glute bridges, the reason why I like them is that they’re a great low impact way to start squeezing your bum and really realizing what a glute contraction is.
When you are lying down in your position, you want to squeeze your glutes and raise your hips. Now, some of this is going to depend on your hip flexor flexibility, just how high you’re going to get.
Don’t try to get higher if you can’t, you’re wanting to lockout at the top.
And by that I mean, you are cracking walnuts in your bum cheeks. Squeezing at the top, coming into a pelvic tilt. You are not arching your low back or flaring your ribs, which is what I see happen the most often in a glute bridge to try and get that extra inch.
That extra inch is irrelevant if you are not contracting the muscles properly. The reason I love glutes is that they give you instant feedback. You can feel them.
If you’re can activating them, they’re going to burn very quickly, after about three reps. If you actually put your hands on your bum your glute muscles change shape when you contract them.
You should feel them change shape if you are using them properly. Train your glutes.
And the last of the best exercises is a dead bug. I think everyone needs to learn how to perform a dead bug.
I know the name for this exercise is hilarious and always makes me laugh. But a deadbug is really just learning how to pelvic tilt and to engage your deep abdominals.
The reason that this one is important is we don’t engage those muscles very often or properly and we need to.
The first step is learning how to come into an anterior and posterior pelvic tilt. So, basically rolling through your hips.
It’s a bit hard to explain. With the dead bug, you are laying on the ground with your arms and feet in the air, and you need to come into a posterior pelvic tilt. You need to take your ribs and your hips and get them together and feel pressure in the front part of your core, which means that your low back should be pressed into the ground.
That’s your start position is to just be able to hold that position. From there, you are going to alternate moving your arms and legs as you do. So this is an anti-extension exercise. As you do it, you should feel a stretch in the abs, but your low back should not come off the floor.
That’s crucial. If your low back is coming off the floor, you are disengaged.
The reason this is so helpful is that it’s an anti-extension exercise, which means that when we are swayback, like when we’re holding kids, we’re in an extended lumber position and we really need to learn how to come out of that position.
Strengthening the core muscles help hold you upright. That is what a dead bug does and is also one of the best exercises you can do immediately postpartum is learning to just come into that four-point hold and engage those muscles.
There are so many different ways to exercise and I believe in finding a style that you enjoy.
However, mastering these exercises will help you with any possible style you choose. They’re going to help you:
- get stronger
- get leaner
- prevent injuries
- generally, be able to play with your kids more.
Don’t overlook these movements.
What I really want you to do is head over to my YouTube channel. If you need some visual demos of these exercises or workouts that incorporate them you’ll find them there.
If you took one lesson from today’s episode, I hope it’s that anyone can start these best exercises, but you need to master them and work at them to make them effective. They are crucial.
Don’t Forget To Pin The Best Exercises For Moms
Strength Band https://shrsl.com/2ddkj (use code mamabearfit)
Green Loop: https://shrsl.com/2ddki (use code mamabearfit)
Posterior Chain Exercises For Moms: https://fitasamamabear.com/10-posterior-exercises-for-moms/
Why Moms Should Work out At Home https://fitasamamabear.com/why-moms-should-workout-at-home/
Why To Avoid Jumping Exercises https://fitasamamabear.com/why-you-should-avoid-plyometric-exercises/
How To Fix Low Back Pain www.fitasamamabear.com/why-you-have-back-pain-and-how-to-fix-it
How To Hip Hinge http://fitasamamabear.com/learn-to-hip-hinge/
Upper Body Mobility Stretches https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEgU965l3_s
Build Stronger Glutes https://fitasamamabear.com/product/building-stronger-glutes-5-week-workout-program/
Why You NEED To train Glutes http://fitasamamabear.com/3-reasons-you-need-to-train-glutes/
Crucial Core Exercises For New Moms www.fitasamamabear.com/four-crucial-exercises-for-new-moms
My Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsRunhLZ_v5zUwza-IocVIw?view_as=subscriber