Working Mother: A Workout Plan For Women To Do On Their Lunch Break

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Because we all want to squeeze in those extra minutes of self-care.

As originally published on Working Mother

As much as you love your kids, they definitely make it challenging to get to the gym after work. Sometimes your lunch break is the only time of day when you're free to do something for you, and these quick exercises are the perfect way to get that heart pounding. No excuses anymore, Mom.

Exercise 1

Starting Position: Stand tall, legs together. Heels touching, toes apart. Navel pulled in and up. Shoulder blades anchored down and back. Arms to your sides.

Movement: Reach your arms up overhead (without crunching your shoulders to your ears) as you rise up onto the balls of your feet. Extend through your fingertips, engaging the arms with energy. Put a small bend in your knees, lowering with control, keep your abdomen engaged, tall spine. Then straighten your legs, squeezing your tush on the way up. Extend your arms out to your sides and lower them back to the starting position with control. Repeat for 10 reps.

Modification: Do the whole exercise with your feet flat and/or arms out to your sides.

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Think about your posture, here.

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Be careful not to crunch your shoulders.

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Rise up onto the balls of your feet.

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Feel the energy in your arms.

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Keep your abs engaged.
Jessica Schatz


Exercise 2

Starting Position: Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder distance apart, slightly turned out from the hips. Strong, straight arms extended to the sides, shoulder height, fingertips reaching long. Navel pulled in and up. Shoulder blades anchored down and back.

Movement: Bend your knees deep, keeping your knees over your ankles. Lift one heel up as you push into the ball of your foot, staying low. Pulse the entire body up and down 10 times—small pulses maintaining the position of the body, squeezing your inner thighs and glutes. Lower your heel and change sides.

Straighten the legs between sides to rest.

Once both sides are completed, reach your arms forward. Straighten your legs and extend your arms up overhead simultaneously. With arms up and legs straight, rise up onto the balls of your feet, lifting tall. Lower back down to starting position with control. Navel pulled in continuously.

Option: To make the exercise more advanced, do the entire exercise with your arms reaching overhead, keeping your shoulders anchored down and back.


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Pull your navel in and up.

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Arms up, here.

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Be sure to keep your knees over your ankles.

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Keep your breathing controlled.

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Squeeze your inner thighs and glutes.

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Focus on balance.

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Switch sides.

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Arms up.


Exercise 3

Starting Position: Stand strong and tall, feet just wider than shoulder distance apart, slightly turned out from the hips. Arms up over your ears. Navel pulled in and up. Shoulders anchored down and back.

Movement: Engaging strong in the legs, reach one arm up and over to stretch the opposite side as you rest the bottom hand on the thigh. Pull the navel in and up. Look down towards the toes. Keep your hips square and stable. Breathe deep into the ribcage, 2-3 rounds of full inhales and exhales. Change sides.

Repeat the exercise with both arms remaining up, shoulders anchored, navel pulled in strong, engaging strong in the legs. Reach out and over to one side, keeping the abdomen engaged. Keep the chest square to the front wall. Complete 2 full rounds of breath. Pull the navel in deep to lift back up to the center and change sides. Return to starting position.

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Feet should be just wider than shoulder distance apart.

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Keep your legs strong.

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Breathe into the ribcage.

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Repeat with both arms remaining up.

Exercise 4

Starting Position: Sit towards the edge of a chair so your sitting bones are firmly planted without resting your spine on the back of the chair (you may also use a stool or bench). Pull the navel in and up. Arms extended forward, shoulder height and shoulder distance apart, palms facing each other, reaching long through your fingers. Spine long and tall.

Movement: Lift one knee up as high as you can without disturbing the position of the body. Use your abdomen to lift your leg. Lower your foot halfway down. Then lift your knee back up. Do this 10 times. Repeat on the other side.

Then, going back to the first side, lift your knee as before, then straighten your leg. Pulse your foot up towards your hands 10 times without disturbing your spine. Keep your navel pulled in and up. Repeat on the other side.

Modification: Do the entire chair exercise with your palms pressing firmly into the surface you’re sitting on, keeping the spine tall and the navel pulled in and up. This is very helpful for people with low back issues or tight hip flexors.

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Your spine should be long and tall.

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Keep the rest of your body still.

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Use your abdomen.

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Lower your foot halfway.

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Keep your core engaged.

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Keep your breathing steady.

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Repeat on the other side.


Exercise 5

Starting Position: Stand strong and tall with one side of your body next to a chair, counter, desk or surface on which you can place your hand for balance. Shoulders square. Navel pulled in and up. Opposite hand on hip. Stabilize yourself with the leg that’s closest to the chair, and prepare to move the leg that’s farther away.

Movement: Using your abdomen, lift the farther-away leg up with a bent knee as high as you can without disturbing your spine. Move from the hip, externally rotating the knee out to the side. Bring your knee back to the center and lower your foot down. Repeat this 10 times. Face the opposite direction and repeat on the second side. Note: In between repetitions, simply touch your toes to the floor; do not rest your foot each time.

Go back to the first side and do the same exercise with a straight leg.

Finish by stretching up and over to one side. Breathe deeply, expanding your ribs, pulling your navel in and up. Repeat on the other side.

Option: To make the exercise more advanced and test your balance, extend your opposite arm out to the side, shoulder height, fingers reaching long.

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Keep your shoulders square.

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Move from the hip.

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Don't disturb your spine.

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Repeat.

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Keep the navel pulled in and up.

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Keep your leg straight.

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Use the chair for balance.

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Breathe deeply.

Jessica Schatz, The Core Expert™, is known for her work with celebrities (fashion mogul Ashley Olsen) and professional athletes (Indiana Pacers’ Wesley Matthews), as well as teaching the casts of Hamilton and Wicked. She recently launched her online fitness series. Enjoy her “Morning Moves” workout for free on her website.

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