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Effective At-Home Workouts

We're all busy, right? I mean, we're all really busy. I guess there's a chance that you're not, but that's at least how I've felt for essentially the last two years. I just feel like there's never any real downtime in life anymore (unless I wake up before the sun). I used to think it was becoming a mom that made me busier, but I'm starting to think it's my own fault, always adding one more committment to our already busy lives.

Either way, life is busy. I've written about it on here what seems like so many times now, but it's also a fact that I know I become just a beast when I sacrifice my workouts to accomodate this often self-inflicted busy lifestyle. I get moodier and much shorter fused, and let's be honest, there ain't no one out there who wants to deal with a crabby Heather (it's seriously not pretty).

Over the last 6-8 months I've gotten to what is probably the best, healthiest shape I've ever been in. Since I've always been a gym junkie that's a pretty big statement to make. But the truth is even Husby makes comments about it, and when I originally met him I was in the gym for a couple hours at least six days a week. So what am I doing different now?

For starters, I only spend about 20 minutes a day on focused weight training.

While my cardio is still important, my weight training is ultimately what I attribute my body shape to. So...what gives? I'm just working out smarter.

Oh, and what's even better is that I break those 20-minute increments apart into 10 minutes each. No matter how busy you are you can't tell me you don't have 10 minutes to focus on one area each day (at least a couple days a week)!

The body parts I work on and am actually complimented on the most are my arms, shoulders and abs. (The arms and shoulders thing is a little funny to me because I have two girlfriends whose arms make mine look like flab, no joke).

What I'm going to do today is give you some basic moves I do on each of those three body parts.

Disclaimer: I have to be a honest and give my daughter some credit for this too. Carrying and swinging around an almost 30-pound toddler has I'm sure had its benefits on my body. On the flip side, it would be a lot harder to do all that with her if my little 5-foot 2-inch frame wasn't conditioned with weight training too!

So...up in this little section I'm going to give you the drill on each of the three areas. You should be able to complete each body part in 10 minutes, only providing yourself a 30 second rest in between sets. For all of you who know what each move is, that's all you need. But if you need a little extra help on the lingo, I have some demos shown below for help!


Pushups to exhaustion (repeat 2x) Shown Below

Side Lateral Raise; 15 reps (repeat 3x) Shown Below

Standing Shoulder Press; 15 reps (repeat 3x)

Upright Dumbbell Row; 15 reps (repeat 3x)


Individual Bicep Curls; 15 reps each arm (repeat 3x)

Side Bicep Curls; 15 reps (repeat 3x) Shown Below

Top-Half Bicep Curls; 15 reps (repeat 2x)

Bottom-Half Bicep Curls; 15 reps (repeat 2x)


Russian Twist; 20 twists (repeat 3x) Shown Below

Weighted Boat Crunch; 15 reps (repeat 3x) Shown Below

Bicycle Crunch; 20 reps (repeat 3x)

Plank Knee Twist; 20 reps (repeat 2x)



Pushups (above):

1. Your back should be perfectly straight. If you're not sure if it's straight and don't have a mirror, find a window or glass you can see your reflection in!

2. Hands should be placed wide enough apart that when lowered (shown above) your arms are parallel with your shoulders and your elbows are at a 90-degree angle (this keeps the focus on your shoulders instead of your triceps).

3. Keep your eyes focused on the ground about 6-inches in front of you as you lower down. This will help ensure you don't start hunching over during the pushup.

4. Lower down until your arms at a 90-degree angle (pictured), then push back up, never locking your elbows out completely.

Side Lateral Raise (below):

1. When completed from a kneeling position, your front and back legs should both start at 90-degree angles.

2. Once situated, lean your body forward 45 degrees so you can see the tips of your toes, always keeping your front leg at a 90 degrees (first picture below). This helps keeps pressure off your lower back!

3. Start with your arms down at your sides, bent at the elbows (first picture below).

4. Keeping your elbows bent, raise your arms until they are parallel with your shoulders (second picture below). Do not raise your hands or weights above your shoulders!!

5. For a more intense version, keep your arms straight during this exercise.

Standing Shoulder Press:

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.

2. Start with dumbbells parallel to your shoulders, elbows bent (pictured)

3. Raise dumbbells straight up, making sure to never arch your back (keeping your core tight will help avoid any arching!)

Upright Dumbbell Row:

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.

2. Start with arms straight down, dumbbells right in front of your thighs (pictured)

3. Raise dumbbells up the front of your body, stopping when they reach just under your chin, then lower back down.

4. Make sure to never arch your back (keeping your core tight will help avoid any arching!)



Side Bicep Burls (above):

1. Stand or kneel with your knees or feet hip-width apart. If standing, keep knees slightly bent.

2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, facing away from your body.

3. Curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders by bending your elbows in (shown above).

Individual Bicep Curls:

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.

2. Start with arms down at your sides, dumbbells facing in toward your thighs.

3. Raise one dumbbell up toward your shoulder by bending your elbow in. (pictured)

4. Repeat with your other arm, alternating arms to complete one rep. Complete 15 reps on each arm.

Top-Half/Bottom-Half Bicep Curls:

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.

2. Start with arms down at your sides, palms facing away from your body, holding dumbbells.

3. For bottom-half curls, curl both dumbbells up simultanesouly, stopping when your forearm is in a 90-degree angle, then lower back to the starting position. (repeat 15 reps)

4. For top-half curls, start with your elbows in a 90-degree angle at your side, palms facing up, dumbbells in hand. Curl the dumbbells up to your shoulder, then lower back to the 90-degree starting position.



Russian Twist (above):

1. Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels 1-2 feet from your butt, elevated about 6-inches off the ground.

2. Lean slightly back without rounding your spine at all (this is important!).

3. With a small dumbbell in hand, slowly twist to the left, tapping the weight on the ground at your side (pictured). Then twist to the right, tapping the weight on the ground. This completes one rep.

4. The movement should come from your ribs/upper abs rotating, NOT from swinging your arms.

Weighted Boat Crunch (below):

1. Sit on the ground with knees bent, and rest a padded dumbbell or medicine ball on top of your ankles (shown below).

2. Lift your ankles off the ground 4-6 inches.

3. Slowly lean your upper body back while simultaneously straighening your legs (shown below).

4. Again, slowly crunch your upper body back up while bending your knees in, all while keeping your heels off the floor. That completes one rep.

Bicycle Crunch:

1. Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground, hands lightly resting on the back of each side of your head (do not lock your fingers or pull your head up).

2. Lift your legs to a 45-degree angle, keeping legs as straight as possible (pictured).

3. Slowly go through a bicycle pedlaing motion with your legs while alternately touch the opposite elbow to each knee (shown above).

Plank Knee Twist:

1. Start in pushup position with your hands and feet shoulder and hip width apart. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.

2. Brace your core and bring one knee up toward your opposite elbow. (pictured)

3. Return to the starting position and do the same with the opposite leg. This completes one rep.

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