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Quick 15-minute workouts for moms

Emily M. White is a freelance writer based out of New York City who specializes in writing about lifestyle and women's issues.

Make it count

Though it sounds insignificant, 15 minutes a day of exercise will result in a toned body, as long as you know what to target within that quarter of an hour. Here are some tips for pounding out a great workout as a mom on the go, with and without the kids.

Woman exercising with barbells

As fitness and exercise specialist Kelli Calabrese explains, if you only have 15 minutes, you can take one of two approaches: Target one muscle group, or do a quick total-body-part workout daily. The point is, quick workouts can work!

Focus On: Variety

"With only 15 minutes, variety is going to be important," says Calabrese. "If you are doing total body for 15 minutes each day, you don't want to repeat the exercises because you are likely only going to have time for one exercise per body part." Calabrese further explains that, if you are targeting the same body part, you are still better off using a variety of exercises rather than repeating the same ones. "With variety, you are challenging the muscles just a little differently and have a better chance of more core engagement or working the muscle in a more balanced way," she says.

Focus On: High Weight, Lower Reps

Juliet Kaska, fitness expert and celebrity trainer, agrees that the key to 15-minute workouts is to keep them varied, with higher weight and lower reps so you have time to get more exercise in to build lean muscle.

Kaska believes you can definitely get results with just 15 minutes a day. She suggests breaking the 15-minute workouts this way: Monday -- cardio, chest and triceps; Tuesday -- cardio biceps and legs; Wednesday -- cardio, shoulders, core, etc.

"The higher the weights, the more time in between to rest muscle groups -- and you really want to pound it in," Kaska asserts.

The Workouts

For this 15-minute leg/plyo workout, alternate 1 minute strength training followed by 30 seconds of a burst/plyo exercise. Calabrese suggests any one of the following moves to incorporate into a 15-minute workout, to be completed with or without dumbbells and a mat:

  • Squats
  • Jump shots
  • Lunges
  • Spiderman jumps
  • Sumo squats
  • Squat jacks
  • Side lunges
  • Split squats
  • Skier squats (close stance)
  • Butt kicks
  • Single-leg dead lifts
  • Side bounds

For a 15-minute total body workout, Calabrese suggests alternating strength training for 1 minute with burst/plyo intervals for 30 seconds. These can be completed with dumbbells and a mat:

  • 1 Arm row (each arm)
  • Mountain climbers
  • Standing incline chest presses
  • Pushups
  • Shoulder overhead presses
  • Modified burpees
  • Squats
  • Jump shots
  • Single-leg lying hip lifts
  • Frog hops
  • Bicep curls
  • Runner's arms
  • Tricep extensions
  • Jabs
  • Double crunches
  • Bicycle

Let The Kids Join In

Depending on their ages, physical abilities and maturity levels, Calabrese says that workouts for moms can include the kids; it's a great way to introduce them to fitness. She exercises with her 8- and 9-year-olds, and they attend the boot camp she teaches (they are mature enough to follow directions and be engaged).

Here are some kid-friendly exercises Calabrese recommends:

  • Face each other head to head in the pushup position; perform a pushup and then clap hands
  • Hold hands facing each other and sit down (or squat down) and stand up
  • Sit across from each other feet to feet and pass a dumbbell or ball back and forth as you sit up and down
  • Medicine ball/weighted ball toss
  • Medicine ball/weighted ball toss and rotation
  • "Kids always enjoy props like jump ropes, hula hoops and balls, so incorporate these props into these additional activities to get your heart rate up and even more and muscles activated," Calabrese says.

Other fun kid friendly exercises/activities include:

  • Simulated animals (call out animal names and act them out). Those great for core work are the inchworm, alligator, spider, gorilla, duck, lion, etc.
  • Simulated jump rope, simulated boxing
  • Freeze dancing
  • Relay races
  • Obstacle courses

The most important thing to remember is that, as long as you push for intensity and variety, you can get the body you want for 15 minutes a day, while teaching your little one the importance of being active.

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