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When You Have 10 Minutes: Simple and effective exercises that tone your body that you can do at home in ten minutes without any equipment. Perfect pilates-like moves to help moms move their postpartum bodies!Well it took a little longer than we originally planned (that’s life with kids, am I right?) but I’m happy to share Workout 2 in the When You Have 10 Minutes home workout series with Balanced Method Pilates. If you missed the first one, you can find it here. This workout focuses on arms, abs, and posture, although it works other areas as well. And again, it is WAY outside my comfort zone to post photos and videos of me working out — but I think showing you that I can do it with my extra pounds and rolls — makes it more believable that you can do it too. This is me, over a year postpartum and not where I hoped to be (or where I have been after babies 1 + 2). I blame my age, my thyroid issues, the fact that I’m still nursing, Quincy’s colic and reflux, sleep deprivation, and a lot of comfort eating. But I’m so ready to do better, to feel better, and to be better. I can do it, and so can you. So let’s go!

Abdominal Work

When You Have 10 Minutes: Simple and effective exercises that tone your body that you can do at home in ten minutes without any equipment. Perfect pilates-like moves to help moms move their postpartum bodies!

Abs – Criss-Cross (legs in table top or feet on floor)

If you are starting out with back issues or chronic pain you can place your feet on the ground with bent knees for this exercise.

  1. Laying on your back with legs up in tabletop position (or down), float your arms up in front of you (toward ceiling) and touch your finger tips together or lightly clasp your hands.
  2. Inhale to prep – gently tuck your chin (like you are holding an orange underneath)
  3. Exhaling slowly – engage upper abs (near lower ribcage) and roll your head and shoulders up off the mat – rotating your upper ribcage and reaching your hands past your left knee
  4. Still keeping head and shoulders up, rotate your ribcage and shoulders and reach your hands past your right knee.

Do. 10-15 reps (one rep includes left and right side)

Notes: Try to keep your head and shoulders lifted off floor, gently tuck your chin, and relax your shoulders away from your ears.

When You Have 10 Minutes: Simple and effective exercises that tone your body that you can do at home in ten minutes without any equipment. Perfect pilates-like moves to help moms move their postpartum bodies!

Abs – Lower Abs (legs in table top or feet on the floor)

Again, if you are starting out with back issues or chronic pain you can place your feet on the ground with bent knees for this exercise.

  1. Laying on your back with legs up in tabletop position (or down), bring your hands behind your head to the base of your skull
  2. Inhale – gently tuck your chin (like you are holding an orange underneath) Exhaling slowly – engage upper abs and roll your head and shoulders up off the mat, try to support the head with your hands and do not pull on your neck.
  3. If your feet are on the floor, lift one leg up to table top and lower back down.
  4. Repeat alternating legs (like a marching motion)
  5. If you start with your feet in tabletop, then keeping your head and chest lifted, and keeping your knees bent, slowly lower feet toward the ground (like you are dipping your feet in water).  Use the lower abs to lift and lower the bent legs.

Do 10-15 reps (one rep includes left and right side).

Use your breath: inhale the knee(s) away from your chest, exhale when you lift the knee(s) toward your chest  – and give it an extra chest lift as you exhale the legs up.

Notes: Try to keep your head and shoulders lifted off floor, gently tuck your chin, and relax your shoulders away from your ears.

When You Have 10 Minutes: Simple and effective exercises that tone your body that you can do at home in ten minutes without any equipment. Perfect pilates-like moves to help moms move their postpartum bodies!

Arms and Posture

Tricep Extension – kneeling on floor/mat, we are using a resistance band – however you can do this exercise with 2 or 3lb hand weights (or cans of soup)

  1. Holding the band with a little slack in front on your thighs, pull straight arms back behind you.  Keep your shoulder blades pressing down away from your ears and gently squeeze them toward each other.
  2. Point the elbows directly behind you and bend the forearms back toward your body
  3. Press the forearms back to the full extension (pressing into the band).
  4. Repeat this action making sure you are keeping your upper arm very still (only the lower arm moves) and continue to keep the shoulder blades pressing together and the collar bones very wide.

Do 15-25 repetitions.

Notes: As you kneel, lift up in your lower abs (like you are zipping up tight jeans!), and keep the ribcage over the hips (don’t over arch your back).

When You Have 10 Minutes: Simple and effective exercises that tone your body that you can do at home in ten minutes without any equipment. Perfect pilates-like moves to help moms move their postpartum bodies!

Upper Back and Shoulder – kneeling or seated with ankles crossed in front, hold the band in both hands in front of your waist (the wider your forearms are, the lighter the resistance)

  1. Gently pull the shoulder blades together and press them down away from your ears. Pull the elbows behind the body/hip bones – keep this position throughout the exercise.
  2. Rotate open the forearms as if you were opening cabinet doors. Give the shoulder blades and extra squeeze.
  3. Then bring the forearms back to start position (make sure you keep your upper arm and elbows still with no forward movement).

Do 15-25 repetitions.

Notes: Even though you are seated or kneeling, lift up through your lower abdomen and widen the collar bones.

**If you would like to do this exercise without a band (see standing video) place your shoulder blades against a wall (lift your heart to the ceiling and rest your head on the wall), your feet will be a few inches away from the wall.… place your elbows back against the wall and do the same rotating forearm movement as above.

When You Have 10 Minutes: Simple and effective exercises that tone your body that you can do at home in ten minutes without any equipment. Perfect pilates-like moves to help moms move their postpartum bodies!

Upper Back Extension “Superwoman” – lie face down on floor/mat (sometimes adding a roll of towel or small blanket under your forehead is more comfortable). Stretch the legs long behind you.

  1. Reach the arms long beside your body and draw the shoulder blades away from your ears.
  2. Pull your belly button away from the mat/floor with an exhale.
  3. On the inhale, float your head and shoulders up away from the mat while reaching your fingers toward your feet.  keep the arms close to your sides.
  4. Exhale as you slowly lower back down.

Do 10 repetitions.

Notes: The neck should remain lengthened (no wrinkles in the back).  Keep your belly pulled away from the mat/floor to protect your lower back and stabilize your hips.

Here is the video to give you a visual demonstration of each exercise.

You can also find the first set of workouts HERE.

Is anyone doing these? I’ll admit, sometimes I have to remind myself to prioritize these as well. Let me know if you have any questions on form or anything else and I’ll have Amanda answer them for you. Need more inspiration, motivation, and instruction? Follow Balanced Method Pilates on Instagram, Facebook, and check out her website for rate info if you’re local (and tell her I sent ya for a special friend of Oh Lovely Day discount!)

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