Bicep Curl

Being a Mom is tough.  Juggling work, kids’ schedules, making dinner and so much more.  And you know that you need to make time for yourself which includes working out.  So when you actually find the time to work out, make the most of it.  Here are simple tips you can do to make sure you have an efficient and effective workout. And don’t forget to check out Skinny Mom’s 60-second exercise videos for some great ideas!

Use good form.  Good form is crucial to building muscle, not to mention staying injury-free. For example, during standing exercises you should stand tall, with your chest up, shoulder blades retracted and your arms naturally at your side.  Don’t hunch over or hold tension in the neck, and keep your abs tight to protect your lower back. If you have any questions about form, you may consider hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions.

Use muscle, not momentum.  Make your muscles do the work. You’ll activate more muscle fibers if you lift and lower weights intentionally through your whole range of motion.  If you cannot lift a weight without swinging it, it is too heavy and you should lessen the amount of weight.

Work multi-muscle groups.  One of the most efficient ways to build muscles is to incorporate compound exercises (exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time) into your routine.  A walking lunge is a compound exercise that requires use of multiple muscle groups: quads, glutes, hip flexors and hamstrings.  Throw in a biceps curl as you do each lunge and now you are also working the biceps.

Feel it.  If you’re whipping through 15 reps and not feeling anything, you aren’t working hard enough.  Adjust the weight so that after 12 to 15 reps you are feeling muscle fatigue.  Learn to pay attention to your body; its important to know the difference between pain and muscle fatigue. Pain is, “Ouch, that hurts” while muscle fatigue is, “wow, my muscles are tired. I can only do a few more reps.”

Source: American Fitness November 2010.