By Eileen Vander Leun (Writer, Pilates Teacher, Mama)
Even the most fitness-loving mamas out there struggle to find time to dedicate to their workouts. Let’s face it, between sleepless nights, feedings, ever-changing nap schedules, and as they get older, a myriad of different activities and commitments, sometimes the attention to the strength and recovery of our own bodies can really take a hit. And as a busy mama to an energetic toddler myself, I totally get it! But as a fitness lover and Pilates instructor, I’m also equally passionate about making my workouts work for my new (mama) lifestyle, and passionate about motivating other mamas who want to be strong for themselves and for their littles! I wanted to share my daily 20 minute Pilates-inspired workout to do while your little one snoozes!
So grab your toddler’s toy ball, roll out a mat, and let the games begin.
Using a resistance band of your choosing (easily purchased on amazon) place the band a couple of inches over both knees. Lay on your side, with both legs bent and stacked on top of each other and:
- Clams: With your heels together the entire time, open and close the top leg away from the bottom leg. (x 10)
- Simply lift the top leg directly above the bottom leg about 8 inches and then lower without ever losing all of the resistance. (x 10)
- Lift the top leg up 5 inches above the bottom leg, and create nice big circles at the hip in one direction. Then switch directions. (x 10)
Abs with a Ball
Lying on your back and with your knees bent, use a small Pilates ball (or if you have a toddler, use one of theirs!) to prop you up slightly (the ball should be near the mid back, but feel free to adjust it as needed). With an inhale, support your head and neck with your hands, and lower gently into the ball behind you without collapsing. With your exhale, lift up for a crunch.
*Press your belly button deeper into the ball as you crunch for a deeper connection. (x 50)
Lying flat on your back with your knees bent and palms pressing into the mat, slowly begin to articulate your spine up, one vertebrae at a time, and then articulate down. Repeat 10 times. Next, articulate up into a bridge, and hold the bridge while you lift one leg straight up to the sky. Keeping your hips stable and steady, slowly lower and lift the straight leg up and down. Switch sides. (x 10 each leg)