Home » Wellness » The 5 Best Exercises for Moms Part II

The 5 Best Exercises for Moms Part II

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Vanessa pushing the prowler

So after last time’s segment there was a couple of exercises mentioned that you could do at home to help increase your upper body pushing and pulling strength. Two of the foundational movements that everyone should do in their workouts. Now, we’ll finish off the body completely with the additional three exercises to conclude the 5 Best Exercises for Moms!

Now these are nowhere near being a complete workout, but we’ve pretty much taken care of those body parts most women refer to as “the arms”, which pretty much is everything from the waist on up.  I’m not sure why this generalization is made by women, but it happens a lot.

“Where do you feel this?” referencing a flat bench press being performed.

“In the arms!”

“The arms?  Can you point to the muscles?”

“Yes, for sure,” client points towards the chest and tricep muscles.

“Okay, we’re good.” Smiling at the general area of work. It somewhat funny that most women break their body parts up into upper body segments and lower body segments, where there are a complicated mesh of different muscle groups throughout the upper body. But alas, now we’ll focus on engaging those pesky lower body muscles to build some muscle and burn tons of fat.

Hip Hinge

Now the hip hinge is one of those difficult moves that very few people do very well off on the first try, but it is ESSENTIAL for overall power production, strength and being able to move efficiently. The key element here is separating the hips from the lower back.  In most instances the lower back must be kept flexed and tight throughout most weight lifting motions, especially when supporting a load. There are exceptions, but it takes a skilled individual to know the difference of when an arched lower back is acceptable form.

Now the best exercise you can do at home for the hip-hinge would be the kettlebell swing, which I’ve mentioned before in previous articles.  Why Every Mom Needs a Kettlebell At Home. However, this is limited by the fact that you may or may not have a kettlebell handy.  If so, well I’ll berate you appropriately later. Remind me will you?

Not having a kettlebell handy isn’t such a problem if you have a heavy suitcase though, because you can do suitcase deadlifts quite easily and the nice part is you can practice packing for that trip to Florida to escape the endless winter we’re having at the moment.

Simply fill up a big suitcase full of clothes, cooking utensils, whatever it takes to make a load. Make sure it’s not too heavy as you’ll want to at least be able to do some reps with it. Think of a week worth of clothes to start with as a load or something you would typically take on a trip with you.

Then straddle the suitcase and grab the external straps and lift to a full standing positions. Here’s the motion performed with a barbell called the sumo deadlift. It’s going to be the same motion, just with a wider stance and a suitcase.  Perform for reps of 10-20 to help build up those sexy legs, butt and lower back.


Now, I’m not sure what program would ever be complete without some form of squatting. This is a key element for building up the leg musculature, plus enabling us to transfer force from the ground while keeping our upper body stable.

Now the basic premise is to throw the hips back, as one should always lead from the hips. Yes, ladies it means throw your butt back first.  Sorry guys, it’s essential and I know it feels awkward to throw show off your backside, but just think of how it will look once you’ve sculpted it a bit.  You should want to show it off.

Anyhow, throw those hips back and squat down by bending the legs. Keep the upper body fairly vertical until you can get the elbows in between the knees. If you can’t quite get there then work with the range you’ve got and gradually try to get lower and lower. If you’re already hitting the knees with the elbows for easy reps of 15-20 then you should try to load the movement either by holding onto some sort of objects like dumbbells or a big duffel bag will work for at home. Here’s  a demo with a kettlebell.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAJ9QL8NlT8?rel=0&w=525&h=325]



The push-pull-carry can be one of a variety of different movements to help build up the core, upper and lower body at the same time while moving the body under a load. Think of carrying heavy bags of groceries from the car into the house for this one. I’m sure you’re like me and you don’t like to make several trips back and forth from the car, so you loop bag after bag over the wrists and then lug all 20 bags up the stairs to the house at once. Am I right?

Remember how you’re heart and lungs were burning after this scenario, plus probably a little burning sensation throughout the arms and torso. Well, welcome to the loaded carry. Check out this video with some heavy kettlebell farmers walks!

You can use this similar method for helping train the body simply by grabbing onto that heavy suitcase or duffel bag and lugging it around the house. Try getting two heavy bags and lugging them for distance outside in your back yard until you’re feel like you’re going to pass out. Hold one overhead and walk around for a while, or hold onto one side at a time. This is some serious work folks and one that will benefit you in everyday living tasks (i.e. the groceries, remember).

Now if you’re not struggling and it feels easy, well, it’s too easy. Add some load. Change the position of the suitcase.  Shift it to one hand and then when that one is ready to give out shift it to the other hand. Walk around the house and see how many laps you can do up and down the stairs. There’s a million and more combinations of this form. Check out one of my favorites with a heavy sandbag and the prowler (a loaded carry and push combo)!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzFg0lUSlzs?rel=0&w=525&h=325]


Gotta a baby carriage? I’m sure you have one of those lying around. Get the kids ready for a long haul and load down the carriage with some extra weight. Try a couple of 1 liter water bottles in the bottom to add extra weight. Either push for distance or speed and let the kids enjoy the ride.

Remember, these are just some ideas that you can do at home in a pinch, but they’re very effective for putting together a full body workout that you can do on your time. Training the body for life and making yourself fitter, stronger and more resilient is the key.  Work towards doing something physical everyday and make your life more awesome.



Jess Howland
Jess Howland
Jess Howland is a Veteran US Army Captain serving as Master of Youth Awesomeness and Strength Coach for Hostyle Conditioning in Orleans, ON. Jess holds a BS degree in Exercise Science from Oregon State University, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), among other training and nutritional certifications. A simple country boy turned lifetime fitness enthusiast and passionate trainer, who inspires everyone he meets to be involved in fitness, strength training and optimal nutrition in support of his personal motto Be Strong, Be Fast, and Be Resilient. Known for his high intensity, hybrid programs and never ending pursuit of fitness endeavors his former colleagues call him by his nickname CAPTAIN SMASH (CPT SMASH) or just SMASH. Jess coaches a wide variety of people as he believes in Hostyle Conditioning’s mission of transforming the ordinary lives of men and women into leading extraordinary lives that are improved through a blend of hybrid strength training and dynamic cardio conditioning. Jess has established himself as a lead trainer in Youth Strength and Conditioning, as well as specialty programming for special populations as military, police/firefighter, nurses and strength sport competitors. As a professional coach, Jess loves what he does to provide purpose, direction and motivation to those who feel that they need help in getting to from A (current fitness level) to B (goal fitness level).

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  1. Thanks for the tips on form for doing squats. I can’t wait till the weather improves to try the push-pull-carry exercise.

  2. Dear Victoria,

    I’m glad you liked the article. Now get out there in the sunshine and go bust out some heavy pulls!


  3. I have been considering buying some kettlebells for a while now. From my research (and your articles!) I am feeling more convinced. Motivation is lacking on my part and I hope the warmer weather will help me get out more. I DO have goals, just executing them is the problem! Thanks for the great ideas for this needs-to-exercise Mama.


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