Girl doing pushups at home

Beginner Workout Plan for Busy Moms [Screenshot the Workouts!]

Are you ready to get back into a workout routine, but not sure where to start? As a mom, you probably have little time to exercise. You want something that is quick as well as versatile and can be done at home or in a gym. If you are looking for a beginner workout plan for busy moms, then I’ve got you mama!

*Disclaimer – If you are postpartum, pregnant or have any other health conditions, make sure you have been cleared to exercise by your doctor before starting this program. 

Beginner workout plan written

The Beginner Workout Plan

The program consists of three full body workouts that focus on compound movements. This means we are hitting all muscle groups equally, building strength with functional movements, and burning additional calories after the workout has ended. 

You are doing three workouts a week so it can easily fit into any schedule. Though this program is focused on building strength and muscle mass, you will also burn fat!

Who is this program for?

This beginner workout plan is perfect for busy moms. You may have taken a long time off from exercise or even have never exercised in the past, and that is ok! This program is catered towards newbies or those starting from scratch. It’s also great for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time working out, but still want to see results in their strength and shape. Another plus is this program can be done from home or the gym with minimal equipment. If you can commit to 30 minutes three days a week, then this is a perfect program to start today.

Working out with little ones is hard! If you need help with how to make time to do this beginner workout plan, check out How to fit in exercise as a busy new mom.

Workout Schedule

Since this is a full body routine that hits major muscle groups you will want to aim for a day of rest between each workout. I recommend starting your week with Day 1. It’s a great way to start your week because it boosts motivation and fat burn. As a mom you know life happens and you might have to skip a day. Just try not skip too many days in a row. The primary goal is to get in the three workouts every week. So make the schedule work for you and your routine. 

Here’s an example of what the schedule would look like:

Monday – Day 1

Tuesday – Active Rest

Wednesday – Day 2

Thursday – Active Rest

Friday – Day 3

Saturday – Active Rest

Sunday – Active Rest


You’ve probably noticed there’s not a ton of cardio on this program. Before you get too excited, I wouldn’t say skip it completely. The ACSM and CDC recommend that healthy adults get in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week (source). This can be broken down into 30 minutes 5 days a week. It’s important to know that cardio has so many other health benefits than just weight loss.

How does cardio fit into this program you may be wondering? Well cardio is anything that makes the lungs and heart work harder and weightlifting can do just that. This can be achieved with fewer rest between sets, heavier weight, or throwing in things like skipping between sets. You might be working at moderate intensity if you are still able to talk during the workout, but not able to belt out singing.

So that covers three days of cardio, when breaking a sweat and intensifying your resistance training days that is. Another way to get some cardio in is to add in a good ole fashion cardio day on a treadmill or elliptical. However, my personal favorite is to just go on a long walk with the family! You can easily get in an hour long walk on the weekend while also getting in that precious family time. Other ways to sneak it is dancing in your living room with the kids, playing tag, doing some turbo cleaning, working in the yard, or biking. Your options are endless, as long as you do the activity at a moderate intensity for a duration of time. 

Warm-up and Cool-down

The point of a warm-up is to elevate the heart rate and get blood flowing to the muscles you are about to work. Essentially you are warming the muscles. Warm-ups can be anything from doing light to moderate cardio or performing dynamic exercises before your working sets. The example given in your program is a general warmup that will do just that.

On the other hand, your cooldown is meant to bring your body back to normal after a more intense activity. This could include light walking or static stretching. This would be a great time to stretch the muscles you just worked while they are still warm.  


As I mentioned above, you will want to try to give yourself a day of rest between each training day to give your muscles proper time to recover. You may have noticed it says active rest in the example schedule above. Active rest simply means you are taking a rest day from more intensive activity. Active rest should be low to moderate intensity activities like stated above. These days you want to keep moving, and sneak in some cardio while still allowing your muscles to recover from your workouts. 

How Much Weight Should I Be Lifting?

This will vary from person to person. Everyone’s starting strength is different and it will also depend on the equipment you have access to. What you will want to do is start with a weight that is lighter and will allow you to perform the exercise with proper form. Once you get the movement pattern down of that exercise, then you can add more weight. 

Each exercise has a number of Sets and Reps. 


This means you will do the exercise 12 times (set 1), rest :30-:60 seconds, then repeat the exercise for 12 times (set 2), then rest, then repeat the exercise 12 times (set 3).

 The number of repetitions will give you an idea of how much weight to lift. In the example above, you want a weight that you can successfully lift 12 times, but you shouldn’t be able to lift 20 times. You should feel fatigued towards the last couple repetitions. Leave one or two repetitions in the tank. If you could only do say 8 repetitions or you noticed you had sloppy form for 12 repetitions, then lower the weight. If the exercise calls for AMRAP (as many reps as possible) then you will perform the exercise until you can’t do anymore. 

Tip: Use a notebook or the notes app on your phone to log your workouts. Keep track of weight, reps, and sets for each workout. You won’t know how to progress unless you keep track of what you’re doing!

What Equipment Do I Need?

The program could be done with little to no equipment. This is why I did not specify whether to use a dumbbell, barbell, machine, or band for each exercise. I want you to use what you have. If you are a beginner then starting with just body weight (for almost all exercises) or even a set of 5 pound dumbbells will suffice. If you do not have access to a gym, I would recommend investing in a few pieces of equipment so you can make the workout more challenging.

Dumbbells: 5-20 pounds

You could do a lot with a set of 10lb or 15lb dumbbells. If you don’t have the budget, you could get a single dumbbell and perform some of the exercise one side at time. For example: Single arm shoulder press or chest press. 

Resistance Bands/Glute Band

Resistance Bands are a great option instead of dumbbells. You can do a lot of different exercises with bands and they are more affordable and easier to store and travel with. However, you do have to get more creative with them and sometimes requires something to anchor on.

I would highly recommend a glute band. They are affordable and work with many glute or leg exercises. In this program you could use this for the monster walks and abductions.

How can I make this program more challenging?

The most obvious answer would be to add more weight. Once you can complete the number of sets and repetitions and it no longer feels challenging, then you should increase your resistance. However, you may have limited equipment. Luckily there are other ways to get more out of an exercise before increasing weight! 

Start by slowing your tempo

This means performing the exercise slower than normal. For example, on a chest press exercise try this: 1 second of pushing up, 2 seconds of lowering to the chest, pause for 2 seconds, and then repeat. From there you could continue to increase the amount of time of the pauses and the lowering phase.  

Reduce Rest Periods

Another way to make this program more challenging is to simply reduce the time of rest between sets and exercises. Instead of 60 seconds of rest drop it to 40 seconds and so forth. This will fatigue your muscles quicker and will also increase cardiovascular work.

Increase your Sets or Repetitions

Next you can increase your number of repetitions. Instead of doing 12 repetitions see if you can do a couple more. However once you get in a higher rep range, then you will be focusing more on muscular endurance. You could also increase the number of sets you are doing from 2 – 3. If you’re still seeing results that you like, then great, keep going! 

How can I modify this program?

There are lots of ways to modify this program. The first is just by starting with bodyweight or lighter weight. Next thing you can do is limit the depth of some of the exercises. Say you are doing a bodyweight squat. The goal is to get your upper leg parallel to the floor. This can be challenging for beginners. You could use a bench or chair to squat down onto. Once you get comfortable with that, then you can work on getting deeper into the squat. Another way to modify is to elevate planks or pushups. Start up with your hands up higher, like on a wall or counter. Then work your way to a bench, then onto your knees on the ground, and then toes. 

How long should I do this program?

This always seems to be the million dollar question. You see every program usually has this expiration date of 4, 6, 12 weeks. The thing is the program will work for you as long as you continue to get results. I recommend you stay consistent with this program and give it a minimum 4 weeks. You can continue to progress by increasing your weight or duration, and you could even add additional sets or repetitions. Let’s say you’ve tried different ways to make it more challenging. However you’ve plateaued and you’re not seeing results, or you’re just bored of the routine. If this is the case, then it’s time to switch things up!

Final Note

This Beginner workout plan is the perfect program to get you started! With consistency, it will help you see results with just three workouts a week. I hope you will give this program a try!

If you need extra motivation to stick with this routine check out How to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight After Having a Baby.