Exercise Through the Alphabet

| Fitness
stretching
(Photo: Shutterstock)

No gym membership? No workout equipment? No problem! At Skinny Mom, we have dozens of at-home workouts that even the busiest of moms can perform, and this is our new favorite. We triple-dog-dare you to complete the entire alphabet! All you have to do is set aside 20 to 25 minutes, blast some of your favorite tunes and work through the alphabet by performing the exercise next to the corresponding letter.

Alphabet Challenge

A: 10 Crunches: The crunch is the grandfather of core workouts. Why? Because just like our own grandfathers, this move has been around since the stone ages — and that's because it works! Read more about this move in our fitness index.

  • Step 1: Lie on your back on a mat with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and heels a comfortable distance (12-18″) away from your seat. Place your hands behind your head. Pull your shoulder blades together and your elbows back without arching your low back or causing your ribs to splay out. This elbow position should be maintained throughout the exercise. Your head should be aligned with your spine.
  • Step 2: Exhale. Engage your abdominal and core muscles. Nod your chin slightly as you slowly curl your head and shoulders off the mat. Pull your rib cage together and toward your pelvis. Keep the neck relaxed. Your feet, tailbone and lower back should remain in contact with the mat at all times. Continue curling up until your upper back is lifted off the mat. Hold this position briefly.

Crunches

B: 10 Jumping Jacks: We know you've heard of the jumping jack before, but let us give you a refresher: click here for more instructions!

  • Step 1: Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides.
  • Step 2: Jump up and raise your arms above your head, while simultaneously kicking your legs out to the sides. You should form an “x.” Without taking a break, quickly reverse the movement and repeat.

jumping jacksC: 5 Pushups: Most of us balk at the thought of a pushup. After all, they're difficult! Don't let that scare you, though. This move does amazing things to your body by working your chest, arms and core! Click here for more info.

  • Step 1: Begin on all fours and walk your hands out until your hips drop into a straight line with your spine and hamstrings. Curl your toes under and set the knees about hip-width apart. Your hands will be outside of the shoulders, fingers spread and pointing forward. Look at your mat.
  • Step 2: Inahle and drop your chest down as low as you can. Bend the elbows diagonally backward, pulling the shoulder blades together. Keep the core locked so the body moves as one.
  • Step 3: Exhale and push yourself away from the ground as far as possible so you completely come out of the push up. Inhale and repeat immediately.

PushupsD: 5 Squats: Squats are one of the key moves to give you a bigger butt. You'll feel the burn tomorrow after this workout. Check out more detailed instructions on our fitness index!

  • Step 1: Begin with your feet hip-width apart with a heavy (10-20 pound) dumbbell in each hand.
  • Step 2: Keeping your weight in your heels, sit down as if sitting in a chair, keeping your back as upright as possible. Pause, then return to standing by pushing through your heels and squeezing your 
glutes to straighten your legs. That is one rep.

Squats with Dumbbells

E: 30-Second Wall Sit: This might not sound like a lot, but we promise you'll feel this move in your entire body. Read more about it here!

  • Step 1: Lean your back against a wall, making sure that your whole back is touching the wall. Your feet should be about two feet from the wall and about shoulder-width apart from each other.
  • Step 2: Slowly slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Aim for a 90-degree angle. Keep your weight in the heels of your feet and make sure your knees are behind your toes. You should be able to tap your toes. Keep your back flat against the wall. If it starts to arch, slide up until the small of your back is touching the wall again.

brooke griffin doing a wall sit

F: 15 Arm Circles: Don't be scared to show your arms off! Arm circles can help build muscle in one of our trouble areas. Ditch the sweaters and start wearing tank tops after you commit to this workout. For more info, click here!

  • Step 1: Grab a pair of dumbbells, soup cans, water bottles, anything around the house for some resistance. Stand with the feet under the shoulders and extend the arms out to the sides.
  • Step 2: Keeping the chest tall and shoulders dropped, begin moving the weights in a circle. For the first 30 seconds, go forward. For the last 30 seconds, go backward.

weighted arm circles

G: 10 Mountain Climbers: Since you won't be traveling to Mt. Everest anytime soon, the simple mountain climber workout will have to suffice. Need more info? Check it out in our fitness index!

  • Step 1:Begin in high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Your body should be in a straight, diagonal line from your head to your heels.
  • Step 2: With your core engaged, bring your right knee forward under your chest, with the toes just off the ground. Return to your basic plank. Switch legs, bringing the left knee forward. Keep alternating legs and pick up the pace until it feels a little like running in place in a plank position.

mountain-climbers

H: 5 Burpees: Ahh! The dreaded burpee! This killer workout is universally disliked, but why? The burpee is a full-body move, and it's exhausting, which makes it even better for the mom looking to shed a few pounds. Don't shy away from this exercise. Embrace it instead! Read more about the burpee here!

  • Step 1: Stand tall then bend the knees to place the palms on the floor.
  • Step 2: Jump or walk the feet out behind you to a plank. Make sure your shoulders are over the wrists and get your feet as close together as you can. Straighten the knees.
  • Step 3: Jump or walk the feet back to the beginning bent position.
  • Step 4: Explode out of the bottom and jump up, reaching your hands overhead. Land with soft knees and repeat.

Burpee with Pushup

I: 30-Second Plank: Don't let the 30-second part fool you! The plank is one tough cookie. This workout targets your core, and boy oh boy will you feel the burn! Check it out here.

  • Step 1: Begin in forearm plank position, with shoulders directly over elbows and feet together. Your body should be in a straight, diagonal line from your head to your heels. Look at your mat.
  • Step 2: Take your right  foot and tap it to the outside of your mat, then bring it back to the center. As you do this, keep the rest of your body square and still. Repeat the tap with your left foot. That is one rep.

Plank Up Downs

J: 10 Jump Squats: Targeting your glutes and quads, this powerful squat will get your heart rate up in no time! Check it out here.

  • Step 1: To perform this plyometric exercise, first stand with the feet slightly outside the shoulders (wherever your squat stance is) and drop the hips backward and down. Send the arms straight out in front of you to help the chest stay lifted. Double check your knee position – make sure they’re staying behind your toes.
  • Step 2: Push through your heels to drive out of the squat. Roll through the foot to lift into your jump, bringing the arms overhead to help propel you upward. Land softly and quietly with bent knees. If you can go right back into your squat, do it! Otherwise, take the soft-knee landing and reset for the next squat.

180 Degree Squat Jump

K: 10 Side Lunges: Side lunges are a great move to keep in your arsenal. They work your glutes and the muscles in your hips called abductors. Want to read more about side lunges? Click here!

  • Step 1: Begin in your neutral standing position with the dumbbells at your sides. Feet should be shoulder-width apart. Roll the shoulders back and down and lift your chest.
  • Step 2: Step one foot out to the side and bend the leg into a lunge. The knee must stay behind the toes. The other leg is straight. Your chest is lifted still. It’s tempting to drop your chest, so look straight ahead and keep the shoulders back.
  • Step 3: Bring the lunge to the other side first by pressing through your heel to your standing position. Send the other leg out to the side. The farther you step out, the deeper you will need to lunge. The dumbbells stay in front of you, on either side of the lunging leg.

Alternating-Side-Lunge

L: 15 Crunches: The crunch is the grandfather of core workouts. Why? Because just like our own grandfathers, this move has been around since the stone ages—and that's because it works! Read more about this move in our fitness index.

  • Step 1: Lie on your back on a mat with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and heels a comfortable distance (12-18″) away from your seat. Place your hands behind your head. Pull your shoulder blades together and your elbows back without arching your low back or causing your ribs to splay out. This elbow position should be maintained throughout the exercise. Your head should be aligned with your spine.
  • Step 2: Exhale. Engage your abdominal and core muscles. Nod your chin slightly as you slowly curl your head and shoulders off the mat. Pull your rib cage together and toward your pelvis. Keep the neck relaxed. Your feet, tailbone and lower back should remain in contact with the mat at all times. Continue curling up until your upper back is lifted off the mat. Hold this position briefly.

Crunches

M: 20 High Knees: You should feel the burn in your legs after 20 reps. Read more about this move here!

  • Step 1: Stand tall with your core pulled in and your shoulders back. Places your hands out at hip height to help gauge your performance.
  • Step 2: Keep this posture and raise one knee up to the hips or higher, keeping the other leg bent and ready to follow. Quickly alternate knees, leaning back with a strong core to help drive them toward the chest. Repeat for allotted time.

High-Knees

N: 10 Tricep Dips: Go slow to start, and make sure your form is correct. The angle might feel weird, but we promise you'll feel the results. Click here to explore this move!

  • Step 1: Sit on the floor with knees bent, feet placed hip-width distance on the floor, hands on the floor behind you with your fingers pointing toward your body. Lift your hips off the floor and straighten your arms.
  • Step 2: Slowly bend at your elbows and lower your body to the floor. Pull your abdominal muscles tight and keep your elbows tucked into your body. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, slowly press off with your hands, and push yourself straight back up to the starting position. That is one rep.

Tricep Dips

O: 10 Pushups: Most of us balk at the thought of a pushup. After all, they're difficult! Don't let that scare you, though. This move does amazing things to your body by working your chest, arms and core! Click here for more info!

  • Step 1: Begin on all fours and walk your hands out until your hips drop into a straight line with your spine and hamstrings. Curl your toes under and set the knees about hip-width apart. Your hands will be outside of the shoulders, fingers spread and pointing forward. Look at your mat.
  • Step 2: Inhale and drop your chest down as low as you can. Bend the elbows diagonally backward, pulling the shoulder blades together. Keep the core locked so the body moves as one.
  • Step 3: Exhale and push yourself away from the ground as far as possible so you completely come out of the push up. Inhale and repeat immediately.

Pushups

P: 10 Squats: Squats are one of the key moves to give you a bigger butt. You'll feel the burn tomorrow after this workout. Check out more detailed instructions on our fitness index!

  • Step 1: Begin with your feet hip-width apart with a heavy (10-20 pound) dumbbell in each hand.
  • Step 2: Keeping your weight in your heels, sit down as if sitting in a chair, keeping your back as upright as possible. Pause, then return to standing by pushing through your heels and squeezing your 
glutes to straighten your legs. That is one rep.

Squats with Dumbbells

Q: 20 Jumping Jacks: We know you've heard of the jumping jack before, but let us give you a refresher: click here for more instructions!

  • Step 1: Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides.
  • Step 2: Jump up and raise your arms above your head, while simultaneously kicking your legs out to the sides. You should form an “x.” Without taking a break, quickly reverse the movement and repeat.

jumping jacks

R: 30-Second Plank: Don't let the 30-second part fool you! The plank is one tough cookie. This workout targets your core, and boy oh boy will you feel the burn! Check it out here.

  • Step 1: Begin in forearm plank position, with shoulders directly over elbows and feet together. Your body should be in a straight, diagonal line from your head to your heels. Look at your mat.
  • Step 2: Take your right  foot and tap it to the outside of your mat, then bring it back to the center. As you do this, keep the rest of your body square and still. Repeat the tap with your left foot. That is one rep.

Plank Up Downs

S: 20 Bicycle Crunches: The goal is to feel like you're riding a bicycle while lying on your back. As strange as that is, this workout totally works. It targets your abs, hip flexors and glutes. Read more about it here!

  • Step 1: Lie on your back with hands behind your head, knees bent and feet on the floor. Lift your shoulder blades off the ground, and keep them off the ground for this whole exercise. Twist your torso to the right, bringing your left shoulder in to touch your right knee. Keep left leg straight and lifted off the floor.
  • Step 2: Repeat, twisting torso to the left and bringing your right shoulder into touch your left knee. Make sure your rib cage is moving and not just your elbows. That is one rep. Continue switching sides for instructed amount of time.

Bicycle-Crunches_ALL

T: 30-Second Wall Sit: This might not sound like a lot, but we promise you'll feel this move in your entire body. Read more about it here!

  • Step 1: Lean your back against a wall, making sure that your whole back is touching the wall. Your feet should be about two feet from the wall and about shoulder-width apart from each other.
  • Step 2: Slowly slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Aim for a 90-degree angle. Keep your weight in the heels of your feet and make sure your knees are behind your toes. You should be able to tap your toes. Keep your back flat against the wall. If it starts to arch, slide up until the small of your back is touching the wall again.

brooke griffin doing a wall sit

U: 5 Burpees: Ahh! The dreaded burpee! This killer workout is universally disliked, but why? The burpee is a full-body move, and it's exhausting, which makes it even better for the mom looking to shed a few pounds. Don't shy away from this exercise. Embrace it instead! Read more about the burpee here!

  • Step 1: Stand tall then bend the knees to place the palms on the floor.
  • Step 2: Jump or walk the feet out behind you to a plank. Make sure your shoulders are over the wrists and get your feet as close together as you can. Straighten the knees.
  • Step 3: Jump or walk the feet back to the beginning bent position.
  • Step 4: Explode out of the bottom and jump up, reaching your hands overhead. Land with soft knees and repeat.

Burpee with Pushup

V: 20 Arm Circles: Don't be scared to show your arms off! Arm circles can help build muscle in one of our trouble areas. Ditch the sweaters and start wearing tank tops after you commit to this workout. For more info, click here!

  • Step 1: Grab a pair of dumbbells, soup cans, water bottles, anything around the house for some resistance. Stand with the feet under the shoulders and extend the arms out to the sides.
  • Step 2: Keeping the chest tall and shoulders dropped, begin moving the weights in a circle. For the first 30 seconds, go forward. For the last 30 seconds, go backward.

weighted arm circles

W: 10 Side Lunges: Side lunges are a great move to keep in your arsenal. They work your glutes and the muscles in your hips called abductors. Want to read more about side lunges? Click here!

  • Step 1: Begin in your neutral standing position with the dumbbells at your sides. Feet should be shoulder-width apart. Roll the shoulders back and down and lift your chest.
  • Step 2: Step one foot out to the side and bend the leg into a lunge. The knee must stay behind the toes. The other leg is straight. Your chest is lifted still. It’s tempting to drop your chest, so look straight ahead and keep the shoulders back.
  • Step 3: Bring the lunge to the other side first by pressing through your heel to your standing position. Send the other leg out to the side. The farther you step out, the deeper you will need to lunge. The dumbbells stay in front of you, on either side of the lunging leg.

Alternating-Side-Lunge

X: 10 Pushups: Most of us balk at the thought of a pushup. After all, they're difficult! Don't let that scare you, though. This move does amazing things to your body by working your chest, arms and core! Click here for more info!

  • Step 1: Begin on all fours and walk your hands out until your hips drop into a straight line with your spine and hamstrings. Curl your toes under and set the knees about hip-width apart. Your hands will be outside of the shoulders, fingers spread and pointing forward. Look at your mat.
  • Step 2: Inhale and drop your chest down as low as you can. Bend the elbows diagonally backward, pulling the shoulder blades together. Keep the core locked so the body moves as one.
  • Step 3: Exhale and push yourself away from the ground as far as possible so you completely come out of the push up. Inhale and repeat immediately.

Pushups

Y: 20 High Knees: You should feel the burn in your legs after 20 reps. Read more about this move here!

  • Step 1: Stand tall with your core pulled in and your shoulders back. Places your hands out at hip height to help gauge your performance.
  • Step 2: Keep this posture and raise one knee up to the hips or higher, keeping the other leg bent and ready to follow. Quickly alternate knees, leaning back with a strong core to help drive them toward the chest. Repeat for allotted time.

High-Knees

Z: 10 Burpees: Ahh! The dreaded burpee! This killer workout is universally disliked, but why? The burpee is a full-body move, and it's exhausting, which makes it even better for the mom looking to shed a few pounds. Don't shy away from this exercise. Embrace it instead! Read more about the burpee here!

  • Step 1: Stand tall then bend the knees to place the palms on the floor.
  • Step 2: Jump or walk the feet out behind you to a plank. Make sure your shoulders are over the wrists and get your feet as close together as you can. Straighten the knees.
  • Step 3: Jump or walk the feet back to the beginning bent position.
  • Step 4: Explode out of the bottom and jump up, reaching your hands overhead. Land with soft knees and repeat.

Burpee with Pushup

How was your workout? Are you dripping sweat from the tip of your nose? Spread the love and tag a friend to challenge them to take the Alphabet Challenge! A little friendly competition never killed anyone. (We hope you win!)