You don't need to log long, sweaty sessions at the gym to get show-off muscles.
When you're a mom, time-saving tricks aren't just useful -- they're essential. The same goes for exercise, and it turns out you can become sculpted and sleeker with just two 15-minute workouts a week, says Fred Hahn, creator of the Slow Burn fitness routine and owner of SeriousStrength.com. The secret is to perform fewer repetitions of your usual strength-training moves at a slow-motion pace (five seconds up and five seconds down, minimum) until you feel like you can't possibly do one more rep. "This steady, controlled motion better engages all of your muscle fibers to tone and strengthen in a shorter amount of time," says Hahn. Do these moves as many times as you can while maintaining proper form. If you find them too easy, slow down your pace even more.
Targets: Hips and Butt
Support yourself on forearms and knees. Extend right leg and raise it upward for the count of five while keeping back straight and hips square. When you can go no further, squeeze butt, hold for two seconds, and slowly lower until toes just touch mat. Continue, then repeat with left leg.
Targets: Lower Legs
Stand on the first step of a staircase, heels hanging off the edge and feet shoulder-width apart. Lift up onto toes for a count of five, then lower back down at the same speed, heels dipping below step.
Lie on back with feet on floor, knees bent and hands extended in front so they are touching knees. Curl up for five seconds, sliding hands past knees. Squeeze abs and hold for two seconds, then slowly lower until shoulder blades touch the floor.
Targets: Hips and Thighs
Lie on right side with right leg bent 90 degrees, supporting body on right forearm. Raise left leg straight out to side as high as possible for five seconds, squeezing butt at the top, then slowly lower. Continue, then repeat with right leg while lying on left side.
Targets: Triceps, Shoulders, and Upper Back
Sit upright in a chair, feet shoulder-width apart. Holding a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand, bend elbows, bringing hands to shoulders, palms facing ears. Slowly press arms overhead without locking elbows for a count of five, then bring weights back to shoulders.
Originally published in the April 2012 issue of Parents magazine.