Your Questions Answered! Ask the Expert about Working out from Home

Last updated: June 22, 2020, at 10:08 a.m. PT

Originally published: April 23, 2020, at 9:50 p.m. PT


In a recent member newsletter, we asked members of our Y what they wanted to know about working out from home. Our expert Trista is here with the answers. Read on to learn some new workouts, get help setting a routine, and more.

Questions about... Working Out at Home

Is it true that if I do small active bursts, like sit ups when my child is in time out or push ups while I wait for someone to go potty that it will add up to a full workout?

Short answer: yes! If you do not have a block of time available during the day a great option is to add exercises at various times throughout the day. One way to do this is to select how many reps you are going to complete for the whole day then select your exercises which you will complete throughout the day. Here's an example:

150 reps

  • 30 pushups
  • 30 sit-ups
  • 30 squats
  • 30 lunges
  • 30 chair dips

I have a daughter almost 3 at home and I have been diligent about not showing her phone or any type of display so far. Husband is busy with work all day and not available to help much. She doesn't nap in the afternoon and sleeps around 8:30 pm. Can you please give me suggestions on where, how and how I can fit in some workouts?

You can workout anywhere that you have a little bit of space! If you do not have a block of time to dedicate to your workout try doing various exercises throughout the day, while your daughter is having mealtimes or playing taking that time to add in a set of pushups and/or squats. One thing I enjoy doing with my 18 month old is incorporating her into workouts – holding her while doing a set of squats, lunges while I help her clean-up toys, and jumping jacks together.

What are some good ab exercises that I can do to correct diastasis recti?

Diastasis recti is a gap between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle.

Some of my favorite exercise for addressing diastasis recti are:

  1. Tabletop: Get on your hands and knees with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Look just in front of your hands and maintain a neutral spine. Hold this position (a). From here, perform one core compression and then, while holding the first contraction, perform a second, feeling your stomach draw in closer to your spine (b). Pause, then relax the compressions (c). Perform two five-minute sets per day.

  2. Wall Sit: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart about 1.5 feet in front of a wall. Bend your knees and hips to squat down so your back is flat against the wall. Hold this position (a). From here, perform one core compression and then, while holding the first contraction, perform a second, feeling your stomach draw in closer to your spine (b). Pause, then relax the compressions (c). Perform one two- to three-minute set 2-3 times per week.

  3. Side Plank: Get in a side plank position on one forearm with your elbow directly underneath your shoulder. Bend your bottom knee so your foot is behind you for extra support. Your body should form one straight line from head to heels. Hold this position (a). From here, perform one core compression and then, while holding the first contraction, perform a second, feeling your stomach draw in closer to your spine (b). Pause, then relax the compressions (c). Perform one 30-second set, one 60-second set, and one 90-second set on each side 2-3 times per week.

  4. Single-Leg Lift: Lying on your back on the floor, plant your left foot on the ground, knee bent and right leg straight out in front of you. Place your hands slightly behind you (a). Inhale, then, with your right foot turned slightly outward, exhale and lift your leg up toward the ceiling, keeping your knee straight. Think about pulling your belly button in and up toward your spine for that core compression (b). Repeat for 20 reps, then switch sides. Perform two sets.

My most fun way to exercise is dance. I have attended many lively Zumba and dance fitness classes at my YMCA but don’t see any dance offered in your videos. I have tried some on You Tube which have been of variable quality. Would love you to release some. The ones on You Tube have commercials in between.

Dance is a great and fun workout! At this time we do not have any Zumba or dance classes scheduled. In the meantime, I recommend checking out Zumba classes with our friends at the YMCA of San Francisco.

At the Y I exercised my adductors with a strap around my ankle connected to 40 lbs on one of the machines. Now I have some theratubes attached to my ankle and jammed into a doorway-- not really the equivalent of 40 lbs. Any suggestions?

Instead of focusing on weight, I would focus on number of reps. A few of my favorite at home adductor exercises are:

  1. Adductor squeezes: Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body and your palms pressing down on the floor for support. (a.) Draw your heels in toward your hips with your knees pointing up toward the ceiling. (b.) Place the object between your knees (or a resistance band around your calves). (c.) Engage your adductor muscles as you squeeze the object for a few seconds. (d.) Release and repeat step C for desired amount of reps.

  2. Cossack Squat: Assume the starting position by widening your stance so your legs form a triangle with the ground. Your toes should be pointed straight ahead. (a.) Inhale, and move your weight to your right leg, bending your right knee and sitting back as far as you can. Your left leg should remain extended while your left foot rotates on your heel, toe up. Your right heel should remain on the ground and your torso should be upright. (b.) Pause here (c.) exhale and push back up to the starting position. (d.) Inhale again, and lower your weight into your left leg, repeating the above steps.

  3. Adductor Plank: Assume a side plank position, propped up on your side with elbow bent at 90 degrees. (a.) rest the foot of your top leg on top of the bench or box. Do a side plank, so your hips and bottom leg are hovering off the ground. (b.) Hold for 15-30 seconds (c.) Switch sides and repeat

Is it best to set the same time every day to work out? Also, if I want to commit to 30 minutes to 1 hour each day (5 days a week) what combo of classes are good? Cardio, strength etc?

There is no “right” answer for working out at the same time every day. If you have the same time available each day to get your workout in that’s what’s best for you! If you need to adjust times each day to fit your schedule, that’s great too. Combo of classes depends on your goals – during these challenging times do activities that bring you joy while working towards your wellness goals! We have a great selection of live classes as well as on demand classes on our website.

I am looking for a chair Yoga and Chair conditioning virtual classes. I have done the brief chair yoga but am hoping for something more complete.

Our live Tuesday/Thursday 11:30 am AOA Strength class offers chair modifications. We do not currently have a full chair yoga class, but we do offer a live Yoga class on Monday/Friday at 9:00 am. Check out all of our live classes on Facebook and say hi in the comments!


Category: Healthy Living