Quick home workout for busy days
This circuit is one of my favorites that I enjoy doing in the comfort of my home, inspired by Shape Magazine. Why is this workout so impactful? Each move targets multiple muscle groups in a short amount of time. By doing this, you spend less time working out, and burn just as many calories as you would during a slow, one-hour gym session. This 30-minute routine is perfect for busy days. It’s an intermediate/advanced circuit, so go at your own pace (see below for alternative, beginner movements). There are eight moves which alternate between cardio blasts and strength exercises. (Note: Always keep your core engaged and stop if you feel like you are no longer maintaining good form. Without proper form, you will not benefit from the exercise.)
How it works:
Perform this workout two to three times per week for four weeks, beginning with 10 to 12 reps of each exercise with minimal rest in between. Begin with two sets. Each week slowly add more reps until you reach at least 15 reps. The final week, really bust through and do three sets, at least 15 reps each. You will be surprised how quickly your body can catch on.
What you will need:
You will need an exercise mat, and a set of light (3 to 5 pounds) and heavy (5 to 8 pounds) dumbbells. Switch between both light and heavy dumbbells. Start light and if it feels too easy, grab the heavier ones and keep going.
Let’s get started
Begin with a 5-minute warmup. For example, you can do three rounds of running in place, jumping jacks, plank walks (start in standing position and slowly walk your hands out to plank, hold for one count, and then slowly walk back to starting position as you raise your arms overhead), arms circles, or high-knees and butt-kicks. Whichever warmup you do, make sure you mimic the workout you are about to tackle.
Plank Tucks — Start in high-plank position. Looking forward, jump and tuck both feet in toward your chest and straight back to starting position without touching your toes to the ground.
Make it easier — Jump your feet in, land in tuck position and jump back. Do this until you’ve mastered the coordination, it’s a tough one!
Lunge and Shoulder Fly — Begin in standing position holding a pair of dumbbells in each hand, palms in. Lunge forward with your right leg, bringing arms out to sides with a slight bend in your elbows. As you bring arms back down to sides, step back to starting position and switch. That completes one rep.
Make it easier — Do each exercise separately; first lunge, return to standing and then do a shoulder fly.
Jump Switch — Start in high-plank position. Looking forward, jump right leg just to the outside of your right arm. Immediately jump and switch legs, bringing your left leg to the outside of your left arm. This completes one rep.
Make it easier — Step your leg up and back rather than jump as fast as you can.
Squat and Curl — Begin in standing position, feet hip-width apart holding a pair of dumbbells in each hand, palms facing up. Slowly lower yourself into a squat (like you’re sitting into a chair, shoulders down, butt out and knees in line with toes). As you squat, slowly do a bicep curl keeping your elbows tucked into your sides. Lower dumbbells back down to sides as you return to starting position.
Make it easier — Lower into a squat without the curl. If you’re feeling ambitious, curl once you are in standing position.
Jack Jumps — Start in a squat position, arms by your sides. Jump straight up while bringing arms up overhead like you’re doing a jumping jack. Land back in squat position and repeat.
Make it easier — Lower into a partial squat rather than a full squat. Work your way down a little more each time until you’re there!
Pike Pushup — Begin in downward dog position, arms shoulder-width apart. Slowly lift up your right leg behind you and lower chest to the floor. Push up and return to starting position. Repeat using left leg. This completes one rep.
Make it easier — Don’t lift your legs as you perform a pike pushup. Master this until you can push up with your leg lifted while maintaining good form. You can do it! You will be surprised in how much you progressed in only one week.
Tuck and Extend — Now it’s time for full-on abs. Sitting on floor with knees bent and arms behind you, elbows pointing back and fingers in (like you’re about to do a tricep dip) lift your feet off the ground. Tuck your legs into your chest and extend them out to the right side as you slightly lean back, keeping back straight. Tuck legs back in and switch. This completes one rep.
Make it easier — Keep your back flat on the floor as you perform the leg extension.
Lift and Kick — Begin by laying on your left side and legs bent, elbow directly beneath your shoulders and in line with body. Slowly lift your hips toward the ceiling until body forms a straight line, and kick your right leg out to full extension. Lower back down and repeat. Switch sides.
Make it easier — Don’t kick your leg out when you lift up. Once you get this down, add in that kick!
There you have it. This workout targets your core, biceps, shoulders, triceps, upper and lower back, chest, obliques, glutes, quads … just about everything! It’s a tough one, so do this workout to your best ability, and you will be amazed on how quickly you progress. Keep at it while eating a healthy diet, and you just might need to buy smaller jeans.