No matter how ambitious we get or how many promises we make to ourselves, spending hours per week in the gym is a difficult commitment to make. Even if fitness is a high priority to you, a jam-packed schedule can get in the way. That’s why a short workout that you can do every day is one of the best tools for committing to your physical health without feeling overwhelmed. Losing a quarter of an hour of precious sleep won’t feel too devastating in the morning, and on top of that, you’ll feel practically superhuman as you start your day.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that exercises that work out your whole body are best for short workouts. The best everyday workouts focus on short, intense intervals of cardio. While crunches are great for an ab-focused workout, the routine you do every day needs to be a little more broad and targeted at overall fitness rather than just one or two muscles groups.
Do each of the following exercises for 30 second intervals, twice through. Think about it this way: you can endure just about anything for 30 seconds! it’ll be over before you know it, and you’ll feel great.
Jumping Jack and High Knee Run Switch-Off
Five jumping jacks, five high knee runs, no rest, repeat! Switch off during the thirty second interval, but don’t use the switch as an excuse to take a break. Jumping jacks are the perfect way to get the blood flowing without putting a lot of strain on your muscles.
Dumbbell Squats (with arm extension)
You’ll need a set of 8, 10, or 15 lb weights for this one. As with every exercise, it’s important to get the right form when you squat with weights. Stand with your shoulders back, feet shoulder-width apart. When you squat, go down slowly and pose as if you’re going to sit in a chair. Start in a squatting position with the weights at your shoulders (the back of your hands should be facing you) and straighten your arms vertically every time you stand. Bring them back in when you squat.
Reverse lunges are just like lunges, except that instead of extending your leg in front of you, you’re going to extend it behind you. This exercise is also more effective with weights, but you can hold them at your side this time. Switch from your right to left each time.
Burpees are a jumping jack and push-up combined into one, and probably one of the highest intensity exercises you can do. You’re going to a) jump, reaching your hands into the air, b) drop into into pushup position, extending your legs c) bring your legs back in and return to standing position, d) repeat.
Since burpees really wear you out, it’s best to end with something low-intensity. Dips are a good stand in for a cool-down, since they focus on balance and muscle control. Back up to a chair or couch and rest your fit on it. Put your hands on your hips and bend the leg you’re putting weight on. Switch off after 15 dips rather than trying to switch off every other one as with the lunges.
Make sure to do a little warm up and cool down, and to give your body rest when you sense it needs a break. You can’t cover every muscle group in ten minutes, so change it up or skip the workout every now and then to let your muscles recover before you’re back in business.
For more home gym ideas and other tips, visit Modernize.com.