“Habits aren’t built in one sitting," says trainer TA Anderson. "If you only have the time or stamina for 10 reps of each movement, that is infinitely better than doing nothing.”
Whether you’re waiting for dinner to finish cooking or have just a few minutes to yourself after the kids go to sleep, you can do this combo. It engages your whole body, requires no equipment and will give you a challenge no matter how pressed for time you are. Doubtful? People who squeezed in a high-intensity 7-minute workout every day for six weeks trimmed their waist circumference by an average of 1.5 inches, a new study in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness shows. See for yourself: Do 20 reps of each move below, resting for 10 seconds between sets. Follow with a circuit of 15 reps and finish with a round of 10 reps.
“Add intensity by decreasing the rest periods,” says trainer TA Anderson. Just don’t sacrifice your form for speed.
Your trainer: Trevor “TA” Anderson, CSCS, is the owner of Better Every Day Performance Institute in Orlando and a master instructor for SPRI fitness gear.
Squat Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned slightly out. Sit back and down toward your heels until your hips are parallel to your knees, keeping knees over your feet and your chest upright. Stand up by pressing through your heels.
Push-up Knee Drive From plank position, lower your body as one until your chin is an inch from the floor. Now push your chest up from the floor while bringing your right knee to your right elbow. Return to plank and repeat, bringing your left knee to meet your left elbow.
Lateral Lunge to Reach Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your left leg planted and step out to the right, squatting downward and extending both arms in front of you. Press off your right heel and return to start. Repeat on left side.
Crunch to Heel Touch Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle, feet on the ground and both palms down at your sides. Crunch up while sliding your palms on the ground until your fingers touch your heels. With control, return to starting position.
In a matter of minutes this sequence boosts your energy and sense of calm, making it perfect for a morning workout or midday work break. The yoga-inspired moves build strength and improve your mind-body connection while burning more than 100 calories.
All you need are two 3- to 5-pound dumbbells. “As you progress, add heavier weights with deeper movement,” says trainer Katie Haggerty.
Your trainer: Katie Haggerty is the signature program manager and cocreator of Warrior Sculpt and LifeBarre for Life Time Fitness.
Minute 1: Warm-up Breathing Stretch
- Sit cross-legged with a straight spine. As you inhale, reach your arms up, interlacing your fingers and turning palms to the sky. As you exhale, round your back and press your palms forward.
- Inhale and sit tall. Exhale and twist to the right, placing your left hand on the outside of your right knee and your right hand behind you on the floor. Repeat, twisting to the left.
- Inhale and stand up, pressing feet into the floor. Exhale as you bend your torso forward from your hips using your abs to fold into your thighs.
- Breathe in to lift your torso parallel to the floor, gently pressing palms into shins, then exhale all the way into a forward fold, bringing your chest closer to your thighs. Pause for a few seconds, then inhale as you stand up tall and reach your arms high.
Minutes 2 to 4: Plank, Superman and Push-ups
- Hold a forearm plank for 30 seconds, then lower your body to the floor.
- Tighten your abs as you reach your arms forward and legs back, then lift your arms and legs about 6 inches above the mat. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Do 30 seconds of push-ups and then run through the sequence again.
Minutes 5 to 12: Do each move below for 1 minute, then repeat.
- BURPEES Lower yourself into a squat, place your hands on the floor, then jump your feet to plank position and back. Leap up, exploding your hands toward the ceiling, and land in a low squat with your hands on the floor, then quickly repeat. Hold dumbbells throughout the move to challenge yourself.
- TREE POSE Stand tall with a weight in each hand and place your right foot above or below your left knee joint. Raise your arms overhead, then lower them straight out to the sides, stopping at shoulder height. Repeat this arm movement for 30 seconds and switch legs.
- WEIGHTED SQUATS Place your feet slightly wider than your shoulders and grip dumbbells facing each other at your chest. Lower yourself into a very deep squat or Chair Pose. Pause for a few seconds and then, as you stand up, bring the weights down and push them back behind your hips to activate your triceps.
- AIRPLANE Stand with a dumbbell in each hand at your side. Shift your weight into your right foot and lift your left leg high behind you as you bend your torso forward into Warrior III. Your upper body and left leg should be parallel to the ground and perpendicular to your right leg. Reach your arms straight back toward your hips and pulse them up and down for 30 seconds. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Minutes 13 to 15: Lunge Series
- Place a dumbbell on each side of your mat and start in Downward-Facing Dog. Inhale as you lift your right leg up and exhale as you step it up in between your hands.
- Pick up the weights and inhale as you bring your torso upright and extend your arms up to the ceiling into Crescent Warrior. Your right knee should form a right angle directly over your ankle while your left leg is stretched out behind you.
- Exhale and bring the weights together in front of your chest. Rotate your torso to the right, placing your left elbow on the outside of your right knee for a crescent lunge twist. Breathe here for 10 seconds. “Try to sink your hips lower with each exhale,” says Haggerty.
- Put down weights, place your hands on the floor on either side of your right foot, return to Downward-Facing Dog and repeat on the opposite side. Do the sequence five times on each side.
Rapidly transitioning from one move to the next will distract you from counting down until the end of your sweat session. Trainer Devon Kline adds modern twists to moves you learned in gym class, so you’re working all the major muscle groups without getting bored. Bonus: You’ll burn more than 250 calories in less time than it takes to do a load of laundry.
Increase your strength and calorie burn by placing dumbbells in your hands for any of these moves.
Your trainer: Devan Kline, CPT, is the CEO and cofounder of Burn Boot Camp, a chain of gyms that originated in Huntersville, NC.
Burpees and Push-ups Rotate through 10 reps of each for 2 minutes.
Circuit: Do each exercise below for 1 minute, without resting in between. Complete the circuit three times.
- STAR JUMPS For a jumping jack on steroids, spring your feet out to the sides while in the air and touch them together when you land.
- POWER ROLLS To anchor your feet, place them under a couch or the bar on a set of heavy dumbbells. Position yourself for a sit-up, but push your body forward and use the leverage of the anchor to stand up tall. Sit back down and repeat.
- MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS Start in push-up position. Tighten your abs and bring your right knee to your chest. Quickly put it back and simultaneously bring your left knee to your chest. It should feel almost like you’re running horizontally in place.
- ALTERNATING LUNGES Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and hands on your waist. Step your right foot a few feet in front of you, making your right knee bend at a 90-degree angle over your ankle. Keeping your spine vertical, return your right foot to starting position and repeat with your left leg.
- LEAPFROG JUMPS Start in a low squat and perform three small hops forward while remaining low, ensuring that both feet leave and land on the ground at the same time. Pause between each set of hops. “The key is to never leave the squatting position, thus increasing time under tension,” says Kline.
- PLANK ROLLS Begin in plank position. Lift your left leg up about 6 inches, keeping your spine parallel to the ground. Roll forward slightly over your hands and slowly back. Repeat, alternating your legs every third rep.
- JUMP SQUATS Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly out. Sit back and down toward your heels until your hips are parallel to your knees, keeping your chest tall. Thrust your arms overhead and leap up as high as you can, then land gently in the lower squat.
- BICYCLE ABS Lie on your back with legs up in the air at a 90-degree angle and your hands behind your head with your elbows out. Straighten your right leg at a 45-degree angle and simultaneously lift and turn your upper body toward your left leg. Repeat on the opposite side. Keep switching sides as if pedaling on a bike.
- WALL SIT Start with your back to a wall and plant your feet about 2 feet from the wall, hip-width apart. Slide your back down until your thighs are parallel to the floor and hold there.
Sit-ups and Plank Finish with 30 seconds of sit-ups and 30 seconds in plank.
Photos, from top: Brook Pifer/Getty, Laura Barisonzi/Getty, Mike Raabe/Getty