The busy woman's ultimate do-anywhere workout
Lacking the time to work out is everyone's biggest beef about sticking to a workout. But we're solving that issue once and for all with the ultimate busy woman's workout.
Each move is designed to pack a powerhouse punch, can be done anywhere, tones and blasts calories.
We asked Sara Haley, fitness expert and creator of fitness DVDs Sweat Unlimited (designed for people who need to fit in fitness anywhere) and Expecting More (for new moms and moms-to-be), for her best get-fit anywhere tips.
"The workout is all body-weight and can be done in a small space so you can do it anywhere," she says. "It also hits up all parts of the body, so you'll get cardio, strength and even some mobility and flexibility training in a short period of time."
This workout should take you approximately 20 minutes. If you do it correctly, it should fatigue you.
Tuck ‘n Twist
This exercise warms up the body, as well as stabilizes and strengthens the core, says Haley. Start on all fours with your shoulders over your hands and your hips over your knees. "Throughout the entirety of the exercise, think of pulling your navel to your spine," she advises. With your left hand behind your head, contract your abs and round your back so that your left elbow and right knee get closer together. Simultaneously extend your right leg behind you and rotate your upper body to the left, opening up your elbow. Press into your supporting right hand for balance. Perform six on one side before switching and repeating on the other side.
Start in a high plank with your shoulders over your hands. If plank is new to you, Haley suggests beginning on your knees or with your feet wide and just holding the plank for as long as you can. If you've perfected this part, squeeze your feet together in your plank, to work your inner thighs. Once you've mastered that, try tapping your feet side to side, for up to one minute. For an even more advanced option, take both feet out and in at the same time, as if you were doing a jumping jack. This exercise (and its variations) warms up the body and stabilizes and strengthens your core.
Run It Out
Walk, jog or run in place for one minute and make sure to pump your arms for maximum calorie burn. In the last 15 seconds, take it up to a sprint and go breathless, recommends Haley. "This works your full body and gets the heart pumping hard."
Rotate your hips out towards the corners of the room and squat as far to the floor as you can while keeping your chest lifted. Next push up from the floor and jump up in the air. "As you jump, pretend someone pushed the left side of your back to the right, to help rotate your body to the right," says Haley. You want to land in the position you started in facing the right side of the room. Continue squat-jumping until you’ve faced all four sides of the room, and then repeat going back the opposite way. "This sequence should leave you breathless," she says. So it's important to recover properly before the next exercise. You'll be working your inner thighs and glutes and getting the heart pumping with this one.
This version of burpees works your full body, especially your chest, core and triceps, while also getting the heart pumping, says Haley. Start with a jumping jack, or just tap your feet side to side. Then squat down with your feet together, heels down and your hands on the floor. Walk or jump your feet back and lower your chest all the way to the floor. Walk or jump your feet back into the squat. Repeat for one minute. "This exercise should leave you completely fatigued and breathless."
Lie on your back with your hands behind your heads and your feet off the floor so your knees are in line with your hips. Exhale and lift your head and shoulders up off the floor. Ensure you're really working your abs by pulling your navel in to your spine as you contract your abs. Repeat 20 times. "Think 'up, hold, down, hold,' as you lift and lower," Haley advises.
Work your obliques with this effective ab exercise. Stay on your back in the same position you were in for the crunches. But this time extend one leg out long and keep the other knee stable. Rotate your upper body towards the knee that is stable. Switch to the other side. This counts as one rep. Repeat 20 times. If you need to modify, Haley suggests bringing your legs higher up off the floor.
"All of these exercises together in one workout will work to keep you toned up, no matter how busy you are," Haley says.