Stew - I have only about 15 minutes in the Am to workout and I want to start mixing in more things into my workout - weights, PT, cardio. Any tips?
Here are some ideas for those of you who only have a few minutes a day to exercise. Often I tell people if they do not have time to workout - they are doing too much - and that applies to a good majority of people. However, for those who are burning the candle at both ends it may not be that beneficial to wake up 15-20 minutes earlier to get a longer workout. IF you can go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier however, that may help with an earlier REVEILLE!! See "The Importance of Sleep" article.
So regardless of the hours you keep, here are some options for you to get in quick workouts that are both affective and will wake you up whether it is done in the AM or PM after dinner.
1. Wake up with Crunches
Here is an exercise that is JUST a little harder than sleeping and it WILL wake you up by doing simple movements:
I do a complete crunch cycle complete with the following:
- Regular Crunch: 10-20 reps - Just lift shoulder blades off the floor
- Reverse Crunch - 10-20 reps - Lift hips off the floor
- Double Crunch - 10-20 reps - Lift BOTH hips / shoulders off the floor simultaneously
- Left Crunches - 10-20 reps - Take right elbow to the left knee
- Right Crunches -10-20 reps - Take left elbow to right knee
- Bicycle Crunches - 10-20 reps - Take right/left elbow to left/right knee by bicycling the legs
- Plank pose - 30-60 seconds
- Stomach stretch - 30 seconds
THIS TAKES about 3-4 minutes
2. Jumping Jacks / Pushups
Do 10 jumping jacks / 10 pushups and repeat the non-stop cycle 5-10 times depending on your fitness level. This takes 3-5 minutes if you push all 10 sets.
3. Replace Pushups with Squats
If you want to add in a leg workout try replacing pushups with squats above.
4. MJDBs - Multi-Joint Dumbbells Exercises
With a set of dumbbells mix in a few exercises into one movement:
- Bicep curl, military press, tricep extensions - do 10-15 reps
- Squats, bicep curl, military press, tricep extension - do 10-15 reps
- Squat thrust, pushup x 5, stand up, bicep curl military press, tricep extension - 5-10 reps
Check this out for related pictures of exercises. If you select one of these to do it only takes about 30 seconds per set. Mix in a few sets of each exercise and you have completed a challenging and effective fullbody workout cycle.
5. CARDIO Option
You can skip all the above and just run, bike, walk, elliptical glide, or row for 15-20 minutes or you can add in a quick burst of cardio for the remaining time you have.
With Spring on its way, the days will get longer and the mornings will become bright as early as 5am. Try to start your day with some sunrise workouts and eventually you will build up with a realistic progression of activity that will last several months. Then as the days get shorter you can slowly start to shorten your workouts in order to recover from a more aggressive cycle of fitness. See the Solstice Running Plan for more details.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at email@example.com.
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