Yes, you can get an intense workout at home while watching a re-run of Friends in your jammies — and all you need is a mat and some light dumbbells.
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For maximum payoff, keep moving with only very brief breaks if necessary (no more than 10 seconds between each exercise when required). Stay focused, play attention to your form and as always listen to your body and modify as needed.
Try this 15-minute total body routine on for a quick and dirty workout you can do anywhere.
Warm-Up (2 minutes)
Jump rope or do jumping jacks for two minutes to get your body warmed up and ready to go.
Plank (1 minute)
Start on your hands and knees on a yoga mat, then lower your forearms to the floor, pressing down evenly from your elbows to your fingers. Lift up on to your toes and straighten your body so you’re in a straight line from the top of your head to your feet. Keep your neck neutral. Hold the plank for as long as you can, then carefully lower down to your knees, rest and repeat. Slowly build up over time a full 60 second plank.
Push-Ups (1 minute)
This classic exercise is still one of the most effective. If you can’t do push-ups on your toes, modify by dropping to your knees. Do 15 reps or as many as you can accomplish in one minute.
Squats (1 minute)
The simplest way to think about doing a squat is to pretend you’re about to sit down in a chair. Raise your arms directly in front of you while you aim to get your butt down as low as your knees, then straighten yourself back up and let your arms slowly drop to your side. Be sure to keep your body weight back behind your knees at all times to avoid injury. Repeat 15 times.
Bicep Curls (1.5 minutes)
Take a light hand weight in each hand and stand up straight, feet pointing forward and shoulder width apart. Your knees should be soft and your core tight and pulled in. Press your elbows close to your ribcage and raise your arms to a 90 degree angle facing forward, with your palms up. Lift one weight up towards your bicep, then slowly return your arm straight out in front of you. Repeat on the other side. Do 15 times per side. rest, and repeat 15 more times.
Triceps Curl (1 minute)
Take one hand weight in both hands and raise your arms overhead. Then bend at the elbows to slowly drop the weight behind your head, keeping your neck long. Then lift your arms back so they are once again straight overhead. Work slowly and be careful not to crunch your neck or shoulders. Do 15 reps, rest, and then repeat 15 more times.
Outer Thigh Leg Lift (1.5 minutes)
Stand with all your weight on one leg. If you want to stand near a wall to give yourself some support, go ahead, just don’t lean your full body weight on the wall. You want your core and standing leg to keep you upright, not your arm. Raise the leg you’re not balancing on out to your side, toes pointed slightly down, keeping the rest of your body in a straight line. Lower the leg back down slowly and repeat 15 times on that side. Switch to the other side to work the other leg. If you’d prefer to modify this by lying on your side on your mat with your head supported by your hand, you may do so.
Inner Thigh Leg Lift (1 minute)
Lie down on your mat, your body in a long lean line. Cross your top leg over your bottom leg so your top knee is on the floor (if that causes your body too much discomfort or you lose your form, place your foot on the floor instead). Lift up your inner leg a few inches up off the floor, then press upwards for 15 reps, not rolling backwards or forwards. Switch to your other side and repeat.
Hundred Ab Pulse (1 minute)
Lie flat on your back and hug your knees to your chest. Draw your abs in so that your spine is on the floor. Curl your head and shoulders up off the mat. Stretch your legs out with your knees slightly bent and at a 45 degree angle. If that causes your back to arch, bend your knees a bit more to alleviate that pressure. While your head and shoulders are up off the floor, pump your arms up and down quickly and vigorously, breathing in for five pumps, then exhaling for five pumps. Repeat 100 times total. This should warm your entire body up while working your core muscles. Here are even more great Pilates moves for abs.
Basic Crunch (1 minute)
Lie back with your feet on the ground and your knees up, feet hips width apart. Your back should be on the floor and you can gently support your neck with a hand under each side of your head. Gently curl up, keeping your elbows out and your neck neutral. Then slowly release back to the floor. Keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise, and repeat 15 times.
Bicycle Crunch (1 minute)
Now work those side abdominal muscles with the bicycle crunch. Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Place your elbows out and your hands behind your head. Straighten out one leg so it’s a few inches off the ground. Then pull that leg in towards your body while twisting so that the opposite elbow meets your knee and the other leg straighten out. Switch and do the other side. Repeat 15 times per side, your movements controlled and strong throughout. Also make sure your keep breathing—it’s an exercise where people may wind up trying to hold their breath without even realizing it!
Stretch (1 minute)
Don’t neglect stretching your major muscle groups that you’ve just worked on. This can help improve future performance and keep your body healthy and strong. Avoid these 11 stretching mistakes!
Child’s Pose (1 minute)
Yes, you’re hustling because you’ve got a to-do list a mile long, but take one minute to honor your body and the work that you’ve accomplished. Yoga’s child pose is a good stretch for arms and back and is also extremely restful and restorative. Kneel down, gently lower your bottom towards your heels and stretch your arms and upper body along the floor, resting your forehead on your mat. Shut your eyes, take slow, deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth and allow your body to still. This should feel good, so don’t stretch beyond what is comfortable for you to hold.