We all know the feeling: You have 15 minutes before [insert-obligation-here], but it’s not enough time for a “real workout.”
So you don’t do anything, or by the time you figure out what to do (HIIT, weights, Tabata, bodyweight), your 15 minutes are already up.
The fact is, you don’t need a lot of time, a fancy routine or expensive equipment to strengthen your muscles, increase your heart rate and reap all the benefits of a longer workout. All you need are your shoes, a set of dumbbells, 15 minutes and these five compound exercises.
Compound exercises combine multiple muscle groups, giving you the best bang for your buck. Ready to give it a try? Here’s the plan. Warm up for two minutes, alternating between 30 seconds of jumping jacks and 30 seconds of jogging on the spot. Then, perform all five exercises consecutively for 90 seconds each, and repeat the circuit twice. Take a short break between sets, if you need to.
Push-Up Mountain Climbers
This compound exercise hits multiple upper body muscles (chest, shoulders and triceps), while strengthening your core at the same time.
- Start with a regular push-up. Make sure your shoulders are over your hands, your core is engaged and your body is straight before lowering down to the ground and pushing yourself back up.
- Hold the top of your push-up and bring your right knee to your right elbow and then your left knee to your left elbow.
This returns you to the top of a push-up where you repeat the sequence for 12 to 15 reps.
This is arguably one of the best full-body exercises. The squat press hits multiple muscles in your upper body, lower body and core in one fluid movement.
- Start with your feet hip-width apart and two dumbbells on your shoulders.
- Sit back and down into a squat keeping your weight in your heels, your chest open and your back straight.
- Push up through your heels standing straight up, squeeze your glutes at the top and re-engage your core as you press the dumbbells straight up over your shoulders.
- Slowly bring the dumbbells back down to your shoulders as you sit back into a squat starting the exercise again.
Challenge your shoulder stabilizers while strengthening your back and testing your core with this exercise. Start on your knees if you feel your hips rotating and progress to your toes as you get stronger.
- Start by placing two dumbbells underneath your shoulders in the top of a push-up position.
- Place your hands on the weights, hold a strong plank position and step your feet wider than your shoulders.
- Engage your core and shift your weight slightly to the left arm while picking up the weight on the right and pulling it up to your ribs.
- Remember to keep your hips still and use your core to avoid rotation.
- Return the dumbbell to the ground and repeat on the opposite side.
Lunge With Bicep Curl
By combining glutes and biceps you are getting all the toning in 1/2 the time while challenging your core to remain engaged and strong through lots of movement.
- Start with your feet hip-width apart holding two dumbbells by your side. Engage your core, open your chest and pull your shoulders back.
- Step back into a lunge aiming for 90 degrees with both knees.
- As you press through your front heel and bring your back foot back to the starting position
- simultaneously, curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders, palms up.
- As you step your feet back to hip-width apart slowly return the weights to your side.
- Repeat, stepping back with the opposite leg.
In terms of core, plank rotate is the best of all worlds. It targets multiple core muscles while moving from plank to side plank, all while strengthening your shoulders, back and chest.
- Start in a high plank position. Hands under your shoulders, body in a straight line from your shoulders through your hips and down to your ankles.
- Engage your core, press your right hand into the ground, lift your left hand and rotate open to the left side.
- Open your body to the side. Align your shoulders as well as your hips, and rotate your feet to point to the left.
- Hold here for a count of three before moving back to a middle plank and repeating on the opposite side.