by Kat Maltarp
With the holiday season well behind us and the new year in full swing, you might be starting to slip on your resolution to hit the gym or keep to an exercise routine. Perhaps you are able to make some time to exercise, but you feel like unless you’re doing at least the 1-hour workout you've committed to, what’s even the point? Well, the point is, doing something is always better than doing nothing. Just because you can’t get your butt to the gym, doesn’t mean you can’t burn those calories from the office or even from home.
Here is an awesome 30-minute workout that is guaranteed to make you feel like every second spent was worth it.
The Warm Up
Perform marching and/or jogging on the spot for 2 minutes and then perform jumping jacks for 1 minute. Be sure to get your upper body moving as well as your lower body.
The Work Out
Once you've warmed up, these five exercises below will get you great results in a short time, and they can be done anywhere, without any equipment.
Exercise #1 - Squat Jumps
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with your hands on your hips. Lower down as far as possible in the squat position without allowing your knees to go over your toes. As you begin to stand, power up explosively by driving through your heels and extend at your knees and hips to spring off of the floor, reaching your arms above your head to gain momentum. When you land, bring your arms back down and allow the knees and hips to bend so that you finish off in your lowered squat position. Repeat for 1 minute, then rest for 30 seconds, and repeat 3 times.
Exercise #2 - Side to Side Planks
Begin by lying on one side keeping your upper body supported by your forearm and elbow (or your hand if you’d like more of a balance challenge). Make sure that your shoulder is directly above your point of contact on the floor for added stability. Stack your top leg so that it is on top of the bottom one (or stagger them for less balance challenge). Engage your core and lift your hips off the ground so that your torso is in alignment with your shoulder, knees and ankles. Stay lifted and hold the position for up to 30 seconds. To rotate to the other side, slowly bring the other forearm (or hand) to the floor, pivot onto the balls of both feet and come into a plank. Hold for a few seconds before transitioning to the other side. Repeat your rotations for a 4-minute period taking rest when you need to, but trying to hold each side for an equal amount of time each round.
Exercise #3 - Burpees
Squat down as far as is comfortable and hold this position for a moment. Place your hands flat on the floor in front of you and either step or jump back into a tall plank position, pause then perform a push up. Step or jump back into the squat position and hold. Finally stand up tall with your arms above your head and jump, returning back into your squat position. To make these a little less daunting you can omit the push up and/or the jump. Perform for 30 seconds with a 30 second rest and repeat 4 times.
Exercise #4 - Floor Switch Kicks
Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor, hands on the floor behind you with your fingers pointing toward your feet. Lift your hips off the floor. Keep your shoulders away from your ears and really engage the back of your arms and your core. Kick your right leg into the air so that it is parallel with your bent knee. Return and switch sides. These should be done slowly at first, and then sped up for an extra challenge once your balance is set. Perform for 1 minute, alternating legs, then rest for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
Exercise #5 - Split Lunges
Begin in the same stance as you would for a standard lunge, with one foot ahead of you, your front knee bent and with your rear knee almost touching the ground. Keep the weight in your front heel and make sure your knee does not go over your toes. Extend through both legs and jump. Swing your arms to gain momentum. While you jump in the air, switch your legs so that you land with the opposite leg in front. As you hit the ground, return to the lunge position. Make sure your shoulders stay over your hips (do not lean forward) and keep your core engaged. Perform for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times.
The Cool Down
March on the spot or walk in place for 1-2 minutes. Then perform the following stretches.
Standing Forward Fold with Chest Opener (Stretches hamstrings, chest, and shoulders)
Stand with your feet hips-width distance apart and interlace your hands behind your back. Keep your legs straight (without locking knees) and bend at the hips, tucking your chin and pressing your arms straight lifting them gently off of your lower back or possibly over your head. Relax the back of your neck. Hold for 30 seconds, release your arms to the floor and slowly roll up to standing. Repeat.
Lying Cross-Over Stretch (Stretches glutes, outer thighs and low back)
While lying on your back, cross your left ankle over your right thigh. Thread your hands behind your right thigh and pull your legs in towards your chest. Try to keep your head and shoulders relaxed on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
Half Bow (Stretches hip flexors, quadriceps and shoulders)
While lying on your stomach, bend at the right knee, reach back and take hold of the ankle with the right hand. Support the upper body with the left forearm and as you bring the forehead down to rest, gently tuck the tailbone down towards the floor and press the foot lightly into the hand. Hold for 30 seconds, and switch legs.
Kat Maltarp, BSc. is a Certified Personal Trainer and Registered Health & Exercise Practitioner.