Many of us have the will to exercise but are often short on time. We want to increase our movement but scheduling a block of time for an effective workout and all that comes with it (packing clothes for exercise, getting to the gym/park, etc.) just doesn't seem to ever work out. Or maybe we're able to find half an hour here or there to exercise but feel that by the time you're really getting into it, you've got to move on to the next item on your to-do list. The solution to these common problems; efficient workouts. Performing exercises that engage several muscle groups while also getting your heart pounding will allow you to make fitness gains without the drain on your time.
Efficiency is one of the many reasons full bodyweight exercises have grown increasingly popular. Because these movements use several muscle groups simultaneously, they are perfect for short effective training sessions which require more effort which in turn will earn you more FitPointsTM!
When performed with intensity, they are extremely effective at working up a sweat, increasing metabolism and building overall strength and stamina. In short, full bodyweight exercises are the answer to your exercise prayers and the following four moves will improve your strength, cardio and flexibility in as little as 20 minutes a day! Best of all, they are perfect for indoor and outdoor training, require minimal space and zero equipment.
Walkout into push-up
The burpee is one of the most effective fat burning exercises that has earned a scary reputation in the fitness industry. Although not nearly as challenging in the cardio department, the lesser intense walkout manages to target many of the same muscle groups, including the entire upper body.
- Standing with feet slightly wider than hip width apart, bend over feeling a stretch on the back of the legs as you place your hands on floor.
- Walking one hand forward at a time into a hand plank position, do one push up and walk hands back to feet before standing up.
For added cardio benefits, do 5 jumping jacks between every repetition. Incorporating 10 to 15 walkouts into any exercise routine is a good way to gain the benefits of stretching, strengthening and stamina.
Dynamic squat jump
This exercise is fantastic for toning the legs, increasing power and improving muscular endurance.
- Standing with feet hip width apart, let your hands fall between your legs as you lower your buttocks back into a squat position.
- Once you are at a 90 degree angle, jump up into the air with power, lifting your hands to the sky in an explosive movement.
- Return to the first position and blast off again!
Three rounds of 15 to 20 dynamic squat jumps will set your legs on fire! In a good way!
This challenging movement is a great way to get the heart rate up, build lean muscle mass in the hamstrings, glutes and quads as well as strengthen the upper body from holding yourself up.
- Starting on your hands and toes in a push up position, raise one foot off the ground and drive the knee into your chest.
- Return to starting position and repeat the same movement with the other leg until you can comfortably increase the speed.
As your upper body is stabilizing, your hips are working and your abs are getting tight, strengthing your whole body. To crank up the intensity try alternating between slower and quicker tempos. Set a timer and aim to complete five 30-second rounds with 20 second breaks between.
If you’ve ever climbed a flight of stairs, you’ve ‘stepped up’, but this kind of step-up requires a bit more technique specifically catered to target the legs and glutes differently.
- Using a stable bench, chair or staircase, place your entire right foot on the platform as you push through your heel and bring yourself up to an elevated standing position.
- Slowly return to the floor and land softly on your foot as it encourages core strength and forces the stabilizer muscles to work harder.
Holding your arms above your head will add intensity as it will prevent you from swinging for momentum. Repeat 15 repetitions on each leg keeping proper form all throughout.
Make the most of a busy lifestyle or limited time by integrating full body movements into your daily activities. In addition to feeling more energized, you will gradually begin to see changes in your physique from fat loss to leaner muscle and notice an increase in strength and endurance which will inspire you to keep going and challenge yourself further.