If you have nine minutes to spare, this total-body workout gets you on the right path or helps you maintain the level of fitness you worked so hard to build.
Bodyweight workouts might not be the end-all-be-all of your training program. Some exercises, like the pushup or pullup are strenuous on your body and can help you build muscle and strength. Others, like the bodyweight squat, work your muscles but ultimately may not be challenging enough as you get stronger.
When you’re pressed for time, though, quick bodyweight workouts are useful. Any amount of exercise is far better than doing nothing. Bodyweight workouts also provide your body a much-needed break from weight training, which can beat up your joints and lead to overuse injuries. Sometimes it feels better to do quick bodyweight workouts.
This is also a helpful introduction to the world of strength training. Rather than running straight to the weight section of your gym, work with your bodyweight for weeks or months until you feel comfortable. It’s harder to hurt yourself if you’re doing bodyweight moves, and you can build balance and coordination before experimenting with weights.
YOUR 9-MINUTE TOTAL-BODY BODYWEIGHT WORKOUT
- This four-move, total-body workout is to be completed in a circuit-training fashion.
- Each exercise should be performed for 30 seconds, with a 30-second rest.
- After you’ve completed each exercise once, take a 1-minute break before repeating the circuit a second time. After your second time around the circuit you can stop or continue if you have more time and energy.
- Before you hop into this workout, remember to warm up. Five minutes of walking, jogging or doing bodyweight exercises like jumping jacks can loosen your joints and improve your range of motion.
1. REVERSE LUNGE
This exercise helps build your hamstrings, glutes and quads. It also challenges your ability to balance.
The move: Stand tall with your hands behind your head. Make sure you have room behind you. Step back with one foot and sink your back knee toward the ground. Then, step back up to standing. As you go down into the lunge, maintain a tall posture with your shoulders over your hips. You can lean slightly forward as you go down and step back up. Switch legs on every repetition.
2. PLANK WALKDOWN
This exercise looks like a pushup, but it’s not as difficult. In fact, if you’re struggling to improve your pushup ability, this exercise helps. It builds core strength as well as upper-body muscles like the chest, triceps and shoulders.
The move: Start in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders. Lower one elbow down so your forearm is flat on the ground. Then, do the same with the other arm. Now you’re in a forearm plank position. Plant the first hand you lowered on the ground and press back up so your shoulders are turned. Finally, place the other hand on the ground and straighten both elbows so you’re back in a plank position.
Situps are a classic exercise many branches of the military still use in fitness testing. It works your abdominals and — best of all — gives your arms and legs a break.
The move: Lie on your back and put your hands behind your head. Plant your feet flat on the ground so your knees are bent. Sit up, keeping your hands behind your head and elbows back. Stop when you can’t go any further or your chest touches your knees. Then, lie back down slowly and repeat.
4. MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS
While your arms might be tired, this is more of a full-body exercise. The first three exercises were geared more toward strengthening muscles. This is an all-out cardio burst for 30 seconds.
The move: Raise one knee up so it’s under your stomach. Then, jump and switch legs as fast as possible. Only one foot should be on the ground at a time. Keep pumping your legs one at a time as fast as you can. Try to keep going for the entire 30 seconds.