Sometimes it feels like they’re just aren’t enough hours in the day. Between work commitments, family obligations, and other engagements that have a knack for popping up out of nowhere, we can feel like our time isn’t our own. When that happens, it’s important to get back to basics and make the most of the time that we do have.
Usually, there’s a sweet spot in your day, either early in the morning before your family wakes up, and work starts sending you e-mails, or late at night when everyone’s sleeping. Since that time is also precious to you, and usually reserved for sleeping, or relaxing, it’s important to make the most of it. This 8-minute workout is designed to strengthen your whole body, while offering maximum results in minimal time.
Exercise 1: Jumping Jacks (1 Minute)
Even when you’re looking to exercise as quickly as possible, you still need to warm up. That’s why you’ll kick off this 8-minute whole body workout by doing jumping jacks. They’re one of the most effective warm-up exercises because they loosen up the muscles in your legs, torso, and arms and get your heart rate up. Stand upright with your legs together and your arms at your sides. Slightly bend your knees and jump into the air. As you jump, extend both your legs so they’re about shoulder width-apart, and stretch your arms out and over your head. Then jump back to your starting position. Repeat this motion and continue doing jumping jacks for one minute.
Exercise 2: Bodyweight Squats (1 Minute)
The bodyweight squat builds strength in your legs and your glutes. To do this exercise, stand with your hands on the back of your head and your feet shoulder width apart. You should also turn your feet out slightly in order to open your hip joint. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, pause for a moment, and then return to the starting position. Proper form is extremely important for bodyweight squats since squats can be hard on your knees if done incorrectly. Do this exercise for one minute, and make sure to focus on your form.
Exercise 3: Mountain Climbers (1 Minute)
Mountain climbers work your entire body, strengthening your back, arms, and legs. They’re also great for building cardio endurance, core strength, and agility. Start in a high plank position with your shoulders directly over your wrists, hands placed shoulder-width apart, and your core engaged so that your body forms a straight line.
To keep your neck relaxed, look down between your hands. Engage your glutes, quads, and thighs to keep you legs straight. With a tight core, initiate the movement by driving your left knee in toward your chest. Then quickly step it back to plank position. After this, immediately drive the right knee in toward your chest, and then quickly step it back into plank position. Continue to alternate for one minute, resting as needed. For best results, perform the move slowly at first and then speed up after you’ve perfected your form.
Exercise 4: Plank Jacks (1 Minute)
Plank jacks strengthen your core muscles, chest, back, shoulders, and arms. Plank jacks may also help you burn calories since it’s a cardio exercise. To safely perform plank jacks, make sure that your core is engaged throughout the entire move, and keep your body in a straight line – not letting your hips dip. Start in a plank position with your arms extended and hands under your shoulders, engaging your abs by pulling them in. Step your right foot out to the side, and then bring it back to the center. Do this same movement on your left side – stepping your left foot out to the side and then bringing it back to the center. Continue holding the plank and stepping your feet out on each side and bringing them back in for a minute. If you can’t hold the plank for that long, take a short break and then try again.
Exercise 5: Burpees With Push-Ups (1 Minute)
This full body strength training exercise works your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs. To do burpees with push-ups, start by standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Then bring your palms to the floor. Jump your feet back so that you’re in a high plank position, while engaging your core and keeping your hips lifted. Bend your elbows and do a push-up, returning to the high plank position. Jump your feet to the outside of your hands and explode up. Then reach your arms over your head and jump as high as you can. Continue this process for a minute, resting as needed.
Exercise 6: Lunges (1 Minute)
Lunges can help you develop lower-body strength and endurance by working your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your core engaged. Take a big step forward with your right leg, while shifting your weight forward so that your heel hits the floor first. Then lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your right shin is vertical. To return to the starting position, press into your right heel to drive back up. Do this 20 times with your right leg and then switch to your left leg. Once you’ve mastered the proper form, you can add weight to make this exercise more challenging.
Exercise 7: Leg Raises (1 Minute)
Leg raises strengthen your core and may help reduce lower back pain. Lie on your back with your legs together and straight. With your legs straight, lift them all the way up to the ceiling until your butt comes off the ground. Then slowly lower your legs back down until they’re just above the floor. Hold for a moment before raising your legs back up. Then repeat. Do this exercise for one minute, resting as needed.
Exercise 8: Seated Forward Bend (1 Minute)
Before you finish your workout, it’s important to cool down. The seated forward bend may calm your brain and relieve stress, while also stretching your spine, shoulders, and hamstrings. Sit with your legs extended in front of you, lift your arms, and hinge at your hips to fold forward. Place your hands on your legs, or the floor. Hold this position for up to one minute.