Saturday, November 27, 2010

A 20-minute workout just for you!

The very funny thing about this time of year is that there really isn't any time to get things done. Cookies need to be made, parties have to be attended—and then, there's all those mundane tasks we should be doing just to get through the week. I don't know about you, but I often have more than one to-do list in my purse (or gym bag). And really, I can hardly get myself through them. Where all the hours go in my day, I'll never know. But one thing is for certain, I make sure I always find time for some physical activity. You just have to. Even if it's a mere 20 minutes. A little bit'll do ya, really. It will. 

While we weren't so rushed yesterday morning, we did want to sneak in a short workout before commencing our day. We took the dog for a walk...

...only once around the block, though. The wind was especially brutal, and while the furball could've handled it for a little bit longer, we definitely could not. So we headed inside and hit the weights.

What follows is a list of the exercises we completed. It took us about 20 minutes to get through everything, and we definitely worked all of the major muscle groups. Take note, and if you're ever pressed for time, give it a go—and do two sets of twelve repetitions for each exercise.

20-Minute Total Body Circuit
1) SIDE-TO-SIDE LUNGES: Start with a wide-leg squat, shift your weight onto your right leg as you 
    cross your left leg behind you and toward the diagonal. Lunge, return to center for another wide-leg 
    squat, then repeat by shifting your weight onto your left leg. Every wide-leg squat is one repetition.
2) PUSHUPS: Keep your body in one straight line as you lift and lower yourself, bending your arms to 
    90 degrees each time. Your shoulders should be above your wrists the entire time, and your wrists 
    should be slightly wider than your shoulders. Inhale as you lower, exhale as you come up—and 
    squeeze your abs the entire time!
3) DEAD LIFTS:  Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and dumbbells in front of your 
    thighs. Bend forward at the hips until your back is parallel to the floor—it's very important that you 
    keep a straight back, no arching! And don't lock your knees. Slowly return to starting position, pulling 
    with your glutes and hamstrings, to complete one rep.
4) BENT ROWS: Hold a set of weights in your hands, palms facing your thighs and feet hip width 
    apart. Your knees should be slightly bent. Lower the weights until your back is parallel to the ground 
    (try to keep it flat). Pull the weights up again, using the back of your legs to get upright. Repeat.
5) TICK-TOCK LUNGES: Start with your feet hip-width apart. Using your right leg, step into a 
    forward lunge. Stand up and move immediately into a backward lunge using your right leg once 
    again. This counts as one repetition. Complete all repetitions, then switch legs.
9) PALMS-IN SHOULDER PRESSES: Hold the weights in front of your chest, facing your palms 
    toward your body. Press your arms up toward the ceiling, then lower to complete one repetition.
10) CALF RAISES: Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes pointed forward. Push through your feet to 
      raise your heels, then lower. Repeat 12 to 15 times. Next, put your heels together, toes pointed out in 
      a V shape to target the medial head. Motion and reps are the same. And finally, put your toes 
      together with your heels out in a reverse V shape. This can feel awkward, but it hits your lateral 
      head. Motion and reps are the same. (Holding a dumbbell, standing on the edge of a step, or doing 
      one leg at a time can increase the intensity.)
11) AB ATTACK: Lie flat on your back. Hold a weight in your right hand up toward the 
      ceiling. Bend your right leg, then extend your left leg and left arm while holding them about six 
      inches off the ground. Inhale, then use your abdominals to bring your shoulders off the ground. At 
      the same time, lift your left leg even higher, almost as if you were creating a V shape with your body. 
      Complete 12 repetitions, then switch sides for your second set.
12) SIDE LEG LIFTS: Lie on your side with your hips and shoulders stacked, legs straight and feet 
      slightly forward. Prop yourself up on your bottom elbow, slightly roll off your hips, then lift and 
      lower your legs about a foot off the ground until your desired number of repetitions are complete. 
      Repeat on your other side.

And there you have it! A quick, 20-minute workout just for you! Trust me, you'll love it. (If not, let me know why.)

Question: What do you typically do when you have to squeeze in a quick workout?

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