- Fitness Tips -

Body-Weight Moves You Can Do Anywhere

Here’s how to squeeze in a series of invigorating activities that turn wasted moments into body-strengthening mini-workouts.

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Start with a few moments of deep breathing or meditation to prepare your body-mind for action. Next, to engage your entire body and get your heart rate up in under 10 minutes, focus on multijoint strength-training movements like those included in the workout below, designed by Kelli Calabrese, MS, master trainer for Adventure Boot Camp in Flower Mound, Texas. Calabrese suggests starting with slow, controlled reps and gradually building to a quicker pace. For maximum effect in minimum time, complete your last few reps by holding each exercise at its most difficult point for 15 to 20 seconds, or until you simply can’t hold it any longer:

Lunges: Step forward with your right foot, bending both knees until they’re at 90-degree angles. Push forward off your front foot to return to the start position. Repeat for one minute, alternating the lunging foot, then move on to the next exercise without a break.

Pushups: Get on the floor in a plank position, either with your knees on the floor (easier) or off (harder). Lower your chest until it’s 4 inches from the floor, then press back up. Do as many as you can in one minute and then move on to the next exercise without a break.

Triceps dips: Sit on the edge of a chair. Place your palms on the chair so they are partially underneath your thighs with your fingers pointing toward your knees. Supporting yourself with your hands, lift your butt off the chair, then shift it forward, extending your legs as straight as you comfortably can and supporting your weight with your hands. Lower your butt toward the floor by bending your elbows until they reach a 90-degree angle. Press back up until the arms are fully extended. Repeat the lower-and-press movement for one minute, then move on to the next exercise.

Wall sit: Stand with your back against a wall. Walk your feet forward as you slide your back down the wall, bending your knees up to 90 degrees. Hold for one minute and then move on to the next exercise.

Yoga boat pose: Sit on the floor. Balance your body weight on your sit bones as you lift your feet off the floor. Extend your legs and lift your arms until your body forms a V shape. Hold up to one minute.

Plank and side plank: Get on the floor in a plank position, with your legs extended and forearms under your chest. Hold one minute. Then move directly into side plank. Rotate your body sideways, balancing on your forearm and the edge of your bottom foot. Raise your opposite hand toward the ceiling. Move back into regular plank then transition into side plank on the other side. Continue alternating among these positions for one minute.

Reverse plank: Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place your palms on the floor just behind your buttocks. Press into your hands as you lift your hips so your body is straight, and squeeze your glutes together. Lower and repeat for one minute.

Don’t have time for the whole routine? Do a set of pushups, which work the chest, back, arms and core muscles, making them one of the most efficient exercises around. 

Try this 10-minute routine suggested by Park: It builds strength without getting you too sweaty, and can be done all at one time or divided into single-exercise intervals.

Chair pose: This move helps to reverse the forward slump that’s so common with desk sitting. It also works your core, lower and upper back, hamstrings, and glutes. Stand with your feet 6 inches apart. Bend your knees slightly and push your rear backward, as if you were sitting back into a chair. Lift your arms overhead as high as possible. Keep your body weight over your heels. Hold for 30 seconds.

Bridge:  Lie on the floor on your back. Place your arms at your sides next to your torso, palms down. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Lift your hips as high as possible. Hold for 15 seconds. Release and repeat four times.

Plank: Lie on your stomach. Place your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor. Lift your torso off the ground so you are balanced on the balls of your feet and forearms. Hold 30 seconds, lower and repeat one time.

Back extensions: Lie on your stomach with your arms by your sides, legs extended and feet touching. Squeeze your legs together as you lift your head, upper back and arms. Keep your feet on the floor. Lower and repeat 15 times, holding the last repetition for 15 seconds.

Warrior pose: Stand and step forward into a lunge, sinking down until your forward thigh is parallel to the floor. Raise your arms overhead. Reach back through your rear heel and forward through your front knee. Hold 30 seconds. Follow up with some other favorite yoga poses.

Negative pushup: Starting from a plank position with your arms extended and palms under your chest, slowly lower your body toward the floor. Try to take 15 seconds to reach the floor.

You’ve only got five minutes? Not to worry. Try this resistance-band workout instead.

Squats: Stand on the middle of the band, holding one end in each hand. Bend your elbows and place your hands at shoulder height. Bend your knees to 90 degrees as you squat. Rise and repeat several times.

Chest press: Lie on your back on the floor on top of the middle of the band and bend your knees. Grasp a handful of the band in each hand. Starting with your elbows bent, press your hands upward until your arms are extended. Lower and repeat several times.

Seated row: Sit with your legs extended. Place the middle of the band under your feet, holding an end in each hand. Pull your elbows back as if you were rowing a boat and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Release and repeat several times.

Lateral raises: Stand with your feet on the middle of the band. Grasp an end of the band in each hand, placing your arms at your sides. Raise your arms outward to shoulder height. Slowly lower and repeat several times.

Triceps extensions: Stand with your feet squarely under your hips. Holding the band with your right hand, raise your right arm overhead and drop the rest of the band behind your back. With your left hand, grab the lower end of the band behind your back, near your waist. Gather up the slack in the band. Extend your right arm, then lower. Repeat several times with each arm.

Overhead press: Stand with your feet on the middle of the band. Grasping part of the band in each hand, press your arms upward, extending them overhead. Slowly lower and repeat.

Biceps curls: Stand with your feet on the middle of the band. Grasp part of the band in each hand. Turn your palms upward and bend your elbows as you bring your hands toward your shoulders. Lower and repeat.

Or drop to the floor and do some stretches. Two suggestions:

Upward facing dog: Lie on your stomach with your legs extended. Place your hands on the floor near your armpits, palms down. Exhale as you press into your hands and lift your head, neck and shoulders as high as is comfortable. Keep your hips anchored on the floor. Hold for a count of 10, release and repeat two times.

Seated hip stretch: Sit cross-legged, your right shin in front of your left. Bend forward from the hips until you feel a stretch in your right buttocks. Hold for a count of 20. Release, switch legs, and repeat.

This piece was excerpted from Workday Workouts.

Alisa Bowman has collaborated on six New York Times bestsellers, including The Skinny (Broadway, 2009). She also writes the popular marriage blog ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com.

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