Friday, 12 February 2010 01:22

At-Home 30-Minute Workout Routine

Push-upsCircuit training is a great way to get a quick, effective total-body workout. You will be alternating power toning moves with cardio moves, so that in just 30 minutes you can tone your muscles, increase your aerobic capacity and burn your body fat.

You will be doing a series of lower body, upper body and core exercises to involve the largest muscle groups in the shortest amount of time. These muscles require a lot of total body effort, your heart rate will stay elevated during the entire workout, and you will burn more calories.

Please, Commit to 30 minutes of exercise every day!

5 minute warm-up: Light jump-roping, jogging in place, quickly walk up a flight of stairs 10 times—if you have cardio equipment, such as a treadmill, an elliptical machine or a stationary bike, set it at moderate speed and moderate intensity for 5 minutes.

Plies squats: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, hands on your hips and yours toes turned out. Keep your torso upright and lower your tailbone straight down toward the floor, until your knees are at a 45-90 degree bend. Come back up to the start and repeat. Once you are comfortable with the movement you can hold one single or two dumbbells. Works quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and inner thighs.

Repeat this motion 25 times. Complete 1 set of 25 repetitions alternating with 1 set of 20 push-ups.

Push-ups: Many different variations depending on your strength. For beginners, you can do a push-up with an exercise ball under the hips, knees or feet as you lower and lift the body. As you become stronger you can remove the ball, with both hands and toes on the floor, hold your abdominal muscles tight, pushing your belly button towards your spine.

Side-to-side squats: Standing with hands on hips, feet a little wider than hip-width apart, toes forward. Step out with your right leg and lower down into a squat. Return to the start and do the same on the left leg. Continue alternating between right and left legs, moving side to side. Works the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, inner and outer thighs. Complete 1 set of 25 repetitions alternating with 1 set of 25 repetitions of chest press with band.

Chest press with band: Using an exercise band (rubber band with handles, medium resistance--can be found at any sporting good store) place the band around your back and underneath your underarms. Hold the ends of the band, one in each hand. Keep tension on the band and press your arms out as far in front of you as you can, bringing the hands together. Slowly return back to the starting position. Resist the tension of the band throughout the movement. Once you are comfortable with the movement, you can do this while marching in place to keep the heart rate up and burn more calories. Works the chest, the front of the shoulders and triceps.

Back extensions: Lie face down on a mat or pad. Bring your arms alongside your body. Tuck your chin in toward your chest and point your face straight down. Lift your head, neck and shoulders several inches off the floor, hold for a second and return to the starting position. Keep the lower body on the floor. Only work in a pain-free range of motion. Works the back extensors.

Repeat this motion 25 times. Complete 1 set of 25 repetitions alternating with 1 set of 30 crunches with feet on the step or chair.

Crunches with feet on the step or chair: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on a step (or your calves and feet resting on the seat of a chair). Your thighs should be at a 90-degree angle from your torso. Lace your fingers together and place them behind the head to support the neck. Flex the feet and keep the toes up. Lift the head, neck and shoulders up off the floor, pulling your belly button inward, towards your spine, and slowly lower down. Works the abdominals.

10 minutes of cardio

Use intense intervals during your cardio session, taking about a minute to get from moderate speed to high intensity. Whether you're on the stair-stepper, the elliptical trainer, or the treadmill, follow this pattern:

  • 1 minute of slow to moderate speed to bring your heart rate up 30 seconds of the highest speed you can tolerate.
  • Then 30 seconds of moderate speed.
  • Then 30 seconds of the stiffest resistance you can handle.
  • Then 30 seconds of moderate.
  • Keep alternating between speed and resistance until you've completed 10 minutes.

Finish with one-minute cool-down at moderate then low intensity.

If you do not have cardio equipment you can jump rope for 10 minutes alternating 45 seconds at high speed jumping with both feet, to 45 seconds at lower speed skipping, alternating feet. As you get stronger increase the interval you are working at high intensity and shrink the length of the interval you are working at moderate intensity.

Enjoy your 30 minutes fitness routine every other day if you are a beginner, and every day if you already have incorporated in your life style an exercise regimen.