If you’ve made the effort to schedule in exercise into your busy day, but more often than not, seem to keep putting off and pushing it to the next day, and then the next, fear not. There is a solution. It doesn’t involve hiring a trainer to bust down your door at 6am and drag you out of bed, or carving out 2 hours to fight the evening rush hour to get to a crowded gym only to wait in line for a treadmill.
HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training; is doing bursts of intense movement followed by a short rest and then repeating the process.
Most of these exercises are really basic, but when done at a high intensity and in combination, they are very effective.
You can do time intervals or rep intervals. A time interval would be doing as many jumping jacks at a high intensity for 1 minute, then resting for a brief period. A repetition interval would be doing 50 jumping jacks (regardless of time) and resting for a brief period. I recommend you try both and see which works better for you. If you are a beginner at this, rep intervals might be a little easier on the body until you can work up to time intervals. My sample workout below will be based time for a more intermediate level.
Jumping Jacks: Do as many as you can (with good form) in 1 minute. Rest for 20 seconds.
Forearm Plank: Hold for 1.30 minutes. Rest for 20 seconds.
*Align shoulders over elbows and keep hips in line with shoulders
Wall Sit: Back flat against the wall sit with thighs parallel to the floor and knees directly over the ankles. Hold for 2 minutes. Rest for 20 seconds.
*Hold in the core, engage the glutes and make sure your full back is against the wall and also the back of the skull.
High Knees: Like running in place, but with a little more purpose. Standing with torso up and core in, lift one leg up bending at the knee to get the knee as high up as you can without too much shifting in the hips. Alternate. Do your best to land on the foot softly (toe, ball, heel) and not flat footed. Keep hands on hips. Go as quickly as you can for 2 minutes. Rest for 20 seconds.
Plank to Push-up: Starting in a forearm plank with palms flat on the floor, press up to a straight-arm plank (or push up position) one arm at a time. The goal is to transition as smoothly as possible without altering the alignment of the torso. Do as many as you can in 1 minute. Rest for 20 seconds.
Step Ups: Use a standard bench or chair (no cushion) and place it on a flat surface against the wall so that it will not move. Make sure the bench/chair is strong enough to support your weight. Keeping the back straight with hands on the hips and abs in, step up with one foot making sure the knee is over the heel and not forward. Use the glute and hamstring of that leg to step the other foot up. Step back down one leg at a time. The goal is to keep the torso straight and not to lean into the step. Do as many as you can in 2 minutes alternating the leg you step with first. Rest for 20 seconds.
Burpees: Start in a very low squat position. Place the hands out in front of you on the floor, engage the abs and jump both legs back into a plank position. Use the core to jump both legs back into the squat position and immediately jump straight up (vertical jump). Land with soft knees and repeat. Do as many as you can with good form for 2 minutes. Rest for 20 seconds.
Side Plank: Begin in a forward facing plank. Slightly move the right arm inward and then rotate the body to the left as you place the left leg on top of the right. The left arm will extend up or along side of the body. Keep the body in a straight line and abs engaged. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1:30 minutes. Repeat on the other side. Rest for 20 seconds.
Tricep Dips: Sit on a chair or bench placed against the wall. Place the heels of the hands on the edge with the elbows facing back and tight to the body. Walk your feet forward so that they are extended straight. Glutes should be off the chair. Keeping the shoulders pressing away from the ears, bend the arms to 90 degrees (keeping the arms tight to the body). Press up to straight arms. The torso should go straight towards the floor. Do as many as you can with good form for 1 minute. Rest for 20 seconds.
One Leg Wall Sit: The same exercise as Wall Sit in Circuit 1 but with one leg extended out off the floor. Concentrate on contracting the glute and hamstring on the supporting leg. Engage the abs and hold for 30 to 1:30 seconds. Rest for 20 seconds.
Make sure to end all circuits with light stretching. Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program and use caution. If something doesn’t feel right, stop.
As you get stronger and better at these, increase your time. All you need is you, a wall and a sturdy chair. No excuses!
Jessica Kuiken is a Los Angeles based Pilates Instructor. You can follower her on Twitter here.