People talk about “finding the time” to do the things they care about. The expression is used so often that it can sound like a waste of air used to pad out a conversation. But under closer inspection, you’ll find that the idea isn’t without merit. Those of us possessed of a Spartan-worthy drive know that every minute is an opportunity for self-improvement, and “finding time” is a skill we can master.
There are scraps of it everywhere: In the moments you spend browsing Facebook between work tasks, or hitting the snooze button in the morning. Valuable minutes hide in the space between meetings, or even in the hour you sit in the airport lobby waiting to board a plane. It’s not like there are any “no sweating” signs, right?
The point is, regardless of how packed your day is, you can always find at least five minutes to spike your heart rate. And as a supplement to your usual workout plan, that can have a big impact.
“Most people think that if they don’t have time to make it to the gym for an hour, the day is a wash,” says Cassidy Watton, CPT, head of programming for Epic Hybrid Training. “But this simply isn’t true—an intense, five-minute workout can provide a 15-minute afterburn and pump you full of endorphins that make it well worth your while. Plus, if you go all-out in intensity, you won't have the energy to go longer than five minutes.”
And those micro-workouts add up. Consider: If you replace three “I’m too busy” days a week with three five-minute workouts, you’ll log an extra 13 hours of cardio and muscle-building to your annual tally.
So check out Watton’s five-minute body crusher. Log it to memory and use it any time you feel the urge to blow off a workout. The four exercises focus on all your biggest muscle groups, and if you commit to working hard, you’ll emerge breathless and sweaty. You might even be able to squeeze in another five-minute session later in the day.
The Ultimate 5-Minute Bodyweight Workout
Do each exercise at an all-out intensity for 60 seconds, resting 15 seconds between each.
Muscles worked: Posterior chain, chest, shoulders, core
Begin standing, feet hip-width apart, hands by sides. Place your hands on the ground, step or jump your feet back into a plank, lower your entire body to the ground. Press back up to plank position, jump feet back in, stand and jump so feet come off the ground while hands clap overhead. Repeat.
Muscles worked: Core
Begin on your back, in the hollow position—abs and glutes squeezed, feet and shoulders off of the ground, arms straight above your head. Lift your entire back and legs off of the floor and, with straight limbs, meet your hands and feet together over the center of your body. Lower and repeat.
Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, core
Begin in a squat position—hips at knee level, weight in your heels, chest up—with your arms straight behind you in jump-ready position. From here, fire up with your hips and hands into a fully extended jump, landing softly (toe-to-heel) back in the squat. Repeat as quickly as you can without compromising your form.
Muscles worked: Core, shoulders
Begin in a plank on your hands—your hands directly under shoulders, shoulders pressed down and away from your ears, pelvis tilted under your body, legs straight with quads squeezed. Lift your left hand to touch your right shoulder, return to plank, and then lift your right hand to touch your left shoulder. Continue as quickly as you can while keeping your core and glutes engaged.
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