If your life is an endless juggling act of work, kids, chores and social commitments (jokes, who has time for those?) the idea of trying to squeeze in a fitness habit may seem impossible.
But what do we say to the crazy schedule that tries to rob us of our gains? “Not today!” This workout is from trainer Krista Stryker, mastermind of 12 Minute Athlete workouts. Her workouts use zero equipment aside from your own body weight and a timer, which you can get from your phone.
This 12 Minute Athlete workout takes almost no time at all, but will still score you all the fat-burning, muscle-sculpting results you’re after.
How it works
The catch? You have to work your butt off. “In order to get the maximum benefits of HIIT (high-intensity interval training), you really do have to work really hard – up to 80-90% of your maximum capacity. You should basically feel like you’re sprinting during each work period and aim to go as fast as you can while keeping good form,” says Stryker. “HIIT workouts should be pretty intense, and if you’re working out for much more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time, you’re most likely doing a moderate intensity workout, not a high intensity one,” she says.
Got it? Here’s your workout…
You’ll need: A timer
Do the following exercises in order. Perform as many reps as you can with good form in 30 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Do three rounds total, never resting longer than 10 seconds. If you’re relatively new to HIIT workouts, do this routine no more than two or three days a week, but do light activity like walking on the other days.
More advanced? You can do the workout four or five days a week – but be sure to take one full rest day. For best results, Krista recommends you supplement your workouts with moving more in everyday life – take the stairs, go for a walk at lunchtime or catch up with friends over a hike rather than lunch.
Make it work for you
Working out at super high intensity isn’t a good idea for beginners. If you’re just starting out, get used to moving first, says Krista. For six months, aim to walk every day or cycle a few days a week before you dial it up. Similarly, if you’re susceptible to joint injuries – or are currently injured – you’re better off swapping all the jumping for lower impact moves.
You can also tailor any move to suit your fitness level. Can’t do a push-up? Make it easier by placing your hands on a higher surface like a chair or counter top. Body weight push-ups way too easy? Add a band to increase resistance or get plyometric with clapping or even superman push-ups. Need motivation to push harder? Count your reps during each interval and write them down. Next time you do the workout, try to beat your previous reps.
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1/ Burpee tuck jumps
From standing, squat down and jump your feet back into the top of a push-up. Do one push-up. Immediately jump your feet back towards your hands, then jump straight up as you tuck your knees towards your chest. That’s one rep.
2/ Push-up plank jumps
Start in the top of a push-up position with your shoulders directly over your hands. Push through your shoulders as you tighten your abs, glutes and quads. Lower your chest towards the floor. You should aim to touch or almost touch your chest to the floor while keeping your gaze slightly in front of your hands. Push yourself back up to start, then immediately jump your feet forward towards your hands while keeping your core tight. Jump your feet back to start. That’s one rep.
Too hard? Place your hands on an elevated surface such as a countertop or bench. The higher the surface, the easier the exercise will be.
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3/ Snowboarder jumps
Start in a squat position with one hand reaching towards the floor. Jump up as high as you can, rotating 180 degrees midair. Land back in a squat position, reaching towards the floor with the opposite hand. That’s one rep. Alternate directions on each rep.
4/ Pike jumps
Start in a piked position with your hands on the floor in front of you about shoulder-width apart. Jump your feet up as far as possible and land on one side. Trying not to pause, immediately jump to other side. Continue alternating.
5/ Side lunges
Stand straight with your legs wider than hip-width apart. Bend one knee and lower down as far as you can to one side while keeping the other leg straight to the side. Return to start and repeat on the other side. Continue alternating.
6/ Split leg V-up combo
Lie on your back with your arms straight above your head and your legs straight. Pull your belly button towards the floor, then raise your right leg as you reach both arms towards your right foot at the same time. Lower back down, then repeat on the left side. Next, raise both legs up at once as you reach your hands towards your toes. That’s one rep.
Want more 12 Minute Athlete workouts? Krista’s 12 Minute Athlete app is free for download, then choose which workouts you’d like to purchase, from R15 each. You can also download the 12-Minute Athlete Timer app, totally free.