If you have a busy lifestyle, a job that takes you all over the place, kids who won’t give you a minute’s peace, or simply a lack of motivation to join a gym (and who doesn’t!!), then you might feel that you simply can’t workout. Wrong! With this 10-minute full body workout you can do pretty much anywhere bigger than a small cupboard, you can ditch the excuses and start moving. I found this invaluable when I’ve been travelling and don’t have access to my fitness equipment or a hotel gym.
It starts with the lower body, then the upper body, finishing off with some core work. I’ve included some notes and short videos to help you with technique.
This is almost a full-body workout in its own right! Targeting the glutes, hamstrings and quads, as well as the core. The squat is all about technique! Get it wrong and you’re likely to put strain on your back and/or your knees. With feet just over hip-width apart, sit back as if into a chair. Keep the knees over the toes, the chest and the head up and the back straight. All of your weight should be in your heels in the squat position (you should be able to wiggle your toes!). Pull the shoulders back.
Repeat the movement 10 times
2. Pulse squats
Similar to regular squats, except you don’t come up all the way in between squats. Sit back into a 3/4 squat position, then lower into a full squat. Come back up to 3/4 position. Repeat 10 times.
3. Squat jumps
Sit back into a regular squat, then power up into a jump and land gently with soft knees, returning to the squat position. Keep the chest and head facing forwards and the knees just over hip-width apart. Repeat 10 times.
Start standing upright, feet hip-width apart. Keep the shoulders back. Take a big step forwards, planting the front foot firmly with the heel flat. Drop the back knee as low as you can (aiming for a 90-degree bend in both legs). Keeping the head and chest up and the back straight, propel yourself back up into the starting position. Repeat 10 times before switching legs and repeat for the other side.
5. Pulse lunges
Step forward into the lunge position. come up about 3/4 of the way then drop back into the full lunge. Keep the head and chest up and the back straight, shoulder blades pulled together. Repeat 10 times before switching legs.
6. Lunge jumps
Start in the low lunge position, one foot forward, one foot back, knees bent at 90 degrees. Then power up into the air and switch legs, landing on two feet with the opposite leg forwards. Be sure to land softly and return to the full low lunge position before jumping and switching legs. Keep the core engaged and the feet hip-width apart throughout to maintain stability. Want to make this more challenging? Try to maintain the body in the low lunge position as you switch legs!
7. Glute bridge
Great for a toned butt but also for a stronger core. Lie on your back on the floor, knees bent and feet flat, hip-width apart. Tuck the shoulder blades under, arms by your sides. Tighten through the glutes and the hamstrings and push the hips towards the ceiling until you have a straight line from the knees to the neck. Squeeze the glutes for 1-2 seconds before lowering back to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
8. Glute bridge hold
As for the glute bridge above, however this time hold the position for 5 seconds before lowering back towards the floor. Repeat 5 times.
9. Single leg glute bridge hold
As for the glute bridge hold above, however this time raise one leg up until the thighs are parallel. Hold this position for 5 seconds before lowering the leg and switching sides. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
10. Plank step ups (or “commandos”)
This movement involves going from the high plank (straight arms) to the low plank (resting on your forearms) and back again. Start by lying on your front on a mat, then raise your body up on to your hands and toes. Ensure the shoulders are directly over the wrists, and you have a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Tuck the pelvis under, tighten through the abs (imagine a string pulling your belly button up through your back!). Bend your left arm and lower to your forearm, then do the same with your right arm. Reverse the process until you are back into the upright (straight arm) plank position. Repeat this 5 times. Then pause for 5 seconds in both the high plank and the low plank positions. Repeat the whole thing 1 more time, performing 5 “commandos” and a 5-second pause in high plank and low plank.
You’ll be working your pecs (chest), shoulders and triceps with this exercise. Starting in a high plank position, shoulders over the hands, bend the elbows to 90 degrees and lower the chest towards the floor. Keeping the core tight and the back flat, raise back up into the high plank position (NOTE: if this is too difficult to begin with, perform the exercise resting on your knees). Complete this 5 times. Then, hold the upright plank position for 5 seconds and lower into the press-up position and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat the entire sequence 1 more time.
12. Plank “hot hands”
Start in the high plank (straight arm) position, but with feet wider than hip-width to reduce body rotation. Keeping the straight line from shoulders to heels, pelvis tilted up and abdomen tight, lift one hand off the floor and tap the chest before returning the hand to the floor. Repeat with the other hand. Continue to alternate the hands until you have completed 10 taps on each side.
13. Reverse “v-sit” crunches
These will target the lower abs. Sit on the floor, feet flat and arms behind supporting your body. Engage the lower abs to raise the legs and curl the knees towards your chest – you should have a 90-degree angle between your calves and your thighs. Straighten your legs out in front of you, keeping the feet off the floor throughout (try not to return the feet all the way to the floor if you can). At the same time, lean your body back slightly, bending the arms. Repeat this 5 times. Then hold the crunch position for 5 seconds, extend the legs and hold again for 5 seconds. Repeat the whole sequence one more time (5 crunches and a 5-second hold in the crunch and extended positions).
14. Bicycle crunches
This fantastic core exercise is great for targeting the obliques (side) muscles. Lie on the floor on your back. Bend the knees at 90 degrees, lifting the feet off the ground. Place your hands behind your head with elbows wide. Lift the left shoulder blade off the ground, rotate the body and bring the left elbow to meet the right knee, extending the left leg straight out. Switch sides, bringing right elbow to left knee. Complete this 5 times, holding the last rep for 5 seconds. Do 5 more crunches, starting with the right arm, and hold the final rep for 5 seconds.
15. Seated (“Russian”) twists
Another exercise targeting the obliques. Sit on the floor, lean back slightly (engaging the core to maintain stability). Raise the feet, creating a 90-degree angle between the tummy and thighs, and the thighs and knees. Twist the body to tap the fingers on the floor just to the side of the hips, then twist the other way to do the same on the other side. Complete this until you have done 10 rotations on each side. (NOTE: if this is too difficult to begin with, leave the heels on the floor, but keep the knees bent and continue to lean back slightly to engage the abs). If you want to add in an extra element, complete 5 rotations and hold the 5th for 5 seconds. Continue with a further 5 rotations holding on the other side for 5 seconds. Repeat the entire sequence to finish.
If you’re feeling energetic or have more time, then simply repeat these exercises for a longer workout.
So what do you think? Armed now with this quick, no-equipment full body workout, you really have no excuse not to fit at least 10 minutes of exercise into your busy schedule!
Looking for more ideas? Check out our Daily Exercise Challenge for a full month’s worth of exercises you can build into your own routine.
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