If you’re not a fan of long sweat sessions, we have some good news for you. New research from the University of Stirling in Scotland found that people who performed fewer intervals during high-intensity workouts actually saw greater improvements in their fitness than those who did more intervals. “Lack of time is frequently cited as one of the main barriers to people becoming or staying physically active,” wrote Niels Vollaard, Ph.D., lecturer in health and exercise science in the faculty of health sciences and sport at the university, in his report. “High-intensity workouts have begun to tackle this problem, allowing people to get maximum health benefits while working out for a shorter time.” How short? Well, what if you had only five minutes? Could you actually get in a good workout?
If these celebrity trainers are to be believed (and they should be—just look at their client rosters!), you definitely can. We asked some of the top instructors in the biz what they’d do if they had only five minutes. Steal their moves the next time you’re short on time, or combine a few to make a slightly longer session.
“I want to get the most bang for my buck,” says Kaiser. “Here you get cardio, strength, and dynamic flexibility in one crazy, intense circuit. The strength work will keep your heart rate up so you get the cardio in at the same time, and the functional training will stretch your body simultaneously.”
Do this circuit twice through, switching sides the second time (for one-sided movements).
1. Mountain climbers (30 seconds)
Start in a plank position. Bend right knee and bring it up in toward your chest. Return right leg to start and repeat with left knee. Continue alternating as fast as you can.
2. Downward Dog hops with knee pulls (30 seconds)
Start in a Downward-Facing Dog position. Lift your right leg up, bend the knee, and bring your right knee between your hands. Push your right leg back and then up toward the ceiling while simultaneously hopping into the air with your left leg (it’s OK if you can’t get a lot of height!). Repeat on right side. Switch legs on second round.
3. Windshield-wiper push-ups (30 seconds)
Get into push-up position, then drop shins onto the ground. Place a towel under right hand. Using the towel, slide your right hand forward as far as you can while simultaneously dropping thighs, hips, and core toward the floor. Keep body in a straight position the entire time. Use core to pull right arm back in. Repeat with right leg. Switch arms on second round.
4. Lunge with twist (30 seconds)
Standing with feet together, step right leg forward. Your right foot should be flat on floor and just your left toes are on the floor behind you, with your arms up next to ears, extended overhead. Bend right knee to lower into lunge position. Once there, open your arms out to the side as you twist torso to the right. Twist back to center and rise back up, while bringing arms back overhead. Repeat with right leg. Switch sides on second round.
5. Sit-up with single-knee tuck and twist (30 seconds)
Lie flat on ground, legs extended, arms extended overhead. Keeping core tight, lift arms to shoulder height, followed by lifting head, shoulders, back, and core to sit up. As you get close to top of the movement, lift your right leg, bend your knee and pull your knee in towards your chest, while simultaneously twisting your torso to the right and opening your arms out to sides. Slowly reverse movement. Repeat on the other side. Continue, alternating.
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