Short On Time? Try This 4-Minute Workout

Short On Time? Try This 4-Minute Workout Hero Image

With only 24 hours in a day and most of those hours consumed by work, family or other responsibilities, your fitness routine can get crowded out (or feel impossible to accomplish). An inability to get to the gym can lead to feelings of guilt or (worse!) sabotage your fitness routine for the week.

Getting to the gym takes time. Time for travel, time waiting for available machines, time to shower. It’s easy to talk yourself out of going when your schedule is jam-packed.

If you can’t make it to the gym one day, don’t beat yourself up. Solve the problem and bring the gym to YOU and do a mini full-body workout!

Perform 15 reps of the following exercises (descriptions of each exercise follow below):

  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Triceps dips
  • Sliding hands-to-knees crunches

Performing 15 reps for each of these exercises should take 1 minute each, which means that if you complete only one set of each exercise, you’ll only need 4 minutes. Do as many sets as time allows for. They don’t all need to be completed in one sitting. All of these exercises can be done almost anywhere.

Finish a set before leaving the house, grab a second set while at work and a third set while walking home.

The goal is not to pretend that you are going all out, but rather to keep yourself from sabotaging your fitness and workout routine. Everybody has a spare 4 minutes. In lieu of checking social media sites for the twentieth time, stand up and complete a set of squats.

Thinking of researching your next vacation? Use your desk chair to kick out triceps dips instead. If you manage to complete 3 sets, you will have 45 push-ups, 45 triceps dips, 45 squats, and 3 minutes of sliding hand-to-knees crunches under your belt. Not too shabby for a day that was going to fall flat otherwise.

So here's how to do the exercises:

Push-ups

Place your palms and toes on the ground, making sure your back and arms are straight. Keep your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart and tighten your abdominal muscles.

Inhale as you lower yourself to the ground by bending your elbows. Exhale and press back up.

Keep your head in a straight line with your body. Don't allow your lower back or rib cage to sag, or your hips to hike upward.

*Easier: perform on your knees or against a raised surface, such as a bench or railing. Widen your hands.

*Harder: perform a classic push-up, but raise one foot off the ground, instead. Alternate feet.

Squats

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Shift your weight into your heels by picking your toes up slightly.

Push your hips and butt back and lower yourself as if about to sit in a chair. Lower until thighs are about parallel to ground.

Keep your torso upright and don’t allow your knees to extend past your toes. Squeeze your glute muscles as you return to the starting position. Repeat.

*Easier: limit how far you go down.

Triceps Dips

Sit at the edge of a bench or raised surface with your legs straight out in front of you.

Bend your elbows until they reach about a 90 degree angle, stick out your chest and lower your hips toward the ground.

Keep your back straight, your elbows pointed back, and your butt close to the edge.


Press back up until elbows are straight, but not locked.

Do not slouch forward or let your shoulders drop forward. Keep the weight in the heels of your hands.

*Easier: limit the downward phase or bend your knees.

Sliding Hands-To-Knees Crunches

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet together.

Place your hands at the base of your thighs. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, contract your abdominal muscles, and slide your hands up your thighs until your fingertips reach your knees.

Slide hands back down thighs and repeat.

So the next time you can't make it to the gym, don't sweat it! Just pack in these moves instead!

Photo credit: Tina Ohlin

Photo credit woman on rock: Robert Randall


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