Time is arguably the most valuable commodity. It’s something we can’t make more of. When time is short, we often have to choose between doing the things we need to do and doing the things we want to do. In many cases, this means workouts have to be postponed or even forgotten altogether.
While the occasional missed workout won’t have too noticeable an effect on your fitness, if you miss a few workouts in a row, you’ll soon see your fitness start to decline. Getting back into your fitness groove will also be harder after a break. The good news is that, just because you can’t dedicate an hour or more to your workout, doesn’t mean you can’t maintain or even improve your fitness with a much shorter training session.
Here are three time-saving body weight at home workouts that require nothing more than some space, an exercise mat, and a Gymboss interval training timer.
- Tabata quad set
This workout only takes 8-12 minutes but, in that short time, you’ll work virtually every muscle in your body, as well as your heart and lungs. It’s also a great calorie burner. Grab your timer and set it for 20 seconds of work and ten seconds of rest for eight rounds of the following four-exercise circuit. The circuit is four minutes long, repeat 2-3 times. You can rest one minute between circuits if desired. When time is short, it’s good to know that you can still have an effective at-home workout.
- Squat jumps
- Flutter kicks
- Alternating reverse lunges
Push-ups – squat down and place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet back so that your body is straight. With your abs braced, bend your arms and lower your chest down to within an inch of the floor. Push yourself back up and repeat. If you can't do full push-ups, bend your legs, and rest on your knees.
Squat jumps – stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Swing your arms forward and jump up into the air as high as you can. Land on bent legs and repeat. Do air squats instead if you have a history of foot, ankle, knee, hip, or lower back pain.
Flutter kicks – lie on your back with your legs straight. Place your hands under your lower back. Lift your head, shoulders, and feet off the floor. This is your starting position. When your Gymboss interval training timer sounds, kick your legs up and down using a brisk but controlled movement. Keep your abs braced throughout.
Alternating reverse lunges – stand with your feet together, hands by your sides. Take a large step backward, bend your legs, and lower your rear knee to within an inch of the floor. Push off your back leg and return to the starting position. Do another rep but, this time, lead with your opposite leg. Alternate legs for the duration of your set.
- EMOM burpee pyramid
EMOM stands for every minute, on the minute. With this training method, you start every set of your workout at the top of each minute. Your rest period is the amount of time you have left until the next minute comes around. With this workout, your rest periods get shorter set by set.
Set your workout timer so that it beeps every 60 seconds. At the top of the first minute, do one burpee. At the top of the second minute, do two burpees. At the top of the third minute, do three burpees. Keep going until you are unable to continue. 12 burpees or more is very good.
Burpees – stand with your feet together, hands by your sides. Squat down and place your palms on the floor. Jump your feet back and out into the push-up position. Do one push-up. Jump your feet back in and up to your hands. Leap up into the air. Land on bent legs and repeat. Omit the push-up and/or the jump for an easier workout.
- 30/30 intervals
30/30 intervals involve working hard for 30 seconds and then resting for 30 seconds. You can apply this work-to-rest ratio to any exercise, but it works exceptionally well with bodyweight exercises. Using your Gymboss timer to keep track of your workout intervals, do five sets of the following exercises.
- Diamond push-ups
- High-knee sprints
- Prisoner squats
- Mountain climbers
Diamond push-ups – squat down and place your hands on the floor so that your fingers are touching. Walk your feet back so that your body is straight. With your abs braced, bend your arms and lower your chest down to within an inch of the backs of your hands. Push yourself back up and repeat. If you can’t do full diamond push-ups, bend your legs and rest on your knees.
High-knee sprints – with your upper arms close to your sides, bend your elbows so your forearms are parallel with the floor. Run in place, lifting your knees up to your hands. Pump your legs as fast as you can. This is a sprint!
W-sits – lie on the floor with your legs straight and your hands on your temples. Sit up and simultaneously bend and lift your legs. Touch your elbows to your knees. Lie back down and repeat. Make this exercise easier by touching your feet with your hands instead.
Prisoner squats – stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on your temples and push your elbows back to open your chest. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor. Do not round your lower back. Stand back up and repeat.
Mountain climbers – adopt the push-up position with your arms straight and abs braced. Bend one leg and pull your knee up and into your chest. Return to the starting position and then repeat on the opposite side. Keep pumping your legs for the duration of your set.
Exercise does not have to be complicated or time-consuming to be effective. In fact, armed with nothing more than a Gymboss interval training timer, you can have an effective at home workout in 30 minutes or less. The next time you think you don’t have time to exercise, try one of these time-efficient workouts instead.