Have a spare 15 minutes at home or college while taking a break from study or going places? Want to exercise but hesitate at the thought going to the gym and dealing with all those perfectly toned muscles in the latest activewear? When things get busy, the idea of having to go outside your room to exercise is enough to make you think it just isn’t worth it.
But that’s where people go wrong. You don’t need any fancy equipment or heaps of time to get some exercise into your day. Here is a little guide to show you how, with a few spare minutes, you can achieve an effective workout without even leaving your room.
Circuits, Circuits… and More Circuits
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a fancy phrase used in fitness classes. It is basically a style of circuit training with the simple premise of performing exercises at a high intensity for short intervals, with a little rest in between to recover.
How to structure your workout:
Choose one exercise from each list to do during the interval. Start by timing your intervals for 30 seconds each, moving immediately from one to the next. Once you complete Interval 4, have a one-minute recovery. Repeat this circuit of four intervals five times. With five sets, this would be a 15-minute workout in total.
You should do as many repetitions as you physically can within each interval and increase the number of reps you’re able to do over time.
Interval 1: Full body.
Burpees – From a push-up position, simply bring your legs up and jump, then go back down to a push-up. Best done explosively.
Mountain climbers – Arms straight in push-up position while raising your knees to your chest, kind of like a horizontal version of running on the spot.
Bear crawl – Pretty simple, just crawling on your hands and feet back and forth. Try and keep your butt low and it’ll really test your shoulders.
Interval 2: Upper body.
Wall climb – Start in push-up position with your feet against the bottom of a wall, then slowly move your feet up the wall and move your hands closer to the bottom of the wall. Make sure to keep your back straight and try to get as vertical as possible. Once you reach your maximum, slowly walk back down the wall and get back into starting position.
Push ups – Basic position: hands shoulder-width apart, with your legs out straight and on your toes (easier version for beginners is to stay on your knees). Make sure your back is straight. More advanced modifications: diamond push-ups – hands close together in a diamond shape, wide push-ups – hands more than one and a half shoulder-widths apart, decline push-ups – put feet on raised surface (e.g. chair).
Chair dips – Put hands on the end of a chair, arms straight, with your legs out straight and pivoting on your heels (easier version is to have your feet closer to the chair so that your legs form a right angle). Lower yourself until your arms form a right angle and then bring yourself back up.
Interval 3: Legs.
Squats – Keep feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and go as low as possible, keeping your weight mainly on your heels. More advanced modifications: jump squats – once at the bottom of the squat explode up into a jump, squat hold – hold the bottom squat position for as long as you can.
Lunges – Step out with one foot forward, far enough so that the front knee makes a right angle. Lower yourself so that the back knee just touches the ground. Step out with alternating legs. More advanced modification: jumping lunges – from the bottom lunge position, explode up and land in the lunge position with the opposite leg forward.
Step-ups – Step up onto a chair or bed. Make sure to step up completely so that your leg is straight at the top. Alternate legs.
Interval 4: Core.
Plank – Lying on your elbows and toes, keep your back straight and hold the position for as long as possible.
Russian twists – Sitting on the ground, balance on your tailbone with your feet raised, while you rotate your upper body side to side.
Leg raises – Lie flat on your back and raise your legs to a right angle. Make sure to keep your legs straight. More advanced modification: scissors – raise each leg individually, bringing one up as the other goes down.
If this structure becomes too easy, start reducing the recovery time and increasing the work time. Use a decent interval-timing app such as Simple Interval Timer (available from the App Store) or Impetus Interval Timer (available from the Google Play Store) to ensure you complete all of your sets and keep track of how your workout is progressing as you attempt it.
If you find you’re able to continuously do each exercise for the entire interval with relative ease, then increase the difficulty of the exercise either through the suggested modifications or by adding weight (e.g. with textbooks). Ideally, you should really struggle to work continuously in the interval; the circuits are most effective and efficient when you work at maximum intensity.
Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you’re able get out and do some more of that exercise that you’ve been missing out on. It’s not vital that you always attend a gym or get outside to do the workouts you need to do to stay fit and healthy, sometimes it can be as simple as hopping out of bed, setting up your timer and doing some HIIT.