Back to school, back to work — no matter where you’re heading this fall, chances are you’re back on your grind. And, wild guess, that probably means you’re extra strapped for time. But even if you rule out schlepping to the gym, you can still fit in a quick sweat session to strengthen and revitalize you right at home.
Take it from Katie Dunlop, certified personal trainer, entrepreneur and founder of Love Sweat Fitness: “Most of us are short on time, so it’s key to find workouts that are fun, fast and effective.” More often than not, that means getting creative by using your own body as your machine. “It doesn’t have to take hours in the gym or fancy equipment to make it happen,” Dunlop says. “No matter what your shape or size, your bodyweight creates incredible resistance that allows you to build serious strength.”
So whether you spend your days in class, at the office or at home with kids, we give you permission to steal a few minutes — and these four moves — for yourself. Productivity for the win!
Back-to-Basics: 20-Minute Bodyweight Workout
“This bodyweight workout will target your whole body in under 20 minutes,” Dunlop says. Perform the following exercises one after the other, then rest for 60 seconds. Repeat the entire circuit for three rounds total.
1. Army Crawlers
Targets: Triceps, shoulders, core
How to: Start in a high plank position (a). Bend your elbow to lower down to your right forearm, then your left (b). Next, straighten your arm to push back up to your right hand and then your left (c). Repeat for 6 reps, alternating which arm leads. “Focus on keeping your hips stable and square to the ground,” Dunlop says. “This can be done on your knees for beginners or up in a full plank on your toes for a more challenging move.”
2. Single Leg-Bridge Crunch
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, lower abs
How to: On your back, bend your left knee and plant your left foot on the ground (a). Extend your right leg long with your hands by your sides (b). Keep your pelvis slightly tucked as you push through your left heel to lift your hips up off the ground. As you lift your hips, bend your right knee to crunch it toward your belly button (c). Extend the right leg long again, as you lower your hips to hover just above the ground (d). Repeat for 15 reps on each side.
3. Thread the Needle
How to: Start in side plank with your left shoulder stacked over your left elbow, core engaged and hips lifted off the ground (a). Lift your right arm straight up and slowly begin to wrap it down and around your waist, keeping your hips high (b). Reach your arm back up, re-stacking your shoulders (c). Repeat for 15 reps, then switch sides. “You can modify the move by bending your left knee 90 degrees, placing your shin on the floor,” Dunlop says.
4. Inner Thigh Leg Lift
Targets: Adductors (inner thighs)
How to: Lying on your side, prop yourself up on your left arm, elbow under your shoulder and legs extended slightly in front of you (a). Roll back onto the soft spot of your booty to take pressure of the hip bone (b). Bring your right (top) leg up and over, planting the foot on the ground in front of the left (bottom) knee (c). Keeping your upper body steady and abs engaged, lift your bottom leg up toward the inside of the bent knee. Flex the foot and lift with the heel (d). Slowly lower the leg to hover (e). Repeat for 15 reps, then switch. “Imagine there is a string tied from your ankle to the ceiling pulling it up,” Dunlop says.
Loved this 20-minute bodyweight workout? For more no-equipment routines, check out the Love Sweat Fitness 8-week Hot Body Sweat Guide.