Photo Credit: iVillage
This easy, low impact walking-based cardio circuit can be done as a quick, 5-minute exercise shot during your busy day, or repeated up to 4 times for a full 10, 15 or 20-minute cardio workout.
W: Walk (2 minutes). March quickly in place, driving arms back and forth and maintaining good posture, for two minutes.
A: Arm circles (1 minute). Continue marching in place, and maintaining good posture, make large circles with arms from front to back for one minute.
L: Leg lifts (1 minute). With hands on hips, lift one leg out to the side of body, pointing foot. As leg lowers, bend knees slightly to switch sides. Change legs each time, moving at a quick tempo, for one minute.
K: Kicks (1 minute). Standing tall, perform a low kick to the front of body, swinging opposite hand towards foot, alternating sides at a fast tempo for one minute.
There’s no need for a boring treadmill to squeeze in a good sweat session! Try this efficient 5-minute cardio circuit indoors or out. Perform this simple circuit up to 4 times in total for a full 20-minute workout, or shorten it depending on how much time and energy you have.
J: Jog (3 minutes). Jog briskly in place (or if space allows, travel) for three minutes.
O: Overhead press (1 minute). Continue jogging and extend arms overhead with hands in fists, then bend elbows and pull arms down by sides. Repeat quickly for one minute.
G: Ground reaches (1 minute). Tap left foot out to side, bending right knee, and reach left arm towards the ground, bending right elbow behind body. Quickly push off the floor and switch sides. Repeat as quickly as possible for one minute.
Strengthen your major muscles, lungs and heart with this cardio strength circuit that doesn’t require any equipment and can be done in with minimal space. Depending on how much time and energy you have, repeat up to 5 times, resting for 30-60 seconds in between circuits if needed.
S: Scissor jacks (20 reps). Stand with feet together, arms by sides. Jump up and bring right foot forward and left foot back as left arm swings up by ear and right swings arm back. Land softly and then immediately jump again, quickly switching feet and arms in a scissor motion. That’s one rep. Do 20 quick repetitions. This cardio move works the entire body.
T: Tabletop (10 reps). Sit with knees bent and feet hip width apart with hands behind body, fingertips facing in to hips. Brace abs in tight and lift hips off the floor in line with knees and shoulders. Hold for one count and then return to start. Do 10 repetitions. This strength move works the arms and glutes with a major emphasis on the core.
R: Rotating reach (10 reps). Stand with feet hip width, knees slightly bent and arms by sides. Turn body to the right, bending knees and lifting left heel off the floor, reaching left arm down to the floor, bending right elbow back behind body [photo A]. Quickly stand and rotate to the left, extending legs as right arm presses up and to the left, lifting right heel off the floor and bending left elbow behind body [photo B]. That’s one rep. Do 10 repetitions; repeat on opposite side. This move targets the core, arms and legs.
O: Oblique crunch (10 reps). Stand with feet hip width, knees slightly bent and hands clasped behind head. Brace abs in tight, and keeping elbows open to the sides, lift right knee and twist left shoulder towards leg. Return to start and immediately repeat on opposite side. That’s one rep. Do 10 repetitions. This abs exercise also helps to improve balance and coordination.
N: Narrow squats (20 reps). Stand with feet together, arms by sides. Bend knees and sit back into hips (imagine trying to sit back into a chair), squeezing knees together to engage the inner thighs as arms reach overhead with palms facing in. Form tip: keep chin down towards chest and try to bring arms to the outside of ears to avoid neck strain. Return to start. That’s one rep. Do 20 repetitions. This yoga inspired squat builds leg, core, shoulder and upper back strength.
G: Glute bridge (20 reps). Lie on back with knees bent, hip width apart, feet flexed and arms by sides with palms pressed into the floor. Brace abs in tight and lift hips up, squeezing glutes as pelvis lifts. Hold for one count, and then lower to start. That’s one rep. Do 20 repetitions. This better-booty move is also great for strengthening the core.
Build stamina and power with this cardio and strength circuit that incorporates lean muscle mass building and bone density improving plyometric (jump-style) movements. Do the exercises below for the recommended number of reps and sets, resting 15-30 seconds in between sets if needed.
P: Plyo squats (3 sets, 10 reps). Stand with feet slightly wider than hip width, arms by sides. Bend knees and sit back into hips (imagine trying to sit back into a chair), swinging arms in front of body [photo A]. Quick jump up, swinging arms back [photo B], landing in squat position. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
O: One-legged hop (3 sets, 10 reps). Balancing on right leg, bend left knee and lift left foot off the floor. Bend right leg and swing arms back in preparation for jump, then quickly jump straight up, reaching left arm overhead [shown]. Land softly on right leg, bending knee, trying to keep left foot off the floor. Too tough? Tap left foot lightly on the ground during landing for balance help. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg, switching legs after each set.
W: Windmill switch (3 sets, 10 reps). Tap left foot out to side, bending knees, touching left fingertips to the floor in front of right foot, extending right arm behind body, twisting torso to the right [photo A]. Quickly jump up off the floor and switch sides mid-air, landing on left leg, tapping right foot to side, touching the ground with right hand in front of left foot, left arm extended behind body, torso rotated left [photo B]. That’s one rep. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
E: Elbow to knee standing crunch (3 sets, 20 reps). Balancing on left leg, tap right toes out to side, reaching left arm overhead. Brace abs in tight, bend right knee and left elbow, lifting right leg up and across body, tapping elbow to knee [shown]. Return to start. Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions on each leg, switching sides after each set.
R: Rear lunge switch (3 sets, 10 reps). Stand with feet together, arms by sides. Take a wide step back with right leg, bending both knees about 90-degrees, hinging forward from hips, extending right arm forward (try to tap left foot if possible) and reaching left arm back [shown]. Quickly jump up, switching legs mid-air, landing in lunge position with right leg and left arm forward. That’s one rep. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Use these feel good stretches to wrap up a workout or simply relieve stress and tension from your entire body. During the stretches, try to relax your body and breathing, inhaling deeply through the nose, exhaling fully out the mouth. Repeat up to 3 times in total.
S: Side bend. Stand with feet hip width, knees slightly bend, arms by sides. Extend left arm overhead and lean to the right, sliding right hand down the outside of right thigh, looking up at left hand. Hold for 10 seconds; repeat on opposite side.
T: Torso wrap. Stand with feet hip width, knees slightly bend, arms by sides. Turn body to the right, lifting left heel off the floor, bending left arm in front of body, right arm behind back, wrapping arms around waist. Turn torso as far to the right as possible, hold for 10 seconds; repeat on opposite side.
R: Runner’s stretch. Balancing on left leg with left knee slightly bent, bend right knee and grab onto right foot with right hand. Extend left arm overhead and squeeze knees together, pressing pelvis forward. Hold onto a wall or sturdy chair with left hand for more balance, if needed. Hold for 10 seconds; repeat on opposite side.
E: Elbows back. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip width, hands behind hips, elbows back behind body. Extend spine, lifting chest to ceiling. Return to start. Slowly repeat up to 10 times.
T: Trunk twist. Lie on back with arms extended out to sides of shoulders, palms pressed against the floor and knees pressed together, bent at 90-degrees over hips. Keeping both shoulder blades in contact with the ground, slowly twist knees to one side, trying to lower legs all the way to the floor if possible. Hold for 30 seconds; repeat on opposite side.
C: Calf stretch. With hands on hips, take a wide step back with right leg, bending left knee so that right heel stays pressed into the floor with right leg straight (make the stretch more intense by stepping further back, less intense by keeping feet closer together). Hold for 30 seconds; repeat on opposite side.
H: Hamstring stretch. With hands on hips, stand on right leg, extending left leg straight in front of body, flexing foot, with left heel pressed into floor. Bend right knee and push hips back, hinging at hips, leaning chest forward (keep back flat, avoid rounding spine). Hold for 30 seconds; repeat on opposite side.
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