A Fifteen Minute Workout That Will Take Your Fitness to the Next Level

Getting and staying fit is a challenge for everyone. People that struggle with finding time to exercise may think that adhering to a lifestyle that includes a daily fitness routine is easier for others than it is for them. I don’t think that’s always the case but some people certainly have a way of making it look easy.

Are you struggling to find time in your day to work out? Or maybe you’re doing just enough two or three times a week to get by, but you envy people that look stronger and more fit than you do. If so, here are five basic exercises to start doing every day. These time tested moves burn fat, build muscle, and will give you a more defined look.

 1.  100 Squats A Day (can include split squats or lunges) – The squat works all of the muscles in the lower body. Doing squats everyday will increase lower body strength by helping you gain or maintain muscle mass. Doing 100 squats a day will give your bottom more shape and definition and increase your overall lower body strength. To give this exercise variety and challenge add weighted dumbbells or jumps.

Squats 2

Flickr Photo by Max Fitness

A good variation of the basic squat is a split squat. In this move, step one leg in front of the other. The back leg does the work as you drive the knee down towards the floor and back up. For this variation, try completing 50 reps on each leg.

Split squat

Flickr Photo by Max Fitnexx

 

2.  50 Push Ups A Day – The push up does for the upper body what the squat
does for the lower. It works all of the muscles in your upper half, increasing strength and creating definition in the chest, arms and back. There is no shame in doing push-ups from the knee position, just make sure you bend your elbows and get your chest down to the floor without your booty going up in the air. Have someone watch you or do a set in front of a mirror to make sure you’re using correct form.

Push up 2

Start the push up from a hand plank position.

Push up 1

Lower your body down to the floor, then push back up to starting position. Repeat.


3.  100 Crunches – yes, I said crunches – A Day
– I think the ‘no more crunches’ approach that we’ve moved to over the past five years is misguided. Ab crunches are easy to do, you can do them anywhere, and they are effective in toning the core. Start on your back with your hands behind your head and roll your shoulders up off of the floor. Lower back down so that head almost touches the floor and repeat.

Ab crunch 2

You can vary the crunches that you do each day to incorporate the obliques (side wall) of the abdominals more. In the same position, crunch up bringing the left shoulder towards the center. Lower back towards floor and repeat on the right.

Ab Crunch

Flickr photo by Oxyfit Gym


4. 25 Burpees A Day
Burpees are the ultimate functional fitness exercise. A burpee incorporates all of the major – and many of the minor – muscle groups in the body. Not only do they increase muscle endurance, they will get your heart rate up and boost your cardio fitness level which leads to better endurance for activities like running and biking.

The picture below shows the steps – from left to right – for completing a perfect burpee. If you are just getting started, try walking the legs out to position #2 (the second picture from the left in the series) and walking back in to complete position #5.

Burpee

Flickr photo by Jack Thompson


5. Plank for Three Minutes A Day
– The plank is now the most revered core exercise that strengthens your abs, back, and core. Research shows that planking supports proper posture and improves balance. There are so many ways to do a plank that you can try a different variation each day. Start out with a basic elbow plank . .  .Elbow Plank
then work up to a hand plank . . .

Hand Plank

Flickr photo by SAIT Polytechnic

and, finally to the side plank (which can be modified by going to an elbow position).

Side plank

For even more of a challenge, master the art of the reverse plank.

Reverse Plank

Start with 15 to 30 seconds in each plank position. Rest, then repeat until you’ve completed three minutes.

Give It A Chance.

You’ve read about the benefits of all of these exercises before. The question is have you not just tried them, but done them on a regular basis for a long enough time to matter?

For the next 30 days do these exercises every day (it will only take 15 minutes). You be the judge of whether or not you look better and feel stronger.

DO it Now

If you are not able to do the number of reps suggested, just focus on doing each move with the correct form. Keep track of how many you do and add a couple reps each day until you reach the goal. At the end of 30 days, move the goal up by adding weight or reps to the exercises.

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