To Your Health
February, 2014 (Vol. 08, Issue 02)
Twice the Workout, Half the Time
By Editorial Staff
Whether you're an exercise veteran, new to the game or somewhere in between, you've probably already learned one of the most important lessons: You have to make time to work out. Chances are your daily schedule isn't going to open wide anytime soon and give you hour after hour of unfilled time slots to hit the gym.
Everyone's busier than ever, which means creative ways to stay fit - without going into fits - are becoming increasingly desirable.
Resistance training and cardiovascular exercise are two vital components of a successful, healthy fitness routine. Why not combine the two and get more done - in less time? Here are a few suggestions on how to get a fat-burning, heart-strengthening, aerobic and muscle toning workout in 20 minutes or less:
Push and Punch: One of the best ways to combine strength training and cardiovascular exercise in one fell swoop is the simplest one. Alternate 30-second bursts of push-ups (as many as you can in 30 seconds), followed immediately by 30 seconds of air punches (elbows tight to sides, punch left arm, then right, out in front of your chest). A nice progression to add to the difficulty (and aerobic effect) is to jog in place as fast as you can while punching. Do a few sets of this combination and your body will respond, big time.
S Is for Super Sets: Looking to save time and combine exercises? Sounds as if super setting is ideal for you. Pick 3-4 of your favorite exercises; let's go with biceps curls, bench dips, wall squats and planks. You're probably used to doing a few sets of curls, and then a few sets of dips, etc. Not this time! Instead, do 2-3 sets of the entire progression, pausing only to change equipment / position as necessary. We're talking 15 reps of curls followed immediately by 15 bench dips, then 15 squats and a 30-second plank. Trust us, you'll be sweating in no time - and taking your workout to the next level in the process.
Power of the Burpee: The "burpee" is one of the best multi-muscle exercises out there, and once we explain how to perform it, you'll realize how good it is at combining resistance and cardiovascular exercise. There are several variations, but here's a common one: 1) In a standing position, feet shoulder-width apart, drop down quickly into a push-up position, kicking your feet back. Perform the push-up, then pull your legs / feet in toward your chest as you stand back up, jumping into the air as high as you can and clapping hands overhead. Repeat for 10-15 total reps, 2-3 sets (if you can handle it!).
The time-saving element in all three of the above is that you're combining movements and taking little to no time in between - which is the modern formula for getting the most out of your workout in the least amount of time possible. Talk to your doctor for more great ideas to keep you on track for your fitness goals.