Got one minute? Then you have enough time to squeeze in an effective work out. No really. According to a small new study, folks who did 3 sets of 20-second all-out bike sprints reaped the same benefits after 12 weeks—increased endurance and fat percentage loss—as those who cycled at a moderate pace for 45 minutes. (Before you ask, yes there was a warm up and cool down period.)
The key words, though, are "all out." What exactly does that mean? “The level required to do an all-out effort is hard; people don’t find it pleasant,” says study author Martin Gibala, PhD, professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario. "We typically characterize ‘all out’ as ‘sprint from danger pace’ or the intensity you would exert to save your child from an oncoming car."
Yeah, that’s pretty intense. Are you willing to put up with a temporary level of extreme discomfort for less exercise? If so, we’ve got a couple of moves from Faheem Mujahid, owner and master trainer at InFluence in Miami, that will help you really make those 60 seconds count. Choose one and give it your all. And remember, "the more of these mighty minutes you add into your day, the more you will gain,” says Mujahid.
Alternating Jump Lunge
Start with your feet hip-width apart, extend your right foot forward about two feet and lower into a lunge. Drive your body off of the ground and switch the position of your legs in the air. You should land in a lunge with your left foot forward. Keep alternating sides.
Dumbbell or Kettlebell Swing
Place a 15- to- 20-pound kettlebell or dumbbell (or lighter if need be) on the ground in front of you. Plant feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and lower body down halfway into a squat; your butt should stick out behind you. Pick up the kettlebell or dumbbell; as you straighten your legs, push through your heels and explode hips upward to swing kettle bell or dumbbell up to chest height. Return to your half squat as you swing the kettlebell or dumbbell back through your legs. Continuing swinging kettlebell or dumbbell back and forth.
Illustration: Jess Levinson
Get into a straight-arm plank with hands a few inches outside of shoulders and feet on a stability ball (or in the loops of TRX suspension training bands). Bend arms and lower chest to the floor; push back up. Bring knees in toward chest, then kick them back out; repeat entire sequence.
Stand with feet hip-width apart; squat down and plant hands on the ground. Jump feet back so that body comes into a straight-arm plank, and then do one pushup. Hop feet back in towards hands, stand up, and then jump.
Squat Overhead Press
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding 15- to 20-pound dumbbell (or lighter if need be) at shoulders. Lower into a squat, until thighs are parallel to floor. Push through heels to rise back to standing as you press the weights overhead.
Lunge With Dumbbell Curl
Photo: Getty Images
Stand with knees slightly bent, holding a 15- to 20-pound dumbbell (or lighter if need be) in each hand, palms forward. Step forward with right leg, and lower into lunge position (don’t let front knee go past toes). At the same time, tighten left bicep and curl left hand toward chest (as shown). Return to starting position, then repeat on the other side.