A 7-Minute Workout to Build Definition and Strength
If you don't have time get to a gym, this routine will give you the best bang for your buck using the best strength-training machine out there: your body.
I know what youâ€™re thinking: Seven minutes is all it takes to have a strong and toned body? The short answer is no, far from it. But if you donâ€™t have the time or resources to get to a gym, this routine will give you the best bang for your buck using the best strength-training machine out there: your body. There is significant scientific evidence to support the fact that even a few minutes of interval-style exercises can increase endurance, improve your metabolic and cardio health, and even suppress your appetite more than a longer workout at a moderate pace would.
This 8-move routine is simply one of countless high-intensity interval workouts you can perform. The key is to stay consistent with your workout and eating routine and keep switching up your workouts. The moment your body gets comfortable is the moment it stops changing.
Add this 7-minute, total-body workout to your regular workout regimen to get your heart rate up and start feeling the burn. If you follow the recommended number of repetitions and keep your transition times to 5 seconds or less, you should finish in about 7 minutes.
This exercise is a great way to start any workout, because it works your whole body and core, while simultaneously elevating your heart rate and setting up your breath for the rest of the session.
How to do it: Lying on your back, start with your legs straight up, toes pointed toward the ceiling and arms reaching forward. Lift your head to a crunch position and lower your legs as far as you can to the ground (without touching it), while still engaging your abdominals. Once there, start to pump your arms vigorously up and down, counting 5 breaths in and 5 breaths out. Do this 10 times for a total of a â€˜hundredâ€™ reps.
Tip: If you feel any pain or pressure in your lower back, bring your legs higher up.
This is unlike a traditional squat in that youâ€™re holding a static position for a certain amount of time instead of working through an entire range of motion. This is an exercise you can do pretty much anywhere and is great for building strength and endurance in the lower half of the body as well as your core.
How to do it: Stand about two feet in front of a wall and lean against it. Slide down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle and hold the position. If you have a set of dumbbells, you can hold them out in front of your body for an added challenge. Hold the position for 30 seconds without coming up.
Tip: Keep drawing your navel in toward your spine so your back stays flat up against the wall.
Amp up your regular push-up with this challenging variation that also works your abs, obliques, butt, and hips, too.
How to do it: Start in a regular push-up position. Once you have lowered, bring your right knee in close to your right elbow and then return to the starting position. Do 8 reps, then switch sides. Do 2 sets total.
Side plank with dip
Another exercise that works your entire body and challenges your balance is the side plank. For a deep emphasis on the obliques, weâ€™re adding a dip.
How to do it:Â Lie on your side with legs stretched out and place your left elbow on the ground directly underneath your shoulder. Stack your feet on top of each other and lift your body up into a straight line. Once your body is balanced, dip your hips down toward the floor and lift them up higher than your starting position. Do 15 reps and then switch sides. For an added challenge, hold a 5-pound weight above your head with the opposite arm while performing the dips.
RELATED: 20 Ways to Do a Plank
Kneeling side leg kick
Kneeling side leg kicks challenge your core to keep you from falling forward in addition to working the upper body, glutes, and legs.
How to do it:Â Start kneeling. Carefully fall onto your left hand and extend your right leg out to the side so there is one long line in the body. Inhale and kick your right leg forward with a flexed foot, and exhale extending your leg behind you with a pointed foot. The challenge is trying to keep the torso from rocking back and forth. Do 15 reps on each side.
Plank with arm lift
Another way to switch up your standard plank is by adding some arm lifts. You might be surprised how a small lift of your arm can make a big difference in the intensity of the move.
How to do it:Â This one is pretty much like it sounds. Start in a high plank position resting on your palms with your arms straight. Once youâ€™ve established your balance, reach your right arm forward like youâ€™re going to shake someoneâ€™s hand. Try to hold it for 30 seconds without letting your hips shift. Then switch arms for another 30 seconds.
A basic body-weight exercise, the triceps dip donâ€™t require much equipment. If you donâ€™t have a bench or chair, you can always do them on the ground.
How to do it:Â Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secure bench or table. Slide your butt off the bench with your legs out in front of you, feet flat on the ground. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Then straighten your arms returning to the starting position. Do 15 reps and then hold it halfway down and finish with 10 quick pulses to really feel the burn.
RELATED:Â 7 Moves for Toned, Sexy Arms
Side lunges offer a new take on the traditional movement. They allow you to work your glutes and thighs from a different angle while still targeting all of the major muscles of the lower body.
How to do it: Start with your feet and knees together and arms overhead. Take a large step to the side with your left foot and sit your hips back as you lower toward the ground. Make sure to keep your knee directly above your heel, not extending too far forward over the toes. Push off your left foot and return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15 reps on each side. For an added challenge, do it holding a set of weights at your sides.
For more fitness 'know-how,' check out the 6 Signs You're Not Working Out Hard Enough.
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, entrepreneur and best-selling author of the new book, Strong is the New Skinny. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CWâ€™s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBCâ€™s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors, and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer onÂ Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.