If you have 15 minutes, then we have the workout. We challenged local fitness gurus to come up with complete workouts that clock in at 15 minutes or less. Learn the art of tabata from CrossFit CityPlace. Find your core and stretch your spine with Sunset Pilates Fitness. Channel your inner Zen while still burning calories courtesy of Yoga South. Or get virtual and follow video instructions for two 15-minute workouts from iBodyFit.com. We’ve supplied the workouts—you just need to bring the motivation.
Coach Matthew Brewster says tabata is a great workout for anyone short on time. “The tabata protocol uses HIIT (high-intensity interval training) methods to get you fit in as little as 12 minutes per workout,” Brewster says. “Remember, intensity is a relative term. Only do what is intense for you.”
- Choose four exercises, making sure to work the entire body. For example: squats, sit-ups, pushups and jumping jacks.
- Now set an interval timer for eight rounds of 20 seconds workout time and 10 seconds resting time.
- Make the most of those 20 seconds. Go as fast as you can while still maintaining perfect form. This will accomplish two things: It will work the target area and it will work your cardiovascular system.
- You will do all eight rounds of one exercise before moving onto the next exercise. So the workout will look like this: Twenty seconds of squats followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat this eight rounds. Then, rest for one minute. Repeat this pattern for the remaining three exercises.
“The coolest part about the tabata protocol is that it can be used with any exercise,” Brewster says. “This means that even if you are brand new to working out, you can participate. Worried that squats will be too hard? No problem. All you need to do is substitute a more appropriate version of an exercise that also works the leg muscles. My favorite substitution here is to squat using a chair or a bench. This controls the depth of the squat and allows you to rest momentarily during each rep. What is intense for one person may not be intense for another, so do what you can during each 20-second interval. As you progress, challenge yourself by trying to do more repetitions.”
Alyson Limehouse, owner and instructor at Sunset Pilates Fitness in Palm Beach, believes all home workouts should begin with finding your core, correcting your posture and stretching your spine. “This will reduce injuries,” Limehouse says.
- Rotation: Sit on the floor with your legs crossed evenly; no leaning to one side. Pull your ribs up and away from the hip bones. Pull your belly button to your spine. Ribs need to come together as if you are wearing a really tight corset. Pull down your shoulders into your opposite hip pockets. Imagine you are wearing long earrings and a string is pulling your head up to lengthen your neck. Take your right hand and place it on your left knee. Exhale while you are rotating to the left. Turn your head and look behind you while keeping your body erect. Inhale then exhale while you rotate back to front and center. Do the opposite way three to five times in each direction.
- Flexion and Extension: Place the soles of your feet together. Drop your head down, leaving some room under your chin. Let your head go down vertebra by vertebra, slowly going down each vertebra until the crown of the head is to your feet. Keep your tail bone down. Bring your head up and stack each vertebra back up one at a time. Sweep your arms behind your body while placing your hands on the floor. Finally, bring your chest and eyes up to the ceiling, making sure your mouth is closed. Repeat flexion and extension three to five times. Not only will these short stretches reduce injury, they will help you in other activities such as golf and tennis.
- Criss Cross: Once your spine is warmed up, begin working out your core with criss cross. Start by laying on your back and lacing your fingers behind your head with your elbows out to your sides. Bring your left elbow and your bent right knee towards each other, crossing them above your torso. Your left leg should be long and straight with a pointed foot, and both legs should hover off the ground at all times. Switch legs and elbows 10 times each. Repeat for two to three sets.
- Straight Leg Pull-Up: This is a more advanced move. Lay on your back and push up your body into a reverse plank position. Hold your body up with straight arms. It is very important that you bring your ribs in tightly together as you point your foot to the sky. When you bring your leg down, flex your foot by pushing the heel out. Do this with each leg. For more of a challenge, do this with your arms bent at your elbows. Repeat.
- Cleopatra’s (pictured above): Cleopatra’s are a wonderful side stretch to do using a foam roller. Start by sitting with both your legs bent in a ‘Z’ position. Place the roller parallel with your thigh and place hand on roller with straight arm. The other arm should be extended out with your palm facing down. As you look at the ‘diamonds on your hand,’ roll the roller back and forth. Be sure to keep your arms straight and move from your hips. Do these 10 times then switch to the other side.
James Kigar, owner and founder of Yoga South in Boca Raton, worked with Judy Weaver, Yoga South’s director of teacher training, to craft this 15-minute routine to wake up and strengthen the core. “Yoga has been loved, practiced, studied, defined and re-defined for thousands of years,” Kigar says. “Most traditional yoga practices take an hour and a half, [but] this short 15-minute routine will help support your body’s overall health in today’s beyond busy lives.”
Steps, hold each posture for five breaths unless otherwise stated:
- Child’s Pose: Shins down, hips toward feet, head on hands or floor.
- Table Top: Place hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart, and rise into a neutral spine.
- Cat/Cow: Inhale lower spine down, exhale and lift spine up. Alternate five times.
- Return to Table Top: Extend right arm forward and left leg back. Bring arm out to right and leg out left.
- Diagonal Crunches: Bring extended elbow to knee. Repeat five times.
- Return to Table Top: Switch sides.
- Supported Side Plank: Extend arm over ear and lift your leg.
- Side Crunches: Bring extended elbow to knee. Repeat five times and then switch sides.
- Return to Child’s Pose: Wide legs, arms forward.
- Return to Table Top
- Thread the Needle: Extend right arm between left hand and knee with shoulders down. Switch sides.
- Return to Table Top
- Cat/Cow: Repeat three times.
- Downward Facing Dog, Plank or Low Pushup: Lower to floor and hold.
- Sphinx: Place elbows underneath shoulders with fingers extending forward and legs extended behind with pointed toes.
- Locust: Extend arms forward with palms facing each other. Keep your toes pointed. Lift chest, arms and legs and hold for five breaths and up to 30 seconds.
- Return to Child’s Pose
- Return to Sphinx
- Forearm Plank: Lift to a plank and hold for five breaths. Then do five crunches on each side straight and diagonal, elbow to knee.
- Return to Downward Facing Dog or Plank
- Forward Fold: Walk hands back to feet, bend knees to keep pressing into hands.
- Half Chair: Place forearms on thighs or extend arms forward. Then stand up pressing into feet.
- Sun Salute A: Arms up, forward fold and then step back to plank. Hold for one minute.
- Return to Downward Facing Dog: Walk or jump feet to hands to return to Forward Fold.
- Return to Half Chair: Bend knees, then twist to right with left elbow outside of right knee. Switch sides.
- Return to Downward Facing Dog or Plank: Walk or jump feet to hands to return to Forward Fold.
- Crescent Lunge: Lunge left leg back and bend right knee above the ankle while lifting up arms. Hold for five breaths.
- Twist: Bring left elbow outside right knee and hold for five breaths before stepping back to Downward Facing Dog before returning to Forward Fold and then standing up.
- Horse-Wide Straddle: Place feet wide apart with heels in and toes out. Bend knees, aligning your inner thigh with inner foot. Alternate heel lifts five times and then lift both heels and bend knees deeper. Keep knees bent and lower head between feet, roll up and bring chin to chest but keep knees bent coming up. Repeat five times before straightening legs.
- Wide Straddle: Turn toes in and heels out. Fold forward hands down and place left hand under nose. Bring right arm up and twist to right. Switch sides before sitting down.
- Staff Pose: Staight legs out in front.
- Boat Pose: Bend knees and extend arms forward, with chest and shins lifted. Balance on glutes. Hold for five breaths and repeat three to five times.
- Reverse Table Top: Place hands behind on floor and point fingers forward. Lift hips in line with knees and shoulders.
- Pull Throughs: Pull hips back through wrists. Keep glutes off floor and straighten legs. Bend knees and press up again. Repeat three to five times, before laying down, bringing knees to chest and rocking from side to side.
- Bridge Pose: Feet on floor hip-width apart and close to hips. Lift hips up and hold for one to three minutes.
- Wind Relieving Pose: Bend knees into chest.
- Reclining Pigeon: Bend right knee and bring ankle above left knee and squeeze legs into chest. Switch sides.
- Reclining Twist: Knees bent ot straight legs for more challenge, arms out, palms down.
- Return to Wind Relieving Pose
- Savasna: Rest, extend arms and legs out with palms up.
Franklin Antoian knows a thing or two about fitness on the go. As the founder of Delray Beach-based iBodyFit.com, he helps people stay fit through online video workouts and mentoring. “If you think you don’t have time to workout, think again,” Antoian says. He has provided us with two 15-minute workouts—one for beginners and one for advanced exercisers—as well as online instruction. You can view the accompanying videos for both routines here.
Beginner Workout Steps:
|Franklin Antoain of iBodyFit.co|
- Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, take a 15-second break and move on to the next exercise. Repeat this workout three times.
- Squats: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms out in front of you. Bend you knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push yourself back up to starting postion and repeat.
- Modified Pushups: Get on your hands and knees. Bend your elbows and lower your upper body towards the floor. Push back up and repeat.
- Drawbridges: Lay on your back on a gym mat. Bring your feet towards your body so that your knees are bent at 45 degrees. Lift your left leg in the air. Press your hips off the floor using your right leg. Slowly lower yourself and repeat. Repeat on the left side.
- Plank: Get into traditional pushup position. Hold for as long as you can without your hips dipping or sagging towards the floor.
- Crunches: Lay on your back on a gym mat. Bring your feet towards your body so that your knees are bent 45 degrees. Cross your hands on your chest and lift your head and shoulder off of the mat. Slowly lower yourself and repeat.
Advanced Workout Steps:
- Perform each exercise for 60 seconds. Take a short break after competing all five exercises. Repeat this workout three times.
- Squat Jumps: Perform the first half of a traditional squat. While you’re still in the squatted position, jump as high as you can. Repeat.
- Star Pushups: Perform the first half of a traditional pushup. When your body is low to the floor, instead of pushing up and performing another pushup, rotate your upper body to your right so that you are in a traditional side plank. At this point, you should be balancing your entire body on your two feet and just your right arm. Your left arm should be pointing towards the sky. Lower and repeat on the opposite side.
- Side Lunges/Balance: Step to your right side with your right leg. Lower your body into a squat. Push off of your right leg and return to starting position, but keep your right leg off of the ground. Repeat for 30 seconds and then perform the same exercise on your left side.
- Plank with Leg Lift: Get into pushup position. Lift your left leg off of the floor as high as you can. Hold for 30 seconds, lower and do the same with your right leg.
- V Sit Ups: Lay flat on your back on a gym mat. Raise your legs 45 degrees into the air. While keeping your legs in the air, perform traditional crunches.