Microblogging sites like Twitter prove on a daily basis that we live in a society built upon the “quicker-is-better” mentality. Fortunately for the time-pressed among us (isn't that everyone?), this belief may actually be true when it comes to exercise. In fact, when it comes to workouts, speedy bouts can be just as effective as longer ones, if not more so.
Ever heard of EPOC? It stands for "excess post-exercise oxygen consumption," and it refers to the process your body goes through postworkout to return to its preworkout state - and the higher it is, the more calories you'll burn even after you're done sweating it out. Here's the thing: high-intensity exercise elicits more EPOC than slower, drawn-out exercise (think: running a marathon). Since you can't keep up a vigorous intensity for very long, short but tough workouts are where it's at if you want results fast.
The intervals in this workout will up your EPOC with only two pairs of light- to medium-weight hexagonal dumbbells (for stability when you are on the floor, like in the weighted burpees and plank rows) and a mat. Do it two to three times per week, leaving at least 48 hours of rest between bouts and supplementing it with total-body resistance workouts and less-strenuous cardio sessions.
Move right from one exercise to the next. When you reach the end, rest for 90 seconds, then repeat two more times from the top.
Weighted Jump squat
How to: Hold dumbbells at your sides, lower into a squat, then jump into the air.
Reps/time: 15–20 reps
How to: Get into a push-up position and rapidly alternate bringing your knees in towards your chest.
Reps/time: 30 seconds
Glutes Bridge with Alternating Chest Press
How to: Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor and a weight in each hand. Lift your hips from the ground, and alternate pressing the weights up.
Reps/time: 15 reps (each arm)
How to: Hold a weight in each hand. Squat down, place the weights on the ground (still holding them), then jump your feet behind you to come into a push-up position. Reverse the move to stand.
Reps/time: 12 - 15 reps
Extended-Arm Plank with Row
How to: Get into a push-up position with your feet wide and each hand grasping a weight on the floor. Alternate rowing each arm up.
Reps/time: 12 reps (each arm)
Invisible Jump Rope
How to: Jump quickly on the balls of your feet, turning your arms as though skipping, keeping your elbows tight to your sides.
Reps/time: 30 seconds