We’ve all had those days — endless meetings, back-to-back clients, kids’ overloaded schedules. But several shorter workouts done throughout the day can be as effective healthwise as one long session, so bust out this program when you have five minutes to spare. Do two to three minutes of dynamic stretching, then perform each of these multi-joint moves for one minute, repeating the whole sequence as time allows. Go through this mini-program four times in the course of a day, and you’ll accrue 20 minutes of exercise — easy!
Bird Dog Crunch
Muscles targeted: back, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, abs, chest
Setup: Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
Action: Keeping your spine neutral, extend one arm and the opposite leg parallel to the floor. Then bring your knee and elbow together underneath your body, touching them if you can. Extend back to the start, replace them on the floor and continue, alternating sides.
Tip: Keep your spine as neutral as possible throughout.
Plié Squat + Reach
Muscles targeted: quads, glutes, outer/inner thighs, core, low back, shoulders
Setup: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width, toes turned out, arms at your sides.
Action: Squat down, tracking your knees over your toes and keeping your back straight. Touch your fingers to the floor, then stand back up, coming up onto your toes and reaching your arms overhead to complete one rep.
Tip: With each rep, try to go deeper into your squat. Aim to place your entire palm on the floor as you progress.
Muscles targeted: chest, triceps, shoulders, core
Setup: Get into a push-up position with your hands underneath your shoulders and your head, hips and heels in line (not shown).
Action: Do a standard push-up, then bring one foot forward and place it to the outside of your hand. Do another push-up with your foot forward, then return your foot to the start and do another standard push-up. Continue, alternating sides.
Tip: For a greater challenge, draw your knee up toward your elbow and hold it there as you perform a push-up.
Muscles targeted: core, hip flexors, upper back, quads
Setup: Sit on the floor with your knees bent, legs together and arms at your sides. Lean back slightly so your weight shifts onto your tailbone, then lift your feet off the floor. Extend your legs until they’re straight, at about a 45-degree angle to the floor, and lift your chest so your back is straight, not rounded. Reach your fingers for your toes and balance on your tailbone.
Action: Hold your legs steady as you slowly rotate your upper body side to side, keeping your arms straight and your chest lifted.
Tip: If keeping your legs straight is too difficult, bend your knees and keep your shins parallel to the floor as you rotate.
Walking Lunge + Lift
Muscles targeted: quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves
Setup: Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips.
Action: Take a large step forward with one leg and bend both knees, lunging straight toward the ground. Extend your legs and push off your rear foot, lift that leg straight up behind you and squeeze your glute. Then swing it through to the front and continue forward, alternating legs with each rep.
Tip: To help maintain your balance, focus in front of you rather than on the floor.