Your Excuse-Proof Workout Plan

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By: , – Jessica Smith, Certified Personal Trainer
6/3/2013 6:00 AM   :  40 comments   :  118,217 Views

Hey, we're all busy. But that’s no reason to let your workouts get away from you. Next time you feel like skimping on exercise to watch TV or meet your friends for Happy Hour remember this: It doesn't take much to get a great workout.
 
That's why I designed this excuse-proof workout. You can do this simple, 6-minute circuit anytime (it's whisper quiet), anywhere (no gym required) and without any equipment.  All that and it'll sculpt your body from head to toe, too.
 
Try this routine anytime you have a few minutes to spare: first thing in the morning, at lunchtime, during homework time, while waiting for that pot of water to boil or all of the above!
 
For a longer workout, simply repeat the circuit 3-5 times through, based on the time you have available.
 
Don't forget to "pin" this to save it for later! For detailed instructions of every exercise, scroll below the graphic.
 


Exercise #1: Squat Chop
Stand with feet slightly wider than hips, hands clasped together overhead, shoulders relaxed. Bend your knees, pushing your hips behind you as you "chop" your arms straight down between the knees. Squeeze the glutes and straighten the legs to return to the start position to complete one rep. Repeat as many times as possible in 1 minute.
 
Exercise #2: Charlie’s Angel Lunge
Begin a split stance with right leg forward, feet hip-width distance apart, toes pointed forward, arm extended in front of chest with hands clasped and index fingers extended. Bend both knees about 90 degrees to lower into a lunge. Keep hips steady and hold lunge as you rotate your torso toward the right, then twist back to center. Repeat rotation, holding lunge position, as many times as possible for 30 seconds. Switch sides (left leg forward, twist to left).  
 
Want to make it harder? Straighten your legs each time you twist back to center, and bend knees each time you twist to the side.
 
 
Exercise #3: Kneeling Crunch
Start on all fours (knees under the hips and wrists under the shoulders) with a flat back and the abs engaged. Extend your left leg behind your hip and right arm in front of shoulder, thumb facing up. Engage abs in tight as you pull your left knee toward your right elbow (try to tap your elbow on your knee), allowing your back to round slightly. Extend arm and leg back out to complete one rep. Do as many as possible for 30 seconds. Switch sides.
 
Need to make it easier? Take out the arm movement and just use your leg, focusing on activating your abs to pull your knee in towards your chest.
 
Exercise #4: Push Up Plank
Start in a modified push up position on your hands and knees and your arms straight (keep toes curled under). Do one push-up (bend and straighten elbows), then brace abs in tight and straighten both legs into a high plank position. Hold for one count to complete a single rep. Lower back down to knees to repeat as many reps as possible in 60 seconds, resting in between movements as often as needed.
 
Want to make it harder? Reverse the movement: Do a full push-up on your toes and then gently bend your knees to tap the floor on your plank to complete a single rep.
 
Exercise #5: Rise 'n Raise
Lie facedown on a mat with your legs hip width, toes pointed and arms extended out to the sides of shoulders, thumbs facing up. Keeping your chin tucked toward your chest, eyes gazing to the floor. Slowly lift your chest off the floor while squeezing your shoulder blades together (imagine you are trying to grip a pencil between them) and reaching arms higher to complete one rep. Repeat as many times as you can for 60 seconds.
 
Want to make it harder? Lift your legs off of the floor as you lift the chest.  
 
Exercise #6: Triceps Press
Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat, legs together, and palms on the floor beneath the shoulders, fingertips pointed forward. Keep back straight and abs engaged as you slowly bend the elbows to lower your forearm/elbows closer to the floor. Push back up by straightening the elbows to complete one rep. Repeat as many times as you can for 60 seconds, resting as often as needed.
 
Need to make it easier? Don’t lower your elbows all the way to the floor before pressing up.
 
 
Will you make The Excuse-Proof Workout part of your fitness plan? What is your favorite way to squeeze exercise into a busy day?

About the Author
Jessica Smith is co-author of the Thin in 10 Weight Loss Plan (Sunrise River Press, 2012), and a certified wellcoach, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Having started her own fitness journey more than 40 pounds ago, Jessica knows how challenging it can be to lose weight (and keep it off). Recently named one of Sharecare's Top 10 Online Influencers, she loves finding and sharing the latest info on weight loss, fitness, and healthy lifestyle habits. The star of several best-selling exercise DVDs, Jessica has over 13 years of experience in the industry, and holds a bachelor's degree in Communications from Fordham University.

All photos by Vanessa Rogers Photography.


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