Time hacks:

how to work up a sweat faster

13.07.15 Fitness News

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+

It’s all about working smarter, not longer, says Fitness First Personal Trainer Ambassador Amanda O’Hare. Here are her top suggestions for getting big results whether you’ve got 40, 20, or just five minutes…

“Working in the city’s financial district, many of my clients tell me it’s the lack of time in their schedules that’s preventing them from doing exercise,’ says Amanda. ‘But the truth is that fitting exercise into your diary will benefit everything else in your day, from office productivity to your breathing, posture and general confidence. You don’t need very much time to achieve great things either.”

If you have five minutes

You can accomplish a lot when you only have five minutes to spare. “Working intensely for a short period of time can be really effective for fat loss and fitness,” says Amanda. But make every second counts – a five-minute routine will only make a noticeable difference if it’s tough.

Start with some bodyweight movement exercises such as arm circles and squats to get your muscles and joints warmed up. Then pick two exercises, such as on-the-spot jogging and full star jumps, and alternate the two. Do eight rounds of 20 seconds work with 10 seconds rest, followed by a short cool down. Go all out – if you’ve done them right, you should be gasping for a rest by round eight!

You have 20 minutes

The perfect lunchtime workout. “Start with a quick warm-up of squats, lunges to alternate sides, arm swings and light, on-the-spot jogging,” says Amanda. “Then grab my favourite piece of equipment on the Fitness First gym floors at the moment, the Sandbell.”

Aim to complete two or three sets of 12-15 reps of these exercises, resting briefly at the end of each circuit before repeating.

Sandbell clean-and-press slam

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and place a Sandbell on the floor just in front of you. Squat down to pick it up and lift it chest high. Bend your knees again in a small squat and as you straighten, throw the Sandbell up into the air. Catch it then slam it down on the floor. Repeat.

Sandbell split squat with rotation

Holding a Sandbell close to your chest, stand with one foot in front of the other. Lower your back knee and bend your front leg, allowing both knees to form 90-degree angles. As you move into this lunge, rotate your upper body to the side. Push through your front heel to return to the start, and repeat on both sides.

Sandbell renegade row

Place two Sandbells on the floor shoulder-width apart. Start in the top position of a push-up with your hands on the weights. Bring the first Sandbell up towards the side of your body, keeping your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Hold for a second at the top then return the Sandbell to the start position and repeat on the other side.

Sandbell slam burpee

Hold a Sandbell to your chest. Reach it overhead, extending your body as much as possible without transferring weight to your lower back. Slam the Sandbell to the ground, flexing through knees, hips and ankles. Crouch down and place your hands in a push-up position. Jump or step your legs back to a push-up position. Drop your chest down to touch the Sandbell, completing a push-up. Jump or step your legs back in. With bent knees and hips, pick up the Sandbell and repeat.

Press-up

Either on your toes or propped against a wall, keep your core tight, hands either side of your chest, and bend your arms to lower to the ground. For a less demanding option, you can always keep your knees on the floor. Push through the heels of your palms to return to the top, and repeat.

Finish with some full-body stretches – “I’d recommend quad stretches, hamstring stretches, shoulder stretches and an upper-back stretch,” says Amanda.

If you have 40 minutes

Amanda suggests a mixed-weights session with a little interval training thrown in for maximum burn. “A whole-body routine should be simple and well executed,” says Amanda. “Take your time through each exercise to protect your spine and get the most out of each rep.” Here are her recommendations for a 40-minute session…

Bodyweight warm-up for five minutes:

Try one minute each of air squats, arm circles, walking lunges, on-the-spot jogging and star jumps.

Then two sets of 12-15 reps with 60 seconds rest between each set of the following:

Goblet squat

Holding a dumbbell or kettlebell close to your chest, stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, weight in your heels. Bending at the knees, lower yourself into a seated position – taking care not to tip forwards – before pressing through your heels to return to the top. Stretch your arms overhead then return to the start.

_DSC2379_AboveTheLineOnly

Press-up

Either on your toes or propped against a wall, keep your core tight, hands either side of your chest, and bend your arms to lower to the ground. For a less demanding option, you can always keep your knees on the floor. Push through the heels of your palms to return to the top, and repeat.

Alternate lunge

With your shoulders back and face forwards, brace your core and take a small step forwards, bending your knees to allow both front and back knees to form 90-degree angles. Push through your front heel to return to the start, and repeat on both sides.

_DSC2361_AboveTheLineOnly

TRX row

Standing with hands either side of your chest, grasping the handles of the TRX, position one foot in front of the other, then lower your body until your arms are straight before pulling yourself back to the starting position. For greatest support, keep your core tight and be careful not to let your hips drop.

Dumbbell shoulder press

With your core held tight, grasp a dumbbell in each hand, resting on the shoulders. You can do this exercise either sitting or standing, but in both cases keep your feet hip-width apart and press the dumbbells upwards until your arms are straight. Pause for a second before returning the dumbbells back to the starting shoulder position and repeating the movement.

Plank

With your elbows directly under your shoulders, brace your core and raise your hips until you are resting on your toes. Continue to breathe evenly while maintaining a tight core. Hold for 30-60 seconds, looking at your thumbs to maintain a neutral spine position.

Side plank

Lie on your left side with your knees straight. With your forearm on the ground and your elbow directly under your shoulder, brace your core and raise your hips until you are resting on your toes. Continue to breathe evenly while maintaining a tight core. Hold for 30-60 seconds, maintaining a neutral spine position. Repeat on the other side. Try to keep in a straight posture.

Finish with five minutes of full-body stretches, as in the 20-minute workout.

What next?

If you have any questions or you’d like more information on any of these exercises, just chat to a member of the fitness team next time you’re in. There is also a range of 30-minute group classes you could try, such as Freestyle Group Training and Pro-Cycling classes. Check your local timetable for details.

Ask an Expert