You can do a lot in 10 minutes. You can clean your fridge, get e-mails, Or press — our favorite for a quick workout. According to research, just 10 minutes of exercise can benefit some big minds / bodies, and this week’s episode Instructor of the month Gives you a quickie core series that will strengthen your muscles in less time than clearing your inbox.
Morit Summers, founder of Form Fitness, brings us the perfect routine to squeeze in whenever you have a few minutes to spare, and it will make you feel done before you go into the rest of the day. The best part? It has only five moves – all of which can be done with or without weights, and none of them seem to be doing your main job.
1. Alternate March
This first step is meant to awaken your muscles and prepare your body for the rest of the routine. “It probably sounds like a low-body movement, but it’s really a core stability movement,” Summers said. Just remember that to reap the full benefits, you’ll want to focus on your abs bracing when marching.
With weights on either side of you (or, if you don’t use them, keep your arms at your sides), lift one knee at a time over your hips – it’s like a permanent crunch – make sure your hips and legs aren’t too close to your body. Don’t move away. Want to take things up a notch? Lift the dumbbells over your shoulders or over your head for extra challenge.
2. Periodically halos
This exercise forces you to engage your core to keep your body steady while rotating a dumbbell around your head. Hold a single weight with one hand on both ends (or, if you don’t use the weight, just hold your hand together) and rotate it around your head to create a “hello”. When doing this exercise, remember not to bend your back — this is the key!
3. Weighted seat up
Take your standard sit-up to the next level by adding weight to the mix. Lying on the ground, you can either choose to bend your legs (which is the most challenging version of the movement) or keep them straight (which is a bit easier). Once you find the position you feel most comfortable in, hold the weight on the floor above your head, then lift it to the sky, pulling your body. Of course, you can avoid weight gain and only do a regular sit-up, but keep in mind that “a lot of people find it very difficult to sit-up but sometimes weight can actually help,” Summers says.
4. Board shoulder tap
Starting from a high plank your core is assigned to create a straight line from the top of your head to the bottom of your legs, tap each hand on the opposite shoulder. Depending on how you feel, you can take this step either on your toes or on your knees. Just be sure to focus on keeping your core active so that your body stays still (no hips moving from side to side!)
5. Bend the legs
This final step will hit those hard-to-reach low abs. Start lying on the ground, lift your legs towards the ceiling to create a 90-degree angle with your upper body (if keeping them straight is too challenging, you can bend your knees to make the exercise a bit easier). Use your core to slowly lower your legs to the ground, stop before they touch the floor, then use your core to lift them up to start.