Updated: May 31
Time is precious...but so too is moving our bodies. Don't have time to hit the gym? I have good news for you: When it comes to exercising, something small is better than nothing at all!
Try this 10-day workout routine comprised of just 1 move a day. Each day offers a different full-body move that works multiple muscle groups. Do the move once in the morning and once in the evening, or do it during your lunch break, or during the commercials of your favorite show (are there still commercials these days?), or wake-up 5 minutes early and do it first thing in the morning. It's just one move...find a way to squeeze it into your schedule. Get creative!
I used to think that if I couldn't find at least 30 minutes to hit the gym, I'd have to scratch the workout for the day -- but this isn't the right way to think about it. Think about it instead as habit development and mindset. With this 10-day routine, it's about doing what you can. If that means 1 set of 5 reps of the exercise, then that's great! If it means 2 sets of 15 reps 3x/day, that's great, too! It's the "whatever-works-for-you-right-now" 10-day workout routine.
Start today -- 10 days from today, you'll be stronger, feel better, and further along on your wellness journey.
Day 1: low plank
Low plank, also called bent-arm plank, works the shoulders, core, back, glutes, and quads. Hold for as long as you can.
Day 2: squat + shoulder press
Again, we're going for full-body moves that work multiple muscle groups to get the biggest bang for our buck. This one does it. It works glutes, quads, shoulders, upper back, arms, and core. You can do this move with or without weights.
Day 3: boat pose (or Pilates teaser)
If you attend Pilates classes or do Pilates videos, I think everyone cringes a little when they hear the words, "Now, the teaser!" and for good reason: it's a small move that delivers HUGE results. The boat pose is a modified version because the knees are bent.
Day 4: plank-to-pike-to-plank
This one is fun and again, works multiple muscle groups. Start in high plank, push back into a pike position (or downward dog), and then lower back down into high plank. Repeat. Do anywhere from 5-15 reps.
Day 5: mountain climbers
Oh, yeah! The ultimate low-impact, heart-pumping move. You can do them fast or slow -- either way, you're working the muscles. If you're doing them slowly, add a little spice: when you bring your knee to your chest, instead of bringing it back to your feet, bring your knee towards your shoulder, then back down to your feet. This works the obliques! Do for 20s -- or go all out and do to fatigue if you want to get the heart pumpin' and a little cardio!
Day 6: plank + row
Doing this move with dumbbells is the ideal, but you don't have to use weights for it to be effective. Start in high plank position with a set of dumbbells nearby. With one arm holding the high plank position, lift one dumbbell with the other arm into a row, then lower and repeat on the other side.
Day 7: burpees
You knew they were comin'! The thing is, burpees really are for everyone. There are so many variations and modifications that there's no excuse not to do a burpee. The full unmodified burpee involves a jump in the air, then coming down into a squat, extending the legs behind to be in high plank, pushup, hop back to squat, then repeat. Modifications involve subtracting the jump or the pushup, or walking the feet back into high plank in lieu of the hop.
Day 8: bear
I love bear -- it works the quads without placing any impact on the knees. You'll feel it in the arms and shoulders, too, but you can always add a bear pushup (pushup while holding the bear position), too. You can do a bear hold, bear reps, SL bear hold, or SL bear reps...or any combination therein. Sometimes, I like to do a 15-10-5 blend: 15 reps, 10s hold, 5 reps. Try the 15-10-5 and do once or twice throughout the day.
Day 9: lunge twist
Ideally, you'll want to do this move with some lighter weights, but it's still effective without weights. Start by holding the weights with arms flexed (bent elbows) out in front of you. Hold the core tight and step back into a lunge. Once you're in the lunge position, hold it and rotate the torso away from the leg that is bent behind you and towards the leg in front of you. Come back to center, stand, and repeat with the other leg. This move works the core, obliques, the arms, shoulders, back, and the quads and glutes.
Day 10: kettlebell (or dumbbell or something heavy) swing
The kettlebell swing, even though it has the name "kettlebell," can easily be done with anything heavy that's easy to hold with a handle. Dumbbells are perfect, so too is a kitty litter bag or dog food bag. The kettlebell swing requires some attention to form, so check out this video before beginning.
Once again, this is a special routine -- 10 days, 1 move each day, with however many sets and reps you feel like doing. It's a habit-building routine, and sometimes, those are the best kinds.