It isn’t always easy getting to the gym during the working week. The 9-to-5 is no longer the 9-to-5, and if (like me) you work from home whilst juggling a family, the free time you once had no longer exists. Life is busy!
It’s a scenario that resonates with online sports and nutrition retailer Met-Rx, which recently invited a handful of fitness bloggers to come up with a mini exercise routine that could be done during a quick 30-minute lunch break.
My programme is one that you could do at your desk. It’s suitable for beginners and requires no equipment – though you could add in weights (dumbbells or ankle/wrist weights - keep them in a drawer) to switch things up and make the workout more challenging. These exercises are some of my favourites and use different muscle groups to work the whole body.
Time is short, so let’s get training!
|Hip Flexor to warm-up|
Do five minutes of cardio to get the heart pumping. If I’m at the gym I’ll jump on the bike or cross-trainer (rower or treadmill if you prefer). If office-bound do a minute each of Jumping Jacks, Mountain Climbers, Knee Highs, Reverse Lunges and Crossover Touch & Reach, followed by a couple of stretches (shoulder rolls, hip flexor, calf stretch etc).
There are four main exercises. Each should take about five minutes to complete, including the short rests between sets.
This first exercise targets the quads (front of the thighs), glutes and hamstrings. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, flex the knees and sit back pushing your bum out (imagine you’re about to squat on a park bench). Continue down close to the floor as far as you can go – keeping your head and chest up, and pushing your knees out - before coming back up again to the start position. Do 20 reps, 3 sets, with 15-30 seconds rest in-between.
These strengthen the chest, shoulders and triceps (arms). Place your hands on the edge of a bench (or use your work desk), slightly wider than the shoulders. Step the feet back to a straight line and ensure the shoulders are positioned over the hands. Lower the chest to the desk by bending the arms, then push back up until arms are fully extended. Do 10 reps, 3 sets, with a 30 second rest in-between.
The Bridge/Bum Lift:
This one targets the glutes (bum) and hamstrings (back of the thighs). Lie flat on the floor with hands down by your side and knees bent. Lift the hips off the floor while keeping the back straight and breathe out. Hold for a second or two before lowering the body back down as you breathe in. Do 15 reps, 3 sets, with 15-30 seconds rest in-between each set. To add a layer of difficulty raise one leg as you perform the exercise (as I am doing here in the above pic - don’t forget to alternate the legs!).
This final one is fantastic for working the abs. Get into a press-up position, then rest your weight down on to your forearms. Keep the body straight, bum tucked in, core tight and hold the position for 45 seconds. Do three, with a 30-second rest in-between.
Finish with five minutes of stretches. Phew! I’m off to grab a protein shake!