Want to give yourself a good going over (in the best possible way) in just 30 minutes? Try this Functional Fitness workout next time you’re in the gym, or just grab a pair of dumbbells and do it at home, in the park, anywhere! Make sure you bring some energy and motivation with you, because this session is designed to give maximum results in minimal time. And yes, that does mean breaking more than a little sweat!
PS* I’ve offered modified options for beginners and experienced exercisers, so no excuses!
PPS* The easier options are for beginners, not if you’re feeling lazy
1. Bend to Squat to Press
Hold a pair of dumbbells with straight arms in front of your body. Keeping a straight spine, and with your eye gaze 4 feet ahead of you, stick your butt out and bend forward until the dumbbells reach mid-way down your shins. Next, stand up and simultaneously bring the dumbbells to your shoulders. Immediately sit down into a squat and then stand up quickly as you press both dumbbells into the air.
Repeat 12-15 times.
Make it easier: Cut out the bend and simply sit down into a squat then come up with a press.
Make it tougher: Turn the squat press into a squat jump with press
2. 1 Legged Bend and Bound
Find a stretch of gym or hallway at least 10 feet in distance. Stand on one leg, keep a straight spine, and slowly bend at the knee and hip to lower your body toward the floor. Your chest should remain elevated and you should feel your leg and butt working. In the bent position, take both arms back behind you, and then throw them forward as you ‘bound’ as far ahead of you as possible. Try to land on the same leg you jumped with and hold your balance.
Repeat x 8-12 on each leg.
Make it easier: Bend the knee just slightly and hop rather than bound
Make it tougher: Switch legs mid-way through each jump
3. Lateral Lunge with Dumbbell Twist
Hold a dumbbell between both hands. Stand with your feet wide apart, toes pointing slightly outward. Keep your eye gaze forward and your torso erect. Bend one knee as far to the side as possible, lowering your hips down. Keep the other leg almost straight, and keep your torso centered. Next, twist your torso to take the dumbbell to the outside edge of the bent knee. Finally, switch legs (shift your weight from the bent leg to the other one, so you end up in the same position just on the other side), and at the same time twist your torso and drive your almost-straight arms (with dumbbell!) past your chest until the dumbbell is raised in the air at head height. You can turn your torso slightly to follow the movement of the dumbbell. Slowly return to the starting position, moving the dumbbell and your legs in the exact same way they came up.
Make it easier: Cut out the lunge and focus only on twisting the dumbbell across your body, from hip to head height. Ensure that your torso follows the movement of the dumbbell.
Make it tougher: Start the same way as described above, but turn all the way around into a complete straight-back lunge, dumbbell ending in the air in front of your face.
4. Renegade Row into High Pull
Brace your body face-down on the floor, with your toes hip width apart, and your hands each on a dumbbell positioned underneath your chest. Your thumbs should point forward toward your head. Keeping a straight spine, and trying not to twist your hips too much, pull one shoulder blade toward the middle of your back as you lift that dumbbell up to the side of your chest. Your elbow should point into the air like a chicken wing and your should feel your mid-back muscles working (as well as a whole lot more). Finally, twist your torso slightly to look to that side and pull the dumbbell all the way into the air until it is stable with your arm in a straight line above your shoulder. Return the dumbbell slowly to the floor and repeat on the other side.
Perform 6-12 repetitions on each side, alternating.
Make it easier: Perform the exercise on your knees instead of your toes, and/or eliminate the high pull.
Make it tougher: Add a push up after each side, or lift more weight!
5. Monkey Man Push-ups
Hold yourself in a push up position, with your spine straight. Lift one leg, bend the knee, and move your foot forward and out to the side. Place it on the floor in this position – as if you were about to start crawling on your hands and feet. Keep it there, and lift the opposite hand. Shift your body weight forward as you place the hand half a foot ahead of you on the floor. Perform a push-up in this position, then return both arm and leg to where they came from. Change sides.
Repeat x 12-20 in total.
Make it easier: Perform on your knees (although this can be awkward as you’ll need to lift your leg each time in order to bend it to the side. An alternative is to move only the legs, not the arms as well.
Make it harder: Jump from one position to the next. Warning! This is only for the seriously advanced exerciser! ***Nice work on this one tonight Branko!!
6. Turkish Get-Up
Hold a light dumbbell in the air in one hand, with a straight arm. Keeping the dumbbell pointing toward the ceiling, sit down until you hit the floor. Use the other hand for support if needed. Lie down flat on your back, still keeping the dumbbell pointing toward the ceiling, with your arm straight. Next, get up as quickly as you can, and return to the start position. Repeat – fast.
Perform 5-10 repetitions each side.
Make it easier: Perform the exercise without any added weight
Make it tougher: Use a heavier weight and/or get up without using your other hand. Now that’s tough!
I have designed this session as a circuit workout. Although you could perform each exercise individually, you will get more out of it, and certainly feel the effects of a time-efficient full-body workout by performing the exercises back to back. This means you should do the designated amount of repetitions of each exercise, move immediately onto the next exercise, and continue until you reach the end. Be honest with yourself at this point as to whether you really need a rest before beginning again. Advanced exercisers should perform 4 circuits with no rest (or 10 seconds) between circuits, while beginners can perform 2-3 circuits with up to 2 minutes rest between circuits.
As for how much weight to lift – again, be honest with yourself. If you can’t perform the exercise with good technique, it’s too much. If you get to the end of the designated amount of reps and could keep going, well, you guessed it, it’s not enough!
Okay, that’s enough chit-chat. Time to print this one out, get out there, and get lean. Oh and by the way, I’d love to hear a comment from those of you who actually give this one a go – with your total time and number of circuits performed included! And your questions, as always, are more than welcome.
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