One of the most challenging parts of sticking to a workout routine is simply fitting it into our crazy schedules! I feel ya, ladies. Between work, kids, house stuff, trying to keep a relationship up with the hubby – things can get crazy. That’s why I love these three types of time-saving workouts! Each is easy to cram into a packed schedule to help keep yourself in great shape.
1. Kettlebell Exercises
Kettlebells are a great option for time saving workouts. With just a few different weight sets at home, you’ll have an endless supply of exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home. You can do a lot of the same movements with kettlebells as you can with dumbbells, but the way they’re structured allows for additional variety with momentum-based exercises.
Here’s one example of a kettlebell exercise – a kettlebell swing. In this case, you’re going to hinge your hips and swing the kettlebell between your legs then back up until your arms are parallel. You want to have your legs slightly bent with the swing, but avoid squatting too much on each repetition.
Here’s a quick video that demonstrates how to do kettlebell swings:
Of course, there are tons of other exercises as well – think kettlebell squats, kettlebell lunge press, kettlebell deadlifts, and more. This kettlebell article from Greatist has 22 different kettlebell exercises you can do with illustrations of proper form – it’s a great resource!
Here’s another helpful resource for you – an awesome 10-minute kettlebell workout that you can do at home. Talk about a time saving workout!
10 minute kettlebell workout:
2. Tabata Workouts
Tabata is a form of interval training that was actually discovered by a Japanese scientist. He did research on two different exercise protocols – standard steady state exercise in one group, and intense interval training in the other group. The intense interval training group showed greater overall fitness improvements when it came to both the aerobic and anaerobic systems (versus the steady state group that had primarily aerobic improvements).
Traditional tabata workouts are comprised of the following:
- Intense exercise for 20 seconds
- Rest for 10 seconds
- Repeat 8 times for a total workout of 4 minutes
Sample tabata workout:
Most time saving tabata workouts will include several different exercises in this rhythm, for a total workout of around 20 minutes. For example, you might to a tabata that includes these four exercises:
- Push ups
- Plank step ups
30-minute hip hop tabata video:
If you want to try something a little different when it comes to tabata, I think you’ll L-O-V-E this hip hop tabata workout. Think of it as a mixture between a dance class and a tabata session. This 30-minute video will lead you through a warm up followed by the actual tabata moves, which include things like a jump followed by twerking your legs. I love it!
3. At-Home Circuit Workouts
Essentially, circuit training is alternating between several different exercises that target different muscle groups. Circuit workouts can be done using different types of body weight, dumbbell, and resistance band exercises – depending on what you have on hand. Because you don’t have to spend time getting to the gym and back, at home circuits can definitely be time saving workouts!
DIY Circuit Workout Format:
One way to create your own circuit workout is to choose 1-2 exercises from each of these categories, and then rotate through them:
- Jumping jacks
- Jumping rope
- Side shuffles
- Squats (regular, sumo, goblet, single-leg, etc.)
- Lunges (forward, backward, walking, side)
- Hip extensions
- Side hip abductions
- Calf raises (on a ledge or stair)
- Crunches (regular, twisting, bicycle)
- Leg lifts / scissor kicks from laying position
- Planks (on hands, forearms, side planks, etc)
- Bridge pose
- Push-ups (regular or modified)
- Tricep dips using a chair
- Bicep curls
- Tricep extensions
- Bent over row
- Lateral raises
- Upright row
If you want to get out of the house, you can also choose exercises that you can do outdoors while hanging with the kiddos – like this quick workout at the park!
20 minute at home workout:
If you really like variety, you can try this time saving workout video that’s only 20 minutes long. It has a bit more exercises than I’d normally put in a circuit workout, but it’ll definitely keep you on your toes and keep you engaged!
4. Personal Training Sessions
OK, this one isn’t an at-home workout – but hear me out on how it can be a time saver!
If you’re like many people, you’ve probably learned how to exercise by what you’ve picked up from friends, media, etc. And that’s great, because any exercise is amazing for your body!
But if you want to maximize your workouts, a session with a personal trainer can really help to make sure you’re getting the most out of every minute. They’ll ensure you are using the right form, they’ll be able to guide you on appropriate weight settings at the gym, and they can help you figure out the proper balance between cardio and strength training to reach your fitness goals.
5. Break out the Games!
Back when I owned my corporate wellness company, I taught boot camps on site for different companies. Games and challenges were always an integral part of those boot camps, because they push you to your (reasonable) limits in a fun way.
One of my favorite types of games are song-based ones. In this case, find a song with a lot of repetitive phrases, and challenge yourself to do a certain exercise each time a phrase is said. For example, I like to use the song “Roxanne” and assign a different exercise for each time “roxanne” and “put on the red light” are said.
Or find a song where it instructs you to move in a certain direction. “Bring Sally Up” is a common one and you can do it with either squats or push ups:
Card workout game:
Break out a deck of cards and assign a different exercise to each suit. For example, spades might be squats, hearts might be push-ups, diamonds might be mountain climbers, and clubs might be jumping jacks. Go through the deck, doing the number listed on the card for each exercise (I usually make face cards 10, but you can choose whatever you want for that).
Run through as many cards as you can in a specific time frame, like 20 minutes, for an awesome time saving workout.