Between homeschooling mornings and life admin afternoons, there is very little white space left on the schedule for you. Even if you could find an hour, and if the gym was open you’re, not sure you are want to go. Any “me time” these days is found in 10 or 15 minute chunks. You need simple micro workouts to stay healthy at home. Here’s my list of micro workouts for every day.
If you’ve got five minutes for a micro workout
Yes, five minutes of movement matters. Especially if you sprinkle in a couple of micro workouts every day. Consistency is what counts for good health. If you only have five minutes to workout, here’s what you can do.
- Walk. Getting up and out of your chair is the first step in starting a daily exercise practice. If it helps, set multiple alarms throughout the day to remind you to walk around the house or around the block.
- Dance break. If you and the kids need to get the wiggles out, pick two songs with irresistible grooves and shake it off.
- Tabata time. I consider a Tabata training to be the original micro workout. The protocol is 8 cycles of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. That means you’re working at a very high intensity for those 20 seconds. Pick a couple body weight exercises like push-ups, burpees or jumping jacks and go for it!
If you’ve got 10 minutes for a micro workout
My favorite micro workout routine is a ladder workout. In this simple version, you pick two exercises (ideally one for upper body and one for lower body) and set a time for 10 minutes.
In the video, I alternate between a goblet squat and a bench push up. One rep of each, then two reps, then three reps with the goal to get all the way to 10 reps of each. You rest when you need to as you work your way up the ladder. When you reach 10 minutes, you’re done. If you get to 10 reps before your timer goes off, start back down the ladder with 9 reps.
If you’ve got 15 minutes for a micro workout
For micro workouts, circuit training is your friend. I’ve got three super effective micro workouts that use only one piece of equipment each: a stability ball, an exercise band and a pair of dumbbells. Perform each exercise in the workout for 10 to 15 reps. You can do each workout for two to four rounds, resting only in between rounds.
Start with the stability ball wall squat. As always, you want to keep your eyes focused in front of you, not on the ground, and your weight mainly in your heals. Push through your heels to rise back up.
For the rest of the workout, you’ll move to the ground. Beginners can do a bridge by lying face up with straight legs and feet resting on top of the stability ball. If you’re more experienced, do a hamstring curl instead.
Next, you can do a pushup on the ground from knees before moving to the prone jackknife. For the prone jackknife, get in a pushup position with your shins on the stability ball and your palms flat on the floor. Pull your knees toward your chest while lifting your hips up. Straighten your legs to roll the stability ball back to start. Fora bigger challenge alternate a rep of the prone jackknife with a pushup.
Finish the workout with prone back extension, what I like to call birddog on the ball. Lie on your stomach on top of the stability ball. Then elevate the right leg and left arm while extending the back. Alternate sides, making sure to keep your arms and legs straight.
The resistance band workout is all about slow controlled movements.
First, do a sumo squat with a chest pull apart. Stand with your feet wide, knees and toes angled out to the sides and holding a resistance band in front of you at chest height with palms down and arms straight. Sit back and down into your squat, letting your knees go out as you pull band apart, tight across your chest. When you rise up out of the squat, let the resistance band return to the starting position.
The next exercise, alternating pull downs, mimics the lat pull down machine in the gym. Start with your band pulled tight over your head with your arms straight in a Y position. Pull your band down on the right side, drawing your right elbow down to your side. Return to start and repeat on the left side. Continue by alternating sides.
Then we go back to a squat but with a narrow stance, with feet close together and inside the hips. For this version you will anchor your band under your feet, holding the ends of the band in each hand. Sit back in your squat and hold this position will you use the band to perform bicep curls. Keep your elbows tucked in close to your sides to make sure you get a good bicep contraction. Hold the squat for the entire set of bicep curls.
Finally, we’ll hit the triceps will working the legs in a different way. Start by assuming a wide leg warrior II stance. Start with left leg straight and toes pointed in the twelve o’clock position with your back leg also straight and toes pointed to two o’clock. Hold your band up at shoulder height with your left arm straight ahead and the right arm bent. As you straighten your right arm also bend your left knee, opening the arms and opening the hips. Return to start and do all reps on one side before switching to the other side.
The dumbbell circuit starts with a reverse lunge with a bicep curl. Start with a dumbbell in each hand, arms by your side. Take a step back with your left foot. Hold the lunge position while performing a bicep curl with both arms. Return your arms to your side then step out of the lunge and back to the starting position. Alternate sides for all reps to complete the set.
The next move is the squat to press. Start with your dumbbells in hand, hovering over your shoulders with your palms facing in towards the mid-line of the body. Sit back into the squat, keeping your eyes up and back neutral while holding the weights over your shoulders. As you rise up out of the squat, press the weights straight up towards the ceiling in one controlled but fluid motion overhead. Return the dumbbells to the starting position before repeating the movement.
You’ll only need one dumbbell for our next exercise, the single leg overhead tricep extension. Balance on one leg while gripping the dumbbell on one end directly overhead. Keep your upper arms close, bend the elbows, and lower the weight behind your head. Then come up and fully extend your arms while keeping the dumbbell pointing straight up to the ceiling. That’s one repetition. Hold your balance on the same leg for all repetitions. You can change legs during the next set or on the next circuit.
Finish this workout on the ground with a bridge press. Lay on the ground face up with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Hold your dumbbells with elbow bent and palms facing into the midline of the body. Engage your glutes to lift your hips off the ground. Hold the bridge position while pressing the weights up, extending the arms for a chest press. Return the arms to start, with a full stop at the ground. Hold the bridge while you complete all repetitions of the press.
With all of these options, you can make space for a micro workout every day.