Editor’s note: This article was produced by Cherry Creative.
Childhood obesity rates have tripled since the 1970s, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Inadequate physical activity is costing the U.S. population $117 billion in annual healthcare expenses, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And with the recent COVID-19 outbreak, it’s become imperative to ensure Americans are still getting the recommended 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity per week — that’s 20 to 40 minutes of our day dedicated solely to physical activity.
Social distancing and being stuck at home doesn’t have to stop you from adding a little movement to your daily routine. I have been an American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified personal trainer for three years and have worked with a variety of clients from ages 18 to 70. And something I have always said is that bodyweight exercises are some of the most challenging yet rewarding movements you can do. With the chaos and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that we find things to do to destress and continue to move. Exercise is a great way to improve your cognitive thinking and boost your mood and energy.
I have developed some go-to workouts you can perform in 30 minutes or less with or without equipment, on your own or with a partner and at home. Don’t let being stuck at home be your excuse for your missed workout and start making movement a priority in your life!
30-4-30 workout routine
This workout routine is nicknamed “30-4-30” because of the amount of time each exercise takes to complete. The first movement can be anything targeting a specific muscle group, like squats targeting the quadriceps muscles or upper leg muscles. You will perform the exercises for 30 seconds before moving on with no rest in between. Sandwiched in the middle of both 30-second intervals is four minutes of cardiorespiratory endurance, or an exercise aimed at increasing your heart rate. This can include running, biking, swimming, step-ups or other cardio exercises. Finally, you will end with another 30-second muscular strength exercise — either the same one as earlier or a new one. You will complete the circuit four times with one minute of rest in between each round.
Levels of difficulty
30 seconds of bodyweight squats
4 minutes of running
30 seconds of push-ups
If you have a pair of dumbbells…
30 seconds of dumbbell thrusters
4 minutes of elliptical
30 seconds of Russian twists
30 seconds of dumbbell snatches
4 minutes of running
30 seconds of renegade row
How to do…
Start with the dumbbell on the floor in the middle of both feet and bodyweight loaded on the backs of the legs (focusing on hamstrings and glutes).
Initiate a pulling motion from the floor, bring the dumbbell up to chest height keeping the dumbbell as close to the body as possible.
Finish the movement by rotating under the dumbbell and raising it overhead with the arm completely extended. FInish in a standing position and arm raised overhead.
Start in a standing position and lower your butt and hips back and down as if you were sitting in a chair.
You can stop lowering your body when your thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to a standing position to complete the movement.
Begin in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Your back should be flat and hips level and parallel with the floor.
Lower your body to the floor until your elbows are bent in a 90-degree position. Then press back into the flat starting position to complete the movement.
Not a fan of running? Substitute this exercise for a different cardio option! It will be sure to increase your heart rate while strengthening your leg muscles.
Begin facing a box or elevated surface. Step onto the box with one foot. Then immediately step up with the other foot to stand flat on top of the elevated surface.
Complete the movement by stepping down one foot at a time and return to a standing position on the ground, keeping a steady pace.
Begin in a high plank position with your hands stable on the dumbbell. The back should be flat and hips level and parallel with the floor.
Pull the dumbbell to chest level with one arm while stabilizing with the other arm on the dumbbell. Try to keep your abdomen tight and clenched throughout this movement to prevent the hips from rotating too much with the pull. You can modify this movement by taking your hand off the other dumbbell and placing it on the floor for more stability.
Start with the dumbbells resting on your shoulders and in a standing position. Lower your body into a squat position with knees bent and hips pushed back. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor.
As you come to a standing position, use the power garnered from your legs to press the dumbbells directly over your head with palms facing forward. Repeat this movement in one fluid motion.
Start seated on the floor and with the dumbbell or any household object (if making this a home workout) resting on the floor and both hands on the object. Your feet should be slightly elevated, balancing on your tailbone. With your legs still slightly off the ground, bring the dumbbell to the center of your body by keeping your abdomen and sides engaged.
You will complete one full repetition when the dumbbell is safely rotated to the other side of your body and has touched the ground.