The holidays may bustle with activity, but it's not always the kind of activity that keeps you in shape. Instead of stressing over whether you can make it to the gym, carve out 15 minutes for this high-intensity workout. All you need is a pair of dumbbells, a mat and your own body. Fit this routine into your holiday schedule at least three days a week and then round it out with a healthy dose of shopping — but be sure to skip the mall food court while you're at it!
- Set of lightweight dumbbells
- Yoga mat
- Timer or watch with a second hand
Perform each exercise for one minute, then proceed immediately to the next exercise. Perform a total of three rounds, for a total of 15 minutes.
Exercise 1: Squat to back lunge
Challenge your entire lower body by alternating between a squat and a backward lunge.
- Stand with your feet hips-distance apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Tip your hips backward and squat down, as if you were lowering yourself into a chair, keeping your knees in line with your toes and your weight centered over your heels.
- Press yourself back to standing, then step backward approximately two to three feet with one leg.
- Bend both knees and lower your back knee toward the mat, keeping your front knee in line with your toes. Keep your torso upright and straight.
- Press yourself back to standing, then step backward with your opposite leg to perform a lunge on the other side.
- Continue the sequence for a full minute, doing a squat and then a lunge on each side.
Exercise 2: Renegade row
Grab your dumbbells to perform a renegade row — a move that challenges your entire upper body and core.
- Start in a pushup position with your arms fully extended and your hands gripping a set of dumbbells directly under your shoulders.
- Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the ground. When your chest reaches the dumbbells, reverse the movement and return to the full pushup position.
- Shift your weight to one side, lifting the opposite dumbbell from the ground and squeezing your shoulder blade until the dumbbell is pulled in to your torso.
- Lower the dumbbell back to the ground, perform another pushup and then do a row on the opposite side, pulling the other dumbbell back to your torso.
- Continue alternating between pushups and rows for the whole minute.
Exercise 3: Spin-cycle hops
Get your heart pumping while working on your lower-body power and core strength with these spin-cycle hops.
- Stand with your feet hips-distance apart, your knees slightly bent, your core tight and your elbows bent at your sides.
- Powerfully hop up into the air, using your legs and core to spin yourself 180 degrees. Land with your knees and hips slightly bent and "soft."
- Immediately hop back up into the air, spinning 180 degrees back in the direction you came from.
- Continue hopping back and forth for 30 seconds, then spin in the opposite direction for the next 30 seconds.
Exercise 4: Dip to curl
Make your biceps and triceps ready for that holiday dress with this combination dip-to-curl exercise.
- Sit on the ground with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rest them on the ground slightly behind your shoulders. Press your hips up off the ground so that your weight is supported on your feet and hands and your elbows are fully extended. This is the starting position.
- Bend your elbows backward, lowering your butt toward the floor into a dip and stopping just before your butt touches down. Reverse the movement and press up to start.
- Shift your weight slightly to one side and lift the opposite dumbbell from the ground, curling the weight up to your shoulder.
- Lower the weight back to the ground and perform another dip before performing a curl on the opposite side.
- Continue alternating between dips and curls for the full 60 seconds.
Exercise 5: Plank to hover plank
Work your entire body and core with the challenging plank-to-hover-plank exercise. Feel free to lower your knees to the mat if you want to make it easier.
- Start in a full plank position, balanced on your toes and palms with your arms fully extended. Make sure your core is tight and your body forms a straight line from heels to head.
- Hold the position for 15 seconds.
- Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor, "hovering" with your body a few inches from the ground.
- Hold the position for 15 seconds.
- Press yourself back to a full plank and repeat a second time.