Swept up in a busy schedule and bogged down by daily responsibilities, it’s all too easy to say you just don’t have time for exercise.
It’s a common claim and it may seem valid if your typical workout lasts longer than an hour—who has that luxury during the week? If you’re having trouble getting your regular workouts in, it might be time to consider a quicker method.
Yes, it might mean skipping out on the treadmill, but these quick workouts are both efficient and effective. From trying new tools at the gym (hello, kettlebell) to switching up your entire style, changing it up could be good for your body and your schedule.
We asked athletes, personal trainers and other fitness professionals what their favorite workouts are on busy days. These were the top 10 quick, but effective workouts mentioned.
“You know those rowing machines at the gym? They’re an often overlooked source for a great, quick workout,” said Eva Glasrud, a former D1 athlete and blogger at The Happy Talent. Rowing builds total body strength, is a great cardio workout and improves overall fitness.
Here’s how it works: Find a machine and warm up for a few minutes, be sure to focus on and perfect your form. “Every minute, take what rowers call a ‘Power 10’—it’s exactly what it sounds like. Ten strokes, as fast as you can,” Glasrud said. “At the end of your warmup, set the computer to a 2k distance. You’ll probably want to keep your stroke rating (s/m) between 25-30 strokes per minute. That pace is somewhere between steady state and a sprint—meaning the workout will be short and hard. It will probably take less than 10 minutes. If you can break 7:30, you’re a rock star!” Remember to cool down with a five to 10 minute recovery.
This customizable exercise routine is one of the most efficient ways to fit strength training and cardio work into your busy schedule. Circuit training involves performing a set of exercises with minimal rest between the exercises and then repeating the circuit a number of times. “If you have limited time, but want to change your body composition for the better, then this type of training is for you,” said Maurice Williams, NASM and NSCA certified trainer and the owner of Move Well Fitness.
Here’s how it works: a circuit workout might include push-ups, box jumps, dumbbell squats and pull-ups, among many other options. “There is no set order of exercises to circuit training, so, feel free to experiment with the order of the exercises,” Williams said. “Typically, you would do 1-3 sets, 8-20 reps with a 15-60 second rest between the exercises.”