If there’s one excuse we’re all guilty of using when it comes to skipping the gym, it’s that there isn’t enough time in the day to work out. With busy social lives and many of us returning to the office, finding an hour or two for a session can be difficult.
Fortunately, you don’t need a lot of time for a really effective workout. In fact, a 2022 study (opens in a new tab) by Edith Cowan University found that exercising for just ten minutes on a regular basis is healthier than doing long workouts less frequently, especially when it comes to muscle growth.
So even if you just got home from the office, you probably have time for a quick workout, especially when it only takes nine minutes and requires no equipment. That’s the case with this quick session from Mark Lauren, the internationally acclaimed bodybuilding expert and author.
“The biggest mistake in fitness is overdoing it, especially for beginners, which keeps them from being consistent with their training,” Lauren said. Fit and well. “By doing just enough to make long-term progress, users can stay consistent by maximizing the reward and minimizing the cost in terms of pain, energy, and time.”
This workout is made up of three exercises repeated three times, so it’s super simple and great for people looking to improve their overall fitness and core strength. All you need is an open space and potentially a yoga mat, so check out our guide to the best yoga mats (opens in a new tab) here.
To complete the workout, repeat each exercise three times for 30 seconds, with a ten second break in between.
Mark Lauren spent fifteen years as a military physical training specialist for the social operations community. A triathlete, bodybuilder and Thai boxing champion, Mark is now a personal trainer sought after by governments, coaches and men and women of all fitness levels. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed bodyweight bibles: You Are Your Own Gym, Body By You and Body Fuel.
Nine-Minute No-Equipment Workout
1. Parallel leg crunch
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- Lie on your back with your legs elevated and your hips, knees, and ankles bent at ninety degrees. Your arms can rest above you in the Y position.
- Inhale and extend both arms as high as possible.
- Exhale and lower yourself slowly, bringing your arms back to the Y position while keeping your lower back in contact with the floor.
Point: Fully flex your ankles during the movement so that your toes are pointing towards your face. This improves ankle mobility and your ability to control hip rotation.
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- Start in a crawling position with your hands a few inches in front of your knees. Lift your knees slightly off the ground.
- Inhale and rotate your knees to the left about forty-five degrees, then lift your left hand and right foot off the floor.
- Exhale and continue rotating until you can fully extend your right leg in front of you (see the last slide in the image gallery above).
- In a kickout position, point the toes of the extended leg towards the sky. Let your hips rest on your supporting leg and raise your chest slightly.
- Return to the starting position with your knees close to your hands, then switch sides.
Point: After each kick, when you return to the quadruped starting position, place your feet so that your knees stay close to your hands. This makes the exercise a little easier while teaching you to pay attention to your footwork.
3. High knee walk
- Walk in place.
- Stand tall and straight, keep your feet parallel and find a steady rhythm.
- Raise the knees and use a powerful arm motion while keeping the elbows bent at ninety degrees.
Point: With each step, fully extend the supporting leg while lifting your chest slightly and keeping your abdomen tight to prevent your back from arching. This basic movement pattern has many useful implications for real-life activities when done correctly.
This workout will get your heart rate up and build your core strength, so you can come back to it regularly to see how your fitness has progressed. According to Lauren, this workout helps develop posture and individual joint functions.
“Many of us sit most hours of the day with our hips, spine and shoulders in the same position,” he says. “With the right selection of moves, it doesn’t take much to relieve the cumulative stress of modern life.”
You can use this workout as a fun way to end a weight training session or incorporate it into a longer full body workout. Bodyweight training has many benefits – a 2021 study published in the International Journal of Exercise Science (opens in a new tab) found that interval-style bodyweight training can improve cardiorespiratory fitness. So bookmark this workout for the next time you want to move fast.
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