Heard of the 7-minute workout? How about Tabata? Both are just a few minutes. The trick is, you work harder than you thought possible, pushing yourself to the max. If you're not in shape now, start with something more moderate.
Super-Slow Strength Training
Super-fast workouts are all the rage, but what about the opposite? The goal in "slow" weight training is to limit momentum. You might take 10 seconds to lower the bench press bar and another 10 to raise it. The exact benefits aren't yet clear, but a change in workout routine can help keep your mind engaged and your muscles guessing. A "slow day" could be just the workout to throw into the mix.
Ballet Barre Class
These moves can strengthen your core, arms, and legs. One to try is the plié: Stand with your heels together, toes apart, and then bend your knees. Squeeze your inner thighs and glutes as you slowly go lower, keeping your knees over your toes, and then rise to standing. Studios offer classes, or you can follow a video at home. Some classes also include cardio.
Only the fit and fearless can tackle this obstacle race. You do things like crawl through mud, climb walls, and swim in icy water. Train for at least 8 weeks with sprints, squats, pushups, and weights. Rest between short bursts of exercise.
You might have seen pro football players doing this during practice. It looks kinda fun, right? Well it's a growing trend in personal fitness, too. Besides the sled, you generally need a safe outdoor space, usually at a commercial gym, and a certified trainer to help you get the most from it. You typically push or pull the sled for 10 or 20 yards at a time. You can adjust the weight according to your strength and your fitness goals.
You can create endless routines with this one simple, portable, low-cost, piece of equipment. It's especially good for getting at the pulling muscles of your back, which other workouts sometimes miss. A personal trainer may be able to help you get the most from them, but once you know a few exercises, you can set it up yourself at the gym or at home or even in your hotel room if you're on the road.
Live online classes can give you the excitement and competition of group exercise without leaving the house. You can buy a fancy integrated cycling system with a screen that hooks up to the Internet and hundreds of daily classes. Or you can just prop your smartphone or digital device on your bike and stream live or recorded workout sessions from an app, website, or YouTube.
Zumba: Dance Fitness
Zumba wants your workout to party! This high-energy dance fitness class moves to Latin and international beats instead of counting repetitions. It's one of the most popular workouts, and it burns more calories than kickboxing or step aerobics. Zumba Step, a new type of Zumba to pump up the intensity, combines the dance moves of Zumba with a step for toning and strengthening legs and glutes.
You can burn about 15 calories per minute with this intense workout. Work to your max with squats, pushups, gymnastic rings, intense runs, and weightlifting. “Hero Workouts” are named in honor of soldiers who died serving the country. Be aware that the bursts of intense exercise can lead to injury. It’s important to work on your flexibility and learn to do the moves properly.
ViPR sounds like a killer workout, but the true goal is strength and fitness for everyday life. You use a heavy rubber tube to lift, push, twist, and work your whole body. ViPR adds moves that boost your workout whether you’re just starting or you’re a top athlete. Choose the size and weight that fits your needs.
A vigorous workout with a kettlebell -- a cast iron ball with a handle -- can burn 272 calories on average in just 20 minutes. Swinging the kettlebell works muscles in a way that weight machines and barbells can't. Start with a light kettlebell -- 8 to 15 pounds for women, and 15 to 25 pounds for men. Form is critical to prevent injury, so ask a trainer to show you how to use them properly.
Working out in water is easy on your joints. The resistance from the water helps make you stronger. You can make this workout as hard as you want, depending on how quickly you do the moves. Plus, being in the water just feels good to many people, so it can help you relax and feel better. If aerobics isn't your thing, you could swim laps or walk in the water for a solo workout.
Boot Camp: Back to Basics
This is basic training without a drill sergeant sneering and shouting in your face. There’s no fancy equipment -- just a series of pushups, squats, kicks, other calisthenics, and aerobic movements. You’ll burn about 10 calories a minute, or 600 an hour. The payback: total-body fitness.
Exergaming: Aerobic Play
Who said playing video games turns you into a couch potato? You can burn as many calories exergaming as working out at the gym -- about 270 calories vigorously dancing, or 216 calories virtual boxing, in a half-hour. Exergaming is one way to get kids moving. And slower-paced activities can help older adults be less sedentary.
Among exercises, boxing is a knockout -- delivering agility, balance, muscle tone, strength, and cardio benefits. Sparring also improves hand-eye coordination and mental agility. You'll be skipping, shadowboxing, kicking punching bags, and more. Be sure to protect your thumbs and knuckles, and consider wearing shin supports.
If at first glance, you think it's too easy to work out with these ropes, pick one up the next time you're at the gym. They're heavy! Use them like whips for an all-over workout that engages multiple muscle groups. You may even wear yourself out too quickly to get a good workout -- especially your shoulders. If that happens, try "speed battle ropes." They're a bit lighter and allow you to go faster for longer.
Finding a Good Trainer
A trainer can help you get more out of your workout. Choose a trainer with experience in the type of workout you want to try. Look for someone who is certified by an accreditation program, such as the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, or the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
17 Must-Try Fitness Workouts in Pictures
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