Enhance your fitness, mobility and metabolism with these three quick workouts, each designed to fit around your day-to-day and make lifelong athleticism an easier, more hassle-free endeavour.
We’d forgive you the audible eye-roll. But this is not another lofty promise, best swallowed with a slug of cynicism.
Our definition of ‘lean for life’ doesn’t mean stripping every centimetre of fat to sport a perma six-pack. Rather, we’ve created a time-savvy, sustainable workout regimen. One that doesn’t just fit into the rest of your life, but provides you with the tools to actively optimise it.
Whether you’re a work-from-home warrior sneaking in a mood-boosting lunchtime session with dumbbells, or a commuter in need of a post-office pump, our approach has you firmly in mind.
These full-body, strength-building heavy hitters have been arranged in stamina-boosting protocols to lay the smackdown on kilojoules, all while enhancing fitness. The movements selected promote balance and mitigate injury, building the athleticism necessary to breeze through day-to-day life. The goal isn’t just to look the part, but to have a body that backs it up. All in less than 30 minutes a day.
The workouts that follow are to be performed on rotation throughout the week, resting as life dictates between sessions. Each workout pits you against a different challenge, demanding you level up every time you lace up.
There’s no doubt, of course, that the approach listed on these pages can lead to six-pack abs and enviable biceps, but these are simply accoutrements. What you stand to gain in terms of quality of life is infinitely more satisfying. Ready? Then let’s get to it.
WORKOUT 1: FULL BODY BLAST
This full-body blast packs a punch, combining dumbbell grinders with bodyweight staples. Use the EMOM (every minute on the minute) format with a twist: at the start of each even minute (0.00, 2.00, 4.00 etc) you’ll perform A1 followed by A2, resting for the remainder of the minute. In the odd minutes, do B1 and B2. Alternate in this fashion for 20 minutes or 10 total rounds of each pairing.
SEE-SAW FLOOR PRESS (6 reps)
Lie flat on your back, knees bent, and press a set of dumbbells into the air (A). Bend your left arm, slowly lowering the weight back down while keeping your right arm locked out (B). Press the weight back up and repeat on the other side. That is two reps. It will get very pumpy.
ALTERNATING BODYWEIGHT LUNGE (10 reps)
Drop your bells and stand tall (A) for a bodyweight quad-burner. Take a long step forward with your left leg, dropping your right knee all the way to the ground (B). Push your weight through your left foot to stand back up explosively. Then switch legs
DUMBBELL REVERSE LUNGE (10 reps)
Time to load up your legs. Hold a set of dumbbells at your sides (A) and take a long step back with your right leg, bending your left leg until your right knee touches the ground (B). Maintain an upright torso and drive through your front foot to stand up. Now repeat on the other side and alternate each rep.
PUSH-UP (10 reps)
Finish by doubling up on your pecs. Start in a high-plank position, your hands stacked directly beneath your shoulders (A). Keep your elbows tight to your ribs and lower your body down until your chest hits the floor (B). Now press yourself off the floor aggressively, fully extending your arms.
WORKOUT 2: BACK TO BEST
Now we’re going to focus on those oft-neglected but always respected back muscles. You’re going to use the same vicious EMOM format as before, executing your A movements in the even minutes, before switching to B in the odd minutes. Oscillating between upper and lower movements ramps up the kilojoule burn. Go for 8
DUMBBELL SPLIT SQUAT (10 reps each leg)
Going single-leg will double your gains. With a pair of dumbbells at your sides, elevate your right leg onto a bench behind you (A). Bend at the left knee, lowering the dumbbells towards the floor, and pause at the bottom (B). Drive through your left foot to stand up. Perform 10 reps before switching.
BAND PULLDOWN (10 reps)
Posture problems? Here’s your fix. Sit on the floor holding a resistance band at full stretch overhead (A). Draw your elbows down and back, stretching the band open across your chest and squeezing your shoulder blades together (B). Return
RENEGADE ROW (5 reps each arm)
Kick off with a core-smashing back-builder. Assume a high plank position with your hands stacked on both dumbbells (A). Row the right dumbbell up to your hip while actively pushing down on the left (B). Return to the floor and repeat. Complete five reps before switching sides.
PRISONER SQUAT (10 reps)
Rows duly dispatched, get ready to do some hard time. Stand with your torso upright and your hands on your head (A). Drop your hips back to sink into a deep squat (B). Hold for
a second before pressing through your heels to stand up. Now repeat.
WORKOUT 3: CORE CRAZY
It’s time to go freestyle. Pick your poison: volume or intensity. As normal, start with the A movements, aiming to perform 100 reps of A1 in the fewest number of sets. The catch? Every time you have to drop the weights, you have to perform a set of A2, before picking straight back up where you left off. Once you hit 100, repeat the process with your B movements.
Every time you drop the weights…
PUSH PRESS (100 reps)
High-def deltoids: rendering. Lift your dumbbells on to your shoulders, palms facing in. Take a breath and brace your core (A). Dip at the knees and use your legs to help press the dumbbells overhead (B). Lower under control to your shoulders and repeat.
DUMBBELL LOCKOUT LEG RAISE (10 reps)
Crunch time, sort of. Lie flat on your back, legs straight, with your heels a few centimetres from the ground (A). Slowly lift your legs towards the raised dumbbells, keeping your legs locked out and steady (B). Slowly lower your feet to the start position, keeping your core tight.
Every time you drop the weights…
DUMBBELL DEADLIFT (100 reps)
With your dumbbells on the floor just outside your feet, hinge down and grip them with a flat back and neutral spine (A). Engage your lats and stand upright. ‘Push’ the ground with your feet, squeezing your glutes at the top (B). You’re going to feel this one today, tomorrow and the next day.
PLANK PULL-THROUGH (15 reps)
Hit your trunk from all angles for a three-dimensional core. Assume a push-up position adjacent to a single dumbbell. Reach from the opposite side and grasp your DB (A). Pull it through to the opposite side, keeping your midline rigid (B). Alternate for 15 reps.