The 17-Minute Workout
Even if you’re not a workout buff, you’ve probably heard of HIIT workouts — aka high-intensity interval training. It’s comprised of quick bursts of activity followed by short recovery periods. HIIT is the workout du jour for a number of reasons. But in today’s busy world, the most appealing one is that it’s seriously efficient, with each workout delivering the benefits of cardio and strength training in a shorter session. See for yourself with this 17-minute, full-body workout from Farouk Houssein, an instructor at The Fhitting Room in New York City.
HOW TO DO THIS WORKOUT
First, you’ll do five rounds of eight reps of each of the first five exercises. Because the workout is for time (doing as many rounds as you can under a set amount of time), the times of completion can vary per person, however, the goal is to not exceed 10 minutes. “It’s a race against the clock,” says Houssein. Then you’ll take a two-minute break before the second part. During that portion, you’ll set a timer for seven minutes and complete as many rounds of the second three exercises as you can, performing 10 reps of each.
1 DUMBBELL RENEGADE ROWS
“This move is technically meant to strengthen your back,” says Houssein, “but because you’re using your abdominal muscles to stabilize yourself, you’ll feel it in your core.” HOW TO DO IT: Start in a plank position. But instead of resting your palms on the ground you’ll grip a set of dumbbells, which will slightly elevate your upper body. Lift one weight to your chest while squeezing your upper back muscles. Set it down, and then repeat on the other side. Do eight reps on each arm.
2 PUSH-UPS ON DUMBBELLS
You don’t have to use the dumbbells for this exercise if you don’t want to, says Houssein. “But if you want a deeper range of motion while working your chest and triceps, the weights allow that.” HOW TO DO IT: Start in plank position while resting each hand on a dumbbell, then perform classic push-ups. Do eight reps.
3 ROMANIAN DEADLIFTS
Get ready for an exercise that targets your entire backside! HOW TO DO IT: While standing, hold a set of dumbbells in front of you with your palms facing your body. Keep your back straight and your legs slightly bent. As you lean forward, push your butt out and keep your weight in your heels. Bend until your shoulders are at hip level. When you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings, return to starting position. Do eight reps.
4 DUMBBELL FORWARD LUNGE
You’ll know you’re doing this exercise right when you feel a burn in your leading leg, particularly in the thigh, quad and glute muscles, says Houssein. “And make sure your left knee doesn’t go past your toes, otherwise you’ll put stress on it.” HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the dumbbells at your shoulders with your elbows pointing out in front of you. Then, with a straight back, step forward with your left foot into a lunge and bend your right knee at a 90-degree angle. Return to standing and repeat on the opposite leg. Do eight reps on each leg.
5 DUMBBELL CURL TO PRESS
This move works your biceps and shoulder muscles. “And by standing instead of sitting, you’re also engaging your core,” says Houssein. HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a set of dumbbells at your sides. Curl both weights to your shoulders, and then press them together over your head (with your arms fully extended). Your elbows should be straight and next to your ears. Do eight reps, and then do these first five exercises again.
6 DUMBBELL THRUSTER
Warning: This move requires some enthusiasm! “This is one fluid movement where you’re thrusting the ground away from you on the way up,” says Houssein. “If you’re slow, you won’t feel the proper stimulus and dynamic force of the movement.” HOW TO DO IT: Stand holding a set of dumbbells at your shoulders with your elbows pointed out in front of you. Squat down, keeping your butt, back and your chest up. On the way back up, exert a burst of energy and bring the weights up overhead by fully extending your arms. Pause for a second, lower the weights back down and repeat. Do 10 reps.
7 BURPEE TUCK JUMPS
“The burpee tuck jump engages your entire body,” says Houssein, who offers this mental trick for boosting your energy: “Picture yourself oversleeping and jumping out of bed, like, ‘I gotta get to work!’” HOW TO DO IT: Begin standing, and then lower into a squat and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Kick both feet back so you’re in a push-up position. Next, lower your chest to the floor, then bring it back up. Now, jump your feet forward into their original position (squatting). Finish by jumping in the air and bringing your knees as close to your chest as possible. Do 10 reps.
8 ALTERNATING JACKKNIVES
“This is a rapid move that you’ll feel throughout your abs,” says Houssein. HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back (and don’t get comfortable!) with your right knee bent and your right foot flat on the floor. Reach your left arm over your head and keep your right arm by your side, palm facing the ground. Now reach your left hand and right foot to meet in midair. Return them to the floor and alternate hands and feet to do both sides. Do 20 reps (10 with each leg) before returning to exercise 6 and going through as many rounds as possible in the span of seven minutes.
*Elise Sole is a New Yorker living in Los Angeles. She’s been an editor at Yahoo, Women’s Health, Redbook, and Marie Claire, and has written for publications including Glamour, Cosmopolitan, AOL, and more.