Whelp, thanks New Year’s resolutions: The gym is packed AF right now. To avoid the crowds, you may be thinking of taking a little break from the place. Luckily, you don’t need a ton of space to get in a good workout, says Chicago-based certified personal trainer and celebrity fitness expert Andrea Metcalf, author of Naked Fitness.
“I train a lot of executives that have to work out in their offices in between meetings,” she says. (No judgments!) And Metcalf is here to school us in the art of breaking a sweat when you’ve got no space. So go ahead and claim a tiny corner of your home, workplace or gym, and bang out this no-joke circuit workout.
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Breaking Down the Bodyweight Moves
First, familiarize yourself with these four key moves that work your muscles in a big way but don’t require a huge area to get them done. Each one contains a beginner move, plus a plyometric power move aimed to rev your heart rate. The goal is to eventually work up to the higher-intensity moves. Just remember to progress at your own pace.
The Lunge Standing in a lunge position drop down (back knee should lower two inches from the floor) and hold. Make it a power move: Jumping lunges. Drop into a lunge and jump off the ground to change feet in mid-air. Repeat.
The Burpee Bend down to put hands on the ground. Walk hands out into a plank position, then walk hands back in, and stand up. (Also known as an “inch worm.”) Make it a power move: Perform a full burpee by placing hands on the ground, jumping feet out into a plank, then jumping feet back into hands. Stand up and jump.
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The Lateral Lunge Step out to the side into a lunge, then step back in. Repeat on the other side. Make it a power move: Add a hop to the end of the lateral lunge as you switch legs. This is called a skater jump or a side skate.
The Bridge Lay on the ground. Place feet on a ball (like a soccer ball) and lift hips into a bridge. Push into the floor with your triceps and squeeze shoulder blades together (this engages muscles in your arms). Make it a power move: In the same position, roll the ball out and back in. Try lifting your arms up to the ceiling for more difficulty.
Putting It All Together: Your No-Space Gym Workout
Now that you know the moves, you’re going to want to string them together to create a routine. Here are three ways to do just that. Switching things up keeps your muscles guessing and makes it more fun and interesting for you.
Option 1: Perform 5 sets total. The first set (at least) should be the regular version of the moves. After that, perform the power moves.
Option 2: Count down: Start with 8 reps of each move, then 6, 4, 2, 1.
Option 3: Deck of cards. Take out the 3s and 2s. Shuffle them up and draw a random number. That’s the number of reps you do. (Face cards are 10s, Ace is a 1). If you get an Ace, you have to hold each move for 60 seconds for the rep.
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Mind Your Pace
Try to stay moving throughout the circuit. Because you’re working different muscles at each move, you’re actually resting throughout. For example, your shoulders are resting while you’re doing lunges. Your hamstrings are resting during the side skate. Of course, don’t be afraid to rest as you need to. As with any workout, push yourself but listen to your body.