We all know we should be doing some exercise.
It’s kind of
drilled into us isn’t it?
But, how do you
exercise when you’ve got a busy life. When you can hardly drink a
hot coffee, can you really spend time exercising?
I get it.
Life can take over.
And before you know
it, it’s 7 o’clock at night, the kids are finally in bed and
you’re knackered. Too knackered to even think about a workout.
But what if I told
you with just 7 exercises, and 15 minutes you could have a full-body,
very challenging workout that will not only get you fitter, it will
help propel you towards any other goals you might have.
Let’s say weight
loss, or having more energy, or just feeling happier within yourself.
Would you be
Well, what are we
As always, if you
want to skip straight to the workouts, because yes there are workouts
as well, then click the link below the picture.
Below I’ll go into
my favourite exercises.
You’ve guessed it,
there are 7 of them. I’m also going to show you how to put them
into a work out, so you’ve got everything you need to get started
on your fitness journey.
But, before we get
into the specifics, I wanted to tell you why I’ve chosen these
exercises over the millions there are out there.
because I think they’re the best exercises you can do daily.
They have most bang
for your buck. (I use this saying a lot and I’m not even sure I
like it. If anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know.)
They are functional
exercises which mean they work more than one major muscle groups.
This is important because it’s how our body works.
None of our daily
activities use just one muscle group. So why work just one muscle at
It’s best to
strengthen your body how you move normally. That way everything you
do, all of your daily activities become that bit easier.
So, that’s why
I’ve chosen these.
And with that, let’s get to it...
I find mountain
climbers a weird exercise.
I quite like doing
them. Well, I don’t mind doing them. But I find them weird. They’re
kind of like high knees but done facing the floor.
Whether you find
them weird or not, one thing is for sure, they are a really effective
exercise. They get your heart pounding and your legs pumping.
But, they don’t
just work your heart and your legs.
Because of the
position you’re in, think high plank, your arms, your core, your lower back, they’re all working as well.
It really is an exercise that works the entire body.
The starting position is a high plank. So you’re hands are on the floor and your legs are extended out behind you and you’re on your toes.
You’re facing the floor.
You bring one knee up to the middle of your torso and then replace it back on the floor. And do the same with the other knee.
Repeat. But repeat quickly. Like I said, it’s like high knees. Like running. It’s that kind of speed.
If I had to chose
one exercise to do everyday it would be the burpee. I mean for
my clients to do everyday. Not me, I hate burpees.
Only joking. I love
to hate them.
They are so many
exercises in one, that it is the obvious choice.
A squat, a squat
thrust, a push up, another squat thrust, and a squat jump. You’re
covering so many muscles and so many systems in your body, in just one exercise. To say they’re a whole body exercise is a bit of an
If you only had 5
minutes to spare, then do 5 – 10 burpees every minute on the minute
and you’ll be away.
But, with this awesomeness comes the challenge. They are a tough movement. Which is why so many people hate them.
In a standing position, feet hip-width apart and your core engaged. Sink into a squat position but sink all the way down so your hands are on the floor in front of you.
Jump your legs back so you’re in a high plank position and the lower yourself down to the floor as you would in a push up.
Push yourself back up to high plank. Jump your legs back to your hands and jump up explosively landing back in the crouched squat position.
And start again.
There are lots of stages to a burpee. If you’re struggling, break the movement into it’s component parts. Practice them and then put it all together piece by piece.
Ok, the last two
exercises are what we call cardio based exercises. They are designed
to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
The next two we’re
going to look at are strength exercises.
to build your muscular strength. Yes, if you do them quick enough
you’re going to work cardio system as well. But we’re focusing on
these to build muscle strength.
So, it’s not about
the number of reps you do, but the quality of the reps.
Squats have to be
the classic of all exercises, not just those that build lower body
It’s a simple
exercise, but can have a massive impact on your fitness levels, body
composition and lower body strength.
Just an aside, don’t
let anyone tell you squats are bad for your knees...they’re not.
Not doing squats properly, or at all, is bad for your knees.
If you do struggle with leg strength, or knee pain, you might not want to do squats just yet. If this is the case, substitute with leg raises.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and engage your core.
Flex at your hips, knees and ankles to sink your bum back and down.
Keep sinking until your knees are, at least, at a 90-degree angle. Return to the starting position by pushing through your heels and straightening your legs.
Top points to remember, always keep your chest lifted, so your shoulders aren’t hunched over. Your spine should be in neutral, your chest should help with this. And make sure your core is engaged at all times.
Probably not as much as the squat. But classic it is.
If you’ve done any
kind of workouts in the past, you may have struggled with push ups.
And I wouldn’t be surprised. In fact, I still do. I can’t do many
full push ups.
The reason is, I
concentrate on getting the form right.
Push ups shouldn’t
be a quick movement where you just do one after the other after the
other, as fast as you can.
concentrate on getting your chest as close to the floor as possible
and keeping your elbows close to your body.
Yes, this makes it more difficult. But, your strength, your upper body strength will sky rocket.
Start in a high plank position, so your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Your legs are extended behind you and you’re raised up on your toes.
Bend your elbows, lowering your upper body towards the floor, getting as close to the floor as possible.
If you’re struggling to get close to the floor, drop down to your knees. It is more important you get close to the floor than it is to stay on your toes.
Ok, we’ve covered
cardio exercises, we’ve covered strength exercises, so now we’re
onto ab exercises.
The exercises that
are going to work your core muscles. The ones that are going to give
you a rock hard core.
that these exercises in themselves aren’t going to give you a six
You’re going to
need to really watch what you eat on top of working out, if you want
a six pack.
We’re back onto
the classics, the plank.
There are different
variations of the plank, high plank, low plank, side plank. All are a
great way to develop your core strength. But, to keep things simple,
I’m going to focus on the low plank.
I prefer the low
plank because you can make it a full-body exercise, with what they
call a hard style plank.
That’s where you
hold the position of a low plank, but you engage, squeeze, all of the
muscles in your body.
You hold them tight.
Hold them firm. So nothing is wobbly.
If you thought a
‘normal’ plank was hard, try a hardstyle plank.
If you want to make sure you’re engaging all of your muscles get someone to nudge you. If you move, you’re not tensing hard enough.
Get into a low plank position, lying on the floor on your elbows. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders, your legs extended out behind you and you should be on your toes.
When you’re in that position, engage every muscle you can.
Pull your elbows down, your shoulder blades back and down, squeeze your bum, your legs. Push your heels away from you. Squeeze everything you can.
You might think it’s
a bit strange including the glute bridge under the ab exercises. The
glute bridge, after all works your lower back and your glutes.
The thing is, both
of these need to be strong for you to have a strong core.
So it’s here, included under the ab exercises.
Lying on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor, close to your bum.
Breathe in and lift your bum off the floor.
Try to do this vertebrae by vertebrae. Keep lifting until your body is in a straight line from your neck to your knees.
Hold the position at the top for a few seconds and then lower your bum back down to the floor, vertebrae by vertebrae.
The last exercise
I’ve chosen is for flexibility.
Down dog is my
favourite of all of the yoga poses. It’s really great to increase
your general range of motion.
struggling with your hamstrings, shoulders, feet, or you just feel a
bit, what’s the word...frazzled, yeah frazzled is a good word, you
could do a lot worse than throwing in a few down dog stretches to
your workout routine. Or just your day.
If you don’t know
what a down dog looks like, imagine your body in an upside down v
Your feet are firmly
planted on the floor, although depending on your flexibility your
heels might be raised off the floor, that’s ok.
There is a straight
diagonal line up to your hips and your bum, which are high in the
air, and then another straight, diagonal line down to your hands
which are also on the floor.
You can start your
workout with a few down dogs, just make them a bit dynamic. Cycle
your feet, raise a leg and circle it, or bend both knees and
straighten them again.
At the end of your
workout you should concentrate on holding them. Breathing into the
stretch and then going a bit further.
But, you can also
include down dogs into your workout.
You can move from a high plank to a down dog and them back again. Tough yes, but very effective.
So those are the
exercises, now you want to know how to put them into a workout don’t
A quick workout you
can do everyday.
But, should you
Well, there is
nothing stopping you, especially when your workouts are short, like
these 15 minute workouts. But, I would advise you to have at least
one rest day during the week.
At least one day
where you focus on something restorative. Maybe a gentle walk with
the family. Or a bit of yoga. A hot bath. Something that will restore
your energy systems and set you up for the next week of full on
Another point I would like to make about these workouts, yeah, there’s more than one. We’ve got to keep it interesting, right?
All of these
workouts can be done with just your own body weight. You don’t need
any special equipment.
That said, if you do
have equipment you can use, feel free to use it. Whether it’s light
weights, heavy weights, resistance bands, or a ruck sack with potatoes in it.
Use it if you want to.
Warm up with a few down dogs, or you could try one of these HIIT workout warm ups.
For this one we’re
going to keep it simple. Cycle through the exercises working for 45
seconds, resting for 15 seconds. And rest for one minute between
Talking of rounds,
one round, including the rest will take 7 minutes. Two rounds 14
minutes, three rounds 21 minutes, etc, etc, etc.
Do as many rounds as
you have time for.
This one is an EMOM,
every minute on the minute. So every minute on the minute you
complete the required exercises.
But every minute
it’s going to get slightly harder because you’re going to add a
rep to every movement.
Tabata is a workout
protocol where you work for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds. This
workout is in that style, but instead of rest you do the second
exercise. Do that for eight rounds, four minutes, rest for a minute
and move on to the next pair of exercises.
So they are the 7
exercises you can do everyday to see serious results.
Only commit to
working out everyday if it fits into your current daily routine.
Consistency is better than volume, so you can start out strong, but
if you can’t carry on you won’t see much in the way of benefits
It would be a much
better idea to workout once or twice a week but do it consistently.
You can always add in workouts when you have time.
But start with what
you know you can do.
If you try any of
these workouts, I’d love to know how you get on, so please do get
in touch. And remember that my newsletter sends fun workouts, home
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