LIVESTRONG.COM caught up with Anna Victoria, creator of Fit Body Guides, in her New York City hotel room to learn how to get a high-intensity workout from your living room or when you’re on the road. You can do this 10-minute full-body circuit using just the space of a yoga mat. Get your blood flowing now with this powerful, mood-boosting workout.
Although squats mainly target your gluteal muscles, hamstrings and quadriceps, they’re full-body movements, activating your core and improving flexibility.
How to Do It: Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Squat down as if you’re sitting back into a chair. Keep your back straight, and make sure that your knees are bending in line with your toes rather than bowing out or caving in. If your knees are moving too far over your toes shift your weight to your heels. You can extend your arms out in front of you or bring your palms together in front of your chest. Return to standing position and repeat 10 times.
2. Squat Pulses
How to Do It: Sit back into a three-quarter squat position and continue down into a full squat. Return to the three-quarter position. The key here is that you never return to a standing position. Be sure to keep your back straight and chest out. Pulse 10 times.
3. Squat Jumps
How to Do It: Start in a full squat position with your back straight and chest out. Propel yourself up into the air and land back in the squat position. Repeat this move 10 times.
How to Do It: Start standing straight with your shoulder blades tucked into your back. Lunge your right leg straight behind you, lowering yourself down with your left leg. Keep your left knee back over your ankle to prevent it from going over your toe. Return to the standing position and alternate legs. Do 10 lunges per leg.
5. Lunge Pulses
How to Do It: Start in a three-quarter lunge position, making sure to keep your chest out and knee over your ankle. Bend down into the full lunge, and then return to the three-quarter position. Do this move 10 times before alternating legs.
6. Lunge Jumps
How to Do It: Start in the lunge position. Lower yourself slightly, then launch into the air, returning to the lunge position on landing. Don’t worry about feeling unbalanced — simply continue to do the jumps. Repeat 10 times per leg.
7. Glute Bridges
Glute bridges not only firm your gluteal muscles for a toned booty, they also help to stabilize your core, which can prevent lower-back pain. Kick butt with these glute bridge exercises.
How to Do It: Lie down with your back flat on the floor and your knees bent so that your feet are slightly wider than hip-width apart. Then raise your hips off the floor until you create a straight line from your knees down to your neck. Squeeze your glutes for one second, then relax and bring your hips back down to the floor. Take a second to breath before repeating. Do this 10 times.
8. Glute Bridge Holds
How to Do It: Start with your hips elevated in the peak position of the glute bridge, maintaining a straight line from your knees down to your neck. Hold this position for five seconds, then relax and bring your hips down to the floor. After a quick breath, bring your hips back up to peak position and hold again. Make sure to squeeze your glutes at the top of the bridge. Repeat until you’ve done five holds.
9. One-Leg Bridge Holds
How to Do It: Start with your hips elevated in the peak position of the glute bridge, forming a straight line from your knees down to your neck. Then extend your left leg out and up so that your thighs are parallel. Your weight should be on your right leg, so make sure to engage your muscles there. Hold this position for five seconds, activating your legs and core. Then switch legs by bringing your left leg down and raising your right leg. Repeat for five holds on each leg.
10. Commandos and Breakdown
Planks tone and define your abdominal muscles. Actually, they activate your entire core, according to ACE certified trainer Andrea Cespedes. By engaging the erector spinae, rhomboids and trapezius, you’ll improve your posture and, consequently, your breathing and digestion.
To do this move, you’ll need to know how to do a high plank and a regular plank. To do a high plank, lie on your stomach on your yoga mat, then push up so that your weight is on your toes and your arms are extended straight down underneath your shoulders. Create a straight line from your head to your heels.
To do a regular plank, instead of resting your weight on your palms, you’ll be down on your forearms so that your elbows are on the ground directly beneath your shoulders. In order to do a commando, you’ll want to repeatedly move from a high plank to a regular plank back to a high plank and so on.
How to Do It: Start from the high plank, then bring your left arm down so that your left forearm is on the ground and your right arm is slightly bent. Then bring your right forearm down onto the ground so that you’re in regular plank position. Lift your left forearm off the ground and keep it bent. Then lift your right forearm and return to high plank.
Repeat this five times. Then, you’ll want to break down your commandos by pausing for five seconds at each stage. Once you’ve done that, repeat the whole cycle, starting with five regular commandos and ending with one commando breakdown.
11. Push-Ups and Breakdown
Push-ups work your pectoralis major, anterior deltoids and triceps, according to fitness writer Patrick Dale, helping you to build a strong chest and get rid of any arm flab.
How to Do It: Start in the high plank position, spacing your arms slightly farther apart. Lower yourself until you create a 90 degree angle between your upper arm and forearm. Then just push yourself back up into a high plank. Make sure to keep your head up and engage your core. Do five push-ups.
Next, you’re going to do one push-up breakdown by holding the high plank for five seconds and then going down into the push-up position for five seconds. Repeat the whole move by doing another five push-ups and ending with one push-up breakdown. To turn down the intensity of this move, you can rest your weight on your knees instead of your feet — just make sure you’re still maintaining a straight line from your head to your knees. You can even do this modification halfway through the move if you want moderate intensity.
12. Arm Lifts and Breakdown
How to Do It: Start in a high plank, then move your feet a little outside hip-width to provide extra stability for your hips. Extend your left arm in front of you 45 degrees out from your head. Bring that arm back down and then extend your right arm. Keep your hips parallel with the floor; avoid letting them dip to the right or left. Do five of these. Then break it down by lifting your left arm and holding for five seconds, then doing the same with your right. Repeat the whole cycle by doing five arm lifts followed by one breakdown.
13. Assisted Reverse Crunches and Hold
While standard crunches pinpoint your rectus abdominis (the top part of your abs), reverse crunches help to engage those tough-to-reach lower abdominal muscles.
How to Do It: Lie with your back on your mat and your knees bent as if you were going to do a sit-up. Then sit up and place your palms on the mat just behind your bottom so that your fingers are pointed toward your toes. Lift your feet off the ground.
While maintaining a 90-degree angle between your thighs and calves, bring your knees to your chest. Extend your legs out until there’s at least a 135 degree angle between your thighs and calves and, at the same time, rock your torso back slightly so that it’s about six inches off the mat. Continue to crunch and extend five times. Then hold the crunch position for five seconds. Repeat this set by doing five more assisted reverse crunches and one more breakdown.
14. Elbow-to-Knee Crunches and Hold
The final two exercises in this full-body circuit strengthen those oblique muscles you tend to miss during standard crunches. You’ll also feel the burn in your hips and thighs, so get prepared for these cross-lateral moves.
How to Do It: Start in a sit-up position with your back to the mat. Then bring your feet off the ground, creating 90-degree angles between your stomach and thighs and thighs and calves.
Place your hands behind your head. Lift your right shoulder blade off the ground and swing your elbow up and to the right side of your body so that your right elbow touches your left knee. Return to starting position and alternate arms, lifting your left shoulder blade off the ground and touching your left elbow to your right knee. Do this five times. On the fifth rep, hold for five seconds. Then start again with the opposite arm (your left), and on the fifth rep, again, hold for five seconds.
15. Russian Twists and Hold
How to Do It: Sit on the yoga mat with both your back and feet off the mat so that you’re balancing on your bottom. There should be two 90 degree angles between your tummy and thighs and thighs and calves. Bring your hands in front your stomach as if you were holding a small ball. Then twist to your left, bringing the imaginary ball down to your waist. Twist to the right, bringing it down to the other side of your body. Do this five times, then hold for five seconds on the left side. Repeat the set by twisting five times again, then holding on your right side.
What Do YOU Think?
Do you think this is a realistic anywhere-anytime routine for people who only have a small space to work with? Which move did you find the most challenging? What was your favorite exercise? Did you find that this workout was too easy, too difficult or just right for you? Let us know in the comments section!