The Perfect 30-Minute Workout for When You're Short on Space

When the only place you have to work out is your tiny bedroom or living room, don't abandon your workout just because you're short on space. You don't actually need a ton of space to get a good workout.

You can get a good workout using only the space of a yoga mat.
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With this workout, you'll scorch calories even without wide open spaces. It's full-body conditioning with minimal equipment — you only need a pair of dumbbells! Plus, you'll still get the same feeling of accomplishment as if you'd done your regular gym workout.

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1. Squat to Press

Get a full-body workout with this compound movement.
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Squats are one of the best lower-body exercises, and adding a shoulder press makes it a full-body move. Los Angeles-based personal trainer Ally Ackourey recommends this move to her clients, "because it requires both upper- and lower-body strength for the entire move. This burns more calories and recruits more muscle fibers than an isolated exercise, giving you more bang for your buck."

  1. Holding a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders, bend your knees and hinge your hips back to squat down, ensuring that your knees aren't over your toes and your feet are pointing straight ahead.
  2. Squat until your hamstrings are parallel to the floor.
  3. As you come up out of your squat, push through your heels and press the dumbbells over your head with your palms facing each other.

Reps: 3 sets of 12 to 15

2. Lunge With Biceps Curl

Take two fairly basic exercises and amp them up by putting them together!
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  1. Start with your feet together, then take a big step in front of you.
  2. Bend both knees to 90 degrees, making sure your front knee isn't going beyond your toes.
  3. Straighten your legs to stand back up, then do a biceps curl. Curl slowly, and don't swing the weights. Engage your core to ensure that your back isn't arching.

Reps: 3 sets of 10 on each leg

3. Plank Walk

Get a killer core and shoulder workout with this plank variation.
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  1. Start in a high plank with hands under shoulders and legs extended out straight.
  2. Walk your hands in front of you as far as your limited space will allow, following step by step with your feet.
  3. Then slowly walk your hands back to the start, with your back as flat as possible.

Reps: 3 to 5

Tip

To increase your core engagement, try to bring your rib cage in while tightening your lower abs. If you’re really short on space, try a plank walk-out. Start standing, then walk your hands out to a high plank. Hold for a second, then walk your hands back to your feet and stand up.

4. Squat Jumps

Bring up your heart rate and burn some serious calories by adding in this plyometric exercise.
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Squat jumps improve your power and athleticism, says Los Angeles based-trainer Rachel Elizabeth Murray. But they also improve hip extension, which is especially important if you do a lot of sitting.

  1. Start with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing straight in front of you.
  2. Lower down into a squat with your knees at a 90-degree angle and your arms swinging behind you for momentum.
  3. Jump as high as you can, arms reaching up overhead.
  4. Land softly with slightly bent knees.

Reps: 3 sets of 8 reps

Tip

Focus on your glutes and driving through your heels to put the weight on your hamstrings and glutes instead of your quads.

5. Bicycle Crunches

Finish off your ab workout by really challenging your obliques and lower abs.
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  1. Lie on your back and place your hands behind your head to support your neck.
  2. Lift your right leg off the floor, bending at the knee, reaching your left elbow to your right knee.
  3. Repeat this with your left leg and right elbow.

Reps: 3 sets of 30

Tip

Make sure when doing any crunch or ab workout that you aren’t using your lower back to assist you in coming up off the floor.

6. Side Chops

Channel your inner lumberjack with this move that targets your glutes and obliques at the same time.
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  1. Start off with both hands gripping your weight.
  2. Slowly twist from your left to your right starting from your feet and "raising the ax" up over your head. Make sure your back is flat and your core is fully engaged.
  3. When the weight is over your head, straighten your arms and "chop" back down to your feet.

Reps: 3 sets of 10 on each side

Tip

When twisting, use the balls of your feet, bend both knees and turn your body just as the weight is going up or down, making a “chopping” motion.

7. Squat Burpees

These squat burpees will have your lower body burning in no time!
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You were probably hoping burpees wouldn't be part of the workout. But there are so many benefits to adding high-intensity intervals to your workouts, including burning fat! Murray has them high on her list of top exercises because they increase your power and improve functional movement.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bend into a squat.
  3. Place your hands on the ground in front of you, then jump or step back into the push-up position.
  4. Jump your feet back to your hands, then lift up into a squat.

Reps: 3 sets of 8

8. High Rows

Rows — simple but effective. This highly beneficial exercise strengthens and tones your upper back, biceps and triceps.
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  1. Stand with your knees slightly bent and feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your hands up to your shoulders.
  2. Press your arms up at a 45-degree angle away from your body before rowing them back down.
  3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, keeping your shoulders down and your head in line with your spine. Engage your core to keep yourself stable. Look straight in front of you while slightly bending your knees.

Reps: 3 sets of 12 to 15

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