By Chrissy Fink
In case you haven’t noticed, the latest trend in fitness – the one that’s been creeping up in everything from our cardio training to our boot-camp workouts to our weight training – has been intervals. Everyone seems to be touting the benefits of short, intense bursts or exertion, followed by recovery periods. But what if we told you that you could benefit from just 4 minutes of intense, as-hard-as-you-can-possibly-push-yourself exertion? Yes, we said it, just 4 minutes!
Some new studies suggest that just 4 minutes of intense interval style work each day is all we need. And while we’re not sure we’d go quite that far (longer workouts certainly boast numerous benefits), for those days when getting to the gym is literally impossible, this should be some seriously welcomed news!
The key: pushing yourself as hard as possible. Literally.
So, when 4 minutes is all you have, how should you spend it?
Well, head outdoors (get your fix of Vitamin D while you’re at it!) and push yourself to your limits. Mix up these 4 exercises (or spend 4 minutes on each of them if you have a bit more time – heck, it’s only 16 minutes!)
Burpees. Begin in a standing position. Drop into a squat position and put your hands on the ground in front of you. Jump your feet back behind you, lowering yourself into push-up position. Complete a push up as you jump your feet back towards your hands and into the starting squat position. Jump up as high as possible from the squat position, extending your arms overhead. Repeat.
Squat Jumps. Begin standing, feet hip-width apart. Lower your body down into a squat position (make sure your knees are over your toes, butt back, toes pointing straight ahead). Instead of standing back up into the starting position, jump up, bringing your arms overhead. Land softly back into the squat position and repeat.
Mountain Climber Runs. Begin in a “football run” position, with your legs and arms close to your body and run in place for 10 seconds. Then drop down to a high-plank position (hands and toes on the ground, stomach pulled in and up, butt in the air) and, keeping your stomach pulled in and up, “run” in place, bringing your knees up towards your chest for 10 seconds. Repeat.
Push Up Jacks. Begin in a standard push-up position, on your toes. As you lower your body down, hop your legs open. As you push yourself back up, hop your legs closed. Repeat.