Recharge Your Body and Mind with This Total-Body Workout

COVID-19 means you can’t go to the gym. Instead, bring the gym to you

 

African-American woman doing a plank.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who’s been hunkering down at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re likely learning to adapt to a fairly new (and somewhat strange) way of doing things. Gone are handshakes and coffee runs. In are emoji air hugs and quarantinis.

One of the biggest lifestyle shakeups in recent weeks? Your fitness routine. Getting in the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week when gyms are closed—and local governments are urging citizens to stay indoors—is not easy. 

Yet, getting off the couch right now and moving is more important than ever, says Holly Roser, a certified personal trainer and owner of Holly Roser Fitness. During this time of stress and uncertainly, exercise can be the reset your body and mind needs, she says. 

“Remove all distractions and get yourself in the right mindset to move,” Roser explains. “Clear an area. Open the windows and allow fresh air inside, turn on your favorite music, and most importantly turn off the news. This is your time to escape and focus on yourself.” 

To get you started, Roser created this 30-minute total-body workout that requires no equipment and minimal space. Set a goal of going through the circuit four times a week. But don’t beat yourself up if on some days you can only manage a few of the moves. “A five-minute workout still counts!” says Roser.

Friendly reminder: Check with your doctor before beginning a new type of exercise.

The Warm Up

Do the following four exercises as a circuit. Complete two rounds. 

Exercise #1: High Knees 
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and squeeze your core. Bring your right knee up to meet your right hand, and then drive it back to the ground. As soon as your right foot hits the ground, lift and tap your left knee. Try to stay on the balls of your feet so you can alternate knees with a hopping motion. Do 15 knee taps on each side.

Low-impact variation: Leave out the hopping motion and bring your opposite elbow to your opposite knee for elbow-to-knee touches. 

Exercise #2: Mountain Climbers
Begin in a high plank position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders, fingers spread, and feet shoulder-width apart. Your body should form a straight line from head to toe. 

From here, drive your right knee toward your chest, and then return to your starting position. Repeat with the left knee, moving quickly. That’s one rep. Continue to alternate knees for 15 reps. 

Low-impact variation: Instead of driving your knees to your chest, tap your right foot to the side, then your left foot to the side, bringing your feet back to center each time.

Exercise #3: Jumping Jacks
Go for 1 minute without resting (unless required).

Low-impact variation: Replace the jumping part of the jack with a toe tap out to the side while raising your arms to shoulder level. 

Exercise #4: Jog in Place
Go for 1 minute without resting (unless required).

Low-impact variations: Step side-to-side or march in place.

The Workout

Do the following 13 strength and cardio exercises as a circuit. Complete three rounds.

Exercise #1: Squats
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding your chest up and out. Extend your arms in front of you at chest level, palms down. This is your starting position.

Lower yourself down as if you were sitting in a chair. When your thighs are parallel to the floor and knees are over your ankles, pause, then push through your heels to return to the starting position. Do 20 to 40 reps. 

Exercise #2: Forward Lunges
Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with one leg, and lower your hips until both knees are bent at 90-degree angles (or as far as you comfortably can). 

While in the lunge, your front knee should be directly over your ankle (make sure you can see your toes) and your back knee should not touch the ground. Press your front heel into the floor as you push back up to your starting position. Do 15 reps then switch legs and repeat. 

Exercise #3: Pushups
Begin in a high-plank position with your wrists slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Exhale and slowly lower your chest to the floor. When your chest touches the floor, inhale as you drive your body upwards. Focus on keeping your back as flat as possible through the movement. Do 10 reps. 

Modifications: Switch to knee push-ups, making sure that your shoulders and hips touch—and leave—the floor at the same time. If you’re still having difficulty, hold a high plank for 30 seconds. 

Exercise #4: Forearm Plank
Lie on your stomach with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and forearms flat on the floor. Clasp your hands together and keep your elbows under your shoulders. Lift your hips toward the ceiling until your body forms a straight line from head to ankles. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

Modification: Lower your knees to the floor and lift your hips so your body forms a straight line from head to knees. 

Grab a sip of water and rest for 1 minute.

Exercise #5: Squat Jumps 
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body into a squat with your weight in your heels. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, pause, then push through your legs and heels to launch yourself upward. 

In midair, your body should be as straight as possible from head to toe. It doesn’t matter how high you jump, just as long as you’re propelling yourself upwards with force. Land softly and go right into the next squat jump. Do 10 reps. 

Low-impact variation: Do regular squats at a quick tempo for 30 seconds. 

Exercise #6: Lunge Jumps
Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. In one smooth motion, jump your right leg forward and your left leg back into a lunge. Both knees should form 90-degree angles. Your back knee should be about six inches off the ground. 

Keeping your chest up, jump and switch legs in midair, so you land with your left leg forward and your right leg back into a lunge. Be sure to land with your entire foot on the floor. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps. 

Low-impact variation: Do alternating forward lunges for 20 seconds. 

Exercise #7: Ice Skaters
Take a big step to the left and sweep your right leg behind your left ankle, keeping your foot in midair, and bring your right arm across your body. (You’re mimicking the movement of a speed skater.) Quickly jump or step sideways to your right, bringing your left leg behind you and your left arm across. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps.

Modification: Do alternating side lunges for 20 seconds. 

Grab a sip of water and rest for 1 minute.

Exercise #8: Triceps Chair Dips
Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair and grip the seat. Slide your butt off the seat and walk your feet forward until your knees are at 90-degree angles, and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Straighten your arms. This is your starting position.

From here, lower your body until your elbows form 90-degree angles. Squeeze your triceps and push back to starting position. Do 10 reps. 

Exercise #9: Glute Bridges 
Lie on your back with bent knees, feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart, and heels about three inches away from your butt. Press your arms into the floor, and squeeze your core. 

From here, push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Pause, then slowly lower back to starting position. Do 30 reps. 

Exercise #10: Pushups
Do 8 reps. (Remember, you can do these on your knees.)

Exercise #11: Forearm Plank
Hold for 45 seconds.

Exercise #12: Crunches with Knee Tucks
Start on your back with your knees bent. Squeeze your shoulder blades and place your hands behind your head, elbows bent and pointing out to the side. Use your ab muscles to curl your chest toward your knees. At the same time, press your knees toward your chest. Reverse the movement, moving slowly and with control. That’s one rep. Do as many reps as you can, with good form, for one minute. 

Standing variation: Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your right arm above your head and your left leg out to the side. At the same time, lower your right elbow and lift your left knee, crunching them together as they meet in the middle. Return to start and repeat. Do 15 reps then switch sides. 

Exercise #13: Side Planks
Lie on your left side with your legs extended and feet stacked. Prop your upper body up on your left forearm, directly under your shoulder. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from head to ankles. Rest your right hand on your hip or shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, or as long as you can with good form. Switch sides and repeat. 

Stretch for 5 minutes after the third round. You’re done!