This five-minute equipment-free full body workout actually works

The trick is to fit it in a few times a day whenever you have a few minutes to spare.
Published August 5, 2020 2:55 p.m. EST
Last Updated August 5, 2020 2:55 p.m. EST
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Trying to squeeze in enough exercise each week can be tricky, especially when you're balacing work, kids, and other everyday responsibilties. Getting to a gym right now isn't on many people's to-do list, so we asked fitness and wellness expert Samantha Montpetit-Huynh help! She's breaking down a day;s worth of  exercise into a single five- minute routine you can do multiple times throughout your day to reach your goal - whether that's 15 minutes for 45 minutes!

TIPS

  • Repeat 5-6 times per day and you are hitting World Health Organizations's guidelines for physical activity – 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days per week.
  • ALWAYS, always, always exhale on the exertion “work” part of the exercise i.e. the push, pull, lift etc. Holding your breath will affect performance and strength and is not safe especially if you have high blood pressure. Breathing properly is crucial for both the effectiveness of the exercise and your heart!
  • If you are working from home, set a timer every hour to stand up, move around for 60 seconds (as a warm up) and do this 5 min workout. Finish with a glass of water and feel like a rock star!
  • Always start with a quick 60 second warm up (longer if going to be working out for longer than 5 mins). i.e. marching on the spot, going up and down stairs, jogging on the spot etc.

GET STARTED

SQUAT 

One of the most functional movements in our life – getting on and off of a chair, out of bed, our of a car etc.

  • Stand tall with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Inhale, hinge at the hips and sit back (as if sitting in a chair) until thighs almost parallel to the floor.
  • Exhale, squeeze the glutes and return to standing.

Harder: squat pulses (hold down and pulse 3-5 times)  |  Easier: sit to stand from a chair.

NOTE: Be sure to keep the chest up and knees behind the toes in the squat to protect your knees and low back. If you can’t go too deep, that’s ok. Work within your own range of motion.

FORWARD LUNGE

Another very functional movement that we use in walking up stairs and climbing.

  • Stand tall and extend one leg behind you.
  • Lift back heel off the floor to protect your Achilles tendon.
  • Inhale and bend the back knee until both legs are approximately 90 degrees.
  • Exhale and return to starting position

Harder: curtsey lunge – Reverse lunge, bringing the back leg back and behind the front leg into a curtsey position  |  Easier: stationary lunge – just going up and down on the same leg

NOTE: Just like the squat, always keep the front knee behind your toes to protect the knee and work within your range of motion without pain.

KNEE PUSHUPS

One of the BEST overall strength exercises for your upper body and core! The pushup is a plank in motion so if you do everything correctly, you are using everything from your torso, up!

  • On your knees; walk your hands forward and drop your hips so your in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
  • Make sure your wrists are under your shoulders and engage your core.
  • Inhale and bring your chest towards the floor, maintaining proper alignment.
  • Exhale and push back up.

Harder: on your toes  |  Easier: elevate the incline more on a chair or up against the wall

NOTE: It is very important to keep your abdominals and core engaged throughout. If you feel it in your back, check your alignment as you are probably dropping your hips and have a sway back.

TRICEP DIPS

Very effective way to isolate your triceps (the back of your arms) and use your shoulders too!

  • Sit tall on a chair
  • Place both hands beside you, gripping the edge, elbows facing behind you.
  • Keeping your knees over your ankles, scoot your bum off the edge of the chair.
  • Inhale and bend your elbows and drop your bum towards the floor.
  • Exhale and push back to starting position.

Harder: The farther you move your bum away from the chair and the straighter your legs, the harder it gets  |  Easier: Don’t go as deep or do them on the floor, keeping your bum elevated

NOTE: Don’t drop your shoulders past your elbows as this could cause injury in the shoulder joint.

KNEE PLANK

A great way to recruit all 3 layers of the abdominal wall as well as the back and entire core.

  • Start by sitting on your knees.
  • Engage your core.
  • Walk yourself out until your elbows are under your shoulders.
  • Hold

Harder: Tap your toes to the side, one foot at a time |  Easier: Go down onto your knees.

NOTE: Start with 30 seconds and build. Once you can reach 1 minute, try variations and other ways to challenge yourself and build again.

BIRD/DOG

Building a strong back is important, especially if you are sitting all day at a computer and wondering why your back hurts when you stand up!

  • Go on all fours
  • Extend your right leg straight back behind you
  • Extend the left arm out in front
  • Try not to rotate your hips to compensate
  • Breathe and hold for 2-3 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side.

Harder: repeat on the same aide without resting the knee down between reps  |  Easier: if balance is an issue, just extend the leg and hold.

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