A 20-Minute Fitness Routine for Even the Busiest Days

Watch this video for a quick workout you can do when pressed for time.
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Watch this video for a quick workout you can do when pressed for time.
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As a former varsity athlete, where track workouts and conditioning were a given part of my day-to-day life, I've struggled to motivate myself to work out regularly as an adult. After finally finding a routine I loved with hip hop dance classes, I dropped it almost as soon as Sloan started going to school, since classes are exactly at drop-off time and I could no longer find the time to devote an entire hour-plus to exercise in the morning. I've tried everything to get the ball rolling on a consistent routine I can stick to in the longterm, but the fact is that my schedule changes so often, it felt almost impossible. Late last year, I reached out to Xavier Quimbo, co-founder of the cult-favorite fitness studio Speedplay, to create a short but challenging workout I can do from home. Watch this video to learn how to do it yourself, and scroll for the entire workout routine:

Exercises: 

Do the following five exercises with 15 repetitions each. Once you've done an entire round, repeat three (15 minutes) to five (20 minutes) rounds depending on how much time you have, with one-minute rest in-between each. Note: I used a ten-pound dumbbell for these exercises, but use whatever is most comfortable yet still challenging for you—from three pounds to 15 pounds.

1. Goblet Squat: As if you're holding a goblet right in front of your chest, grasp the top of the dumbbell with both hands and set your feet roughly shoulder-width apart. Drop into a deep squat. Be sure to go down slowly, and push back up strong. (Tip: Keep your chest up, and be sure to squeeze your glutes at the top—keep everything strong and tight.)

2. Plank Exchange: Start in a high plank with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lock out the knees and squeeze the quads and glutes. Set the dumbbell just outside of one of your hands, then use the opposite hand to "travel" the dumbbell to the other side. Each pull here counts as one—it will even out as you're doing an odd number of rounds. (Tip: Keep your hip locked in and core tight—you want to do you best to not sway side to side.) 

3. Lateral Lunge Shift: Start with your feet spread wide. Holding your dumbbell horizontally across your chest, keep your chest up and drop into a side lunge, alternating each time. 

4. Bent Over Row: Take a long stance and bend your front knee in a 90° angle, while keeping your back knee straight, similar to "Warrior One" in yoga position. Rest the same forearm as your bent knee onto your knee, and hold the dumbbell in your other hand. Relax the arm down and, keeping a tall neutral spine, pull or "row" the dumbbell back to your ribcage. (Tip: You build a lot of strength and muscle on the way down, so don't let the weight just drop, keep it controlled.)

5. Double Crunch: Lay down entirely on the floor, and start with your knees tucked in tabletop position, and holding your dumbbell with both hands right in front of your chest. As you extend the dumbbell up past your head, extend the legs to straight. Repeat, crunching at the top, keeping your lower back pressed on the floor. 

P.S., We'll be sharing fitness tips from experts all week long as part of our Fitness Week, to address some of the most frequently asked fitness questions we receive on the blog.