It is a whole list of workouts that work your body in under 15 minutes. Some I really like…others not so much.
But the point is…You CAN get in a GREAT WORKOUT even if you only have 15 MINUTES! Sometimes you even get more out of a short workout then you do out of spending hours in the gym…actually I would say more often than not keeping it short and sweet is the way to go! (Definitely not always 15 minutes short, but still…)
Which got me to thinking about some of my favorite 15 minute workouts….or well short workouts at least.
Below I’ve included two different ones both under 30 minutes although I’m not sure exactly how long.
One is a pretty full body cardio blast that is based off of the Training For Warriors Hurricane and the other is a strength training workout that is sure to burn out your legs!
“Hurricane” (This is what the volleyball girls have to suffer through for cardio sometimes)
So below are three different circuits. You will complete three rounds of each circuit before moving on to the next circuit. Your rest between each round of the circuit should be short and no more than the time it took you to complete the round. In between each circuit, take a slightly longer break of about a minute or two.
Circuit 1 x 3 rounds (If doing with a partner alternate who goes.)
Shuttle Run (or Suicide Run…takes about 15-30 seconds to complete)
Forward/Backwards Crawls (length of the longest suicide or shuttle sprint)
Sit Thrus x 10 each side
Circuit 2 x 3 rounds
Lateral Crawls (length of the longest suicide or shuttle sprint)
Mt. Climbers x 25 each side
Circuit 3 x 3 rounds
Circle Crawls x 5 each way
Single Leg V-ups x 15 each side (So one leg is straight up toward the ceiling while the other is straight out an inch or two off the ground. Crunch up and reach for the toe that is up then lower the upper body down and switch which leg is up and crunch up again with the upper body. Repeat alternating legs until all reps are complete.)
NOTE: Crawls are all table top crawls. When doing circle crawls, pretend your belly button is attached by a string to the ground and you are moving around that point with your hands and your legs.
15 minute Quad focused Blast
Set a timer for 15 minutes and do as many rounds as possible!
Single Leg Squats 8-12 reps each side
Split Squat Jumps 8-12 reps each side
Reverse Sled Drag 50 ft (HEAVY) (If you don’t have a sled back pedal up a hill or back pedal pulling anything heavy!)
To work my quads I prefer to use these compound movements. While they will work other muscles besides my quads, they really are super quad focused and your quads will be toasted by the end of the 15 minutes!
Try to rest only enough so that you can continue completing all of the exercises with good form.
So as you all know…I don’t like cardio very much.
Yea….yea…I know I’ve told you this a bazillion times before.
However, cardio conditioning IS an ESSENTIAL part of your workout program.
Put that doesn’t mean you should just throw in some jogging for a few minutes before or after your strength.
It doesn’t mean you should go out and run a bazillion sprints.
It doesn’t mean you should spend hours on the treadmill!
It means you should lay out a plan and make sure that you properly progress yourself through all three energy systems. (Starting to see a theme here?…Maybe a PLANNING or PROGRESSION theme!?!)
You may now be asking yourself…”Three energy systems?”
YEP! There are three different energy systems that you want to work when you do cardio conditioning and each has a separate, but equally valuable, part to play.
By varying which energy zone you use during your conditioning, you can vary the intensity of your workouts to prevent yourself from overtraining.
Ok…so to start, let’s discuss all three energy zones – the aerobic, lactic anaerobic and alactic anaerobic.
The zone all beginners need to start in and the zone that all athletes need to return to keep from overtraining and to keep their base strong is the aerobic zone.
The aerobic zone is our more steady state cardio conditioning (consistent activity for about 2 minutes +). When working in this energy zone, your heart rate should be between about 65%-75% of your max heart rate.
In this zone, you work on improving the strength of your heart and your body’s oxygen delivery systems so that your cells can work to their full capacity.
You don’t need to run for hours to improve your aerobic conditioning.
For example, at the end of your workout, you could do two minutes of battling ropes with less than two minutes of rest between rounds for 5 rounds.
You could do constant locomotion (jogging, shuffling, high knees, skipping) for five minutes. (Trust me your heart rate gets up.)
Or if you do want to dedicate a whole day to conditioning, maybe you do jog, bike or walk slowly for 30 minutes to one hour. It can even be a leisure activity that you use as active rest.
However you decide though to get in your aerobic conditioning make sure that you do in fact do it. Too often people skip this step and go straight to the sprints.
And while I personally prefer sprints and such to longer bouts of cardio, those longer bouts of cardio ARE super important for athletes at all levels.
The next energy system is where we encounter the lactic threshold and start to tap into our anaerobic energy systems. It is called the lactic anaerobic.
Anaerobic energy systems supply us with energy for only short bouts of high intensity activity. Our anaerobic systems supply us with energy through chemical reactions that don’t require oxygen whereas the aerobic system does require oxygen.
This energy system, in which our heart rate is between 80-85% of our max, is best worked when we do a more intense bout of cardio for about 30 seconds to 90 seconds.
It is believed that if you have a higher lactic threshold, you can continue at a higher intensity for longer before tiring, which can be super important for athletes in high intensity endurance sports.
But even if you aren’t an athlete, it is important to include conditioning for this system because it improves our work capacity. The harder and longer we can work before enough lactic acid builds up to fatigue our muscles the more we can get out of some of our very intense workouts!
The third system, the alactic system, is also an anaerobic system.
When working our alactic system our heart rate should be between 86-90% of our max heart rate. To work this system it is best to do any activity that is high intensity and can fatigue you in about 8-12 seconds.
We use tsunamis, sprints and Versa Climber a lot when doing conditioning for this energy zone.
The key here is to pick something that truly fatigues you in 8-12 seconds.
And this zone…well you need to EARN this zone. If you are a beginner, don’t start with this.
Beginners or even athletes who have taken time off may want to spend at least a month doing only aerobic conditioning on top of their strength training.
Once you’ve built up your aerobic base, then move into some lactic anaerobic conditioning. After a few weeks to even a couple of months of training in both, then add in alactic training.
You need to make yourself EARN the next stage of training. You also need to make sure that all systems are strong. If you only do 30-90 second conditioning, you really aren’t making yourself as fit or as strong as you could be.
You need to do all three levels of conditioning if you want to reach your full potential.
NEXT you need to figure in on which days you are going to include what type of training. If you train only three times a week, at the end of your strength training you may want to add one day of level one or aerobic conditioning, one day at level 2 (lactic) and one day at level 3 (alactic).
If you train five days a week, you don’t want to include more than two days of level 3 conditioning and you want to make sure to vary the days so that after a hard day of conditioning you get an easier day of conditioning.
Don’t make yourself train at the same intensity day in and day out! It won’t get you near the results that fluctuations in training intensities will!
And on top of planning out on which days you are going to do what level of conditioning, you must also consider REST intervals.
Each energy system’s requirements are slightly different, but to simplify….
Aerobic – Beginners can have about equal rest to work. Advanced try to make there be as little rest as possible
Anaerobic Systems (lactic and alactic) – Beginners can have about 3 to 5 times rest to work. So if you are a beginner and work for one minute (lactic), you will need between 3-5 minutes of rest. You want to try to be close to fully recovered when you go again. As you become more advanced you can cut your rest down. You may do something like 10 seconds of work (alactic), 20 seconds of rest as you become more advanced.
Make sure that you plan out how much rest you are giving yourself because rest can be a great way to PROGRESS yourself. It is another option not as frequently used as upping the number of rounds that you do. (But it actually may be even MORE beneficial in many cases!)
So even though I don’t love cardio, I do in fact include conditioning in my workouts and I DO make sure to work all three systems.
Now the question is…Do you? What do you consider when planning out your cardio conditioning?
I love feeling completed exhausted after my workouts. I love that feeling of just wanting to sit on the couch and not move for a couple of hours.
I especially love that feeling when it takes me less than 30 minutes to get it!
Like today, Ryan and I went down to the gym in our apartment building. This honestly is one of the most ridiculous gyms I’ve ever seen. Four treadmills, two recumbent bikes, a bench press machine, a leg extension machine and one functional trainer (aka a cable machine with a pull up bar). It also has medicine balls up to 10lbs and 3 kettlebells ranging from like 2lbs to 20lbs. Not exactly a personal trainers dream gym.
BUT that didn’t stop us from getting in a killer workout in the very small space that we had. We mostly wanted a cardio workout after doing the 300 yesterday.
So we did:
4 rounds as fast as possible of:
20 Burpees (Chest touches the ground on each one)
1 minute wall sit
Great workout that took less than 15 minutes. I got a nice sweat going and my legs started to burn during wall sits especially after the 50 deadlifts yesterday!
Yep..A great cardio session in less than 15 minutes. So why are you spending an hour on the treadmill?
Below is another great workout although it took a bit longer between the heavy lift and the circuit. Still under an hour though (I didn’t really pay attention to exactly how long).
Back squat 5×5
Auxiliary Lift circuit: 5 rounds as fast as possible
15ea 1 Leg Squats
30 Box Jumps
30 KB Swings
30 Jump Knee Tucks (Jump as high as you can and bring your knees to your chest as much as possible)
Also, an awesome “Show Me Yours” photo from Francine. A different way to show off her Man Biceps and Man Lats!
Now go workout and have a great Sunday and a great Easter or Passover!
So usually when I talk about cardio, it is to rant against it. I HATE long, steady-state cardio.
I do however, really really like sprints. And tabata training falls within the sprint category.
Tabata training is essentially performing as many reps of an exercise as you can for 20 seconds. This can be running, jumping, squatting…anything. After 20 seconds of work, you get 10 seconds of rest. You repeat this process 8 times.
The whole set of 8 rounds is 4 minutes. But boy is it a deadly four minutes. I swear 20 seconds has never felt so long or 10 seconds so short!
In that 20 seconds you work as hard as you can – you give 100% effort. And in the 10 seconds that follow, you barely recover before your right back to work.
Yesterday, Candy and I did a squat jump and burpee mixed tabata. We alternated exercises each round and trust me…our legs and lungs burned. The first round of squat jumps, you feel the burn but you bust out about 1 per second. Then you go into burpees and your legs feel like jello. The 10 seconds of rest feels like nothing when you start jump squats again. Your legs burn after three and the 20 you did the first time seems like an impossible number to reach. But you push on, trying to complete as many reps as you can in that 20 second. And you keep pushing – through all 8 rounds.
After the 8 rounds, we did two minutes of jump rope and then repeated the four minutes of burpee-squat jump hell before two more minutes of jump rope.
That’s all it took to make our legs and lungs feel like we’d done cardio for an hour…12 minutes. Of course the push up/pull up pyramid we completed before definitely didn’t make us feel any better…but even if we hadn’t…that 12 minutes would have been enough!
And the thing is, you don’t even need 12 minutes to get in plenty of cardio. You just need 4.
On Tuesday after a heavy leg workout, Candy and I did tabata sprints.
We jacked the speed up to 10.5 (which isn’t our fastest but give us a break it was after legs!). We jumped on and sprinted for 20 seconds. The first one wasn’t fun, but it felt doable. We jumped off to the sides and rested for 10 seconds. The second one was ok, but you could tell the last few were going to be a struggle.
After 8 rounds, I was wiped out. Four minutes of sprints…that was all it took to give me a great cardio workout.
So why are you wasting 60 minutes on a treadmill when you can get great results just doing 4?
You save time by doing tabata workouts. You’ll burn more fat. And unlike long, steady-state cardio, you will not only improve your aerobic system, but also your anaerobic system.
I thought this was a great site for more information on Tabata training! Try it!! I guarantee you’ll get a great workout!
So Ryan and I had some fun today and went around to parks to see what kinds of exercises we could do just using our own bodies and playground equipment. Here is what we came up with!
Plus, more crazy push ups! Don’t forget to send us your pictures!