It’s normal to be short on time during the holiday season. You tend to make sacrifices in order to get things done like shopping, cooking, entertaining and spending time visiting with family. Sometimes your workouts don’t make the cut because you just can’t fit them in. Don’t ignore your fitness this holiday season. Here are four no-excuse workouts you can do in less than 20 minutes in the comfort of your own home.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves workouts where you perform at 100 percent effort for a short time, followed by a short and sometimes active recovery. “All out intensity efforts resulting in shortness of breath require the body to take in excess oxygen post-exercise in order to recover,” says Eric Salvador, head instructor at The Fhiiting Room studio in New York City. “This process, commonly referred to as after burn, boosts metabolism for hours post-exercise.” Get your burn on with this HIIT workout. Repeat the entire circuit twice.

Equipment Needed: Jump rope1385053466-jumprope

Interval 1
Jump rope for one minute (aim for 80-100 reps)
Do 10 squat thrusts. (How to do it: Stand with your feet together, squat down keeping your knees in line with your ankles, place your hands on the floor next to your feet. Jump your feet backwards into a pushup position. Then jump feet back in and return to standing. Add intensity by jumping after you stand up.)
Do 10 pushups. (How to do it: Get into plank position. Keeping your elbows as close to your body as possible, bend your elbows and lower yourself down as close to the ground as you can without touching the ground. Push yourself back up.)

Interval 2
Jump rope for one minute (aim for 80-100 reps)
Do 8 squat thrusts
Do 8 pushups

Interval 3
Jump rope for one minute (aim for 80-100 reps)
6 squat thrusts
6 pushups

Interval 4
Jump rope for one minute (aim for 80-100 reps)
Do 4 squat thrusts
Do 4 pushups

Interval 5
Jump rope for one minute (aim for 80-100 reps)
Do 2 squat thrusts
Do 2 pushups


Tabata is a particular form of high intensity training that can help improve not only aerobic systems but anaerobic as well. And it can be done in four minutes flat. “Tabata is amazing because in as little as four minutes you can increase your aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, VO2 max, resting metabolic rate and burn more fat than a traditional 60-minute aerobic workout,” says Caitlin McGowan, Group Fitness Manager at Equinox. As with every tabata protocol, perform each tabata below at maximum capacity for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat each eight times for a total of four minutes on each move.

Tabata 1: Burpee
Targets: full body, arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings
How To Do It: Get into a squat position. Jump your feet back so you’re in a plank position. Jump your feet back up to your hands. Stand up and jump as high as your can. Return to starting position. Repeat for 20 seconds.

Tabata 2: Alternating Reverse Lunge
Targets: lower body, quads, glutes, adductors, calves, hamstrings
How To Do It: Stand tall, arms at your sides, and take a step backwards with your right leg. Lower down to a squat, bending both knees to 90 degrees. Keep right hip directly in line with your right knee, heel lifted and left knee directly over your left ankle. Continue to lower until your right knee almost touches the floor. Using your legs, raise back up to start position. Repeat stepping back with the left leg.

Tabata 3: Speed Skaters
Targets: cardio
How To Do It: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Hop as far as you can to your right and land on your right foot, sweeping your left leg diagonally behind you, while swinging your left arm across your body and right arm behind your back. Jump to the left and repeat on the opposite side.

Tabata 4: Caterpillar Crawl to Pushup
Targets: upper body, core, shoulders, chest, arms, legs
How To Do It: Begin standing with feet together. Bend over all the way, touching your hands to the ground. Walk your hands forward until your body is in a pushup position. Perform a pushup. Walk your hands back towards your feet and stand up.

Tabata 5: V-Ups
Targets: core, abs
How To Do It: Lie down on your back on the floor, legs extended straight, arms straight back overhead. Keeping your legs straight and feet together, lift your legs into the air as you simultaneously raise your arms and upper body off the ground. Slowly return back to starting position.


Vinyasa yoga, also known as flow, builds heat and focuses on getting your heart rate up. “These poses not only awaken and open the front and back of the body,” says Karen Kassover, certified yoga instructor at Sports Club/LA and Reebok Sports Club/NY in New York City, “They also strengthen your core, arms and legs, energize your spine and center your mind.” Find your calm during this busy time of year by trying this sequence from Kassover.
Start in chair pose – utkatasana, feet together, knees slightly bent, arms extended at 45 degrees in front of you, abs engaged and back straight. Hold for 8 deep breaths, working the lower body, thighs and quads.
Fold forward into a standing forward bend, arms hanging forward head relaxed.
From here step (beginner) or jump (advanced) back into chatarunga, hands on the ground, legs fully extended behind you, elbows bent close to your body, chest on the ground.
Inhale into upward dog, pushing hands into the ground to raise chest up and through as your extend your arms, making sure to engage your legs and keep your core tight.
Exhale into downward dog, pushing back into your feet so they are flat on the floor, butt in the air, arms and legs fully extended, back straight and core engaged. Hold 5 breaths.
Step right foot forward into Warrior 1 (virabhadrasana I), right knee bent directly over right ankle, left leg straight with toe pointing towards the left wall, arms reach up, and overhead, back arched to lift chest upward. Hold 8 breaths.
Open to Warrior 2 (virabharasana II), twisting your upper body to the left, right arm extended straightforward, left arm extended towards the back wall. Hold for 8 breaths.
Cartwheel hands to the floor and lower into chartangua.
Inhale into upward dog and exhale into downward dog. Hold 5 breaths.
Jump forward to the front of the mat and fold forward. Bend knees back into chair pose.
Repeat sequence 5 times from the beginning.


For those who want to lengthen their muscles, strengthen their core and tone up overall, barre is for you. These workouts combine ballet work with core conditioning focusing on both alignment and balance. “Beyond helping you channel your inner ballerina, the barre is beneficial when it comes to balance and opposition, which will help you engage more deeply,” says Jill Dailey, ACSM, founder of the Dailey Method in San Francisco. “It’s also a great component to improve flexibility. These elements come together to give you the long, lean physique that many look for.” Here is an at-home workout to try created by Dailey that showcases moves from her method.

Spinal Extension
—Lie on the floor, hands at your sides on your stomach with your toenails, hipbones and palms of hands pressed into the ground.
—Engaging your abs, slowly lift your chest off the ground 10 times, keeping hands and feet on the floor.
—Layer on by lifting your chest, legs and arms as high as possibly, and tap inner thighs towards the midline.
—Repeat for 25 reps.

Flat Back on the Floor
—Lay flat on your back on the floor, knees bent so your feet are on the floor.
—Using your abs, press your low back into the floor.
—Lift one leg at a time in the air over your hips, making sure to keep your low ribs tight and low back on the floor.
—Repeat for 10 to 20 reps with each leg.

Neutral Spine Plank
—Start on all fours, hands directly under your shoulders, fingers spread wide, toes curled under.
—Focus on keeping a neutral spine as you pull in your abdominal region and lift your knees half an inch off the floor.
—Repeat for 10 reps.

Seat Work on all Fours
—Start on all fours, hands directly under your shoulders, fingers spread wide, toes curled under.
—Keep your chest open and tuck your pelvis forward to lengthen out your low back.
—Reach your right leg up and straight out behind you, rotating your hips down towards the floor so your hips are even.
—Keeping your left leg with toes curled under, abs engaged, lift your left arm (opposite of leg lifted) straight out in front of you.
—Pull both the arm and leg back in.
—Repeat for 10 reps on each side.

Lunge Thigh Work
—Start in a kneeling position facing and holding onto a stable surface in front of you (counter top, chair, couch), arms fully extended.
—Step your right leg forward so that your foot is directly underneath your right knee and your left knee is underneath your left hip.
—Keeping a neutral back, abs engaged, curl your left toes under and left your back knee up just a few inches off the ground.
—Return to start position.
—Repeat for 10 reps on each side. MS&F

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