There’s no magic bullet for getting in shape fast, but choosing the right exercises can help you maximize your time and effort for great results on a busy schedule. By incorporating into your routine exercises that work for multiple muscle groups and adding in some cardio, you maximize the effects of each workout session. Some of these exercises do not require any equipment at all. Most of them are easy to do and can be done just about anywhere.
Walking lunges are an effective lower body exercise that works the glutes, calves, hamstrings, and core. What makes them different from standard lunges is the forward motion each time, which requires extra balance and stability. Multiple reps over a longer period have cardiovascular benefits, too. Walking lunges are easy to do. They do not require any equipment that can be done along any straight stretch of road, track, or kitchen floor.
Squats build strength in the legs and core, and loading squats with a barbell or dumbbell is a great way to work on your six-pack, too. The movement improves flexibility in the hips and increases the range of motion, which can help alleviate back pain and make future workouts easier.
Interval training of any kind is a good way to get fit because it works both the anaerobic and aerobic metabolic systems. Experts believe that as the body becomes accustomed to interval training, people can exercise longer before getting fatigued. This type of workout also burns more calories than long endurance workouts, which can help burn body fat.
Push-ups work multiple muscle groups, including the arms, back, chest, and core. If you stick with them, they can improve your fitness level fast. First, push-ups are easy to do anywhere because you don’t need any equipment. They can also be modified to fit various fitness levels, so you can start with an easier version and work your way up.
Kettlebells are a good way to get a serious workout fast. Not only do these heavy, handled weights improve endurance, strength, and power, but they also work a long list of muscles, including the hips, hamstrings, glutes, lats, abs, pecs, forearms, and shoulders. Most kettlebell routines can be modified using a dumbbell if you don’t have a kettlebell and aren’t ready to make the investment.
Most people don’t do sit-ups correctly. They’re most effective when you do not sit up all the way. Instead, focus on curling the spine while squeezing the abs in a crunching motion. Incorporating sit-ups into a routine that includes other core strengthening exercises should deliver results in as little as two weeks.
Deadlifts are great for getting into shape quickly. They work more muscles than just the upper body, including the back, hamstrings, and glutes. Because it builds muscle, a deadlift routine a few days a week can raise metabolism and burn fat. Deadlifts do not necessarily require a barbell — you can modify most exercises with dumbbells or kettlebells.
Box jumps are an effective way to exercise multiple muscle groups at the same time with some cardio mixed in. These exercises were designed to be quick, controlled, explosive movements that work the calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles. As you improve, use a taller box or weighted vest to increase intensity.
One of the keys to getting in shape quickly is choosing exercises that use multiple muscle groups. The bent-over row primarily targets your back, but it also works your biceps, shoulders, forearms, legs, and core. Bent-over rows require stability, balance, and strength that call on effort from the whole body.
Step-ups may seem like a simple exercise, but they deliver a lot of benefits for your hips, glutes, and hamstrings. Once you get the basic exercise down, you can increase intensity in a few ways. Add weights for more resistance, step up the speed and effort for more cardio, or push yourself for as long as you can to work on stamina.