Your 10-Minute Workout for a Busy Holiday Season
’Tis the month of commitment overload—but these quick moves will keep you feeling strong no matter how insane your holidays may be.
The holidays might look a little different this year, but you can count on at least one seasonal standby: The unrelenting hustle and bustle as you prep for the celebrations. Between last-minute shopping, wrapping presents, tying up end-of-year tasks and FaceTiming with faraway family, fitting in your regular workout can be a tall order. But the holiday frenzy doesn't have to force you to skimp on your fitness regimen. Instead of a long sweat session, opt for mini workouts that maximize your efforts—and help to keep you balanced during the busiest stretch on the calendar. “Even if you just have a few minutes, those few minutes of exercise will keep you in the mindset of moving towards your goals and not getting stuck in a rut,” says Brittany Watts, a trainer at Performix House in New York City.
The key to a quick yet efficient workout: Targeting specific muscle groups with high-impact exercises, then layering those exercises to assemble a comprehensive program—in a flash.
Slip on your favorite comfy clothes and follow Watts’ tips below for a 10-minute workout made up of the moves she swears by. Each of the seven exercises she recommends can be completed in a little more than a minute (while you wait for the coffee to brew, take a moment between Zoom calls or preheat the oven). You can do them all at once, break them up or select a new duo to cycle through at different points during your day. No matter what mix works for you, by committing to these exercises, says Watts, “you’ll definitely get a good sweat in.”
Target area: Your heart
The move: Stand with your feet slightly apart. Hike one knee up so that it’s higher than your hipline. As you lower that knee, raise the other knee at the same time, in a swift jumping motion (as if you’re trying to hit an invisible plank with your knees). Repeat for 30 seconds.
Top tip: Keep that invisible plank above hip height, making sure that your knees come up high.
Target area: Glutes and legs
The move: Stand with your feet together. Step widely out to one side (feet pointing forward) bending your knee to a 90-degree angle while keeping the other leg straight. Hold for a beat before returning to your original position; repeat on the other side. Complete 10 reps on each side.
Top tip: Don’t overextend your knees. “Push your hips backwards to make sure that your knee doesn’t extend past your toes,” says Watts.
Target area: Glutes, hamstrings, quads
The move: Stand with your feet about three feet apart, and point your toes slightly outward. Keeping your core tight, bend your knees until your legs are at a 90-degree angle (or your thighs are parallel to the ground). Hold for two beats before returning to your original stance. Complete 15 reps.
Top tip: Keep your back straight and your shoulders back—avoid curving or hunching in order to activate your lat muscles.
Target area: Biceps, triceps, chest
The move: Get into an extended plank position, arms straight, hands placed a few inches wider than your shoulders. Lower into a push-up, hold for a beat, then return to your starting position. Complete five reps. Narrow your hands. Lower into a push-up again (elbows close to your body), hold for a beat, then return to your starting position. Complete five reps.
Top tip: Lower your chest as far as possible. “If you can't get down to the point where your chest is about an inch off the floor, complete the push-up on your knees instead to get the full range of arm motion,” says Watts. “As you get stronger, you’ll be able to do a full push-up more easily.”
Target area: Abs and legs
The move: Lie on your back, legs straight in the air, feet pointed towards the ceiling. Keeping your legs together, lower them slowly toward the floor, stopping as soon as you feel your back start to arch. Raise them back toward the ceiling. Do 15 reps.
Top tip: Don’t use your hands to help! “Keeping your hands under your hips is kind of like cheating,” says Watts. “You want to press your back into the floor, and try to think of having your whole spine touch the floor. That way, you’re really engaging your core.”
Plank Hip Dip
Target area: Upper abs and obliques
The move: Get into a plank position, arms bent, weight on elbows and hands in fists (as if you’re pounding the floor). Twist your lower body to the left side, and drop your right hip toward the floor. Raise hips back into and straight line and immediately twist to the other side. Dip left hip then straighten again. Once you’ve lowered your body to each side, you’ve completed one rep; do 8 reps total.
Top tip: Keep your legs and abs engaged: every time you return to the neutral plank position, make sure your body is in a straight line.
Single Leg Hip Dip
Target area: Glutes
The move: Lie with your back on the floor; bend knees so that your heels are close to your butt. Extend one leg in front of you at a 45-degree angle. Push through the other heel and lift hips up towards the ceiling. Hold the position for a beat, then lower and return to your starting position (knees bent, both feet on floor). Switch legs and repeat. Complete 15 reps on each side.
Top tip: For better core engagement, your hips are the only part of your body that should be moving.