When you are short on time, try this 15-minute workout that will work up a good sweat regardless of your fitness level. If you are a beginner exerciser, perform the strength exercises with or without dumbbells and move through the workout at a moderate pace. If intensity is your goal, perform the exercises with dumbbells and pick up the intensity by moving through the workout at a quicker pace and limiting rest time. And when you do this workout again (and you will), change the order of the sets for a new challenge and feel.
This workout contains five sets of exercises. Each set lasts three minutes and includes one simple cardio drill performed for 20 reps, and one combination strength exercise that targets the upper and lower body, performed for 10 reps. Continue alternating the cardio and strength exercises until the three minutes are up and then move onto the next set. Move through all five sets for a revved-up workout that is worthy of both your time and your health.
All cardio exercises begin with feet together and arms by your sides. All strength exercises begin with feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides or hands at shoulder height.
Time: 0:00-3:00 minutes
Cardio: High Knees
Run in place, pumping your arms and lifting your knees up toward your chest. 2 High Knees = 1 rep
Strength: DB Squat + Biceps Curls
Lower hips so thighs are parallel to the floor and then stand up (squat). Bend the elbows and lift the dumbbells toward the shoulders and return the arms back to your sides (biceps curl). This is one rep.
Time: 3:00-6:00 minutes
Cardio: Jumping Jacks
Jump out while raising your arms out to the side and overhead and then return back to center. 1 Jumping Jack = 1 rep
Strength: Side Lunge + Lateral Raise
Step the right leg out to the side. Lower the hips of the right leg while keeping the left leg straight. Push back to center (side lunge). Lift both arms out the sides, raising the dumbbells to shoulder height and then return them back to your sides (lateral raise). This is one rep. Repeat the side lunge on the left leg.
Time: 6:00-9:00 minutes
Cardio: Cross Country Ski
Jump and split the legs and arms, with the right leg and left arm forward and the left leg and right arm back. Jump and switch the legs and arms. 2 Cross Country Skis = 1 rep.
Strength: Reverse Lunge + Triceps Kickbacks
Step the left leg back and lower down so the front thigh is parallel to the floor. Return back to the center (reverse lunge). Hinge at the hips, pull the dumbbells up so the upper arm is parallel to the floor. Kick the dumbbell back behind you (triceps). This is one rep. Repeat the reverse lunge with the right leg.
Time: 9:00-12:00 minutes
Cardio: Speed Skater
Hop to the right, landing on the right foot while sweeping the left foot diagonally behind the right leg and swinging the arms across the body. Jump to the left, switching legs and arms. 2 Speed Skaters = 1 rep.
Strength: Wide Squat + Shoulder Press
Begin this exercise with dumbbells at shoulder height. Step the right leg out wider than the hips and turn the toes slightly outward. Lower the hips so the thighs are parallel to the floor, and then stand back up to center position (wide squat). Press the arms overhead and return back to shoulder height (shoulder press). This is one rep. Repeat by stepping out to the wide squat with your left foot.
Time: 12:00-15:00 minutes
Cardio: Butt Kickers
This exercise is the opposite of High Knees. Pump your arms and rapidly bring your heels toward your glutes. 2 Butt Kickers = 1 rep.
Strength: Deadlift + Bent-over Row
Keep a slight bend in the knees as you hinge at the hips and hold this position (deadlift). Pull the dumbbells up toward the hips, release the arms back down, and then stand back up to center (bent-over row). This is one rep.
Stephanie Thielen, BS, has a fitness career that spans over 24 years with experience in group fitness training and management in the community, corporate and collegiate setting. As an ACE Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer, two-time IDEA Presenter, NETA trainer, AEA Trainer, and BOSU National Master Trainer, Stephanie provides land and aquatic workshops that teach logical methods for class construction, providing the “tools of the trade” to assist fitness professionals develop their teaching skills. Find Stephanie on Facebook at Stephanie Thielen Fitness, LLC.