Four Exercises When Short on Time at Home

Four Exercises When Short on Time at Home

When time is of the essence, you want a workout that gives you the most bang for your buck. Driving to the gym, changing and battling for equipment can all take up valuable time too, meaning your total training time can often total more than two hours. Rather than spending this much time, try working out from home -- you can get an effective calorie and fat-burning workout that will make you fitter and stronger with just four exercises in the comfort of your own home.

Stair Sprints
Forget half-hour treadmill workouts to burn fat, high-intensity cardio is far more time efficient, according to trainer Charlotte Andersen of "Shape" magazine. Run up your flight of stairs as fast as you can, walk back down and repeat as many times as possible in 10 minutes. Count how many times you ascend, and aim to beat this in the next workout. As an added bonus, stair sprints also firm your butt, claims trainer Adrian Bryant of

You may not have performed pushups since gym class, but now is the time to reacquaint yourself with them. Pushups work your chest, shoulders and triceps. Beginners should start with knee pushups and progress to full pushups when possible. If you're already competent with regular pushups, try pushups with your feet elevated on a chair, with a resistance band looped over your back and under your hands, or one-legged and one-armed pushups, advises strength coach Eric Cressey. Perform three to four sets of eight to 15 repetitions, making sure you achieve a full range of motion on every rep -- descending until your chest is an inch from the floor and pushing all the way up until your elbows are straight.

Squats work everything from your waist down -- your core muscles, quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and lower back, making them a highly effective lower-body exercises. Use a slightly wider than shoulder-width stance with your knees and feet turned out just a few degrees. Go as low as possible while keeping your torso upright and back straight. Pause briefly at the bottom, then stand back up again. Perform four sets of 12 to 20 reps and if this is too easy, try pausing for longer in the bottom position or practice one-legged squats.

Squat Thrusts
Squat thrusts are the ultimate in short home cardio exercises. They're extremely challenging and are guaranteed to get you out of breath and sweating in a short space of time. Assume a pushup position, then jump your feet in toward your chest, then back out straight again. Aim to land lightly each time. If these are too easy, add in a pushup on every rep, or progress to burpees, which are the same, but require you jump up between every rep. Complete as many reps in 45 seconds as possible, rest for 45 seconds and repeat four times.

These four exercises aren't the only effective ones you can do at home, but you can get a demanding, challenging workout using just these. You should be able to complete this workout in less than half an hour, although it can be even quicker if you perform the exercises in a circuit-fashion, with no rest between each. Aim to do more sets and reps or train for longer each session to ensure you're progressing, and look at adding in pullups, lunges, planks, stepups or any other body-weight exercises you think would benefit your routine. If you're not sure of any techniques, ask a trainer to check your form and always consult your doctor before starting a workout program.