Finding time for your workout routine can be a challenge any time of year. As days get shorter and schedules fill with an abundance of meetings and seasonal activities, fall usually presents a bigger challenge. This 10 minute workout routine fits into even your busiest days. I’m going to show you how I found 10 minutes without setting the alarm clock any earlier.
Even a fitness professional can find herself behind the computer too often. The gym is my office where I see clients to do their exercise so I have to make time, too. It’s rare to have the 45 minutes or hour I once was able to do regularly. This 10 minute workout routine will keep your workouts consistent.
The good news is that on your busiest days, the time crunch you feel may be Mother Nature’s way of protecting you. Ten or 20 minutes of quality exercise can be the best thing for you. If you’re already flying around saving the world, you need exercise that makes you better not just tired. Short, targeted sessions, yes, even a 10 minute workout, is just the ticket to balancing your stress hormones and saving the best you for the board meeting or doing your thing like a boss without burnout.
The 10 minute workout is all about strength. Notoriously, women select cardio first and strength training later if at all. As you move into the second half of your life, resistance training becomes more important. Perform this routine two-to-three times a week with 48 hours between. If you’re due for both a cardio and a resistance training session but don’t have time for both, get in the habit of choosing strength. It results in the most energy expenditure for hours after.
Here’s how I got smart about my morning routine so I don’t have to forfeit sleep to fit in my workout routine. These two simple tricks save me at least ten minutes. They’ll work for you too!
Make Ahead Breakfast in Minutes
A smoothie sounds like a quick, convenient breakfast solution. I add a lot of ingredients to my breakfast smoothies, however. They’re a meal, after all, and they need to have all the nutrients any meal would. However, the time it took making trips back and forth between my freezer and counter, the refrigerator and counter, and getting things out of the cupboard, added up fast.
Now I prepare plastic bags full of smoothie ingredients so that I always have several waiting in the freezer. I can grab one bag and my almond or coconut milk, dump, blend, and enjoy. It easily saves me five minutes a day. Assemble your protein, frozen fruit, greens, chia seeds or flax, nuts or nut butter, ice, even avocado and you can create a variety of breakfast options ready when you are in the morning.
Get Ready Faster
How many times have you read that laying out your clothes the night before cuts your morning get-ready routine? Agreed. Beyond that, however, I realized that even with two advanced degrees and 50 years experience getting ready, I was still failing at this simple daily necessity. I had workout clothes all over the place. With shorts and tops in one dresser, socks across the room, visors in another drawer, and long-sleeve warm ups in a closet, it took me five minutes to pull an outfit together! I was spinning around the room in what could have served as my warm up.
I ended this madness by completely rearranging things. I put jog bras and tops in a top drawer, shorts and workout pants in the next, socks in the bottom, and visors and headbands in the cubby above. I can now pull my whole outfit together standing in one place in less than a minute. Hello, five more minutes. Think through your work day and weekend clothes the same way.
The 10 Minute Workout Routine
Now, you’ve got time to do the workout. Insert any of the substitutions so that you have workout routine variety. You need a pair of dumbbells or some kettlebells to complete this. Find a weight that allows you to fatigue between 10 and 15 repetitions to keep time demand down.
These exercises come from my Muscles in Minutes guide that includes 17 more exercises with photographs and clear instructions of each. Choose three exercises for every 10 minutes you can exercise.
Choose Exercise 1: Pull Exercise
I like Bent Over Rows best. In a standing position, they engage your core and your gluteal muscles as well as those major muscles of your back.
Set Up for the Bent Over Row:
- Stand with feet hip width apart.
- Hinge forward from the hips and bend the knees slightly.
- Drop the head down and gaze ahead of you on the floor about 10 ft.
- Allow weights to hang down toward the floor.
- Pull the elbows up toward the ceiling near your waist.
- Slowly release the weight back toward the floor and start position.
Substitute: Bent Arm Pullover, Seated Bent Over Row, or One-arm Row Kneeling on a bench. If you have access to more equipment, do Lat Pulldown, Seated Rows, or Standing Cable Rows.
Choose Exercise 2: Push Exercise
I like the Chest Press using a ball for a bench. If you don’t have a ball you can use a bench or the floor.
Set Up the Chest Press:
- Holding weights at your chest, roll out on an exercise ball until your head is resting on the ball.
- Press both weights toward the ceiling so the thumb ends of your weights are together and the pinkie end of your weights are apart.
- Draw the elbows toward your sides until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
- Return to start and repeat.
Substitute: Chest Press with one arm or alternating arms, or Push- ups. If you have access to more equipment, a Cable Press, or Machine Chest press.
Choose Exercise 3: Leg Exercise
I love the squat. This plié squat provides a little more inner and outer thigh focus. Even if you must limit range of motion to avoid joint pain, the squat works major muscle groups and you use them daily to sit and stand. Choose a substitute though if you can’t perform pain-free.
Set Up the Plie Squat:
- Stand with your feet wider than hip distance apart.
- Turn out from the hips making sure your knees align with your toes.
- Shift your weight onto your heels.
- Hold a weight in both hands.
- Slowly lower down (3-4 seconds) toward the floor with weight on the heels.
- Press heels into the floor to extend toward the ceiling (1-2 seconds).
Substitute: Narrow stance Squat, Rear Lunges, Side Lunges, or to reduce joint issues do a Hip Bridge with a ball. If you have access to more equipment, do a Leg Press.
Complete all three exercises. Repeat the sequence up to three times. Each exercise should take about a minute. Your 10 minute workout is now completed and it will be easy to stay consistent with this workout routine!