Can't make it to the gym? By alternating short bursts of all-out exercise with less intense periods, you can achieve more. Try this high-intensity interval training (HIIT) plan by trainer Ramona Braganza four times a week and you'll feel firmer in a month.
Start with 30 seconds of light cardio, then choose any heart-pumping activity (such as jumping rope) for your three cardio bursts. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being no effort and 10 being as hard as you can go), you should be at an 8 or a 9.
Begin with one 90 second cardio burst then start the walking plank:
60 seconds | Start in low plank position, forearms on floor. Place right hand under right shoulder, then left hand under left shoulder; straighten arms to push-up position (as shown). Lower to starting position and repeat, alternating starting hand each time.
60 seconds | Stand with feet apart, a dumbbell in each hand. Hinge forward so torso is almost parallel to ground, knees bent, arms extended toward the floor, palms facing each other. Lift arms out to sides at shoulder height (as shown); pause, then lower to the start. Repeat. (Start with 3-lb. weights and work your way up.)
60 seconds | Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding one dumbbell in each hand, arms extended in front of you, palms facing in. From here, squat down, knees bent 90 degrees (as shown); hold this position until the minute is up.
Time for your next 90 second cardio burst!
60 seconds | Stand with feet apart, dumbbell in each hand. Press straight arms up toward ceiling. Step forward with left foot and lower into lunge (as shown). Pause, then straighten legs. Lower and straighten for 30 seconds, then switch sides for 30 more seconds.
60 seconds | Place hands shoulder-width apart on floor with feet in push-up position. Jump right foot forward, landing with ball of foot under right shoulder (as shown). Quickly switch sides, jumping left foot forward and right leg back. Continue, alternating legs.
60 seconds | Stand with back and heels against wall, feet together, knees slightly bent. Bend elbows 90 degrees in a goalpost position (as shown) and rest arms against the wall. Keeping elbows bent, slowly slide arms up the wall 4 or 5 inches, then lower back to the goalpost position and repeat.
Bridge with Knee Lift
Bridge with Knee Lift
One last 90 second cardio burst!
60 seconds | Lie on back with knees bent, feet flexed; arms by sides. Curl tailbone off floor and lift hips into the air; hold. Lift right foot off floor and bring knee in toward chest (as shown). Return foot to floor. Do five lifts, then switch for five lifts with left leg. Repeat.
60 seconds | Lie on left side with legs extended and hips stacked. Prop yourself up on left forearm. Lift hips off the ground as high as you can, extend right arm toward the ceiling, and hold for 30 seconds (as shown). Lower, switch sides, and hold for 30 seconds.
60 seconds | Lie facedown on the floor, arms and legs extended. Slowly lift arms, chest, and legs; gaze at floor to prevent neck strain (as shown); pause, then lower to the starting position. repeat.
And that's it! You can take a break now—you've earned it!