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Ten Minute Total Body Exercise When You're Short on Time

Updated on July 28, 2011

Never Enough Time

You have a busy schedule, a family to take care of and a full-time job. Or you may be a stay-at-home mom whe spends the day chasing after busy kids. Either way, your time is limited but you still want to take care of yourself. Finding time to exercise can be difficult, so the key is to exercise smarter instead of longer.

When you're trying to get the most benefits from exercise in the shortest amount of time, you'll want to look for exercises that work more than one muscle at a time. I've listed one of the best exercises for each section of your body:upper body, lower body and abs. If you do each of these correctly until your muscles are fatigued, you will see improvement. They don't require any equipment for you to buy and you can fit them in your day by doing one exercise at a time.

Upper Body: The Pushup

According to, the best exercise for your upper body is the pushup. It works the chest, upper back, shoulders, triceps and biceps. The key with this exercise is not to let momentum do the work for you. You may only be able to go halfway down or even less in the beginning and only do a few repetitions. As you build strength, you will be able to increase the number of reps and go farther to the floor.

To prevent injury, keep your stomach tucked in and your back straight. It's better not to try to do too many than to do a lot with poor form.

Abs: The Bicycle Crunch

There is still some difference of opinion for which exercise best works your abs, but if you only want to do one exercise and work your lower abs, upper abs and obliques, the bicycle crunch is the one to do. There are other exercises that will the entire abs section but many of those exercises can be hard on the back or wrists. The bicycle crunch is one exercise that if done correctly isn't hard on either one.

The key to making this exercise effective is to go slow and to keep your straight leg as low to the ground as you can. If you pause throughout the move, you will feel a stronger burn. Not letting your shoulders rest on the floor as you switch sides will keep your abs engaged through the entire exercise and will cause fatigue sooner. Your abs are a difficult muscle to fatigue which is why you often have to work them longer than other muscles.

Lower Body: The Squat

For the lower body, there are several exercises that work multiple muscles. I picked the one that doesn't cause pain for the ankles or knees but still works the entire leg. Doing the single leg squat is more effective but most people have to work up to that. Doing regular squats is a great way to strengthen your muscles before you move on to variations, including the single-leg squat, wall squats, and lunges.

To make the squat more effective, go slowly as you lower and as you raise back up. You can also hold weight in your hands to make it more challenging.

Doing these exercises won't make you a bodybuilder or look like a supermodel, but they will tone and strengthen your muscles when you don't have much time to exercise. As you master these, you can look for ways to modify them to make them more challenging.


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    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      I shared. I'm glad to get these tips and instructions about the best exercises. Now I just have to get into the habit of doing them.

    • SpiffyD profile image

      SpiffyD 6 years ago from The Caribbean

      This is a useful hub. It is true that these exercises are great for toning. The secret is to combine sets with reps. You wouldn't get the most from the exercise if you just work the muscles until fatigue and stop there. Another set after a short rest period helps to burn fat. More sets would significantly increase muscle mass.

      However, it is best to find harmony between fat burning and strength exercises; some exercises do both simultaneously. If squatting with weights, it is important to maintain proper form, since this works out more than just the legs.

      The exercises in this hub do not require a lot of equipment, so it is easy to fit these into a 10-minute routine that increases the heart-rate and makes you sweat the toxins out. I enjoyed this hub. Voted up,m useful and interesting.