If you’re not a fan of long sweat sessions, we have some good news for you. New research from the University of Stirling in Scotland found that people who did fewer intervals during high-intensity workouts actually saw more impressive improvements in their fitness than those who did more intervals. “Insufficient time is frequently cited as one of the main obstacles to people becoming or staying physically active,” wrote Niels Vollaard, Ph.D., lecturer in health and exercise science in the faculty of health sciences and sport at the university, in his report. “High-intensity exercise have begun to tackle this problem, allowing people to get maximum health benefits while working out for a shorter time.” How short? Well, what if you had only five minutes? Could you actually get in a good workout?
If these celebrity trainers are to be believed (and they should be—just look at their client rosters!), you certainly can. We asked some of the top instructors in the business what they would do if they had only five minutes. Steal their moves the next time you’re short on time, or combine a few to make a slightly longer session.
Michelle Lovtti, (@mllovitt), who has trained Julianne Moore and Courtney Cox
“I like to pick exercises that go from using the upper body to the lower body,” says Lovitt. “The goal is to do it quick, without rest, so you create an oxygen deficient, which helps to burn calories more efficiently.”
Perform the circuit twice through, without rest.
1. Push-ups (30 seconds)
Start in a plank position. Bend elbows and lower body until hovering above floor, then push back up to start. Repeat. You can drop your knees if you need to.
2. Air squats (30 seconds)
Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms stretched out in front of you at chest height. Squat down until thighs are parallel to the floor (or as close as you can get them). Stand back up, clenching your butt at the top of the move. Repeat.
3. Plank (30 seconds)
Hold a plank pose.
4. Lunges (30 seconds)
Stand with feet together, arms at side. Step forward with your right leg, lowering your left knee to just above the ground and bending your right knee to a 90-degree angle. Step feet back together and repeat on the other side.
5. Jump rope (30 seconds)