5 Intense 1-Minute Workouts Used By Top Fitness Trainers

running stairs

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“You can do anything for a minute.” Ah, a mental stamina mantra worth repeating. For days when a legitimate House-of-Iron session just isn’t panning out, squeeze in as many of these clever fitness moves — in 60-seconds or less — as you can.

1. Try some calf blasts

Rosalind Pressman, co-founder of Ketanga Fitness Retreats, says, “I always do calf stretches/other stretches while waiting for the subway. You can also do calf raises on the subway stairs while waiting for train; walking up and down subway platform while you’re waiting for train (to get some extra steps in); taking stairs 2 or 3 at a time and as quickly as you can (depends on if your commute has stairs I guess!)”

2. Now squeeze in some isometric action

“Isometric holds make for a great workout without having to leave your desk. Simple things you can do include isometric contractions, like flexing your abdominals or glutes for 20 seconds and then releasing for 10. Try contracting and flexing your quad muscles until your legs straighten. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and release,” suggests Julia Falamas, director of programming and operations at Epic Hybrid Training. “You can also do a set of 30 to 60 straight arm small shoulder circles for a good shoulder burn.” We can feel the calories melt away already.

3. Challenge yourself with squats


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“If seated at a desk, you could take the chair away, and hold a squat at your desk for as long as you can. Heels in, toes out, bend knees and lower into position,” describes Cristina Osorio, fitness instructor and kettlebell enthusiast at TruFusion. “Keep shoulders over hips, which means don’t bend forward at the waist, and you can pulse there for a good minute and really feel that in your thighs.”

4. Do a round of leg extensions

“If you do leg extensions, make sure you start with your leg fully extended, quad muscle flexed and your knee cap lifted. Toe point and find your highest point and pulse from there. Then flex your foot (toes back) and turn your foot open so that your inner thigh points to the sky and pulse from there,” offers Osorio. She adds,

If you have room, extend your leg to the side, flex your foot and internally rotate your thigh which means your foot is parallel to the floor and pulse. Then point your foot and make small tiny circles forward and backwards. All of this can be done for 10 to 15 seconds each, and super important, posture up! For this exercise, our hipflexors are targeted, so make sure you walk around a bit or do a quick back bend after this exercise to open your up hips to prevent any tightening.

5. Sit smart

hunched over, desk job, slouched posture

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“The main thing that I work on while seated is my posture,” says Osorio. It only takes a minute or so to focus on and correct, but it’s truly key (and yes, after you’ve spent a couple of seconds readjusting yourself, you should strive to maintain healthy posture all day long): 

Keeping good posture during the stagnant parts of our day is super hard to do, especially when there is a computer in front of our face. We tend to slouch horribly and not even notice it. Just sitting upright burns quite a bit of calories because you are flexing not only the muscles in your upper and middle back, but also engaging your abdominal muscles. I think about bringing the shoulders down and back (the space between them is active), chest forward (sternum to the sky), and then ribs in (flexing my belly). Here I am centering the weight back in my sits bones rather than leaning the weight forward into the back of my thighs when sitting in a chair. Not everyone has a bouncy yoga ball or a standing desk to help with their posture. When you are sitting in a regular chair, it takes work and mental effort to maintain good posture.

6. Now treat yourself

“One of my favorite things to do while traveling is place a lacrosse ball between my back and the chair for a great little massage,” shares Falamas. After a long and grueling day of, oh, you know, 20 or so 60-second fitness breaks, you deserve a little TLC.

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