The 30-Minute Workout for Busy Women (or Anyone with a Crazy Schedule)
You’ve heard it before: An effective workout routine doesn’t require a ton of time. A 30-minute lunch break, the kids’ afternoon nap, or the time it takes for dinner to simmer (or for takeout to arrive) are perfect opportunities to run through an at-home workout routine that delivers results without derailing your tight schedule. But how, exactly, do you create a workout routine that maximizes your time?
“Interval training with quick rest breaks is a great way to incorporate cardio and strength,” says Dr. Nicole Lombardo, DPT, physical therapist at Back Intelligence in Newton, Massachusetts. This style of exercise allows you to alternate between heart-pumping cardio and strength moves that build muscle. “I try to get all of my women clients to do some variation of push-ups, planks, squats, lunges, and pull-ups. All of these movements are functional for life,” Lombardo says.
The beauty of an interval-style workout routine is that it offers both structure and flexibility:
- Choose a framework (e.g., AMRAP, Tabata, or EMOM) and plug in your favorite moves.
- When exercising in short bursts, it’s important to work at an intensity that feels challenging — just don’t forget to warm up before you go all out.
- Lombardo suggests starting with a few minutes of dynamic stretching. “It’s a quick and motivating way to get your heart rate and body ready to take on more intense exercise,” she says. Check out Openfit Live for guided stretching, yoga classes, and hundreds of small-group classes.
- Beginners to this workout should perform each move for 20 seconds, with 40 seconds of rest between each move, completing 2-3 sets of the entire routine.
- Besides a small patch of empty floor space (about six square feet should do), you’ll need a pair of medium-weight dumbbells.
Below are seven moves that will help you get the most out of your next 30-minute home workout routine.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Hinge at your hips, bend your knees into a squat, and place your palms on the ground.
- Jump your feet back into a push-up position so that just your palms and the balls of your feet are touching the ground and your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Maintaining a flat back and level hips, lower your chest until it’s a couple of inches from the ground.
- Straighten your arms and push your chest away from the ground.
- Hop your feet forward to meet your hands.
- From a crouched position, jump straight up into the air and reach your arms overhead. Land with slightly bent knees and immediately move into the next rep.
2. Iron Noodle (Elevator Plank)
- Start in a push-up position. Just your palms and the balls of your feet should be touching the ground. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Maintaining a flat back, level hips, and an engaged core, lower your right forearm to the ground. Immediately lower your left forearm to the ground so that you’re in a forearm plank.
- Keep your torso parallel to the floor as you place your right palm on the ground and straighten your elbow.
- Place your left palm on the ground, straighten your elbow, and lift into a push-up position.
- Moving one arm at a time, continuously alternate between a push-up position and a forearm plank.
3. Rainbow Split Squat
- Holding the ends of a dumbbell with both hands, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Step your right foot back into a reverse lunge. While your right knee hovers a couple of inches above the ground, your left knee should be bent at a right-degree angle with the knee stacked directly over the ankle and tracking in line with your toes.
- Bring the dumbbell across your body and hold it in front of your left hip.
- Driving through both feet, jump up and switch the position of your legs. Land with your right foot forward and your left foot behind you.
- As you perform the jumping lunge, use both hands to bring the dumbbell across your body and in front of your right hip in an arching motion.
- Repeat the movement, switching legs and changing the position of the dumbbell.
4. Push-Up with Knee Taps
- Start in a push-up position. Just your palms and the balls of your feet should be touching the ground, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Keep your back flat and your hips level as you bend your elbows and lower your chest until it’s a couple of inches from the ground.
- Straighten your arms and push your chest away from the floor.
- Balancing on your left palm and right foot, bend your left knee toward your chest and quickly tap it with your right palm.
- Return to a push-up position, lower your chest to the ground, and lift up into a push-up position.
- Balancing on your right palm and left foot, bend your right knee toward your chest and quickly tap it with your left palm.
- Return to a push-up position and repeat the movement, alternating sides.
5. Single-Arm Dumbbell Thruster
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart. In your right hand, hold a dumbbell at shoulder-height in a racked position.
- Hinge at your hips, bend your knees, and lower your butt into a squat position.
- As you drive through the hips and return to standing, use your momentum to push the dumbbell directly overhead.
- Return the dumbbell to a racked position as you lower into the next squat.
- Complete all reps on one side before switching the dumbbell to your left hand.
6. Romanian Butt Builder
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- With straight arms and your palms facing inward, hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your hips.
- Keep your back flat and your knees slightly bent as you hinge forward at your hips and lower the dumbbells to the middle of your shins (or until you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings).
- Squeeze your butt muscles as you return to a standing position.
7. Mudder Maker
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- With straight arms, hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
- Keep your back flat as you hinge at your hips, bend your knees, and place the dumbbells on the ground just outside of your feet.
- From a crouching position, continue to grip the dumbbells as you jump your feet behind you into a push-up position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Jump your feet forward and return to a standing position with the dumbbells at your sides.
Try Rough Around The Edges!
If you enjoyed this workout routine, we think you’ll love Rough Around The Edges. Featuring a unique, all-female team of stuntwomen and martial artists, this program is designed to build strength, agility, power, and quickness. Rough Around The Edges is just one of many Openfit programs designed to fit your busy schedule and help accomplish your fitness goals!