20-Minute Workout: Meta-Mobility
A quick routine that will get your heart racing and improve your range of motion, from Sammy Springer.
While you can carve a tantalizingly toned body in less than a half hour, we’re here to tell you what you already know: To reap the rewards—increased calorie burn, strength, power, blissful endorphin high—truncated workouts must be insanely intense. So we asked a team of Equinox trainers and group fitness instructors what they would do if they were given just 20 minutes to have at it. Here is the latest in the series.
The Pro: Sammy Springer, M.S., NSCA-CSCS, Tier 3 trainer and certified master instructor
The Club: Highland Park in Dallas, Texas
The Workout: Sometimes we get so focused on burning calories and strengthening our muscles that we totally forget about our joints. But having a good range of motion is equally, if not more important, especially as we age. “It’s important for joint health, injury prevention and optimal functionality,” says Springer. “Unfortunately, due to how we work and live (sitting, hunched over a computer/phone), a majority of us suffer from poor mobility.” The purpose of this workout is to double up and improve that limited mobility all while providing metabolic conditioning that boosts your heart rate and your burn. For best results, spend about 10 minutes rolling out your tight spots with a foam roller before you begin, recommends Springer. “Self myofascial release is a great way to improve your range of motion prior to a workout.”
Treat each circuit as a Tabata, performing each exercise at a maximum effort for 30 seconds, moving quickly from one to the next, and then repeating four times through. There is a four-minute recovery/stretch session in between the circuits to give your mind and body a short rest.
CIRCUIT 1: Perform each move for 30 seconds; repeat four times, alternating sides each time through where appropriate (8 minutes total)
Curtsey Lunge Chop
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball in both hands. Lift arms diagonally overhead, above right shoulder. Lunge right leg behind and to left of left leg (like a curtsey), as you lower straight arms diagonally across your body, bringing ball to outside of left leg. Return to start; repeat.
Kneeling to Standing Slam
Start in half-kneeling position, with right knee on floor, left knee bent in front of you, holding a medicine ball overhead. Press into left foot and stand up so feet are side by side. Bend knees as you slam ball down to floor. Return to start; repeat.
Plank to Downward-Facing Dog Touches
Start in plank position (palms under shoulders, legs extended behind you, abs engaged). Shift back into downward-facing dog (upside down V) and touch toes with right hand as you do. Return to plank and repeat, touching toes with left hand. Continue alternating sides with each rep.
Plank Jump to Squat Raise
Start in plank position. Jump feet forward, to outside hands. Lift upper body, putting you into a deep squat, keeping knees behind toes, and raise arms overhead. Place hands back on floor under shoulders and jump feet back into plank position. Repeat.
Perform stretches of your choice for four minutes. Stick to whatever feels good, but a few recommendations are child’s pose, chest opener against the wall and runner’s lunge.
CIRCUIT 2: Perform each move for 30 seconds; repeat four times, alternating sides each time through where appropriate (8 minutes total)
Rotating Jump Prisoner Lunge
Place both hands behind head, elbows out to sides. Lunge right leg behind you, bending both knees 90 degrees, and rotate torso to left. Rotate torso back to center, jump straight up and switch legs mid-air, landing with right leg in front, left leg back. Rotate torso to right. Continue alternating sides with each rep.
Plank Reach-Through to Side Plank
Start in plank position (palms under shoulders, legs extended behind you, abs engaged). Lift right hand off floor and reach arm under your body and over to left, rotating torso to left. Rotate torso back through center and open arm up to ceiling, going into a left side plank. Repeat.
Lateral Lunge Reach
Start with feet together, arms extended out to sides at shoulder level, holding a kettlebell in left hand. Lunge right leg out to side, bending right knee, keeping left leg extended. Rotate torso to right and reach kettlebell to right foot, keeping arms extended. Return to starting position; repeat.
Start in plank position. Bend elbows by sides, as if about to perform a push-up, and then dive head forward and go into an upward-facing dog (pressing palms into floor, arms extended, chest open). Reverse movement back to start; repeat.