animal flow, workout

20-MINUTE WORKOUT: ANIMAL FLOW

Re-engage your muscles and mind with this routine that targets every body part.

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: Verena Stefanie, a Tier 3 trainer at Equinox Kensington in London

The Workout: All too often, athletes exercise in one plane of motion. They run forward. They lift weights in front of them. It’s the reason trainers encourage everyone to twist, rotate, and move side-to-side: In real life, bodies don’t just move forward, so it follows that they should not in fitness.

Animal Flow—movement that focuses on strength, flexibility, and body control across different dimensions—infuses a much-needed, oft-forgotten element into fitness: body awareness which, according to Grotto, connects mind to muscle. 

“Some people can’t consciously move certain body parts, such as scapulas [shoulder blades], or engage their glutes—that’s why most of us have pain,” she explains. “With body awareness, we are able to consciously control how our body moves, avoiding injuries and pain.”

Grotto’s workout, shot at Paddington Recreation Ground in London, features a mobility-enhancing warm-up that preps your joints as well as exercises that work every muscle to build strength, stability, mobility, and flexibility. You might not recognize some of the moves—that’s one purpose. Many are merged and blended, not just to make the most of time but also to challenge and train your brain so that nothing becomes automatic, Grotto says.

Closing with sprints offers a reinvigorating dose of adrenaline and endorphins. “Doing cardio at the end of a workout is getting the best of it as your muscles are warm, blood is flowing, and you’ll burn more calories,” Grotto says.

Directions: Complete the warm-up then each of the following exercises, one after the next. Do three sets of each move in the workout and end with five to eight 10-second sprints with 20 seconds rest between each.