women

Who says you can’t get an effective workout in your lunch break? We’ve found an express whole-body tone-up that takes just half an hour.

Are you one of the 60 per cent of people who don’t take a lunch break? Why not make a pact with yourself to have a lunch break three times a week and use it to exercise. Researchers at the University of Bristol have found that 72 per cent of people who exercise during a work break manage their time and workload better. But fitting in a decent workout and eating lunch can seem impossible, which is why we’ve come up with a solution.

We asked personal trainer Sara Haley (sarafitness.com) to create a super-quick programme designed to be effective as it is efficient. Called the ‘Say “Thank-you, Please” workout’, the “S” in “Say” stands for single (single-arm and single-leg exercises), the “T” in “Thank-you” stands for twist, and the “P” in “Please” represents plyo (explosive movements such as hops or jumps that raise your heart rate and challenge your muscles in three-different ways)

“With this method, not only will you get quick, all-over body toning but, by including core, stability, strength and power into a single session you’ll keep your body strong, agile and injury-free,” says Haley.

‘Say “thank-you, please” workout’ in a nutshell

o   Say = Single Single-arm and single-leg exercises that challenge your core muscles and your ability to balance. For example, a single-leg squat.

o   Thank You = Twist A move with a twist or rotation that works your body – especially your obliques – in a different plane of motion. For example, a squat with dumbbells, alternating shoulder press and twist.

o   Please = Plyometric An explosive movement such as a hop or jump that raises your heart rate and increases your power and strength, such as a squat jump. These moves include an element of cardio to increase calorie bum.

Put all these exercises together for a heart-raising total body circuit that will boost your metabolism and give you a functional, injury-free body.

How to do this workout

Follow the mini circuits below, or apply Haley’s method to almost any workout, by taking moves such as lunges, push-ups, planks or squats, and applying the single-leg or single-arm movements, rotations and plyometrics to keep your body challenged.

Perform each series once, with as little rest as you can between each move. Once complete, rest for two minutes before moving on to the next series. Repeat this as many times as you can manage before heading back to the office.

The warm-up

Time: 5 minutes

After having walked briskly to the gym, cycle on a bike for five minutes. This will pump blood to your legs and core, preparing them for your workout.

The workout

1. Lunge series

Time: 4½ minutes

Benefits: This series works your legs and bum. The single-leg squat will help activate the senses that keep you steady on your feet, while the lunge twist and reach will strengthen the muscles in your torso and hips. Finally, the lunge plyo push will boost your ability to move explosively.

Say – Bulgarian split squat

Reps: 12 on each leg

Description: Say – Bulgarian split squat

Say – Bulgarian split squat

  • Stand in a staggered stance with your back leg resting on a step, bench or chair.
  • Place your hands on your hips (a), then slowly bend your legs and lower your back knee towards the floor as low as you can, making sure your front knee doesn’t go over your toe (b)
  • Hold for four counts and then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as you can.

Perform each circuit straight through, and you’ll get a better CV workout than on any treadmill.

Thank-you – lunge twist and reach

Reps: 8 on each side

Description: Thank-you – lunge twist and reach

Thank-you – lunge twist and reach

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart, holding your abs tight and your arms out to the sides, shoulder height. Step forward into a lunge with your right leg (a), rotate your left arm forwards (b), then reach towards, but not touching the floor, with your right arm reaching to the ceiling so it forms a diagonal line (c)
  • Hold for a count of two
  • Come back up and rotate back to the centre. Repeat on your right leg before switching to your left.

Please – lunge plyo push

Reps: 16 on each leg

Description: Please – lunge plyo push

Please – lunge plyo push

  • Begin in a lunge position with your back leg extended and your front knee bent to 90º.
  • Reach your arms overhead (a), then push off your front leg and jump as high as you can, pulling your back knee towards your chest as you explode into the air, hands closing into fists at your sides (b)

2. Triceps series

Time: 4½ minutes

Benefit: This series will work your arms, shoulders and core. The single-leg dips will help recruit the stabilizing muscles in your shoulders and wrists to make your stronger, while the dip and twist will work your deep core muscles, which will strengthen and narrow your waist. The flying dip also fires your fast-twitch muscles to help you build stronger arms in less time.

Say – single dip

Reps: 8 on each side

Description: Say – single dip

Say – single dip

  • Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent and your back as close as possible to a bench or step.
  • Grab the edge of the step with your hands slightly more than hip-width apart and push your heels into the floor as you straighten your arms.
  • Slowly bend your elbows and perform a dip (a), then straighten your arms and reach your left arm straight out in front of your body at shoulder height, while lifting your right leg (b)
  • Hold for a few seconds, then repeat, lifting the opposite arm and leg.

Thank-you – dip and twist

Reps: 8 on each side

Description: Thank-you – dip and twist

Thank-you – dip and twist

 

Description: Thank-you – dip and twist

Thank-you – dip and twist

  • Sit on a step, legs straight in front of you, with your hands either side of your hips resting on a pair of dumbbells to keep your wrists straight.
  • Straighten your arms and raise your bottom forwards and off the step (a)
  • Bend your elbows and lower into a clip, until your arms are at a right angle (b)
  • Straighten your arms, then reach your left arm straight up towards the ceiling as you rotate to the right (c)
  • Hold for four seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Please – flying dip

Reps: 8

Description: Please – flying dip

Please – flying dip

  • Sit on the edge of a step or bench with your hands either side of your hips
  • With your legs slightly bent and feet in front of your knees, bend your elbows and lower into a dip, until your arms are at a right angle (a)
  • As you come back up, push your hands off the step to elevate into the air (b)
  • Land back down into bottom of the dip with soft elbows ready to explode up again.
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