Firm up in 5 minutes

Maybe you don't have an hour to spend at the gym today – but how about five minutes to exercise without even leaving the house? If you're pressed for time, 300 seconds is all you need for an effective workout. Really! "With the right moves, you can pack a lot into five minutes, and it's absolutely better than skipping your workout altogether," says certified trainer Michelle Dozois, co-owner of Breakthru Fitness in Pasadena, Calif., who created this workout exclusively for SHAPE.

So when the next schedule crisis – a deadline at work, holiday shopping or relatives' visits – threatens to upend your exercise routine, you've got a backup plan. Choose a quick yoga, Pilates or body-weight-only strength circuit, or string all three together for a more intense 15-minute session. Just remember: Pay close attention to your form and technique to maximize the calorie burn and body benefits. Think of these mini-workouts as your "quality over quantity" sessions – and stay sculpted, even during the crazy holiday season.


Each program is great on its own, but here are some variations to help you get even more out of them.

Combine-a-workout guide If you have more than 5 minutes, try repeating the same program as many times as your schedule allows, or do 2 or all 3 of them back-to-back. (If you do more than 1 workout, only perform the warm-up for the first workout and the cool-down for the final workout.) You also can do your workouts spread out throughout the day as time allows. If you complete 3 or more workouts in one day, take a day off before doing the next one to give your muscles time to recover.

Cardio Rx In addition to these workouts, aim to get 20-45 minutes of cardio 3-6 days a week. See each workout plan for specifics on how to make your cardio sessions complement the workout(s) you've selected.

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