Squeeze in a quick, sweat-free sculpting session before heading out on the town with friends
We've all been there: After a long day at work, you know you'll feel better if you squeeze in a sculpting session, but you have plans with friends and promised you wouldn't bail—again. Plus, doing a truly effective workout not only takes time, but it also means you'll need carry a bag that's big enough for your sneakers and other gym essentials and that you'll have to shower and get ready all over again (even more time!).
The good news: You don't have to choose between a strong, slim body and a social life! Fitness expert Jessica Smith created this quick, total-body toning routine exclusively for SHAPE readers to bust all the aforementioned excuses. You'll feel the burn from head to toe without ending up drenched in sweat, and you can do it barefoot or wearing socks—no gym bag needed. So toss a pair of shorts and a tank in your purse and hit the gym before happy hour to show up looking and feeling even more fit and fabulous than usual.
How it works: Do 1 set of each exercise back to back, with little to no rest between moves.
Total Time: up to 30 minutes
1. Rainbow Side Squats
Stand tall with feet together, arms extended overhead, palms facing in.
Step left foot out to the side and lower into a squat as arms reach to outside of left leg. Torso rotates to left as arms reach down. Return to start, and repeat on opposite side. That's one rep.
2. Ballet Warrior
Stand with feet wide and toes turned out. Extend arms straight out from shoulders. Lower into a warrior lunge, bending right knee over ankle, shifting focus to right arm.
Keeping right leg bent, center torso between both legs so that left knee also bends. Focus forward as you lift both heels in a deep plié position, raising arms overhead in a semi circle. Shift weight to left leg, straightening right, and extend arms back out to shoulder height to land in a warrior lunge to the left. Return to start. Alternate sides with each rep.
3. Plank Back Kicks
Begin in modified plank position on elbows with hands clasped and abs drawn in tight. Lift left leg and cross it over right, left toes pointed.
Without shifting or lifting pelvis, lift left leg straight up behind hip. Return to start, and repeat on opposite side. That's one rep.
4. Extension Press
Lie facedown on the floor with legs straight and pressed together, toes pointed. Bend elbows back and close to sides, and place hands flat below shoulders.
Extend spine and lift torso off the floor, pressing body up with arms (hips should remain planted). Keep chin towards chest to avoid neck strain. Return to start.
5. The Mermaid Can-Can
Start seated with hands behind body, elbows bent, fingertips facing hips. Shift weight back into arms and extend legs as straight as possible to ceiling, squeezing inner thighs together. Draw abs in tight to spine.
Slowly lower legs to the left, shifting weight onto left hip, lifting right cheek off the floor. Stop legs just before they touch the floor. Using abdominal muscles, lift legs back up to the center, and then repeat to the opposite side (imagine drawing a triangle with legs each time). That's one rep.
6. Lunging Pushups
Begin in a full plank position, with hands slightly wider than shoulder width and feet together. Bend left knee to the outside of left hand, placing just the ball of the foot on the floor and lower into a pushup. Extend arms and return to start. That's one rep. Alternate legs with each rep.