This transformative full-body workout torches calories, builds lean muscle, and unwinds your mind so thoroughly, you forget about everything else
You made it to the gym. Great! But now, a little real talk: no zoning out. Just going through the motions during a full-body workout could mean you're cheating both your body and your brain out of the benefits of a good sweat—exactly the detox you need in a manic month.
"When you're preoccupied with things like 'Did I answer my boss's email?' or 'I need to remember to buy that gift,' your energy starts to diminish as the stresses of life creep in and eventually take over your workout," says Jesse Jones, the program director for Casecamp Fitness in Santa Monica and other Calirfornia locations.
At Basecamp, Jones and program manager Ian Armond developed a rapid-fire total-body routine, dubbed the Threshold workout, that is guaranteed to get you into the head-clearing zone. Jones and Armond take their members through it once a month to track their progress. It goes like this: Work at your absolute max during a one-minute strength move, then catch your breath for one minute with some low-intensity cardio. With every interval, your mission is to rack up the most reps possible.
Chasing those one-minute goals is the trick that keeps your intensity through the roof and your mind in the game. "It also lets you measure your progress by indicators, like endurance and strength, that go beyond a flatter belly or a tighter butt, which can sometimes take longer to see," Jones says.
Jones and Armond have boiled the Threshold down to a fast and furious 20-minute full-body workout just for SHAPE. But rather than save it for once a month, you can do this more compact workout once a week.
Just one rule: Give it all you've got during each strength move. That means pushing hard for the entire minute, gunning to beat your previous score.
How it works: Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes by doing dynamic stretches—lunges with rotation, and arm and leg swings—to loosen and activate muscles. Then start a 1 minute timer and do as many reps of the first move as you can in that time. Record your score when done (jot it on paper, plug it into your phone) and start the timer again for one minute of active recovery: Jog in place, jump rope, or ride a stationary bike. Repeat this process until you have completed all 10 moves. Finish with a five- to 10-minute cool-down of static stretching. You'll need: Either a stopwatch or a timekeeping app.
Total Time: up to 30 minutes
1. Squat One-Two Punch
Stand with feet staggered, right foot forward, and hands in fists by chin. Squat to start.
Stand, then quick-snap a punch with right hand straight forward, rotating fist palm down at shoulder height. Then quickly punch left hand across body, pivoting on left foot to turn hips forward slightly, rotating fist palm-down at shoulder height of right arm. Switch sides; repeat.
30 seconds per side
2. Crisscross Squat
Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms by sides. Jump, crossing right leg in front of left, landing that position for a brief second.
Then jump to uncross legs and landing in a squat. Without pausing, switch sides; repeat. Continue quickly alternating sides.
3. T Push-Up
Start on floor in plank on palms. Bend elbows back 45 degrees to lower body until chest grazes floor.
Then push up, rotating to right to come into a side plank on left palm, extending right arm straight up from shoulder and stacking feet. Switch sides; repeat. Continue quickly alternating sides.
4. Side Lunge to Tuck Jump
Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms by sides. Turn toward right and step right leg forward, pivoting on left foot, to come into a long lunge with right knee bent and left leg straight and bent left arm forward and bent right arm back.
Push off right foot to return to start position and quickly jump as high as you can, tucking knees into chest. Land softly. Switch sides; repeat.
5. Lateral Hop
Stand with feet together, knees soft, hands in fists with elbows bent at sides to start. Explosively hop to the left as if you were jumping over a small object (you could place something like a water bottle or a towel here to ensure that you get some height), landing on balls of feet. Switch sides; repeat.
6. Plank Jack
Start on floor in plank on palms with feet together. Without moving upper body or raising hips, hop feet wide. Hop feet back to start position.
7. Lunge Kick
Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms by sides. Step right leg back into a reverse lunge, bending both legs 90 degrees, bent right arm forward and bent left arm back to start.
Push through left foot to stand on left leg, kicking right leg in front of you and driving left arm forward and right arm back. Return to start position and continue for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.
30 seconds per side
Lie faceup on floor with legs long and arms extended overhead to start. Curl head, neck, and shoulders up as you reach arms and legs up to meet, balancing on tailbone so body forms a V shape. Simultaneously lower arms and legs back to start position.
9. Squat Hold
Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms by sides. Squat and extend arms straight out at shoulder height. Record the number of seconds you can hold position with excellent form (hip crease below parallel, knees pushed outward, chest lifted). Once you can go the full minute, do this exercise with arms overhead for more of a challenge.