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Desk-bound all day? Make the most of your lunch break with these quick and easy workouts. All you need is a little space in a local park…

Lunch break workout

WORKOUT PROTOCOL

  • This workout is designed to be high intensity, and mixes cardio with bodyweight resistance exercises. This combo will burn serious numbers of calories, both during and after the workout, as your metabolism stays elevated. It’ll also boost your aerobic endurance and anaerobic local muscular fitness.
  • Do as many reps as you can in the time allocated (unless otherwise indicated), making sure you keep to good form. Take 20 seconds recovery between exercises or move straight from one to the next if you’re fit enough. Do two to five circuits depending on your fitness and time available.

  • Always warm up before your workout. Do five to 10 minutes of jogging followed by functional movements for all body parts, such as marching on the spot, calf raises and arm swings. Cool down with five minutes of easy jogging and some held stretches.

  • Total workout time should be 30 to 40 minutes.

  • Make it tougher! Increase the work time and decrease the rest time.

  • Who’s this workout for? Anyone really. The combination of core and leg exercises and its dynamic nature makes it great for runners, triathletes and cyclists looking for increased leg power and a strong core. It’s also a great option for anyone planning to race an obstacle course this summer.

1. BURPEES (picture above)

How to: Get down into the burpee position. Bend your knees, placing your hands directly below your shoulders. Push down into the floor with your arms to activate your lower abdomen. Then drive your legs backwards, almost to full extension. Bring your legs back and get your feet close to your shoulders, lift your hands from the floor and extend your legs and body to leap into the air. Land lightly, bend your knees, and return to the burpee position. Repeat.

Why: “Burpees are a great all-body workout, and a challenging cardiovascular exercise. They work your chest, arms, front deltoids, thighs, hamstrings and abdominals,” says Smith.

Do: 30sec on/20sec rest

Lunch break workout

2. FRONT PLANK

How to: Start with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders, and set your legs back so that your feet are in line with your hips. Look straight down at your hands. Lengthen your spine and squeeze your lower abdominals. Make sure your head is still, your back doesn’t dip, and that there’s no pressure in your lower back.

Why: “This exercise requires good strength and stability in your ankles, hips and shoulder girdle. Plus it activates the deeper abdominal muscles. It will help you maintain a neutral spine position and a correct joint alignment as well as reducing back injury and strain,” says Smith.

Do: 30sec on/20sec rest.

Lunch break workout

3. BEAR CRAWL

How to: Start in a static press-up position. Now crawl forwards, moving your left arm with your right leg, and your right arm with your left leg. Continue forwards.

Why: “This exercise builds strength and stability through the glutes, shoulders, wrists, hips, ankles and core muscles,” says Smith.

Do: Crawl 10m x 4, take 20sec between crawls.

Lunch break workout

4. BACK EXTENSIONS

How to: Lie down with your chest on the ground and your eyes looking down. While tucking your chin in, lengthen your spine and try to pull your belly button off the ground. Keep your arms by your sides. You’ll find your torso lifts off the ground.

Why: “This exercise strengthens the back muscles that run down the spine from the neck to the base of the spine,” says Smith.

Do: 30sec on/20sec rest.

Lunch break workout

5. JUMP LUNGES

How to: Start in a lunge position. Jump into the air and scissor your legs just as you leave the ground, so that when you drop back down your opposite leg is now to the front. Land lightly and explode into another jump. Use your arms for balance and to add power.

Why: “This exercise is great for developing your quads, your hamstrings and your glutes,” says Smith.

Do: 30sec on/20sec rest.

Lunch break workout

6. SIDE PLANK

How to: Start with your elbow directly below your shoulder. Place one foot on top of the other and align your ankles, hips and shoulder joints. As you lift your hips off the floor, broaden your chest, and lengthen your spine. Make sure your nose is pointing down the middle of your chest.

Why: “This exercise strengthens your internal and external obliques – the muscles that support your spine from the sides. It’s a great core exercise to strengthen your spinal cord,” says Smith.

Do: 30sec on/20sec rest.

Lunch break workout

7. BUNNY JUMPS & RUN BACK

How to: Do three consecutive bunny jumps forwards and immediately do a short backwards run.

Why: “This combo is a great cardiovascular exercise and specifically targets your glutes, quads and calf muscles. The change of direction requires a lot of energy and dynamic movement. On the backwards runs you’ll be loading your ankle, shin, quads and hamstring muscles differently and thereby strengthening them in an oft-neglected way compared to much the more typical forwards movements,” says Smith.

Do: 3 bunny jumps and 1 run backwards x 3, take 20sec between efforts.

Lunch break workout

8. LATERAL LUNGES

How to: From a standing position, step out to the side into a lateral lunge. Push your bottom backwards as you do so, keeping your upper body in an upright position. Keep your knee behind your toes as you lunge and push back dynamically through your heel. Alternate sides.

Why: “This exercise strengthens your glutes and both the inside and outside of your thighs (adductor and abductor muscles). It’ll help to develop leg stability and will improve your ability to direct power where you need it when running i.e. push you forwards, by counteracting wasted lateral movement,” says Smith.

Do: 30sec on/20sec rest.

WORDS: Dominic Bliss PICTURES: James Carnegie EXPERT: Christopher Smith

  • Thanks to PT Christopher Smith (pictured) from Zip Fit Club, which offers 30-minute lunchtime workouts to Londoners, zipfitclub.co.uk

Get more training tips like this lunch break workout in our dedicated section…