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Because it’s not about how long you exercise, but how hard the workout is. By Melissa Romero
Research shows it's not about how long your workout is, but its intensity. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

Good news! New research shows workout effectiveness is not about how long you exercise, but how hard the workout is. The Danish study found that those who exercised to the point of perspiration reduced their risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 35 to 50 percent. On the other hand, those who walked for an hour each day experienced no reduction in risk of MS, which includes high blood pressure, glucose levels, and large waistlines.

Even better news: We’ve featured tons of workouts that take 20 minutes or less to get you the intense workout you need in the short time you have. Take your pick!

The 20-Minute 100 Workout
This quick calorie-busting routine works every muscle in your body in less than half an hour. (Want to focus on shaping your legs? Try the 100 Workout for Toned Legs. Want Michelle Obama-esque arms? Try the 15-Minute Workout for Toned Arms.)

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Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 10/17/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
All you need is a basic chair to perform this quick fitness routine. By Laura Wainman
Using your office chair, you can perform a series of modified or challenging exercises, such as the decline pushup, shown here. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

We all know the dangers of sitting in our office chairs all day, so why not turn that simple piece of furniture into a workout tool? City Fitness trainer Amanda Schmidt has created a set of seven exercises, all performed using a basic chair, that you can fit in on your lunch break or even during a long conference call.

Note: Be extra careful if using a chair with wheels. Lock the wheels if possible, or use a steady chair instead.

How to Perform the Workout

10 to 15 pushups: To perform incline pushups, place your hands on the seat and do a pushup, keeping your core tight and avoiding an arched back. For the more difficult decline pushups, place your feet on the chair and your hands on the floor.

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Posted at 10:20 AM/ET, 10/04/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Burpees and Tabata intervals alone are hard enough. Together? So worth it. By Laura Wainman
The burpee is a great calorie-busting exercise on its own. Perform sets of it using the Tabata method to burn max calories. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

Last week we gave you a relaxing yoga workout, but now it’s time to kick it into high gear again. Grant Hill, the founder of MyBootcamp and an indoor cycling instructor at Revolve Fitness, knows that no exercise is quite as intense as the exercise we love to hate: the burpee.

"The burpee is loved for its effectiveness at working just about everything you can possibly imagine at once—and loathed for the absolute butt-kicking it delivers,” says Hill.

The jump-squat-pushup combo is a total-body workout that targets your upper body, lower body, and core while including both cardio and strength-training elements.

Even more intense? Doing Tabata intervals of burpees. “The key with Tabata is intensity. You must give maximum effort if you want the gains Tabata can deliver,” says Hill.

Read on for his seemingly simple yet crazy tough workout.

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Posted at 01:15 PM/ET, 09/26/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
These simple yoga-based exercises make for a relaxing break from high-intensity workouts. By Laura Wainman
This at-home yoga workout by Tanya Colucci of Synergy Training Solutions increase flexibility, strength, and mind-body awareness. Photographs courtesy of Shutterstock.

A yoga session is a great way to unwind after a stressful day. But personal trainer Tanya Colucci of Synergy Training Solutions knows it can be harder to motivate yourself to get to the yoga studio as the weather cools, so she created a quick and simple at-home routine perfect for after a long day of work or even in the morning. So drag out your yoga mat, clear a space in the living room, and let the tension melt away. Namaste.

How to Perform the Workout

2 x 12 to 15 reps of hip bridges: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Draw in your navel, squeeze your glutes, and push through your heels to bring your pelvis up toward the ceiling.

10 reps of high plank to down dog: 
Move from a high plank to down dog, focusing on inhaling 
to high plank and exhaling to down dog.

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Posted at 12:30 PM/ET, 09/20/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Up the ante of your normal plank by trying these tough variations. By Laura Wainman
Tired of doing your standard plank? There are plenty of variations you can do to up the ante and strengthen your core. Photographs courtesy of Shutterstock.

We’ve brought you workouts to improve your pushup abilities and get toned arms and legs, and today we're tackling abs. What better way to target the core than with that reliable standby, planks? 

Mike Hamberger, the brains behind DC Running Coach, created a customized workout with five twists on the standard plank. “Performing variations of the traditional plank exercise engages your core muscles and strengthens the stability of your trunk,” he says. “[This] will benefit your performance in other activities, not to mention help tone your midsection.” 

How to Perform the Workout

Perform each exercise for one minute. Rest for 10 to 20 seconds between each set.

1) Five- to ten-minute light cardio warmup.

2) Standard plank position: Starting face down, keep your weight on your forearms and the toes of your feet, with eyes on the floor. Don’t let your knees or hips sag or arch your lower back. Make sure your feet are together and forearms are parallel to each other.

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Posted at 03:45 PM/ET, 09/12/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
This lunge- and squat-heavy workout will improve your speed and agility. By Laura Wainman
Laura Yochelson's Beyond Bounds workout incorporates plenty of squats and lunges and requires a basketball court or outdoor space. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

We’re all about taking advantage of the cooling weather and moving our workouts outside. And thanks to trainer Laura Yochelson’s Beyond Bounds routine, outdoor exercise doesn’t have to mean just going for a run.

How to Perform the Workout
Head to your local school or community center with an outdoor basketball court for Yochelson’s workout, as you will use the court baselines for many of your exercises. A tennis court or a football field’s sidelines will also work.

Part 1 (warmup)
Perform five exercises from baseline to baseline on the court—light jogging, butt kicks, high knees, grapevines, and skipping—followed by jogging backward between each exercise.

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Posted at 03:30 PM/ET, 09/05/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Hate pushups? This method may make you love them. By Laura Wainman
Doing pushups in a ladder workout will help increase your reps overtime. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

Many of the workouts we highlight on Well+Being focus on strength training, cardio, or a combination of the two. But today, we want to talk basics. One of the biggest mistakes trainers see is people rushing into complex workouts or exercise moves before mastering the basics with proper form. Tom Brose, City Fitness Gym general manager and a Washingtonian Top Personal Trainer, says the pushup is a great example of a move that people too often overcomplicate.

“It’s not uncommon to see variations [of the pushup] involving medicine balls, Bosu, [the] use of a single leg, TRX, or twisting. While these can all be challenging, if the actual pushup is not rock solid, it’s a misplaced effort,” Brose says.

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Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 08/30/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
This customizable workout builds up muscle strength and flexibility. By Laura Wainman

You'll work your entire body with this at-home workout that requires just one piece of equipment: a chair. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

The options for keeping our cardio workouts fresh and engaging are numerous, but sometimes we can get into ruts where strength training is concerned. Routines beyond free weights at the gym do exist, so we asked trainer Turiya Newsome, from the newest BodySmith Studio in Logan Circle, to share her favorite 20-minute at-home workout for those days you want to mix it up. She focuses on muscle strength, endurance, and stretching to improve flexibility. All you’ll need is a chair.

How to Perform the Workout

Warmup: To loosen the muscles, warmup for five to ten minutes. Newsome suggests stairs (walking or running), jumping jacks, marching in place, and cross-toe reaches to target the specific muscles you’ll be using in her workout.

Workout: Two to three sets of eight to ten reps for each exercise.

Chair squats: Perform squats in front of your chair and tap your butt on the chair before standing up again.“Keep your weight in your heels to avoid letting your knees extend over your toes,” says Newsome.

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Posted at 03:30 PM/ET, 08/21/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Laurent Amzallag’s “Laurent Burpee” workout leaves no muscle behind. By Laura Wainman

If there’s one single word that can immediately instill fear in us, it’s “burpee.” The jump/squat/pushup combo is easily one of our most despised exercises. It’s also one of the most effective total-body and calorie-burning moves you can perform. Still, when personal trainer and founder of YaLa Fitness Laurent Amzallag told us his favorite workout was called the “Laurent Burpee,” we were understandably uncertain.

“This is my favorite workout for when I’m crunched for time and want to target my entire body,” he says.

Watch our video of proper burpee form before attempting the “Laurent Burpee” workout.

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Posted at 03:40 PM/ET, 08/15/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Learn to spring like an Olympian with this high-intensity plyometrics workout. By Melissa Romero
Ivan Ukhov of Russia won the men's high jump competition in the London Olympics with a leap of seven feet and 10.5 inches. Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

With the track-and-field events in full swing at the Olympics, our minds are blown by how the athletes can run faster, jump higher, and throw farther than any normal human being. While I obviously never progressed to Olympic status, as a high jumper for 12 years I’ve often been asked if I can jump over the nearest ten-foot fence or pole. Answer: No, and I wouldn’t recommend you try it, either.

The truth is, some people are just born with serious hopping skills. And while most of us aren’t the next Jesse Owens, adding certain types of exercises to your fitness regimen can increase your vertical distance and build up your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which fatigue quickly but allow our bodies to generate short bursts of strength and speed.

So if your next goal is learn how to dunk or just beat your friend in a psuedo-long jump competition, try this beginner workout on for size. We recommend heading to your nearest high school football field or track for this. Note: If it’s your first time doing plyometrics, consult a trainer to ensure you’re performing the exercises properly.

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Posted at 10:05 AM/ET, 08/08/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()