The Full-Body 5-4-3-2-1 Workout

In just 15 minutes this workout targets all areas of the body without using any equipment.

By: Laura Wainman

Screenshot courtesy of Pinterest user Laura Wainman.

When the temperatures climb, our resolve to exercise plummets—and any workout we manage must be quick and preferably indoors. So we were stoked to discover the 5-4-3-2-1 workout on Pinterest, a 15-minute routine that targets all the muscles in your legs, torso, core, chest, shoulders, and triceps. Bonus: It requires no equipment, so you can even get in a short pre-beach workout in your hotel room.

We caught up with City Fitness trainer Elie Cossa to find out which movements to really focus on and how we can make the most of our 15-minute workout, which she estimates would burn between 150 and 200 calories if done with intensity.

How to Perform the Workout
The routine is broken into five short segments, each lasting for a set number of minutes. Start with five minutes of your choice of cardio; Cossa recommends jumping rope. Proceed through the four- to one-minute routines, and pay particular attention to your form during the squats, lunges, and jumping squats. (These are the moves that cause most people to lose their form in exchange for speed or repetition.)

“These are hard exercises to get exactly right,” says Cossa. “Try using a mirror the first few times you do this routine and keep your lunges in place, or try alternating backward and forward lunges before you try walking lunges. Keep your feet far apart to keep pressure off of the front knee.”

How to Cater the Workout to You
“The upper-body focus of this routine is only on push muscles, and we often overwork (those) and underwork the pull muscles. Adding pullups or some kind of rowing into the mix would be beneficial,” says Cossa.

If you want an extra challenge, try holding weights during the leg movements, or vary the plank moves by adding side planks.

“Clapping pushups or burpees can be substituted for a more intense pushup,” says Cossa. “Doing the pushups with the hands elevated would be a little easier on the upper-body joints. Doing the dips with bent knees can be helpful for those just starting out. Substitute a wall sit for the jumping squats.”

The Verdict
“The 5-4-3-2-1 workout can be a great addition to your toolbox as it packs a quick calorie-burn punch and can be done anywhere. Take it on the road and do it in your hotel room, the beach, a family lake house—anywhere,” says Cossa.

Cossa warns that anyone with shoulder or knee issues should avoid the workout, or at the very least modify it.