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Six Blistering Bodyweight Workouts You Can Do in Under 30 Mins

One of the biggest reasons why people say they don’t exercise is because they don’t have time. Of course, we all have the same amount of time, and there are plenty of really busy people who work out despite having many other things to do. I trained for and ran the SF Marathon while doing Ridejoy, and have written about the benefits of physical activity for entrepreneurs.

But I also understand that the best way to build a new habit is to make something dead simple — so you can put all your mental resources in pushing yourself during the workout, rather than in thinking of what you should do. So I’ve compiled six workouts you can do any time. No more excuses about not having the time or equipment to workout.

Here’s the deal with these workouts:

  • They’re short. Including warmup and cooldown, they should take less than 30 mins.
  • They’re (almost) equipment free: You just need a small clean(ish) space on the floor to do these workouts
  • They’re total body. You burn more calories when you work your whole body at once, and I think it’s a more satisfying experience.
  • They incorporate strength training with cardio. Unlike spending 45 mins on elliptical or just doing pushups, these workouts train across your systems.
  • They’ve got variety: our brains our novelty-seeking instruments and there’s lots of variety in these workouts to keep you engaged.
  • They work for all levels.. These workouts are scalable, which doesn’t mean that they can handle ten thousand requests per second, but that they can be made harder or easier depending on how fit you are.
  • They’re tested. I ran through these workouts earlier this year during Wellness Month at Percolate. We had about a dozen people at every workout, and the program got rave reviews, including from co-founder James Gross:

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The Program

Each of my workouts were organized in a similar way – there was a brief warmup phase that typically involved jogging in place, some arm circles and whatever else you might need. I don’t think it’s critical to spend a massive amount of time warming up if you aren’t going do lift super heavy weights or do something that requires massive strain.

Then we would do the light workout, which took about 3 minutes (and also sort of acts like an additional “warm up”)

Finally, we would complete the heavy workout, which was the key piece of the program. This would take up to 10 minutes and was meant to be especially challenging, pushing both the muscular and aerobic capacities.

Minutes 0-5: Warm Up
Minutes 6-10: Light Workout
Minutes 11-25: Heavy Workout
Minutes 26-30: Cool down / Stretch

The Workouts

Because I work in tech, I’ve decided to give each of these workouts a internet/computer related name.

  1. Port 80
  2. Pull Request
  3. Migration
  4. End Point
  5. Virtual Machine
  6. Client Server


Workout 1: Port 80

Light Segment: go all-out for 30 seconds on each movement

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Rest (break)
  • High Knees (running in place)
  • Plank

Heavy Segment: Two rounds of Tabata – 8 rounds of 20 seconds going all out, 10 seconds rest.

Tabata 1: Rotate through all exercises 2x

  • Lunges
  • Pushup Rotation
  • Speed Skater
  • Plank to Pushups

2 mins rest

Tabata 2: Switch between these two exercises 4x

  • Burpees
  • Jump rope


Workout 2: Pull Request

Light Segment: go all-out for 30 seconds on each movement

  • Shoulder Taps in Push-Up Position
  • Air Squats
  • Rest (Break)
  • Punches (Shadow Boxing)
  • Wall Sit

Heavy Segment: two rounds of the Tabata protocol

Tabata 1: Rotate through all exercises 2x

  • Fast Feet (Step forward / back in a 1-2, 3-4 pattern)
  • Dancing Crab (On all fours with torso facing up, touch left hand to right toe, then alternate)
  • Knees (Pulling both arms down and thrusting a single knee up, then alternate)
  • Spiderman Pushups (bring one knee up to your side as you dip into the pushup, bring it back as you push up, alternate)

2 mins rest

Tabata 2: Rotate through the exercises 4x

  • Deep squat to high jump
  • Mountain Climbers


Workout 3: Migration

Light Segment: go all-out for 30 seconds on each movement

  • Jab, Jab-Cross, Jab-Cross-Hook
  • Slips
  • Rest
  • Jab-Cross-Slip
  • Jump Rope (if no actual jump rope, you can imagine one)

Heavy Segment: 7 rounds of Crazy One Minute Cardio (1 min on, 20s rest

  • Burpee
  • Tuck Jump
  • 4 Jumping Lunges (Switching)
  • 4 Mountain Climbers


Workout 4: End Point

Light Segment: go all-out for 30 seconds on each movement

  • High knees
  • Squat hold
  • Break
  • Shoulder taps
  • Plank

Heavy Segment: Another Tabata Protocol. (8x 1min on, 20s off). You’ll repeat the exercises 2x, then rest 2 mins, then do the whole thing again.

  • Burpee no push-up
  • Jump forward – jump back
  • Push up one knee in, push-up other knee in
  • 4 jumping jacks


Workout 5: Virtual Machine

Light Segment: 8 rounds of the following

  • 10 Jumping Jacks
  • 10 Punches

Heavy Segment: I nicknamed this adorable portion the “300 Routine”. Complete 3 rounds of the following:

  • 20 Mountain Climbers (both legs = 1 rep)
  • 20 High Knees (both knees = 1 rep)
  • 20 Shoulder Taps (both shoulders = 1 rep)
  • 20 Squat Jumps
  • 2x 10 Side Plank Crunches


Workout 6: Client Server

Light Workout: go all-out for 30 seconds on each movement

  • 30s knees
  • 30s 1-2, 3-4
  • 30s break
  • 30s pushup with rotation
  • 30s imaginary ball throws

Heavy Segment: Ideally this is done with a partner, but you can do it alone if you need to:

  • Step 1: Set a timer for 45 seconds and do as many burpees as you can (with no pushup)
  • Step 2: 10 rounds of burpees for 30 seconds. Cheer on and count for your partner – they must not go below the number they set in the 45 second timer. If you’re doing it by yourself, same thing, but don’t rest for more than 30 seconds between sets.

 

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How I Ended Up Setting a Guinness World Record in Aztec Push-Ups

(Want to just watch me break the record? Click here to skip the back story)

Have you heard of an Aztec push-up? It’s like a clapping push-up, except you explode off the ground with both your hands and your feet and your hands touch your feet. Here’s how that looks in GIF format:

jason-shen-aztec-pushup

On January 18 2014, I set a Guinness World Record, completing 50 Aztec push-ups in one minute. This is the story of how it happened. Continue reading…

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Four Total Body Workouts When You’re Short on Time

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and this is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You know the drill: attempt these workouts at your own risk.

Finding time to work out when you’re working a demanding job is tough. Add a big commute, errands, family responsibilities, and exercise time gets lost to the ether. And yet we know that physical activity is so critical to our physical, mental, emotional, and social performance and quality of life.

No matter how busy you are, skipping exercise is almost always a big mistake. Yes, being active takes time, but you can get a solid workout in a short amount of time if you’re willing to haul ass. Here are four workouts that will give you a great full-body workout in less than 15 minutes, and three of them don’t require any special equipment.

Are you ready to give up your best excuse for not exercising?

On High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

The idea behind all of these workouts is that they have periods of intense work, and periods of rest. The rest periods are short by design. This type of training has been shown to burn fat efficient, develop aerobic and strength benefits and boost your metabolism for 48-72 hours after the workout. Continue reading…

How many people do you know who are 5’5″ and can dunk a basketball?

Brandon Todd Dunking

Brandon Todd is 5’5″ and can dunk a basketball. At that height, you need a 42+ in vertical leap to have a chance of putting the ball in the hoop. This is pretty insane. Todd trained for three years, putting on 85 lbs of muscle to gain the power needed to dunk.

I was enthralled by the short film on Todd I found via Garry Tan’s Posthaven.

In it he says:

I used to look like I wasn’t even on the [basketball] team. 5’5″ 117 lbs. I didn’t want people to count me out because my height. I was reading an article about russian powerlifitng and I saw this fat russian powerlifter celebrating at the end of competition and he’s like three or four feet in the air.

That’s when I started really studying how they develop explosiveness. I had to do so much ridiculous training. Running and lifting and throwing stuff. just to put a little basketball through a 10 ft cylinder.

People ask me – why do you train so hard? And I say ‘how many people do you know who are 5’5″ and can dunk a basketball?’

Because that’s what it took. Because it’s not normal to jump that high off the ground and take a basketball with you, and then land safely. It’s not normal. It’s not something everyone is doing. But now, some kid somewhere might hear about my story and think ‘Oh, he’s as tall as me! If he can do it, maybe someday I can do too.”

As I prepare to launch my book, Winning Isn’t Normal, I felt this story really struck me as a great example of the W.I.N. philosophy. Todd wanted to do something audacious. Continue reading…

I Just Tied a Pushup World Record [VIDEO]

We’re well into September and that means a check in on my monthly Fitness Challenge. The challenge for August was Aztec Pushups, and I had a lot of fun training for them. I would do a roughly .90 mile loop (Runkeeper route) and do 6 sets of 5 Azetc Pushups on each spoke of the wheel in DuPont Circle.

I’m very happy with my final tally of 31 pushups, which puts me at the same number as the Guinness World Record, set in 2012 by Brandon Collofello. I’m looking into applying to challenge the record and will continue to train the pushups, even as I head into next month’s fitness challenge.

Watch the video here below (email readers need to click through)