Easy Exercises to Help You Maintain Your Fitness

5 great exercises you can do in just 20 minutes.

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Fitness doesn't always have to be about gains. Sometimes, it's a matter of basic functionality.    Photo: Tim Kossow/Flickr

Some days—hey, some years—life and work make regular training impossible. But skipping maintenance exercise entirely will have you slogging through whatever adventures you can still fit in. Instead, on days when you don’t have time for anything else, find just 20 minutes to bang out these five moves suggested by the coaches at the Athletes’ Performance, who train everybody from major league baseball players to Olympians. You won’t improve your fitness necessarily, but you will retain enough strength, flexibility, and endurance to enjoy your favorite sports. Or at least keep up with your kids.

Create Stability

  Photo: Alan Daniels

The Turkish get-up works key stabilizer muscles in the abs and obliques.

  1. Start in a fetal position holding a kettlebell in one hand directly above you, with the leg on the same side bent at the knee. Keep the other leg straight.
  2. Keeping the foot of the bent leg flat on the floor, sit up, raising the kettlebell above your shoulder.Support your upper body with the opposite arm held straight.
  3. Keeping the kettlebell above your shoulder, push your hips off the ground and pull your straight leg underneath your body so that you're kneeling on that one knee, then stand up.
  4. Reverse the order of the movements to reach the starting position.

Four reps per side

Open the Hips

  Photo: Alan Daniels

Hip flexibility enables you to move quickly and powerfully while reducing risk of injury to other body parts.

  1. From standing, step your right foot back into a lunge. 
  2. Place your right hand on the ground and your left elbow at the inside of your left foot. Hold for two seconds. 
  3. Rotate your left arm and chest to the sky. Hold for two seconds.
  4. Bring your left arm down and swoop it under your torso, reaching it toward your back leg.
  5. Bring both hands in front of you on either side of your knee, then straighten both legs, pushing your hips to the sky.
  6. Drop back down into a lunge and repeat.

Four reps per side

Gain Power

  Photo: Alan Daniels

Dumbbell cleans create the full-body explosive power you need for sprinting on your bike or ripping powder turns.

  1. Hold a dumbbell straight down in front of your body with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Push your hips back and dip down at the knees to lower the weight below your knees.
  3. In one explosive motion, extend your hips and shrug your shoulder, pulling the dumbbell straight up. When the weight reaches its maximum height, drop your body underneath and catch it overhead.
  4. Lower the weight back to the starting position.

Four reps per side

Develop Strength

  Photo: Alan Daniels

The squat to overhead press increases power in your legs, chest, arms, and shoulders while teaching you to transfer energy through your body

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, holding a dumbbell at one shoulder with your elbow pointed down.
  2. Initiating the movement with your hips, squat back and down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Stand and press the dumbbell overhead.
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Four reps per side

Work the Back

  Photo: Alan Daniels

Injuring your back can halt activity for months. This move strengthens yours from top to bottom.

  1. With a slight bend in your knees and holding a dumbbell in each hand, hinge at the hip and drop the weight toward the ground.
  2. Once you're bent over, pull the dumbbells toward your chest, then lower them.
  3. Contract your glutes and hamstrings to return to a standing position.

Eight reps per side

Filed To: Fitness, Strength and Power Training, Wellness
From Outside Magazine, Aug 2013 Get the Latest Issue

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