Some days hey, some years there's just no time for any exercise beyond your regular run or ride. Or maybe you just hate the gym. Either way, skipping strength-and-conditioning work altogether will hold you back: You'll be weaker, less flexible, and likely slower and more prone to injury.
You can avoid all that with this simple, ten-minute daily maintenance routine prescribed by Jonathan Carlock, the strength-and-conditioning coach at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The five moves he details here target= every major muscle group. As Carlock puts it, they'll "prepare your body to do work." Think of it like brushing your teeth, and knock it out while the coffee is brewing.
For starters, do 25 to 50 reps of the exercises in the order shown here. As your fitness improves, build up to 100 reps of each. You can break those reps up into two or three sets as in a circuit workout or, ideally, perform the 100 reps straight through.
Targets the glutes, hams, calves, and lower back
Lie in crunch position with knees bent, feet flat on floor, back flat, and head down. Thrust your hips toward the ceiling, reaching a straight line along your shoulders, hips, and knees, then return to start. (For added challenge, rise up onto the tips of your toes at the peak of the thrust.)
Squat Press with Dumbbells
Targets the quads, glutes, upper body, and core
Hold a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders in press position. The weight should depend on your fitness level, but five to 15 pounds is probably enough. In one fluid movement, squat down while keeping your hips back and your weight on your heels, then drive upward with your legs while pressing the dumbbells straight overhead. Lower arms and repeat.
Targets the shoulders, chest, and triceps
Place your feet (shoulder width or wider) and palms on the floor in a downward-facing-dog yoga pose. In one fluid movement, drop down into push-up position, roll up into an upward-facing-dog pose, then reverse and return to start.
Dumbbell Bent-Over Row
Targets the entire back and arms
Holding a light pair of dumbbells, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and bend over so your torso is parallel with the floor. Keep knees slightly bent and hips back so weight is distributed between the balls of your feet and your heels. Extend the dumbbells toward the floor, then lift them back with a 45-degree angle in your elbows. Pick a light weight that will let you do four sets of 15 25 reps, or up to 100 straight through.
Targets the core
Lie on your back in traditional crunch position: knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Slowly bring your knees to your chest without lifting your shoulders off the ground. Keep arms at your side for balance and support and try to roll up until the small of your back comes off the floor, then slowly roll back and return to the starting position.