THE 10-MINUTE WORKOUT IS REAL
We have a million excuses for cutting a workout off the calendar: too much work, too far from home, holiday travel, and a marathon Scandal binge before the season cliffhanger.
Well, lo and behold, we’ve decided to stop the insanity and get our daily workouts in, even if it’s just 10 minutes to focus on building up a sweat. We issued a challenge to the insanely talented (and quite handsome) Will Torres, personal trainer and founder of the private training gym WillSpace, to create a simple, safe, and butt-burning workout that you can do anywhere. The only thing you’ll need? A file box with handles that weighs about eight to 10 pounds, some floor space and some sweat-wicking workout gear, because you WILL break a sweat with this workout.
Ready to stop the excuses? Yeah, so are we. Let’s get to work, people, and demonstrate a workout that builds crazy heat, tightens and tones, and torches some serious calories, all in just under 10 minutes flat. The only equipment you’ll need is a file box or a square container with handles that weighs about eight to 10 pounds.
Place your box on the ground in front of you about three to six inches away from the toes. Place one foot on the box so it’s bent at a 90-degree angle, while bending your arms at a 45-degree angle.
Tap that toe on the box and quickly switch feet so the previous foot will land 3 to 6 inches from the box while raising the other foot to tap the box.
Quicken your pace so you’re swiftly tapping your feet on the box without stepping all the way onto the box, keeping your arms raised at your sides at the 45-degree angle. Keep this pace for 60 seconds. Ok, now you’re warm and ready to start your workout.
Box Dead Lift
“For women, this move is one of the most important for lengthening the legs and improving your posture,” advises Will. As professional desk jockeys, we like this idea. Go ahead, we’re listening.
Stand, holding your box with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your chin slightly raised and your abs engaged to protect your spine and lower back, which helps your spine remain straight.
Engaging your glutes, butt, and core muscles, hinge forward by sending your hips back and lowering the box straight to the ground between your knees with straight arms, keeping your head neutral and your eyes peering to the floor in front of you.
When the box hits your knees, you’ll feel a slight stretch along the back of the legs. At this point, bend at the knees and lower the box safely all the way to the ground.
Take a breath, then engage the glutes by pushing through the heels to raise your body into a standing position, keeping your back straight. Repeat this move 20 times.
Don’t let the bent-knee version of this workout fool you: It’s not any easier than the straight-legged version. You’ll see.
Benefits of this move: “By bending the knees at an angle rather than keeping your legs straight out, you’re able to feel the move more in your abdominals,” advises Will. “You also able to move more quickly, which is the key to this workout: we want to try to get your heart rate up and fatigue your muscles at the same time.” This move is also the key to flat abs. Which, you know, wouldn’t suck for most of us.
Start with your back flat on the floor with your knees bent and the soles of your feet touching.
Raise your arms behind your head along the floor, then engage your abs and lift your upper body, pulling your arms overhead.
Use your abs to pull yourself forward so your hands touch your toes or the floor in front of you. Release the position and slowly return to the original position. Do 20 reps of this move.
Trainer’s note: “Keep thinking ‘touch and go’,” says Will. “Once your hands touch the floor, quickly go backwards to your starting position, and once your back touches the floor, swing the arms forward to maintain momentum…even when it burns.”
Most trainers love this move for the speedy fat burning and toning. We love it as long as they’re over quickly, which these are. We also love the “girly” modification in case you’re not quite rocking a buff upper bod. “Many women have a hard time performing the pushup portion with their backs straight, so this modification ensures proper form,” says Will. We’ll take it.
Benefits of this move: “It’s a great way to do a burpee while maintaining complete alignment. It helps work your arms, triceps, shoulders, chest and, most importantly, your core.” Amazing, this will be great for our sleeveless looks.
Start in a standing position with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart.
Squat, extending your hips straight back, keeping your knees in line with your toes, and reach your hands toward the floor.
Spring backward into a plank position. Focus on maintaining complete alignment with your entire body straight from your heels to the top of your head.
Lower your body to the floor for five seconds, keeping your abs engaged.
Push your upper body backward onto the knee, with your arms outstretched in front of you, hands flat on the floor.
Curl your toes under and spring into a squatting position while keeping a flat back.
Push through the heels and stand tall by squeezing the glutes at the top. Repeat this move 10 times.
Trainer Note: If you have lower back issues and can’t necessarily spring back into a plank position, place your hands on the floor and step back into plank one foot at a time. This will protect you from any risk of injury.
Single Leg Hamstring Stretch
“You want to think about reaching your fingers away from your toes,” advises Will when it comes to form. We’ll picture an ice-cold beverage just out of reach for inspiration, preferably one with a masseuse holding it.
Benefits of this position: “This is all about strengthening and lengthening your legs, getting them to look toned and long,” enthuses Will. “But it’s also a great balance exercise since your backside is working like crazy to keep you stable on one foot, and you’ll also feel it in your calves and your lower legs.”
Start by standing tall with your feet together and arms comfortably at your sides.
Soften your standing leg, then extend the opposite leg straight back behind you.
As you begin to hinge at the hips, raise both arms forward. Imagine your fingers reaching away from your toes. While keeping your spine straight, your gaze should be down at the floor and slightly in front you. Imagine your neck and head as an extension of your spine. Hold for two counts, then engage your core and return your body to your starting position. Perform 10 reps on each leg, and then repeat on the other side.
Kneeling Core Overhead Press
Since many of us have moved multiple times, lifting a box over our heads isn’t necessarily a new concept. But with bent knees on the floor, it becomes a whole new level of exercise, and quite the pathway to a tighter core. We kind of love it.
Benefits of this position: It helps to strengthen your balance, but it really also activates your core muscles: your glutes and your abs. Oddly enough, this move is a big time stomach and butt shaper, even though you’re using your arms to lift the box.” Sneaky, Will. We like it.
Start by kneeling on the floor with your shoulders, hips, and knees stacked in line with each other. Press the thighs together and hold an eight-to-10-pound box in front of your face with your arms bent at a 45-degree angle, hands underneath the bottom of the box.
Engage your core by squeezing your glutes and tightening your the abs, then straighten your arms, raising the box overhead so that the hands are directly over your ears at the top.
Imagine lengthening your torso as you reach overhead and for the sky. Lower your arms to your starting position, and repeat this move for 20 reps for a daily attempt at a ripped core and high-and-tighty-Lord-Almighty backside.
Trainer’s Note: If the eight-to-10-pound beginner's box isn’t challenging enough for you, increase the weight to 15 to 20 pounds — without worrying about adding bulk.
This is how you warmed up, and it’s also how you’ll cool down at the end of the workout. Place your box on the ground in front of you about three to six inches away from the toes. Place one foot on the box so it’s bent at a 90-degree angle and bend your arms at a 45-degree angle.
Tap that toe on the box and quickly switch feet so the previous foot will land three to six inches from the box while raising the other foot to tap the box.
Okay, now you’re cooling down.
Afterward: “You won’t be hungry right away, but plan to eat at least 30 minutes after. I’d recommend something light and simple, like salmon with sautéed spinach or quinoa with broccoli and tomatoes. If you don’t have time to sit and eat, grab a green drink, but avoid beverages that contain more than one fruit: They’re loaded with sugar.”