The 5-Minute Total-Body Boost

By K. Aleisha Fetters |

Keep this plan on hand to fit in an effective workout even on your busiest days.

Older Hispanic woman sitting on exercise mat

One of the biggest misconceptions about exercise is that simple movements are also easy movements. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The reality is that doing very basic exercises with proper form often means keeping your muscles under tension longer, resulting in a better (and safer!) muscle burn than you’d get from complicated movements.

So if you’re ever short on time or just want to squeeze in a quick strength session before your group fitness class starts, your best bet is to keep it simple. This workout is a perfect example. By combining three foundational movements, it allows you to show all of your major muscle groups some love in record time.

Heads up: You’ll need a low step, a flat bench, and a pair of dumbbells. Not sure how to choose the right weight? Watch the video below.

How the Total-Body Boost Works

Complete one set of each exercise below in order, resting as little as possible between moves. (But listen to your body, and don’t hesitate to take a breather if you need it!)

One round is all you need to get your blood flowing. But depending on how much time you have and how hard you want to work, you can perform the entire circuit up to four times in a row. Just be sure to rest for one to two full minutes in between rounds.

Ready to get started? Here’s how to perform each movement. As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

Exercise #1: Stepup

Step Up

Do 4 to 8 reps per side

Grab a pair of dumbbells, and hold them at your sides with your palms facing your body. Stand in front of a step. Start with a low step, increasing the height for a challenge.

Set your left foot on the step, push down through your heel, and lift yourself up until your leg is straight. Step down. That’s one rep. Perform all reps, then switch sides and repeat. Start with four reps per side, working your way up to six and then eight as you get stronger.

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Exercise #2: Chest Press

Chest Press Exercise

Do 8 to 12 reps 

Grab a dumbbell in each hand, and lie faceup on a bench. Position the dumbbells just outside of and above your chest, palms facing away from your body. If you have cranky shoulders, try angling the dumbbells so that your palms face each other. Your elbows should flare about 45 degrees away from your torso. Do not let them flare straight out from your sides. Brace your core to press your low back into the bench. This is your starting position.

From here, press the weights up and together until your arms are straight, but not locked out. Pause, then slowly lower the weights to return to start. That’s one rep. Perform eight to 12 reps total.

Exercise #3: Bent-Over Row

Bent-Over Row Exercise

Do 8 to 12 reps

Grab a pair of dumbbells, and stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Pushing your hips back and allowing your knees to bend slightly, lower your torso until it’s almost parallel with the floor. Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length from your shoulders, palms facing in.

From here, squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells up to the sides of your torso. Pause, then slowly lower the dumbbells to return to start. That’s one rep. Perform eight to 12 reps total.

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