Finding the time to squeeze a gym session into your day can be a challenge, so when you get there, you want to make every minute count. If your go-to exercise is to hit the treadmill, personal trainers say you're probably squandering your time. "Running or jogging is actually not the smartest method to creating your fittest self," ModelFit trainer Sam Garcia tells MyDomaine. "In 15 minutes, you can do a full-body workout that is more sustainable."
Apparently, high-intensity interval training is a smarter way to maximize your gym session. "To maximize calorie burn, you want to focus on short, hard intervals where you push your heart rate into an anaerobic training zone," says Nike master trainer Kirsty Godso. "This type of training will increase your EPOC effect (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which is when your body has to work much harder to restore its resting metabolic function. Training this way can result in your body continuing to burn calories for extended hours after your workout." Yes, these routines prompt your body to keep working, even after you've left the gym.
Got 15 minutes? This is exactly how to maximize your next workout, according to two leading trainers.
EMOM and Drop Sets
EMOM stands for "every minute on the minute," meaning that your workout shifts every 60 seconds. "I like to pair different sets, such as EMOMs and drop sets, to really get the heart rate up in a short amount of time," says Godso. A drop set is "when you perform a set of any exercise to failure or just short of failure, then drop some weights or difficulty of the movement so you can continue while maintaining intensity," she explains.
Follow her step-by-step workout to make the most of your gym session:
EMOM (10 minutes)
- Set your timer for 10 minutes. During the first minute, perform 10 reps of burpees, including full chest-to-floor push-ups. The quicker you get through the 10 reps, the more time you have to recover.
- As soon as the next minute starts, begin 10 reps of box jumps. Try to reach a challenging jump height, such 24 to 30 inches.
- Repeat this combination for a total of 10 minutes, alternating between burpees and box jumps until you've done five sets of each. Then, recover for a full minute.
Drop Sets (5 minutes)
- Do plyometric push-ups for 20 seconds.
- Then, shift your weight onto your toes and do full range push-ups for another 20 seconds.
- Lower your knees to the ground and do modified push-ups for 20 seconds.
- Recover for 30 seconds.
- Next, do tuck jumps for 20 seconds, pulling your knees up to your chest each time you jump.
- Change to doing squat jumps for 20 seconds, sitting down into a squat position before each jump.
- Lastly, stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart. Quickly drop into a deep squat, and then pop back up to the start position. Repeat drop squats for 20 seconds.
- Recover for 30 seconds.
- Repeat both combinations, alternating between push-ups and squats until you've done two sets of each.
Trainer Sam Garcia recommends doing a 15-minute workout that won't strain your joints. "Over time, [running] can cause overuse injuries on your knees, hips, and back," she says. "At ModelFit, our classes are dynamically designed, offering functional movement that strengthens the small muscles, which creates length and allows you to work out free of joint pain."
Try her 15-minute workout session to switch up your usual routine:
- Do three rounds of cardio circuits, including jump squats, skater jump squats, and mountain climbers. The first round should be 30 seconds, the second round 45 seconds, and the third round 60 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds between each set.
- Next, hold three- or five-pound hand weights and perform 20 reps of squats. Make sure your weight is back in the heels and your spine is neutral. At the end, stay down and pulse for 20 counts, then repeat.
- Now, go into plank position. Do four shoulder taps, alternating between left and right hands. Perform six sets with one hand, and then rest and repeat with the other hand.
- Step one foot forward and bend your knees so they are 90 degrees. Do 20 reps of these split-lunge squats.
- Finish by leaning forward over your front leg, square hips, and engage inner thighs. Do 20 pulses in this position.
How do you make the most of 15 minutes at the gym?