By Alex Orlov for Life by DailyBurn
A good workout doesn't require tons of equipment, or even tons of time. Plyometric movements, which focus on speed, agility and explosive power, can give you major bang for you buck when you've only got a few minutes to spare. The secret? Targeting your whole body (legs, chest, back, arms and core), while boosting your heart rate with gravity-defying moves. Plus, when you're giving all-out effort with high-intensity intervals, you'll burn more calories than with steady state cardio (like a long-distance run).
"There is nothing as effective or energizing as plyometrics," says DailyBurn trainer Anja Garcia, who turns to the fat-blasting protocol when she needs maximum results in a short amount of time. But it's not just trending in fitness studios: Athletes have used plyometrics, or jump training, for years to increase speed and power, since jumping exercises require agility and control.
When you can't make it to the gym, keep it simple with Garcia's go-to 15-minute workout. Jog in place for one minute to warm up your muscles and then hop to it! Complete exercises one through five for 30 seconds each, and rest for 30 seconds at the end of each round. See if you can hang for five rounds total -- that's just 15 minutes of work!
1. Tuck Jumps
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Explode off the balls of your feet and bring your knees up to meet your hands out in front of you, heels to your butt. Land with control before launching right back up into your next jump.
2. Plyo Pushups
How to: Get into a plank position, with your hands on the ground directly under your shoulders. Lower down like you're doing a pushup. At the bottom, use your power to push back up so your upper body shoots up explosively, and your hands leave the ground. When you land, maintain control in your arms and immediately begin lowering into your next pushup. Want to take it to the next level? Try clapping your hands while you're airborne.
3. Power Knee Drives
How to: Start in a front lunge position, with your front knee bent at 90-degrees and your opposite arm bent in front of your chest, like a sprinter. Drive the back knee up and explode off the standing leg, using your arms to help propel you up off the floor. Return to the starting position and continue for 15 seconds on one side, and then switch legs.
How to: Start by standing upright and balancing on your right foot. Jump laterally to the left, landing on your left foot with the left knee bent. From here, you should be in speed skater position, crouched down and balancing on the left leg with the right leg extended diagonally behind you. Quickly leap back to the right, landing on your right foot, and continue back and forth, keeping up a quick rhythm.
How to: From standing, jump up and reach as high as you can with your hands. When you land, immediately squat down, place your hands on the floor, and quickly jump your feet back so you are in a plank position. Touch your chest to the floor and then hop your feet under you to start it all over again!