The ultimate at-home boot camp

Our interval training boot camp burns as many calories as possible in the shortest amount of time

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at-home workout

Burn calories fast

Research has shown that interval training-short bursts of intense exercise, followed by lighter activity-can give you the same great results as continuous moderately intense exercise, in less time.

To save you both time and money, Best Health designed the ideal seven-interval workout you can do at home. From start to finish, it takes 45 minutes, and will burn between 400 and 600 calories for a 140-lb. woman, depending on how hard she’s working.

Do this workout two to three times a week to see results in six to eight weeks-you’ll be fitter and more toned, and can potentially lose 10 pounds, if you also keep your diet in check.

So, let’s get started! >>>

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the workout

The workout

For best results, try not to rest between intervals, unless specified. “The secret is to keep your heart rate elevated, and your metabolism revved, by constantly moving,” says award-winning fitness trainer Geoff Bagshaw, who helped design this boot-camp workout. But do have sips of water whenever needed. The workout also involves lots of leg exercises, so you’ll get more bang for your buck: “We burn more calories when legs are involved,” Bagshaw says.

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woman lifting weights

The equipment

• A set of stairs (if your home doesn’t have stairs, for most of the intervals you can use a step designed for aerobics).
• A pair of hand weights: dumbbells or kettlebells (three to eight pounds, or one to four kilograms). Both are affordable and readily available. Or try two large tomato cans or a couple of heavy books.
• A pair of cross-trainers or running shoes with good support.
• A watch or timer that counts seconds.

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5 minutes. Walk or jog on the spot or around the block. “You want to elevate your heart rate and get the blood flowing to warm up the muscles,” says Bagshaw.

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interval 1

Interval 1: Climb, dip, crunch

Works: Quadriceps, glutes, calves, triceps, abdominals
3 minutes
Cardio: Stair Climbs
• Jog up a short flight of stairs and walk down. Do as many flights as you can in three minutes. (To increase intensity, take two stairs at a time.)

1 minute
Strength: Triceps Dips
• Sit on the edge of the second step, knees bent at a 90-degree angle and feet planted on floor. Grip the step, hands on either side of your hips. Push glutes off the step and lower body two or three inches down toward the lower step, bending elbows (keep elbows close together). Then raise body back to starting position. Do as many as you can in one minute. (To increase the challenge, hold one weight between knees or extend legs out further.)

1 minute
Core: Bicycle Crunches
• Lie on your back, resting your head in your palms, elbows wide. Bring your knees up so they are aligned with your hips. Straighten left leg parallel to the floor as you crunch up, crossing left elbow to right bent knee. Lower your upper body back to the floor. Switch sides, alternating for one minute.

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interval 2

Interval 2: Run and lunge

Works: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, biceps, abdominals
3 minutes
Cardio: “Tire” Run
• Start with hands on hips and feet together. Step right foot out to the side about two feet (60 cm), then left foot to the side, and then quickly bring feet back together (picture running through widely spaced tires in an army training course). As you take the steps, lift your knees as high as you can. Switch lead leg after 90 seconds. To increase intensity, pump the arms vigorously.

1 minute
Strength: Reverse Lunge with Hammer Curls
• Start with arms at sides, palms facing forward with weights in hands. Take a long step back with your left leg, landing on the ball of the foot. Bend your left knee and lower left leg so calf is parallel with floor. (The right leg bends, and knee is positioned directly over heel.) As you lunge the left knee back, bend at both elbow joints, bringing weights to shoulders. Step left leg forward to starting position, squeezing glutes as you straighten the leg. Lower weights so arms are back by your sides. Alternate legs for one minute.

1 minute
Core: Side Plank
• Lie on your right side, left leg on top of right leg, knees bent. Raise your upper body to support yourself on your right forearm and outside of right knee, with your right elbow bent at 90 degrees, directly in line with your shoulder. Exhale and contract your core muscles as you raise hips off the floor. “Think about lifting your top hip slightly toward the ceiling, and avoid sinking into the supporting shoulder,” advises Bagshaw. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to start, and switch sides. To increase challenge, scissor legs with bottom leg forward, lifting hips off the ground, so your legs are straight and you are balancing on the sides of your feet. (Beginners can hold for 15 seconds, then rest before switching sides, building up to 30 seconds each side.)

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interval 3

Interval 3: Ten-hut!

Works: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, inner thighs, obliques
3 minutes
Cardio: Jumping Jacks
• Start with feet together, arms straight at sides. Jump both legs out wider than shoulders, knees not locked, while lifting arms wide and up to shoulder height. Jump feet back together as you bring arms down. Do as many jacks as you can in three minutes.

1 minute
Strength: Prisoner Squats
• Stand with feet wider than shoulder width, toes angled out 45 degrees. With elbows bent and both hands
behind head, squeeze shoulder blades together. Bend knees, sitting down into a squat (as if you are about to sit in a low chair). As you return to standing, squeeze glutes together and contract the front of your thighs. Do as many squats as you can in one minute.

1 minute
Core: Lateral Bends
• Stand with hands behind head. Tuck tailbone in and bend sideways to the right so the right elbow is pointing toward the floor as the left elbow extends to the ceiling; return to centre. Maintain an open chest with shoulder blades back, alternating sides for one minute.

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interval 4

Interval 4: Rise up

Works: Shoulders, abdominals, triceps, quadriceps, glutes, chest
3 minutes
Cardio: Mountain Climbers
• Kneel in front of steps and place both hands on the second stair, positioning them directly beneath the shoulders so elbows are over wrists. Straighten legs behind you so your body is parallel with the steps. Drive one knee toward the chest, then return to start position. Alternate sides, keeping hips level. For more intensity, increase pace. Complete one minute, recover 30 seconds, and repeat. “This challenging exercise involves your core and upper body, so 30-second rests are necessary,” says Bagshaw.

1 minute
Strength: Parallel Squats with Lateral Raises
• Stand with arms at your sides, weights in your hands, palms facing hips and feet hip width apart. Lower hips as if you’re about to sit in a chair, raising arms out to the sides to shoulder height as you stand back up and out of the squat. Contract the front of your thighs as you return to a standing position. “Remember to make the movement slow and controlled,” says Bagshaw. Repeat as many of these as you can in one minute.

1 minute
Core: Windshield Wipers
• Lie on your back, arms stretched straight out perpendicular to your sides and knees up in the air. Keeping your shoulder blades firmly planted on the floor, lower both your knees to one side, then return to centre and drop your knees to the other side. Only go as far as you can so that the opposite shoulder blade remains on the floor. Repeat for one minute. To increase the challenge, straighten your legs, but remember to keep the movement slow and controlled.

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interval 5

Interval 5: Power up

Works: Quadriceps, glutes, calves, rear deltoids, rhomboids, abdominals
3 minutes
Cardio: Power Lunge (shown)
• Step your right leg out to the right and twist your body to the left (keep looking straight ahead), right arm punching across the front of your shoulders, left hand on hip or thigh. (There should be a line from your shoulder to heel.) Return to start position and repeat on other side. Repeat as many times as possible in three minutes. If you want to increase the intensity and you have an aerobic step, do the lunge from the top of the step.

1 minute
Strenght: Staggered Stance Reverse Fly
• Take one big step forward, front knee slightly bent, hinging forward at the hips about 45 degrees. Let arms hang from the shoulders, with weights in hands. Leading with knuckles, open arms to the side, using the muscles in the back of shoulders to squeeze blades back and together. Return to start position. Do as many as you can-in a controlled fashion-in one minute.

1 minute
Core: Knee Lift Crunch
• Lying on your back, rest your head in your palms, knees bent, chin off your chest. Round your back as you draw one knee toward the chest. Don’t pull your head up; let your abs do the work. Return to starting position and switch sides. Continue for one minute, alternating knees.

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interval 6

Interval 6: Skip-a-dee-doo-da

Works: Glutes, quadriceps, biceps, shoulders, core muscles
3 minutes
Cardio: Skipping
• With or without a jump rope, do a double-footed jump on the spot, or alternate your feet. Keep your arms tight by your side and feet together. Make small circles with your wrists as you jump and land softly for three minutes. To increase your heart rate, pick up the speed.

1 minute
Strength: Glute Squeeze with Anterior Shoulder Lifts
• Balance on your right foot, keeping your knee soft (don’t lock knee joint), holding weights, palms facing your thighs. Take left foot back and hover it a few inches off the floor behind you. Lean forward slightly, lifting your left leg higher as you squeeze the glute and pulse at the top for three counts. As you lift your leg, raise both arms to shoulder height in front of you, pausing at the top as you pulse the leg. Lower arms and legs back to start position. Repeat this right-leg version for 30 seconds, then switch to the left side for another 30 seconds.

1 minute
Core: Plank to Pike
• Lie face down and balance on only your toes and forearms, legs together with your body in a straight line parallel with the floor. (Beginners can also keep knees on floor and maintain Plank position for the entire minute, forgoing the move into Pike.) Keep your navel pulled in toward your spine to maintain a strong neutral back in Plank position. Lift your tailbone up to the ceiling into a Pike position for two counts, then lower your back to Plank, also for two counts. Repeat for one minute.

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interval 7

Interval 7: Touch-down

Works: Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, pectorals, lower back
3 minutes
Cardio: Football Runs
• Stand in front of stairs or step. Leading with your right leg, run or walk up and down one step for 30 seconds. Switch so left leg is leading for 30 seconds. Repeat three times. Pick up the pace to increase intensity. ?

1 minute
Strength: Push-ups
• Lying face down, place your hands shoulder width apart. Keeping body aligned, push yourself up on your toes,
straightening arms, then lower yourself until your elbows are at about 90 degrees. Pause at the bottom, then straighten arms to push up again. Keep the abdominals tight throughout. Do as many as you can in one
minute. (If it’s too tough, drop your knees to the ground-but try to do a few from your toes!)

1 minute
Core: Bird Dog
• On all fours, knees lined up with your hips and hands lined up with your shoulders, extend right arm in front of you while extending left leg straight behind you. Hold each parallel with floor for two seconds and then switch sides, alternating for one minute. Now it’s time to cool down. Click through for six essential cool-down stretches.

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