Tag workout program

15 Minute Fitness Guide

Put your exercise plan in play with the 15-minute fitness guide.

Introduction to The 15-Minute Fitness Guide

In our busy lives, it’s often a struggle to find time to get everything done. Inevitably, important things can sometimes drop off our to-do lists or get pushed off our schedules.

For many of us, finding time to exercise is something we know we should do, but it’s often the first thing to get dropped.

Part of the problem may be that we think we need to find an hour or two a day, five or six days a week, in order to exercise. Or perhaps that you have to join a fancy full-service gym in order to have access to the latest and greatest exercise equipment.

Fortunately, the reality is much more forgiving. In fact, it’s possible to significantly improve your health and fitness with 15-minute workout sessions.

That’s what we’re going to talk about in this 15-minute fitness guide.

To continue reading, use the page numbers below or the table of contents to the right. Enjoy!

Get Started with HIIT

How it works starting a HIIT workout.

Getting Started with HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

Interval training means alternating between intensity levels. You generally alternate between low and medium to high intensity. High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short, leaves no room for anything less than your maximum effort.

But what is your maximum effort?

Maximum effort can be measured a number of ways. One simple method is to first identify your maximum heart rate. There are charts that you can use which take other elements into consideration, however you can also find a general range by subtracting your age from 220.

For example, if you’re 40 years old then your maximum heart rate should be 180 beats per minute. With HIIT the goal is to hit about 95% of your maximum heart rate. Continuing with the example of a 40 year old person then 95% of 180 is 171 beats per minute.

Now a normal resting heart rate is generally around 60 beats per minute. So if you’re almost tripling the heart rate then you can image what it feels like. The good news is that this intensity level only lasts for a minute or less.Then you get to rest.

The maximum heart rate method is only effective if you’re performing a cardio workout and if you have a heart rate monitor. If you’re training in sit-ups or pushups then your heart rate doesn’t apply. Instead, you’re performing the movement as fast as you can until your time is up. In twenty seconds you might get 20 sit-ups or 15 pushups if you’re very well trained. In subsequent rounds the number of sit-ups or pushups is likely to decrease as your body fatigues.

So you can use heart rate to estimate intensity. You can also perform a maximum number of reps in a specific amount of time, 20 seconds for example. You can also estimate your intensity level by simply exercising as hard as you can for the duration.

Here’s an interesting tidbit for you, in studies, women tend to be better able to work out at a higher intensity for a short duration than men, based on measurements of their cardiac output and VO2 Max.

Warm Up Before Getting Started with HIIT

It’s important to identify a means for measuring your effort. There’s no right or wrong method and the method you choose may very well depend on the type of HIIT program you choose. Before we talk about creating your HIIT program, let’s discuss the importance of warming up before you work out.

HIIT isn’t something you just get up off of the couch and do. Warming up is essential for proper form, recovery, and to prevent injuries. Your warm up will depend on your chosen program. For example, if you’re going to do a squat Tabata then you might warm up by jogging a quarter mile and then performing 20-30 slow and deep squats. You want to thoroughly warm up the muscles that you’re going to be using.

If you’re going to do a rowing HIIT workout then you might row a slow 250-meter row followed by 20 squats. Then you’d row a medium intensity 250-meter row followed by 10 squats. You’d finish it up with a hard 250 meters at about 75-80% of your maximum effort. Then it’d be time to begin your workout. Your muscles would likely be sufficiently warm.

Skipping this step can result in injury. Remember, when you’re warming up you’re not just warming up your leg or arm muscles. You’re also warming up your heart and lungs and preparing them for your workout. Work out for at least three minutes before any HIIT workout and make sure you feel mentally and physically ready to begin.

Creating Your HIIT Program

High Intensity Interval Training isn’t something you do every day. Most experts recommend performing this type of workout just three times a week. There are different approaches depending on your fitness level, your current fitness program, and whether you’re starting a new fitness program or integrating HIIT into your existing program.

HIIT for Beginners

If you’re new to exercise and fitness or beginning a new fitness program, then you may want to begin with just one HIIT workout each week. You can then gradually increase the number of workouts depending on how your body is feeling.

For example, let’s say you decide that you’re going to start running. Generally, you’ll probably run three to four times each week. One of those weekly workouts would be a HIIT workout. The others would be running for time or distance at a moderate or low intensity level.

What you’ll find with this type of approach is that your running fitness progresses more quickly. Someone who is beginning a running program and doesn’t include a HIIT workout or two each week will not likely reach their running goals as quickly. With HIIT you might hit your goal of being able to run a 5k at eight-minute mile pace in a few months. It might take another beginner runner a full year or more to reach this milestone.

Sticking with running for a minute, in addition to performing a HIIT running workout, you can also perform other strength training workouts for runners. Lunges, squats, and box jumps are all exceptional workouts to consider. You can do these in Tabata format, which is 20 seconds of work followed by ten seconds of rest. The work rounds are repeated eight times, which equates to four very intense minutes of exercise.

Integrating HIIT into Your Existing Fitness Program

If you’ve been working out for a while and you have reached a plateau in either your fitness or weight loss, then HIIT can help. Without changing your movements, you can integrate a Tabata or interval type plan into your existing program.

Let’s take cycling as an example. If you’re an avid cyclist, either stationary or on the road, you might ride as hard and fast as you can for 20 or 30 seconds. Decrease the resistance on your bike and increase your repetitions to increase the intensity. You should feel like you can’t possibly continue. If you have a heart rate monitor then go ahead and shoot for that 90-95% of your maximum heart rte.

Remaining on your bike, you’ll then ride at a slower intensity for 90 seconds. You should be able to regain your relaxed breathing by the end of those 90 seconds. Kick it back into gear and ride at a high intensity for another 30 seconds. Recover and repeat. You’re done when you’ve repeated the cycle 8 times.

Whether you run, cycle, row or you love the elliptical at the gym, you can easily apply HIIT to your existing fitness program.

However, you may want to mix it up to stay motivated, engaged, and to strengthen the foundation movements for any given exercise. For example, in order to run faster and longer you need strong hip and gluteal muscles. Squats and lunges are two of the best exercises for improving the strength of those muscles. You can integrate a squat Tabata into your regular fitness routine.

You might run at a moderate pace and distance for three days. One day you perform interval runs and one day each week you do a Tabata squat routine. You’ll undoubtedly notice the difference in your strength and speed after just a few weeks of HIIT.

If you’re not interested in starting a regular fitness program, but would rather try a wide variety of exercise routines, consider creating your own HIIT program.

For example, on Monday you might run 400-meter sprints followed by a rest that is exactly as long as it took you to run 400 meters. If it takes you two minutes to run 400 meters, then you rest for exactly two minutes before running another 400. The next day you might perform a sit-up Tabata followed by a pull-up Tabata on the third day. You’d then take two days off.

On your first day back you might do a push-up Tabata followed by a rowing workout and so on. If you take this approach you’ll probably want to plan your week’s workouts in advance so you don’t have to try and figure out what you’re going to do each day.

Remember to warm up before you work out and to cool down too. The cool down may be as simple as walking for a quarter mile. Let your heart rate and breathing return to normal.
We’ve talked a lot about the different approaches to High Intensity Interval training. Let’s take a look at a few different sample training programs. You can use these programs as they’re written or to help you design your own.

Sample Treadmill HIIT Program

Warm up before you start.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Run for 30 seconds at 90-95% your maximum heart rate or as fast and hard as you can run. Rest for 30 seconds. Stop the treadmill and stand or sit. Repeat this process 10 times. If you’re new to HIIT you might rest for 60 or even 90 seconds between each 30-second run.

Tuesday – Rest day.

Thursday – Spot focus. Tabata sit-ups or Tabata push-ups. 20 seconds maximum effort, 10 second rest repeated for eight cycles.

Saturday – Spot focus. Tabata push-ups, squats, or jump rope.

Sunday – Rest day.

The Treadmill HIIT can be changed to be a stationary cycle, elliptical, or rowing machine.

Sample Strength Training HIIT Program

Warm up before you start.

Monday – With a heavy dumbbell in each hand, for example 40 pounds, perform 20 lunges on each side. Rest for three minutes between each round and then repeat four times.

Tuesday – Squat Tabata (you can also back squat, front squat, or overhead squat with a heavy bar 20 reps with a 3 minute rest in between each round). Repeat five times.

Wednesday – Rest day.

Thursday – Rest day.

Friday – 20 seconds of burpees followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for eight cycles.

Saturday – Pull-ups or push-ups Tabata.

Sunday – Deadlift 20 reps followed by a 250-meter row (or run or cycle). Repeat 5 times.

As you can see, any exercise or fitness program can be easily adapted to include HIIT workouts. Whether you hula-hoop, prefer endurance exercise, or enjoy the gym fitness equipment you can get better results by including a few High Intensity Interval Training workouts each week. Before you get started with HIIT, let’s take a look at “Tips for HIIT Success” for some final tips to help you achieve a positive outcome.

Dumbbell Workout Program

Are you ready to take action and start doing dumbbell workout exercises?

Setting Up Your Dumbbell Workout Program

As promised in the first article in this series of our dumbbell workout program, we’ll have covered enough material showcasing the best dumbbell exercise program for building muscle mass that you’ve ever seen.

Well, up to this point, it’s the best we’ve ever seen anyway.

So, after going through all the dumbbell exercises, it’s time to take stock of some of the points we’ve discussed and then outline the tools to help you put together your own dumbbell workout plan.

These key points are the reasons that you should get fit and buff through a dumbbell workout program of your own:

  1. Appreciate life more.
  2. Enjoy doing activities that you would not otherwise be able to do.
  3. Avoid getting weighed down by vague aches and pains, which only cause you to worry. (Remember that when you are unfit, you are open to becoming a victim of dangerous diseases)
  4. Have more opportunities for interacting with people who enjoy being around others like you.
  5. Gain more self-confidence, enabling you to do your job better.
  6. Give the impression that you are able to easily do things that other people can’t do as well (read: wake up feeling great, chase and bring down muggers, save people from dangerous or risky situations), therefore, bad elements will be wary of you while good people will appreciate your presence because it makes them feel more secure.

Clearly, reaching for the ideal body build and proportion is not about vanity alone, it’s more about having a better quality of life.

Our dumbbell exercises are progressive, so that means you should start small, then go towards doing more challenging workouts. The more you workout, the more fit and healthy you get!

More details and further instructions about the various dumbbell exercises are given on our dumbbell exercise videos so don’t forget to watch them before attempting to do any of the exercises we’ve talked about.

All right, we’re done with what we’ve set out to do here. Now it’s your turn.

You have two options here. You could just bookmark these articles in your computer and forget about them or you or you rise to the challenge and give yourself a complete muscle makeover.

  1. Read Instructional Articles Below
  2. Watch “The Dumbbell Series” Videos Below That
  3. Start Your Dumbbell Workout Routine

Use this dumbbell training guilde for your muscle building success.

Take some time to browse through these articles so that you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to perform these exercises in the most effective way we possibly can. However, never do anything that you are not completely certain about.

The ball’s in your court now. Go to MyFitnessNut.com and subscribe to the free My Fitness Nut Newsletter and for a limited time get the full set of “Muscle Building Videos: The Dumbbell Series” included with your free subscription then watch them (most less than a minute), review the above articles and get started with your own personalized dumbbell workout routine.

Dumbbell Back Exercises

These dumbbell back exercises can level you right up.Previously, we’ve talked about how dumbbell arm exercises can benefit you and even your loved ones by setting the stage for gaining more health, more strength, and even providing opportunities for saving some serious cash.

Today, we’ll discuss dumbbell back exercises as part of our dumbbell workout program and prove how doing these exercises are a great way to level up your muscle building plan.

By the end of this article series, we’ll have covered enough material showcasing the best dumbbell exercise program for building muscle mass that the world has ever seen.


Words to the Wise About Muscle Building in General

Since we are now on the “how to do it” phase of our master plan, it’s time to distribute these cautionary words of wisdom related to muscle building:

  1. Maintain good posture. Always. This is a must, especially since you are not using gym machines that stay in place. A wrong move could be cause for injury, so make sure your posture is correct when you start your dumbbell workout. This also applies when you are placing your dumbbells on the floor and lifting them again during your dumbbell exercises.
  2. Always get a “clean bill of health” clearance first before starting on any workout routine, including your dumbbell workout. Remember this thought: workout in haste, repent in leisure.
  3. Do not cheat. Remember that dumbbell exercises do not build up muscles in isolation. There are step-by-step instructions given in the videos for you to follow and get the most out of your dumbbell workout.. If you cheat, you may finish your set more quickly, but you’ll only be fooling yourself.
  4. Consult with a bodybuilding expert or trainer on whether or not it would be best to use fixed weight dumbbells or adjustable weight dumbbells in your case. The choice will be based on several factors such as your cash flow (fixed weights are more expensive) and your overall body condition. If you’re a beginner, it may be to your best interest to go with adjustable weight dumbbells. They require more input from you in terms of adjustments, but at least you will be able to control more easily just how much you will lift.

Doing Dumbbell Back Exercises:

Here are our recommended dumbbell back exercises, with details about why these are great to do for your muscle building program, along with some sample dumbbell workout videos to demonstrate how these back exercises are done:

  • Dumbbell pullover – a dumbbell pullover requires a pair of dumbbells and an exercise bench to lean on. A pullover is great for conditioning the lower chest or the lower pecs, the lats, the rear deltoids or rear shoulders, the middle of the back, the upper shoulder, the rear of the neck, the front shoulders, the upper chest, and the inner forearm. Does your job require the repetitive use of your arms from shoulder, to forearm, to wrist? Writers, some types of athletes such as tennis players, and painters often get afflicted with painful shoulders, forearms, or wrists. This would be a great exercise for them.

  • Dumbbell shrugs – dumbbell shrugs are perfect for the upper shoulders, the upper back and the lower back. Requires no other equipment aside from the dumbbells. Must be done on an even surface, standing up.

  • Dumbbell upright row – the main target of a dumbbell upright row are the side shoulders. The synergists or the muscles helping in the conditioning of the main target are the front shoulders, the rotatory cuff, the upper and outer forearms, the biceps, the middle of the back, the serratus magnus (boxer’s muscle), and the rotator cuff. The stabilizers, or the muscles that help maintain posture for this exercise are the upper shoulder and the rear neck.

  • Dumbbell rows – dumbbell rows are also known as dumbbell bent-over rows. This exercise targets the back as a whole. Muscles called to support this target are the upper and middle back, the lats, the back outer helper or little lats, the rear shoulder, rotatory cuff, biceps, the upper-outer forearm, and the lower pecs. Stabilizers are the front and back of the arms (biceps and triceps). This requires the use of an exercise bench.

  • Dumbbell side bends – dumbbell side bends are perfect for dancers (yes, there are male dancers), gymnasts (ditto), and others who require a whole lot of balance, flexibility and agility in their line of work (think construction people who work up high balancing steel bars). The main target of this exercise are the obliques (upper hips, sides of waist). Synergists for this exercise include the deep lower back and the hip. The stabilizers are the upper and back shoulders, and the hips.

You can get the full set of 52 different dumbbell exercises when you subscribe to the My Fitness Nut Newsletter at the top of the home page.

Can These Dumbbell Back Exercises Be Selectively Done?

Of course you have a free hand in determining whether or not you will do the dumbbell back exercises as a group, or selectively only. However, when training is being done not only for body conditioning, but also for developing muscles according to plan, then it is highly recommended that the exercises be done as a group.

That means, you progress from one exercise—and perfect it—before going on to the next.

If you’ll review the given dumbbell exercises, you’ll see that although they may sometimes target only one specific group of muscles, the overall effect is spread out through several muscle groups.

Specifically, for these dumbbell back exercises, you’ll notice that while it is the back that is the main target, you also get to work on your shoulders, arms, wrists, and even your waist and hips. How’s that for hitting many birds with one stone?

Being Zen About Your Dumbbell Exercises

At this point, you may get the impression that muscle building is all about work, and you may not immediately see where the fun begins in a dumbbell workout. That’s par for the course, particularly if this is your first time at attempting to get fit and healthy.

The reality is – and you can ask any bodybuilder about this – it’s really only “work” at the very start. As you progress from dumbbell arm exercises to dumbbell back exercises and so on, the “work” part of what you are doing eventually gets eclipsed by the sheer joy of knowing that you are actively doing something to sculpt your body to the way that it should be.