The 12 Best Exercises For An Effective 12 Minute Workout
If you’re short on time and want to get in a heart-pumping, full-body workout in only 12 minutes, then you’re in the right place!
Our personal training team has put together this time saving, high energy, low-impact workout that’s perfect for the home and any level of fitness.
You can complete these 12 essential exercises in any order you like or swap in some of your favorites along the way. You don’t need any equipment, just your own body, and a workout mat!
Think of this quick 12-minute workout as the perfect mix of cardio, HIIT, functional, and yoga - all rolled into one.
You might not believe such a short exercise session can deliver results, but numerous studies show that a moderate to vigorous intensity 10-minute workout has similar benefits to a 30-minute jog, while boosting your mood and focus.
READY TO GET STARTED?
Each exercise we’ve chosen has a duration of 45 seconds, with a 15-second rest in between. For every exercise we recommend form over speed - this workout is all about gaining strength, improving flexibility, and targeting every major muscle.
Feel free to do a light warm-up beforehand, which might include fast walking on the spot, gentle standing body twists or standing hamstring stretches.
1. STANDING KNEE-TO-ELBOW RAISERS
Targets: Core, hip flexors, glutes, calves
Tip: This is the perfect warm-up exercise for any workout to get your heart rate going and loosen up your muscles.
2. HEEL TOUCHES
Target: Abdominals, obliques, shoulders, upper arms
Tip: For lower intensity pull your heels closer toward your glutes and alternate touching your heels on either foot.
3. PLANK JACKS
Targets: Core, lower back, legs, arms, shoulders
Tip: For a more intense variation, kick both legs outward as far as possible and repeat reps quickly to increase your heart rate.
4. LUNGE AND REACH
Targets: Core, glutes, calves, hip flexors, shoulders
Tips: Lean forward on the front leg so the knee crosses the toes for a deeper stretch in the hips.
5. IN AND OUT SQUAT JUMPS
Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, calves
Tips: Keep the head and shoulders up while exhaling when initiating the jump.
6. LEG RAISES
Targets: Core, hip flexors, quadriceps, glutes, lower back
Tips: Control the contraction of your abs by slowly lowering your legs to the floor and then swinging the legs up quickly during each rep.
7. SLOW-MOTION FLOOR CYCLE
Targets: Abdominals, obliques, quads, hip flexors
Tips: Move each leg away from and toward your head at the same speed to get the most benefits!
8. SHOULDER TAPS
Targets: Shoulders, arms, core, lower back
Tip: Perform this exercise on your knees if you find the full plank pose too difficult, you’ll still get a great core workout!
9. GLUTE BRIDGES
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, core, hip flexors
Tip: Avoid fast thrusting and instead slow each repetition down to concentrate on your glutes and reduce strain on your lower back.
10. SLOW MOTION MOUNTAIN CLIMBER
Targets: Shoulders, triceps, quads, hamstrings, core
Tip: Pause at the top of each climb to ensure you’re achieving maximum concentration on the core muscles.
11. BALANCING TABLE POSE
Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, shoulders, arms, core
Tip: Hold each pose for a few breaths before alternating sides - this is one of the best stability exercises on the planet!
12. DOWNWARD FACING DOG
Targets: Hamstrings, calves, shoulders, triceps, neck
Tip: Finish this 12-minute workout by moving from Downward Facing Dog into a Child’s Pose to relax your entire body.
FINDING THE PERFECT WORK/LIFE BALANCEThe convenience and freedom of doing a workout like this at home means you can easily fit it into your daily schedule. It doesn’t have to be too demanding, as long as you’re moving!
There are also a huge range of affordable, easy-to-use training accessories that can enhance these quick workouts and take your training to the next level, including exercise bands, skipping ropes, kettlebells, and lightweight dumbbells.
Whether you want to kickstart your day, sneak in a lunchtime session or finish the day feeling amazing, we hope these 12 essential exercises worked for you!