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Tone Up With a 15-Minute Workout

Who doesn't love a quick fix, especially when it comes to fitness? Unfortunately, no workout can work miracles overnight. But if you lead a busy life, finding a routine that's fun and fast can be just the ticket to getting started on the path to a fitter you. Here's one that fits the bill. It can be squeezed in during a busy day, but it helps strengthen every major muscle group in your body.

The no-hassle, no-excuses workout

All the moves in this workout can be done at home. Following the brief warm-up, do 8 to 12 repetitions of each of the exercises. All those reps should take about 90 seconds to complete.

  1. The warm-up. Spend a few minutes walking around, lifting your knees, jogging in place, or doing jumping jacks - anything to get your heart rate up.
  2. Overhead triceps press. Stand with your back straight and arms up, but bent 90 degrees at the elbows. Hold a light weight (or even a bottle of water or can of soup) behind your head just above your shoulder blades. Without moving your upper arms, push the weight above your head until just before your elbows lock. Pause for a moment, then slowly lower arms back to the starting position.
  3. Push-ups. Lie face down with your palms on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, push yourself up until your elbows are locked. Tighten your muscles, and hold for a second or two, then slowly lower yourself until your body nearly touches the floor. If you're starting out, do push-ups on your knees to make it a bit easier. If that's still too hard, try doing a standing version where you lean against a wall and push out. Whichever push-up you do, always keep your neck, back, and legs in a straight line.
  4. Squats. Stand with legs slightly wider than hip-width apart, keeping your toes pointed slightly outward. Bend your knees until your thighs are nearly parallel with the floor, raising your arms straight out in front of you as you go. Push back up to the starting position, lowering your arms.
  5. Lunges. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and take a 2- to 3-foot step forward with one foot. Keeping your back straight, bend at the knees and dip your lower body straight down. Your knee should stay over, not in front of, your toe. Return to a starting position and repeat on the other side.
  6. Abdominal crunches. Lie with your back on the floor and hands behind your head or crossed in front of your chest with hands on opposite shoulders. Keep your feet flat on the floor with knees bent. Squeeze your abdominal muscles to lift your head and shoulder blades off the floor. Lower back down to the starting position and repeat.
  7. Back extensions. Lie on your stomach with hands under your chin or down by your sides. Slowly lift your shoulders like a cobra. Keep your thighs on the floor and do not hyperextend your back. Slowly lower your body back down and repeat.

Remember, every exercise is not for every person. Before you start any new exercise program, check with your doctor first.


  • By Amanda Genge, Staff Writer, myOptumHealth
  • The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Physical activity facts. Accessed: 04/13/2011
  • American Council on Exercise. Exercise library. Accessed: 04/13/2011

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