by Charlotte Andersen for SHAPE.com
We get it--you're busy! But that doesn't mean you can't put in a workout. If you're finding yourself short on time, try one of these powerful total-body plans. They're perfect for your busy lifestyle and take only 15 minutes.
1. The primal blueprint workout:Paleo diets are all the rage these days but exercising like our distant ancestors also has great benefits. Whether you're lifting heavy things to build your hut or build your biceps, research supports the perks of lifting as heavy as you can handle for short sets. You'll increase your strength and your contribution to the gene pool.
Try this primal workout from Mark's Daily Apple: Grab a weighted object (two dumbbells, sandbag, barbell, kettlebell) and do not put it down until you have completed 3 full cycles of the workout below. Do 1 set of 6 reps for every exercise, and then repeat the entire circuit two more times.
6 Overhead presses
6 Bent-over rows
You can take a break in between each cycle, but you may find that you just want to power through since you can't put down the weight.
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2. Ballerina workout: Don't let the small movements and light weights fool you. The high reps in this ballet-inspired workout will make you feel the burn while you sculpt lean muscle and improve your balance at the same time.
Grab a pair of light weights (3-5 lbs) and stand next to a chair or barre. Repeat the following sequence twice.
50 plie squats in first position (heels together, toes out)
50 plie squats in second position (heels wider that hip-width apart, toes out)
50 overhead shoulder pulses
50 biceps curls
50 triceps kickbacks
50 leg raises to the front (25/leg)
50 leg raises to the back (25/leg)
3. Plyometrics workout: Plyometrics refer to any move where both of your feet leave the ground at the same time. While these intense exercises aren't for everyone (skip them if you have knee, hip, back, or other injuries), they amp up the intensity of your workout like nothing else can. You'll be soaked in sweat long before your 15 minutes are up!
Do each exercise for 1 minute, moving from one to the next without rest in between. After you finish the last move, rest for 1 minute and repeat the circuit 2 more times, 3 times total.
4. Leg burnout: Rachel Cosgrove, author of The Female Body Breakthrough, says this workout is part of her build-a-butt plan because of the awesome shape and definition it gives your backside. Alternating squats and lunges and grounded and plyometric moves keeps all of your leg muscles engaged while offering enough variety to take your mind off the burning sensation!
Complete the full sequence twice, resting just enough between sets to catch your breath.
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5. Kettlebell workout: Kettlebells have become the workout du jour for a good reason: The swings amp up your heart rate while the power moves engage every muscle in your body, resulting in a workout that's as effective as it is fast.
Choose a kettlebell you are comfortable swinging and try this circuit, created by Jenn Nims of Girl-Heroes. 2-3 times. Do each move for 40 seconds, resting for 20 seconds between moves. Complete the entire circuit 2-3 times. (You can see a video demonstration of the moves here.)