Five minutes. It’s just 300 seconds the equivalent of a short coffee break or a quick text conversation with friends. But don’t let a measly five minutes fool you. When you’re pushing your body to its limits, five minutes can seem like an eternity. That’s the paradox (and the draw) of the five-minute workout finisher. When you’re in the agonizing throes of all-out effort you may want to quit, but rationally, you know it’ll all be over soon.
Sure, jumping jacks sound easy, but you should consider this the calm before the storm. Also, if you’re doing them as fast as you can, you may just be surprised how much effort 30 seconds requires.
Think of lizard hops as a coordinated plyometric pushup crossed with a gnarly mountain climber. It’s pretty much guaranteed to torch your entire body while sending your heart rate soaring. Start in a high push-up position, your core tight, your palms under your shoulders but slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Step your right hand forward a few inches before lowering yourself into a push-up. As you do, hop your right foot forward, reaching your right knee toward your right elbow. At the bottom of the push-up, press forcefully through your palms, hopping both hands in the air, switching their positions to bring your right hand back and your left hand forward as you simultaneously extend your right leg and bend your left leg. As your palms land, you immediately lower yourself into another pushup, this time with your left leg bent and your left knee reaching toward your left elbow. Continue alternating sides.
The trick to side shuffles is to stay low, keep your core tight, and move your feet as smoothly as possible, avoiding too much “bounce.” Thirty seconds might not seem like a long time, but your legs are guaranteed to start burning if you’re doing the exercise right.
Medicine Ball Slams
Medicine ball slams don’t look all that hard, but they’ll fire up your core in ways you might not expect. Take your time and really focus on using the muscles spanning from your glutes to your shoulders to power each slam and extension.Stand tall with a medicine ball between your hands with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Extend your arms over your head as you take a breath in, then using your core, slam the ball down to the ground just in front of your feet as hard as you can. Make sure you exhale as you perform the slam. Immediately pick the ball up and repeat the exercise.
As you might expect, sprinter sit-ups are designed to target your core, but unlike the slow and steady pace of a typical sit-up, they involve a fast and powerful “sprint” to the top with an alternating arm and leg motion. Start lying on the ground, your arms extended at your sides and your legs fully extended. In a fast and powerful movement, bend your right knee and draw it toward your torso as you sit up, driving your left arm forward and your right arm back, as if you were sprinting. Slowly and steadily reverse the movement, lowering your torso arms and leg back to the floor before immediately repeating to the opposite side.