3 Quick Workouts for Men

At the gym, at home, or outside


You might think you don’t have enough time to work out, but you’ll be surprised how much you can get done in a half hour. “There’s no excuse not to get your exercise in because everyone has 30 minutes to spare,” says R.J. Rotante, a private trainer who works at Underground Fitness, a premier 24-hour gym in Stamford that features state-of-the-art equipment and offers free unlimited group exercise classes for members.

Rotante explains that you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get a great workout. “You can always use your own body weight for resistance if you’re unable to get to a gym,” he says, adding that focusing on core strength is an important goal when exercising.

Strengthening your body’s “core”, or center of gravity helps the transfer of power to your extremities, improves posture and spinal control like rotation, flexion (moving forward) and extention (leaning backwards). “A strong core is the anchor for every exercise, and if your center isn’t strong, your form may suffer and you can get injured,” notes Rotante. Even with a focus on the core, though, he adds that it’s important to challenge your entire body, eat a proper diet and get adequate rest.

These three workouts, designed by Rotante, offer the best of both worlds—a challenging fitness plan that can be done in about 30 minutes. Do as many rounds of each exercise as you can in that time. Rest as needed.

Workout 1: At the Gym

  1. Squat and Press: Hold dumbbells in each hand (choose from 20 lbs. and up, depending on your strength level). Keeping your core tight, slowly lower your body so you’re sitting backwards in a squat with your body weight in your heels, feet shoulder width apart, and your bottom sticking out behind you. Don’t let your knees move farther forward than your toes. As you stand up from the squat, push through your legs and move your arms up past your chest straight up above your head. Lower your arms as you begin to squat, and repeat 15-20 times.
  2. Kettle bell swings (substitute a dumbbell if necessary): Stand up straight, then bend your knees and sit into a half squat position and simultaneously lower the kettle bell to stop between your legs, a few inches off the floor. Next, use your core and hips to slowly swing the weight out and upward in front of you. Do not raise the weight above eye level. Lower, and repeat 20-30 times.
  3. Hanging Leg Raises: This move can be done in a beginning or advanced position. For beginners: Hang onto a pull up bar with your arms straight and, tightening your core, try to lift your knees up to your chest, then lower your legs and repeat. Advanced move: Hang from a pull up bar with your legs straight. Engage your core and lift your legs straight up and out in front of you until they are parallel to the ground or higher. Lower, then repeat 15-25 times.
  4. Pull ups or Chin-ups: Hang from a pull up bar, your body in a straight line. Pull your chin up to the bar so that your chin comes above it, then lower down slowly. You can either use an overhand grip where your hands are shoulder width apart, or an underhand grip where hands are cheek-to-cheek distance apart. If this is too challenging, use the modified pull up and dip machine available in most gyms. Repeat 10-15 times.
  5. Tuck Jumps: Slightly bend your knees, then using your arms and core for momentum, jump up, lift your knees to your elbows (like you’re doing a crunch in the air), land and repeat 20-25 times.
  6. Dips: Position yourself on a dip bar machine. With your body and arms in a straight line, lower your body down until your arms form a 90 degree angle, then push back up. Repeat 10-15 times.

Optional: If you have time or want a challenge, jump rope between every other move for 1-2 minutes.

Workout 2: At Home

With this workout, time yourself from anywhere between 30 seconds to 1 ½ minutes (depending on your strength) for each exercise, doing as many reps of each move as you can in that time. Then proceed to next exercise, or rest for around 30 seconds between moves. 

  1. Burpees: Start in an upright position, then kneel down, put your palms on the floor shoulder width apart, jump your feet back so you’re in a push up position, and do a push up. Then, jump your feet forward to meet your hands, stand up straight and do a small jump into the air.
  2. Alternating Lunge Jumps: Get in a lunge position by stepping forward with your right leg, bending your knees and lowering your body so your legs are at a 90 degree angle and your torso is straight. From here, jump up and switch legs mid-air so that you land in a lunge position with the opposite legs forward and backward. To modify: Don’t jump between lunges. From the initial lunge position, step back so your feet are together, then immediately step forward into a lunge with the opposite leg.
  3. High Plank Knee-To-Elbow: Get in a push up position with your arms straight and your body in a straight line. Keeping your core tight, bring your opposite knee up to meet your opposite elbow. Bring your leg back to the original position then alternate legs.
  4. Single Leg Squat: From a squat position, stand up and raise one leg up and straight out in front of you, then lower your leg back down and squat.
  5. Abdominal V-ups: This exercise works the upper and lower abs at the same time, as well as strengthens the lower back muscles and tones the thighs. Lie down on your back on the floor and extend your arms straight behind your head. The back of your hands should touch the floor while your palms face the ceiling. Keep your feet together and your toes pointing toward the ceiling. Next, tighten your core, slowly lift your legs off the floor and at the same time raise your upper body off of the floor and reach for your toes. Lower and repeat.
  6. Diamond Push-Ups: Lie on your stomach on the floor. Place your hands directly under your shoulders flat on the floor and touching each other, making a diamond shape with your thumb and pointer finger. Push your body up off the floor and extend your arms, keeping your body in a straight line. Then, slowly lower your whole body to the floor by bending your arms, keeping them close into your sides. Push your body back up into a plank until your arms are fully extended.

Workout 3: Outdoors

  1. Begin this workout by either running ¼ mile (or for 2-3 minutes) at a moderate pace, or doing 2-3 minutes of jump roping.
  2. Squat Jumps: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms down by your sides. Squat down until your knees are bent about 90 degrees. Then, push your body back up and jump into the air, extending your arms overhead at the same time. As you land, gently bend your knees and sink back down into the original squat position. Repeat 10-20 times.
  3. Spiderman Push-Ups: Start in push-up or plank position, with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line off the floor. As you lower your torso towards the floor, bend your elbows out to the sides. At the same time, lift one foot a few inches off the floor, and continue to hold your leg straight as you complete the push up. Repeat 10-20 times on each side.
  4. Rest if necessary for up to 1 minute.
  5. Run or jump rope for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Side Plank with Rotation: Lie on your left side with your left elbow and forearm on the floor, your right arm bent and right hand placed on the back of your head. Tighten your core, and push your body up off the floor. Slowly rotate your right arm forward and down until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Rotate your arm back up until you’re in the original side plank position.  Repeat 10-15 times on each side.
  7. Dive Bomber Push-Ups: Begin in a downward dog position with your hands and feet on the floor and your hips raised in the air, your body forming an inverted V. Lower your shoulders, then move your chest forward, gliding down between your hands and then upwards. Keep your hands a few inches wider than your shoulders and your knees and hips a couple of inches off the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds, then reverse the move, bringing your hips up and back into an inverted V position. Repeat 10-20 times.
  8. Run or jump rope for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Standing Sit-Up: Lie down on the ground in a straight line. Using your core and your arms for momentum, rock backward, bending your legs and bringing your knees in towards your head, then rock forward and in one fluid motion, stand straight up. Sit down on the floor, rock backward, and repeat 10-20 times.
  10. Wide Sumo-Stance Squat Jumps: Start in a wide squat position with your feet wider than shoulder width, and your legs and feet turned out to a 45 degree angle. Squat down low sticking your bottom backward, then push through your legs to stand up and immediately jump up in the air. Land, squat and repeat. Modified move: Don’t jump between squats, just stand up between them, and lower back down into the squat. Repeat 10-20 times.
  11. Do a final 2-3 minute run or jump rope.

Underground Fitness

473 Hope St, Stamford, CT 06906