Don’t have time to work out? In his new book Mind Your Body, celebrity personal trainer Joel Harper shares his favorite 15 minute body-weight workouts. With no equipment or significant time investment required, his top 10 arm and leg moves are perfect to build strength at home. Whether you’re training for a specific sport, or training for life, these moves will help you stay strong on-the-go:
Top 5 Exercises for Stronger Arms
1. Field Goals
Strengthens: Upper arms, shoulders, and upper back
- Get ready: Stand with your feet comfortably apart.
- Bring your arms out to the sides, palms forward and elbows in line with your shoulders. Bend your elbows to make a right angle with forearms pointing forward.
- Go! Rotate your hands and forearms down until they are parallel to the floor, pause, then bring them back up. Repeat for 30 seconds. Alternate arms, repeating for an additional 30 seconds.
- Then bring your arms in front of you and tap your forearms all the way together and all the way back to the sides, repeating thirty times.
2. Flabby Arm Evaporator
- Get ready: Sit with your hands about a foot behind you, shoulder width apart, palms on the mat, and fingertips pointed toward your butt. Bend your knees with feet flat on the mat, about shoulder width apart.
- Go! Use your arms to lift your butt off the ground until your elbows are one inch short of being fully straight, then bend your elbows and tap your tailbone forward toward your heels. Only your elbows move here, with the effort coming from your upper arms.
- Do 25 times. Once you have mastered this move, pump it up by simultaneously lifting your right leg off the mat and straightening it in the air above you, and do 25 dips. Then switch legs and repeat.
3. Forearm Stretch
- Get ready: Kneel upright, then place your hands down in front and right next to your knees with fingertips pointing back toward your knees.
- Go! Keeping your elbows soft, gently drive the base of your palms forward until you feel a stretch in your forearms. Relax into the stretch and hold for five deep breaths. If you want a deeper stretch, keep your palms flat down and your elbows soft, and gently walk your knees and shoulders backward, away from your middle fingers.
Tones: Arms and shoulders
- Get ready: Balance on the balls of both feet and extend your arms as far as you can out to the sides, palms down and fingertips spread apart. Your body should form a T shape.
- Go! Make small “rainbow” arcs with your hands by dipping your thumbs forward two inches, and then back with your pinkies two inches.
- Go back and forth for 30 seconds, and then go at double time for 30 seconds, and finally, at triple time for another 30 seconds. Repeat this series with your palms up, while balancing on your right foot and then switching to your left foot halfway. Keep your shoulders relaxed throughout the exercise.
5. Triceps Push-Up
Strengthens: Triceps and arms
- Get ready: Lie face down with your hands down underneath your shoulders, palms down and fingertips straight ahead. Your elbows should be flush against your sides and pointing straight up. For modified, do this on your knees.
- Go! Relax your entire body and push your hands into your mat, using only your triceps to lift your upper body roughly two inches. Go up and down 50 times, keeping elbows locked in at your sides the entire time. To pump it up, do 100 repetitions.
Top 5 Exercises to Strengthen Your Legs
- Get ready: Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the mat two feet from your tailbone. Rest your hands behind you with palms down, fingertips pointing away from you, and the heels of your hands about a foot from your butt.
- Go! Keeping the soles of your feet flat on the mat, cross your left leg over the right, resting your left ankle just above your right knee. Sit up straight and focus on pressing your lower back toward your left calf. If you want to go deeper, press your left knee away from you.
- Hold for 15 seconds, then switch sides.
- Do two times on each side.
Note: Keep your arms slightly bent throughout the stretch, so you work your muscles, not your joints.
2. Knee Bounces
Strengthens: Entire body, with emphasis on quads
- Get ready: Come onto all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Keep your elbows slightly bent and your back in a straight line from the top of your head to your tailbone the entire time; raise your knees one inch off the ground.
- Go! Bounce your knees one inch up and down for two minutes. The effort should come from your quadriceps (the front of your thighs). Try to get 120 bounces in two minutes.
Note: Think floating, not pounding here. Imagine you are on a sheet of glass and you don’t want to break it.
3. Resting Side Kick
Tones: Hips and obliques
- Get ready: Lie on your left side. Rest your left ear on your left arm or hand, and bend your stacked legs at right angles, your heels in line with your spine.
- Go! Lift your right leg, flex your foot, then lower your leg, tapping your knee lightly on the ground in front of you in line with your belly button.
- Lift the leg back up, then kick it three feet in the air above your left foot. Do 25 times.
- Then lift your foot and hold it all the way up, pointing and flexing 25 times, then switch sides.
- Do two sets on each side.
4. Side Circles
Strengthens: Leg and butt muscles
- Get ready: While on all fours, lift your left leg out to the side (ideally at hip height), keeping the knee bent at a right angle, and hold it there.
- Go! Turn your left ankle in a circle 25 times clockwise, then 25 times counter-clockwise.
- Switch sides and repeat. Always keep your knee higher than your ankle.
5. Squatting Lifts
Strengthens: Entire leg
- Get ready: Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart, toes slightly angled out. Lift your arms to the sides at shoulder height, palms up. Bend your knees and sit back as if you were lowering into a chair. Go as far as feels comfortable but no lower than quads parallel to the floor. Maintain this squatted position throughout the exercise.
- Go! Lift your right heel, pause, then lower. Repeat with your left heel. Go back and forth, lifting each heel 25 times.