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10-Minute Tuneups: The Power Workout

Anyone can find 10 minutes for fitness. Try the power workout for a high-energy way to get fit

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1. Warm-up: 1 minute

How it works

The key to this 10-Minute tuneup is power! Incorporating as much power as possible into your workouts is an effective way for you to get the most out of your cardio workout in a shorter amount of time. Many of the exercises here are based on plyometrics-the use of high-energy movements. Power workouts are challenging, and they will definitely make you sweat, but they are worth it.


After you warm up, do the five exercises demonstrated here. Do as many of each one as you can, as fast as you can. As you get fitter, try to build the intensity by doing more repetitions in the time allowed for each move. If you’re just getting into fitness, be cautious, and go with the easier options; they are less demanding. And be sure to speak with your doctor before you begin any new fitness program.


Warm up: The first one-minute exercise segment will provide a brief warm-up to get your major muscles moving.


Gauge the intensity: Use a stopwatch, the timer on your phone or a clock with a second hand to keep track of the time for each exercise. Your working muscles should definitely feel ready to change to the next step by the time you reach the end of each segment.


Customize moves to your needs: Some of the exercises have easier options.


Cool down and stretch: Be sure to do the cool-down at the end to lower your heart rate. And for that final minute, stretch the major muscle groups you’ve just worked.

***Watch 10-Minute Tuneups: Power Workout

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1. Warm-up: 1 minute

1. Warm-up: 1 minute

For the first minute, walk briskly around the room or march in place, swinging arms to shoulder height.

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2. Boxer's Quick Feet: 1 minute

2. Boxer’s Quick Feet: 1 minute

Works: Quads, calves, hamstrings, glutes

Place feet close together with knees slightly bent. Staying light on the balls of your feet, run “double time”-meaning as fast as you can-for one minute, lifting toes only a little off the ground. Focus on speed.

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3. Speed Skater: 2 minutes

3. Speed Skater: 2 minutes

Works: Quads, inner and outer thighs, hamstrings, glutes

Start with feet shoulder-width apart, then leap over to the right side, landing on your right foot and kicking left heel behind right leg, as if moving like a speed skater. Pause briefly, then leap to the left, landing on your left foot and kicking right heel behind left leg. Do this for two minutes, staying light on the balls of your feet as you alternate sides. 

Easier option: Step, rather than leap, from side to side.

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4. Squat Kicks: 2 minutes

4. Squat Kicks: 2 minutes

Works: Quads, calves, hamstrings, glutes, abs

With feet shoulder-width apart, squat down so that your thighs are parallel with the floor. (Don’t let your knees go past your feet.) Stand up and immediately kick your right leg in front, getting toes as high as you can. Squat down and then stand up to kick with your left leg. Alternate legs for 30 seconds; then do just squats for 30 seconds; then repeat the sequence again.

Easier option: Substitute a low or high knee lift for the kicks.

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5. Plyo Lunges: 2 minutes

5. Plyo Lunges: 2 minutes

Works: Quads, calves,  hamstrings,  glutes, abs

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Lunge forward with your right leg, bending your knee into a 90-degree angle; keep knee above your heel, and drop left (back) shin so it is parallel with the floor. Spring up by pushing off the floor with both feet and switch legs in the air so that when you land, you go into a lunge with the left leg in front this time. Repeat for 30 seconds, then march on the spot for 30 seconds. Then repeat sequence. (As you get fitter, try to spend more time on the plyo lunges and less time marching on the spot.)

Easier option: Step (rather than jump) forward and backward to switch legs.

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6. Squat Thrusts: 1 minute

6. Squat Thrusts: 1 minute

Works: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, pectorals, abs, triceps

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Bend at your knees into a low squat and place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart. Hop both legs back into a high plank (push-up) position and perform one push-up. Then, jump both legs forward into a squat and stand up; that’s one repetition. Do one minute of reps.

Easier option: From the first position, step (rather than hop) one leg back at a time into plank position; pause and bring the legs back into low-squat position.

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Erin Phelan

7. Cool-down: 1 minute

Walk around the room, taking deep breaths, for 30 seconds. Then, for another 30 seconds, slowly stretch the major muscle groups you’ve just worked.

10-Minutes: You’re done!

***Watch 10-Minute Tuneups: Power Workout Video!

Erin Phelan (pictured) is a fitness trainer and mom of two. She’s a regular contributor to Best Health.

These fitness moves are demonstrated by Robyn Baldwin.