No time to work out? That’s no excuse any more! It might sound too good to be true, but it really does work – just seven minutes of regular training is all you need to build muscle. It can also help prevent back problems and loss of physical strength as well as working to stabilize the musculoskeletal system. The phrase “sometimes less is more” now also applies to strength training. Renowned sports scientist Dr Uwe Scholz from the Institute of Sport at the University of Bayreuth confirms this: “New scientific studies show that, if performed regularly, one minute of training to the point of tiredness for each muscle group is enough to produce very good results in terms of strength.”
What’s best is that you don’t need anything at all to do the workouts – just yourself! You don’t even have to change out of your suit. No sweat – no shower – strong and fit in no time at all! Here are the top 7 exercises for fashion-conscious, health-focussed and stylish men that can be done anywhere. Use it or lose it!
- How intense? Do every exercise to the point of tiredness.
- How long? Total training time depends on individual fitness. Normally, tiredness occurs after 40-80 seconds.
- How often? At least one set per exercise. Of course, you can also do each exercise to the point of tiredness multiple times. You should make sure you have a break of at least 2-3 minutes between each set of exercises for the same muscle group.
- Important: Remember to breathe steadily and do not hold or force your breath.
1. Desk press-ups – strengthens chest, anterior shoulder and arm (triceps) muscles
- Get into a press-up position, placing your hands shoulder-width apart on your desk.
- Now bend and stretch your arms, making sure that your elbows stay close to your body.
- Tense all your muscles and keep your entire body in one line.
- Breathe in as you lower, breathe out as you push back up.
Harder: The greater the angle of your body away from the desk, i.e. the further away your legs are from the desk, the harder the exercise will be.
Easier: Move your feet closer to the desk or do the exercise against a wall.
2. Two-legged squat with a chair – strengthens quadriceps (front of thigh) and gluteal muscles
- Stand behind a chair with your feet parallel to one another, shoulder-width apart.
- Hold on to the back of a chair.
- Now bend your knees and then return to an upright position.
- Keep your back straight. Make sure that your knees are directly over your feet. To do this, actively push your knees slightly outwards. Keep the weight of your body to the back as you go down, so that your heels don’t lift off the ground.
- Breathe in as you go down, breathe out as you come up.
Harder: Do the squat more slowly or don’t come all the way up in the stretch. You can also do the exercise standing on one leg.
Easier: Don’t go down so low and use the chair to support more of your weight.
3. Great eagle – strengthens upper back muscles
- Sit on the edge of a chair.
- Bring your arms into a “Hands up!” position so that the angle between your upper arms and your torso is greater than 90°.
- Your arms should be positioned so that your thumbs point behind you.
- Draw your upper arms and shoulder blades as far back as possible.
- Top tip: Hold this position for 3 x 20 seconds with a 10 second break in between.
Harder: Make small pulsing movements with your arms pushing them further back (peak contraction).
Easier: Small eagle – hold your lower arms parallel to the floor.
4. Leg lifts – strengthens stomach muscles and hip flexors
- Sit on the front edge of a chair and support yourself by placing your hands on the armrests.
- Stretch your legs out in front of you.
- Keeping your legs stretched, lift them both off the ground and make small lifting movements with both legs.
Harder: Alternate bringing your legs in towards you (cycling), when your left leg is bent, the right leg is straight and vice versa.
Easier: Keep your knees bent as you do the exercise.
5. Lat pull – strengthens the mid-back muscles
- Bend forwards with your upper body and place your hands around your knees.
- Now pull backwards with maximum strength in your hands and upper arms.
- Keep your hands on your knees the whole time.
- Your back can be slightly curved or straight.
- Top tip: Do this exercise for 3 x 20 seconds with a 10 break in between.
Harder: Always pull back with as much strength as possible.
Easier: Use slightly less strength to pull back.
6. Kick back – strengthens upper arm (triceps) and posterior shoulder muscles
- Place one knee on a chair.
- Keep your upper body straight and lean forwards.
- Hold your arms straight and lift them as far up and back as possible.
- Make small contracting movements upwards and inwards.
Harder: Use more strength to pull back and up with your arms or hold two water bottles as weights.
Easier: Don’t pull back so far with your arms.
7. One-armed biceps curl with leg resistance – strengthens biceps
- Grab on to the back of your left thigh with your right hand, right above the knee.
- At the same time, press your right elbow against the inside of your right thigh.
- Support yourself with your left hand on your right thigh.
- Use your own thigh as resistance. Use maximum resistance in your thigh to oppose the bending and stretching of your arm. When you stretch your arm against the resistance of your leg, your leg will also stretch. When you bend your arm against the resistance of your leg, your leg will also bend.
- At its highest point, the leg should be significantly bent and almost straight at its lowest point.
Harder or easier: You can increase or decrease the intensity by changing the resistance in your leg.
The CARL GROSS team