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Your One-Week At-Home Workout Plan: The 12-Minute Athlete

V Ups exercise
V up

Feeling restless and in need of a good exercise routine you can pull off at home? THE 12-MINUTE ATHLETE author Krista Stryker, who’s also an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer, has created a custom 1-week at-home workout plan for you…

Spending more time at home means you also probably have more time in general—the perfect excuse to prioritize your workouts and level up your fitness.

Even if you don’t have access to your normal gym, bodyweight workouts can still be done at home, and when done right, can be even more effective than gym workouts. I’ve been doing mainly equipment-free workouts for nearly a decade now, and my new book, The 12-Minute Athlete, focuses mainly on workouts you can do in your own home or at a nearby park.

Not only are bodyweight workouts totally portable and require little to no equipment, they’re also super functional, use your entire body, and build increased athleticism. Plus, bodyweight workouts can also be adjusted for nearly any skill or fitness level for a lifetime of challenges. For example, a basic push up can be made easier by placing your hands on an elevated surface, and can be made more difficult by adding a plyometric element (think clapping or superman push ups) or by working one arm variations. The possibilities are endless!

Get creative and think about challenging yourself just a little more with every workout.

The 12-Minute Athlete by Krista Stryker cover

Your One-Week At-Home Workout Plan 

The following workout plan is targeted toward beginner/intermediate exercisers, with options to modify exercises to make them less or more difficult based on your current fitness level. 

Before each workout, make sure to do a short warm up first, focusing on dynamic exercises like jumping jacks, leg swings, and runner’s lunges to get your body feeling warm and heart rate up before starting your actual workout. Never go into a workout completely cold. 

Here’s an example of a week-long workout schedule: 

  • Monday: Workout A
  • Tuesday: Workout B
  • Wednesday: Workout C
  • Thursday: Workout A
  • Friday: Workout B
  • Saturday: Workout C
  • Sunday: Rest

For all of the exercises, start with the most difficult version of the exercise you can do, only modifying to an easier version when you fatigue. This will help remind you to keep pushing harder with each rep! 

Workout A

Workout type: 12-Minute HIIT Workout 

Workout instructions: Use an interval timer and set the timer for 18 rounds of 10 second and 30 second intervals. Rest on the 10 second intervals, then work as hard as you can on the 30 second intervals. Follow the exercises below: 

  1. Bodyweight squats 
  2. Push ups 
  3. Forward to backwards lunges  
  4. High knees 
  5. Plank up/downs
  6. V up in/outs 

Exercises

Bodyweight Squats: Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Pull your shoulders back and engage your core. Lower down into a deep squat. Squeeze your glutes and keep your chest proud as you stand back up.

Make it easier: Lower to parallel instead of a full deep squat.

Make it harder: Fill a backpack with books or other heavy objects and wear it during the bodyweight squats.

Push Ups: Get into a push up position with your shoulders directly over your wrists. Push up through your shoulders, brace your core, and make sure your hips aren’t piked into the air. Lower your chest down until it touches or almost touches the floor. Your gaze should be slightly in front of your fingertips. Push back up.

Make it easier: Place your hands on an elevated surface such as a countertop, bench, or stairs. The higher the surface, the easier it will be.

Make it harder: Add a jump or a clap at the top of the push up to make it more challenging. Adding plyometrics to any exercise will increase the difficulty level.

Forward to Backwards Lunges: Stand with your feet together, then step forward into a forward lunge. Return to standing, then step backwards into a backwards lunge. That’s one rep. Make sure to work both sides equally.  

Make it harder: Fill a backpack with books or other heavy objects and wear it during the lunges.

High Knees: Sprint in place as fast as you can, driving your knees toward your chest.

Plank exercise
Plank

Plank Up/Downs: Start in a high plank position with your shoulders directly over your hands. Push up through your shoulders and engage your core. Lower to your forearm on one side, followed by the other so that you end up in a forearm plank. Walk back up to a high plank. That’s one rep.

V Up In/Outs: Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms reached behind you. Engage your core and pull your knees toward your chest. Return to the starting position without losing core engagement.

Workout B

Workout type: Time Challenge Workout 

Workout instructions: Complete three rounds, resting as little as possible in between reps and sets. Go through these exercises in a circuit:

  • 10 squat step overs 
  • 10 push up to backwards lunges
  • 10 pike push ups
  • 20 side lunges 
  • 20 plank shoulder taps 
  • 10 superman raises
  • 30 flutter kicks

Exercises

Squat Step Overs: Stand beside a sturdy chair or plyo box and do a deep bodyweight squat. Stand up, then immediately step sideways onto the box and over until you reach the other side. Immediately perform another squat. Each squat is one rep.

Make it harder: Fill a backpack with books or other heavy objects.

Push Up to Backwards Lunges: From standing, step or jump down into a push up position and do a full push up. Jump or step to stand back up, then immediately step back into a backwards lunge on one side and then the other. That’s one rep.

Make it easier: Place your hands on an elevated surface such as a countertop, bench, or stairs. The higher the surface, the easier it will be.

Make it harder: Fill a backpack with books or other heavy objects and wear it during these.

Pike Push Ups: Get into a downward dog position with your hips piked into the air. Your hands should be about shoulder-width apart. Pull your ribs in and push up through your shoulders, then lower your forehead down until it touches or almost touches the ground. Focus on keeping your elbows close to your sides. 

Side lunge exercise
Side lunge

Side Lunges: Stand up straight with your legs in a wide stance. The longer your legs, the wider your stance will need to be. Lower to one side, aiming to touch your calf with the back of your hamstring. Stand back up and immediately repeat on the other side.

Make it easier: Hold onto something for balance and only go as low as you can to start.

Make it harder: Fill a backpack with books or other heavy objects and wear it during these.

Superman Raises: Lie on your stomach with your hands straight in front of you. Squeeze your butt as you simultaneously raise your legs and arms off the floor. Hold briefly, then lower back down.

Make it harder: Hold onto something like a heavy book or light dumbbells to make superman raises even more challenging.

Plank Shoulder Taps: Get into a high plank with your shoulders directly over your hands. Engage your core and push up through your shoulders. Raise one arm off the ground and touch your shoulder on your opposite side. Repeat on the opposite side. That’s one rep. 

Flutter Kicks: Lie on the ground with your arms by your side and your legs straight. Engage your core and raise your shoulders slightly off the ground, pointing your gaze at your feet. Raise your legs slightly above the floor, pressing your lower back into the ground as you do so, then pump your legs up and down. If you’re unable to maintain lower back contact, raise your legs up higher until you can.

Workout C

Workout type: 12-Minute AMRAP Workout

Workout instructions: Complete as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes:

  • 8 burpees
  • 16 step ups
  • 10 bodyweight squats
  • 50 mountain climbers 
  • 8 hip thrusts
  • 16 punching sit ups 

Exercises

Burpees exercise
Burpee

Burpees: From standing, jump your feet back into a plank and do a full push up. Jump your feet toward your hands, then jump explosively up into the air. 

Make it easier: Drop to a plank and skip the push up to make burpees easier. You can also step back into the plank rather than jump back to further modify this exercise.

Make it harder: Add a tuck jump at the top to add an extra challenge.

Step Ups: Stand facing a sturdy chair, plyo box, or stairs. Step up onto the chair with one leg, bringing the other leg bend toward your chest as you do so. Step back down, then repeat on the other side. Each step is one rep.

Make it easier: The shorter the step, the easier this exercise will be.

Make it harder: Fill a backpack with books or other heavy objects and wear it during the step ups.

Mountain climbers: Get into a high plank position with your shoulder directly over your hands. Push up through your shoulders and pull your ribs in to engage your core. Bring one knee forward toward your hands, step back into a plank, then bring the other knee forward. Go for speed.

Make it easier: Do mountain climbers with your hands on an elevated surface to make them easier.

Hip thrusts: Lie on your back with your knees bent and arms by your side. Your feet should be about hip-width apart. Squeeze your glutes as you raise your hips up. Pause briefly, then lower back down.

Make it harder: Place your feet on an elevated surface to add an extra challenge. Alternatively, you can do single leg hip thrusts with one leg up in the air (just make sure to work both sides equally). 

Punching sit ups: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Pull your ribs in to engage your core, tuck your chin, then do a full sit up. Punch the air with both fists at the top, aiming to get past your knees. Lower back down with control, trying not to pause at the bottom. That’s one rep.

Want more? For two 8-week workout plans for getting fitter, faster, and stronger, plus more than a dozen simple and healthy recipes that will fuel your workouts, pick up a copy of THE 12-MINUTE ATHLETE by Krista Stryker.


If you enjoyed this article, you may also like: 5 Tips for Falling into (Better) Sleep from The 4-Season Solution.


Photos by Tamara Muth-King. Used with permission.

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