Leg day, arm day, core day. Push, pull, squat, press. All of the ways we organize our workouts are a lot to keep straight, right? But getting a full-body workout doesn’t have to involve a color-coded Google calendar. While a strength-training regimen does typically require planning and organization to build muscle, if you’re short on time, you can also hit all your major muscle groups with efficient compound movements.
This new standing Pilates workout from East River Pilates instructor Brian Spencer will make your whole body quake in just 11 minutes. You’ll use two light weights (Spencer opts for two-pound toning balls), and the power of your brain to activate and engage.
“When it comes to strength training, this is my number-one efficiency hack: Use your brain!” Barry’s CEO Joey Gonzalez previously told Well+Good. “If you focus on the targeted muscle group while you’re performing the exercise, you can activate and challenge those muscles exponentially more.”
That brain power is key to getting the most out of this workout. There are just four base moves, with variations of arm exercises you’ll do while hinging, lunging, squatting, and squat-lunging. Making sure your glutes are turned on and your core is tight will not only ensure good form, it will make moves that appear to be arm-focused challenging all over your body.
For example, during the first move—a static hip hinge with arm reaches—Spencer advises that you “should be feeling so much in your shoulders, hamstrings, glutes, and abdominals.” While the hamstrings are “working like crazy, we’re finding length in the postural muscles, we’re engaging those abdominals, and we’re strengthening up the low back.”
A series of chest-opening, back-squeezing, and shoulder-working arm moves done in a lunge (with the front leg glute powering it all) follows the hinges. Next comes arm reaches and twists while in a squat, and Spencer finally brings it all together by adding a lunge to the squats while maintaining the arm reach and twists.
If it sounds challenging, that’s because it is. But it’s four moves, and 11 minutes, and then you’re done. Talk about efficient.