15 Exercises You Can Do If You’ve Only Got 10 Free Minutes a Day

11 months ago

It can feel like there’s not enough time in the day to exercise, especially if you are very busy at work. The whole gym routine takes at least an hour and sometimes you just can’t find time for it. Luckily, even 10 minutes a day can help you to achieve your dream body. There are easy, quick, and effective exercises that you can do in the morning or in the evening, and they will only take 10 minutes!

1. Warm up: jump rope

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The best way to start your workout and warm your body up is by jumping rope. This quick cardio is all you need for a nice energy boost. Repeat for 30 seconds.

2. Plank with knee to elbow

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Targets: This plank is good for your abs, glutes, hip flexors, obliques, and shoulders.

What to do:

  • Come into a forearm plank position: place your forearms on the yoga mat and align the elbows below the shoulders.
  • Keep your core and back engaged, bring your left knee to your right elbow.
  • Hold for a couple of seconds and bring your leg back.
  • Repeat the same with your right leg.
  • Alternate legs for 30-40 seconds.

Tip: This exercise can be performed on a yoga mat or on a body ball (advanced level).

3. Side plank oblique crunch

Targets: This exercise helps to burn fat in your oblique area.

What to do:

  • Lie on your yoga mat on your right side. Stack your feet on top of each other.
  • Support yourself on your elbow and lift your hips up. Keep your body straight from head to heels.
  • Place your left palm behind your head and slowly left your left knee toward your left elbow.
  • Hold for a couple of seconds and return.
  • Repeat for 40 seconds on each side.

4. Crab toe touch

Targets: Crab toe touch targets your abdominal muscles.

What to do:

  • Start on your yoga mat, bend your knees, and put your feet hip-distance apart. Place your hands behind you.
  • Lift your body from the ground, your neck should be relaxed, but your core should be engaged.
  • Lift one leg up and try to reach your feet with the opposite arm.
  • Hold this position for a couple of seconds and bring your leg and hand back. Then repeat with the other one.
  • Repeat for 60 seconds alternating legs.

Tip: Don’t put your hips too high at the beginning, because the higher you lift them the harder it will be to perform the exercise.

5. Stability ball mountain climber

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Targets: This exercise targets your abdominal muscles.

What to do:

  • You will need a stability ball for this exercise. First, put your hands on a ball 18-24 inches apart from each other.
  • Bring your legs back and support your body like shown in the photo above. Make sure your body stays in a straight line.
  • Keep your core engaged and lift your left knee to your chest. Hold it for a second and place it back down.
  • Alternate your legs and hold yourself tight on the stability ball.
  • Repeat the exercise for 30 seconds.

Tip: If you don’t have a stability ball, you can do this exercise on your yoga mat, starting in a plank position.

6. Warrior balance

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Targets: Warrior balance targets the abdomen, chest, shoulders, hamstrings, ankles, and legs.

What to do:

  • Stand on your left foot then lift your right knee to hip height in front of your body. Keep your elbows bent by your shoulders.
  • Bend forward and extend your arms forward while stretching your right leg behind you.
  • Keep your left leg a little bent so your torso is parallel to the floor.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds and slowly return. Repeat on the other side.
  • Repeat sides for 60 seconds.

7. Twist

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Targets: It targets all the muscles in your core, obliques, and spine.

What to do:

  • Sit on the floor and put your legs straight in front of you.
  • Lean back a little bit and start bringing your legs up. They should be slightly bent at the knees. Stop when your knees align with your chest.
  • Keep your balance and your core engaged and start twisting your torso from side to side. Don’t move your legs.
  • Repeat for 2 minutes.

8. Downward dog crunch

Targets: This exercise targets the core and glutes.

What to do:

  • Put your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground, lift your butt up, and keep your legs straight. Make sure your spine is straight and your head is right between your arms.
  • Bend your right knee and bring it to your right elbow, moving your torso together with it. Pause for a second and then slowly bring your leg up in the air.
  • Stay in this position for a couple of seconds and then bring your leg back toward your right elbow.
  • Repeat for 30 seconds on each leg.

9. Lunge with spinal twist

Targets: This exercise was taken from yoga, it stimulates the abdominal area, rib cage, and shoulders.

What to do:

  • Stand on the floor with your feet aligned with your shoulders. Turn your right foot out to the right, 90 degrees and turn your left foot in slightly to the right. Your heels must be aligned.
  • Turn your torso to the right, then start turning to your left foot so it’s parallel to the right foot.
  • Bend your right knee and keep your legs engaged. Place your left hand in the floor next to your right foot. Your left hand should be raised up toward the sky.
  • Keep both hands straight and hold the position for 10-20 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.

10. Medicine ball slam

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Targets: Medicine ball slams target triceps, abdomen, shoulders, calves, back, glutes, and quads.

What to do:

  • Get a medicine ball and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Put the ball above your head.
  • Slam the ball on the floor as hard as possible using your muscles. Then catch it. Keep your hands, spine, and core engaged.
  • Perform slams for one minute.

11. Upward back bend (Cobra pose)

Targets: This yoga exercise firms and tones the shoulders, abdomen, and buttocks.

What to do:

  • Lie on the floor with your face down. Extend your legs and put them just a few inches apart from each other.
  • Place your palms under your shoulders and tuck your shoulders to the sides of your body.
  • Inhale and bring your chest up by pushing into the ground with both hands.
  • Keep bending your upper body and your back as far as you feel comfortable. Keep your core engaged. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times 10 seconds each.

12. Stability ball V-pass

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Targets: The stability ball V-pass targets your abdomen, glutes, and shoulder areas.

What to do:

  • You will need a stability ball for this exercise. Lie with your back on your yoga mat, hold the ball over your head with your hands.
  • Engage your core, lift your arms up, and put the ball between your legs.
  • Lower your arms on the floor. Lower your legs on the floor too while holding the ball.
  • Pass the ball back to your hands.
  • Repeat 15 times.

Tip: If you don’t have a stability ball, you can use a big heavy pillow instead.

13. Half seated reverse crunch

Targets: The reverse crunch targets all the abdominal muscles, placing particular emphasis on the lower abs.

What to do:

  • Lie down on your yoga mat and put your arms down by your sides. Then raise your legs and make your tights perpendicular to the floor. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle.
  • Engage your abs and move your knees to your chest. The hips should rise off the floor.
  • Breathe and hold the position for a couple of seconds.
  • Slowly return. Repeat 30 times.

14. The stomach vacuum

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Stomach vacuums are a great exercise to begin or to finish your workout routine. They’re not hard to perform, but they have a great impact on your abdominal muscles. It’s a great way to lose your belly fat without wasting a lot of time.

What to do:

  • Stand on the floor with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your hands should be on your hips.
  • Exhale all the air that you can out of your lungs. Try to feel no air in your lungs.
  • Expand your chest and try to suck your stomach in as much as you can. Imagine, that you are trying to touch your backbone with your belly.
  • Hold for 20 seconds and release.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Important: This exercise must be done on an empty stomach to avoid any digestive issues. If you have any heart or lung issues, then it’s better to not practice this exercise.

15. Relaxation on the chair

At the very end of your workout sit on a chair, relax for a while, and do a simple activity — like arm circles.

What to do:

  • Keep your back straight, bend your knees at a 90 degree angle, and put your hands behind your head.
  • Slowly perform a circle motion with your elbows.

This should help you to improve your posture and tone your shoulders. It’s an exercise that also helps you work on your posture.

Please note: This article was updated in March 2023 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
Illustrated by Oleg Guta for Bright Side


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