Schedules aren’t the only thing that get crowded. If you’ve got a roommate, space can be a pretty hot commodity.
But just because you’re enjoying (surviving?) dorm life at college doesn’t mean you can’t make time for a workout. In fact, if you’ve got a stressful course load and packed schedule, working out might be more important now than ever. Just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (think: speed-walking) five days a week can reduce heart disease, improve mental health, and even help you do better on your next exam.
So in addition to sprinting to that 8:00 a.m. biology lecture, here are eight moves that will burn calories and spike your heart rate—in very little space.
Complete each move for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest between. At the end of all 8 moves, rest for 2 to 3 minutes. That's 1 circuit. Complete the entire circuit 3 to 5 times.
- High Knees
- Butt Kicks
- Jump Squats
- T Push-Ups
- Mountain Climbers
- Down Dog to Up Dog
- Leg Lifts
Run in place, bringing your knees above hip level. Keep your hands in front of you at hip level, palms down, and tap your knee on each step. Or, pump your arms like a sprinter, with elbows at 90 degree angles. (Your legs will always go as fast as your arms go!)
Targets: Quads, glutes, calves, shins (anterior tibialis), hip flexors, and ups your heart rate
Run in place, as you did with high knees, but this time kick your heels to your butt with each stride.
Targets: Hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves, shins (anterior tibialis), and ups your heart rate
Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward. Sit back into a squat then drive your whole body up through your heels, shifting your weight onto the balls of your feet as you jump. Land lightly on the balls of your feet and bend into a full squat. Focus on making sure your knees don’t wobble or turn in as you land. Jump squats not in your plan? Eliminate the jump, and do bodyweight squats, or try lunges.
Targets: Quads, glutes, calves, shins (anterior tibialis)
This move puts a twist (literally) on a traditional push-up. Perform a perfect push-up. As you push back up, shift your weight to your right side, lift your left arm off the floor, and rotate your torso so you’re in a high side plank with your feet slightly apart. Inhale. As you exhale, carefully rotate your torso back to the floor. Lower down for another push-up. Push back up and this time, balancing on your left side, rotate your torso the opposite way. That’s one rep. (You can make this move easier by dropping to your knees.)
Targets: Chest, triceps, shoulders, core, lats, adductors, abductors
Begin in a high plank position. Run your legs up to your chest as fast as you can. Try to keep your body as straight as possible (don’t hike your hips into the air) and hands directly under shoulders.
Targets: Chest, shoulders, triceps, core, hip flexors, hamstrings, quads
If you’re already familiar with yoga, this move needs no further explanation. Otherwise, start in a downward dog position. Shift your weight forward and come into a high plank position. Lower to the floor, like a push-up, keeping elbows tucked close to the body. Then shift to the tops of your feet as you push through to upward facing dog, keeping your thighs and hips lifted off the ground, and arching your spine. As you exhale, push up and back into downward dog position.
Targets: Shoulders, arms, shoulders, back, and core
Lie on the floor on your back and press your lower back against the ground. Place your hands either under your butt or beside your hips. From there, lift your legs together straight up to a 90-degree angle, then lower them back down until the hover above the floor—no touching—and repeat.
Targets: Hip flexors, abdominals, obliques
Staying on the floor, roll onto your belly, and reach your arms above your head, keeping legs straight. Lift your right arm and left leg at the same time, squeeze your glutes and low back muscles, then lower each and lift your left arm and right leg. Repeat.
Targets: Low back, lats, shoulders
Originally published September 2011. Updated August 2015.