HIIT It: At-Home Workouts You Can Do in 10 Minutes


Looking for a quick workout to add to your fitness regimen? Here, we ask two fitness experts for at-home workouts we can do in 10 minutes. Photo: The Good Brigade/GettyImages

If you’ve got less than 10 minutes to spare, these exercise snacks can be done in the same time it takes to go to the corner store for candy or ice cream.

5-Minute Chair Pilates from Margot McKinnon at Body Harmonics Pilates in Toronto

Sit tall at the front edge of your chair with equal weight on the buttocks and aim for 20 repetitions of each movement. The series works everything from the feet to the top of the head.

For Lower Body:

  • Lift and lower heels (helps blood flow, ankle mobility and conditions the calf muscles)
  • Scrunch toes into the soles of your feet (conditions the spring mechanism of the feet for better support)
  • Keep knees together and sway them left and right (for hip flexibility)
  • Stretch one leg forward and press out through your heel. Alternate sides. (for hip and leg flexibility)
  • Stretch one leg to the side and press out through your heel. Alternate sides. (for hip and leg flexibility)
  • Squeeze one buttock and then the other. Alternate left and right and feel yourself lift as you squeeze (strengthens the buttocks and supports the lower back)


For Spine and Core:

  • Pull in your abdomen, hold for up to 15 seconds (builds core support)
  • Do tiny forward leans with a flat back (helps with hip flexibility and back strength)
  • Slide ribs from side to side (helps to free tension in the mid-back and turn on core muscles)


For Upper Body:

  • Pull shoulders back slightly and shoulder blades together (opens chest and strengthens upper back for better posture)
  • Press hands down on chair and lift chest slightly to the sky (opens chest and strengthens upper back for better posture)
  • Fold your fingers into fists and stretch hands out (glides tendons in hands, while strengthening muscles and releasing tension)


For Head and Neck:

  • Roll your tongue back in your mouth as far as you can (conditions the neck, jaw and swallowing muscles; helps with head positioning on spine)
  • Periodically look in different directions — far away, close-up, up, down, left and right (helps to relieve eyestrain and condition muscles at the base of the skull)

Chris Jordan’s Standing 7-Minute Workout

The director of exercise physiology at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute in Florida devised his 7-Minute Workout almost a decade ago and tweaked it this year to make it more accessible by eliminating floor exercises and using just a chair and a wall. Each of the 12 exercises is done for 30 seconds, with five seconds rest in between, and works your core, upper body and legs, interspersed with bursts of cardio. It can be repeated depending on your time and fitness level.

  • High knees: March or jog in place with knees as high as they can go and pump your arms
  • Chair assist squat: With feet shoulder-width apart, bend knees as if to sit on chair using your arms as a counterbalance, bringing your buttocks as close to the chair as possible.
  • Wall push-ups: With feet together about a metre away from a wall, place hands on wall at shoulder height and, on your toes with your back straight, lean in until your nose is almost touching and then push away. If it’s too easy, back your feet up; too hard, move them closer to the wall
  • Standing bicycle crunch: With hands behind ears, crunch your abs and twist, bringing your knee as close to opposite elbow as possible, alternating sides.
  • Stand and squat and box: With knees bent and shoulder-width apart, punch the air one arm at a time. Add squats to increase difficulty
  • Chair assist split squat: In an upright stance, put one leg in front and the other behind and, using the back or seat of the chair for balance, drop the back knee toward the floor and keep the front knee over your foot, then lift back up. Alternate sides
  • Chair assist push up: Put yours hands on either side of the seat of a chair and, with your feet away from the chair and a straight body from head to heels facing the chair seat, lower yourself towards the seat of the chair and push back up again
  • Wall plank: Keep your body straight and strong with forearms on the wall and feet away
  • Stepping or jumping jacks: Step one leg to the side, alternating sides, while arching arms up and down, or jump with both legs out and arms up
  • Wall sit up: Put your back against the wall, knees directly above your ankles and arms folded and hold. If it’s too hard, move your back up higher on he wall; too easy, move it down
  • Wall push-up: Repeat wall push ups as above
  • Standing side crunch: With hands behind ears and elbows out to the sides, bring the same side knee to try to touch elbow and you bend to the side. Alternate sides