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The four-minute workout

August 24, 2015 16:37 IST
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Want to get a body like Jacqueline Fernandez without spending hours in the gym?

We bring you an excerpt from fitness instructor Namrata Purohit's latest book The Lazy Girl's Guide to Being Fit that offers easy tips to get the perfect body.

Jacqueline Fernandez trains with Namrata Purohit

Namrata Purohit wears many hats.

Besides being a Stott Pilates instructor, she is also a national level squash player, a footballer, a certified scuba diver and an entrepreneur -- she's the co-founder of Pilates Studio in Mumbai.

Purohit whose clientele includes Jacqueline Fernandez, Lisa Haydon, Varun Dhawan, Neha Dhupia and Bruna Abdullah, recently launched her new book The Lazy Girl's Guide to Being Fit that offers simple tips and workouts to encourage those following a sedentary lifestyle to embrace a healthy and active life.

We bring you an excerpt from the chapter titled Movement: Getting off the Couch that suggests simple workouts that can be done in as less as F-O-U-R minutes. 

Yes, you read it right!

Read on...


Esha Gupta holds up a copy of Purohit's latest book

Jumping Jacks

Also known as 'star jumps', jumping jacks are a great way to get the heart rate up and burn some calories.

When you do a jumping jack, you start with your arms down by your side and feet set wide apart, parallel to each other.

To begin, jump up so that your feet open up wide and out, while your hands lift up sideways to about shoulder height, then return to the starting position again, thus alternating between the two positions.

High Knees

Stand straight with your legs parallel and hands at hip height in front of you.

Start jumping by switching weight between the two legs, almost as if you were running in the same place, ensuring that as you jump, your knee touches your hand each time.

Try staying on your toes throughout to ensure least impact as well as quick movement.

Squats

Stand with your feet open slightly wider than hip-distance apart and pointing slightly outwards.

The weight of your body should be towards your heels and on the balls of your feet.

Your toes should be able to wiggle during the entire movement. Look straight ahead and not down towards the floor.

Have your hands straight out, parallel to the floor and your spine in a neutral position. 

Now, inhale to lower your body by pushing your hips out towards the back, ensuring that your knees do not turn inwards; they should be over your feet through the entire exercise.

Try and go low enough so that your hip joint is parallel to the floor.

Then exhale, press into your heels, and keep the balls of your feet on the floor as well, to straighten your knees.

Keep your glutes squeezed and ensure that your back is in a neutral alignment throughout, and that there is no unnecessary rounding or extension in your spine.

Lunges 

Make sure your upper body is straight, shoulders relaxed and spine in a neutral alignment.

Pick a spot in front of you and look straight at it, so that you don’t keep looking down while doing this exercise.

Step forward with any one leg and lower your hips until both your knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle.

Ensure that your knees are aligned with your ankle and not turning inwards or outwards.

Your front knee should not go beyond your ankle, and the back knee should not touch the floor.

Then push back through your front leg, with more weight on the heels, to go back to the starting position.

Tricep Dips 

Place your palms on the bed or some sturdy bench or chair, with your legs on the floor in front of you.

Lower your body slowly towards the floor until your elbows are about 90 degrees and then press up.

Ensure that your shoulders stay relaxed throughout.

Keep your core engaged while breathing in on the way down and breathing out as you press up.

Push-ups 

There are 3 ways you can do a push-up, depending on your strength level.

The easiest is putting your palms against the wall, a little lower than shoulder level.

It is perfectly okay to begin like this.

Walk away from the wall, keeping your body in a straight line from head to toe.

Slowly lean your entire body towards the wall while inhaling, and then exhale to press into your palms to push your body back up.

The second way of doing a push-up is to kneel, placing your palms on the floor.

Again, ensure you stay long in this position.

Do not sink into your back and ensure that you keep your core engaged. Lower your body very slowly down towards the mat, bending at the elbows -- make sure you do not leave your bottom up.

Exhale and press into your hands to push up.

The third kind of push-up is the full push-up: knees off the floor and legs straight so they can be either adducted or abducted, hip-distance apart.

Ensure that your body is in a long line from head to toe; there should be no pressure on your lower back.

Inhale to lower your body down towards the mat and exhale to push it up. The slower you go, the harder it gets.

Start slow and build it up.

Ab Prep 

Lie on a mat, keeping your back in a neutral position, following the natural curve of your spine.

Do not sink into the mat. Keep your legs hip-distance apart and knees flexed.

Place your hands behind your head, gently supporting your neck. Inhale while staying down.

Exhale and slowly lift your upper body off the mat, as though you were squeezing a pencil under your chest.

Inhale to lower your body back on to the mat.

Pulses in the ab-prep position, this is where you stay up and only move very little to keep squeezing that pencil.

Crunches 

Lie down on your back, knees bent and feet hip-distance apart, hands behind your head.

If you have the core strength, you can do these without someone standing on your feet or with your feet locked under something.

Exhale to engage your core and crunch and come up all the way, touching your elbows to your knees and then slowly going back down into the mat.

Ensure you do not use too much momentum, try articulating and using the core correctly.

Do not fall into the mat, but slowly roll into it on your way down.

Obliques 

The starting position is the same as in the ab prep.

Inhale to lift your upper thorax (chest) off the mat. 

Exhale to rotate your upper thorax to one side, keeping your shoulders open and thinking about touching your ribcage to the opposite knee, then inhale to the centre and exhale to the other side.

Wall Sit 

This is a simple exercise. All you have to do is find a wall, stand with your back and head against it.

Slide down the wall until your feet and knees are at a 90-degree angle.

All you have to do is maintain this position. It is as if you were sitting on a chair.

4-MINUTE WORKOUTS

I give below a few examples of how you can combine the above exercises and get a quick workout in 4 minutes.

These are just a few examples, but you can make your own combinations and permutations too!

Workout Routine 1

  • 1 minute: Jumping jacks
  • 1 minute: High knees
  • 1 minute: Crunches
  • 1 minute: Wall sits

Workout Routine 2

  • 1 minute: Skipping
  • 1 minute: Squats
  • 1 minute: Skipping
  • 1 minute: Squats

Workout Routine 3

  • 30 seconds: Push-ups
  • 30 seconds: Crunches
  • Repeat for 4 minutes

Workout Routine 4

  • 1 minute: Ab prep
  • 1 minute: Obliques
  • 1 minute: Crunches
  • 1 minute: Plank

Workout Routine 5

  • 1 minute: High knees
  • 1 minute: Squats
  • 1 minute: Lunges
  • 1 minute: High knees

Workout Routine 6

  • 1 minute: Jumping jacks
  • 1 minute: Tricep dips
  • 1 minute: Push-ups
  • 1 minute: High knees

Published with the kind permission of Ebury Press. The book is priced Rs 250.

All images courtesy: Namrata Purohit/instagram


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