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Danny King, a master trainer at Life Time, created three mini workouts — one upper body (see that workout here), one lower body (below), and one core (which is here) — each designed to take no more than 10 minutes. They can be done alone, stacked, or performed separately at different times on a given day. Doing one (or more) of these mini workouts might even inspire you to try another fitness activity, such as walking, cycling, or yoga.

They’re also great options for active recovery. If your legs are tired from a long run the day before, for instance, the upper-body or core routine might feel great.

The Lower-Body Workout

  • Complete at least two and as many as four rounds, resting as necessary between rounds.
  • If you can easily complete 15 reps of a dumbbell exercise, King recommends increasing the weight.

Goblet Squat

This classic move targets the glutes and quads as well as requiring your core to stabilize.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold a dumbbell in both hands at chest height.
  • Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat, aiming for your hips to break the plane of your knees. Avoid letting your hips tuck under or allowing your knees to collapse inward.
  • Drive through your feet and extend at your knees and hips to rise to standing.
  • Repeat for 12 to 15 reps.

(See “BREAK IT DOWN: The Squat” for more on this essential powerhouse move.)

Lateral Lunge

This exercise strengthens multiple lower-body muscles, including your glutes, quads, hamstrings, abductors and adductors.

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Step your right foot out to the side, keeping your left leg straight. Bend your right knee and push your hips back, allowing the dumbbells to frame the leg you’re stepping with. Aim to keep both feet pointing forward and your right hip, knee, and foot aligned.
  • Push off your right foot to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for eight to 12 reps per side.

Modification: Stand with your feet wide and toes pointing forward. Shift your weight to one side as you bend your knee and push your hips back so that your foot, knee, and hip line up on that side. Then shift your weight back to the center. Once you’ve mastered this variation, progress to unloaded lateral lunges.

Stability-Ball Hamstring Curl

This exercise targets your hamstrings, glutes, and core.

  • Lie on your back and position your feet and calves on the top and center of a stability ball.
  • Keeping your toes relaxed, press your heels into the ball to lift your hips off the floor. Keep your pelvis neutral (don’t arch your back). Then begin to bend your knees and pull the ball toward you with your feet.
  • Straighten your legs to return the ball to its starting position. Keep your hips hovering above the ground throughout the exercise.
  • Repeat for eight to 15 reps.

Modification: To make this easier, lower your hips to the ground to reset between reps. Progress to single-leg curls once you’ve mastered this move.

Feeling Great?

Try stacking with the 10-Minute Upper-Body Workout or the 10-Minute Core Workout from this workout or, try another fitness activity, such as taking a walk, biking, or yoga.

This was excerpted from “Three 10-Minute Workouts to Build a Full-Body Strength Routine” which was published in Experience Life magazine.

Photography by: Colin Simmons; Styling: Pam Brand; Model: Desyree Starr
Nicole Radziszewski

Nicole Radziszewski is a writer and personal trainer in River Forest, Ill. She blogs at

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