30 MINUTES TO GREATNESS

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Think: the same amount of time you spend checking e-mails or snacking in front of the tube you could be getting your butt into shape.

June 6, 2008

Written by the FLEX staff

Ask any health nut, and they will call you out on what a poor justification that is for putting your own physical and mental wellbeing on the back burner, because all it takes is 30 minutes out of your day. And we're here to tell you how.

Spend only eight minutes on a high-intensity treadmill, stationary bike or stairmaster to get your heart pumping and blood flowing. Finish this quick cardio session with floor stretches and eight to 10 reps of pelvic lifts or seated hamstring stretches.

For the next four minutes, do one-arm dumbbell rows. This upper body exercise targets the back and isolates the latissimus muscles on both sides of the body. With your grasp on the dumbbells and your palms facing inward, raise the weight to your sides, allowing the lats—not your arms—to do the brunt of the work for three sets of 12—15 reps.

For three minutes, do dumbbell pullovers. With your elbows tucked in and holding a dumbbell over your head, lower it behind your head as far as your range of motion will allow, feel your lats stretch, arc back up to the top and repeat for three sets of 12—15 reps.

For four minutes, you can develop a sexy, defined chest with simple, lightweight incline dumbbell presses. With dumbbells at shoulder height, simply raise them straight above your head for three sets of 12—15 reps. For added resistance, start with the your palms facing each other, then twist your wrists so that the dumbbells are in the palms-forward position at the top.

For another four minutes, you can create the illusion of a slimmer waist by spending these few minutes doing standing lateral raises, which work the shoulders and create that nice "V" shape. You do this by holding a dumbbell at your sides in both hands and lifting your arms straight out at the sides. Do this exercise slowly and precisely for three sets of 12—15 reps. Now, for the last six minutes, you will focus on lower body and abs.

For a kick-ass ass and bottom-half, spend four minutes doing squats; more specifically, on a Smith Machine. This assures you are getting the benefits of the bar's weight while simultaneously supporting your lower back, as well as providing you with balance. As with the other exercises, do three sets of 12—15 reps by standing under the bar and squatting until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to the start position without locking out your hips at the top.

Finally, for the last two minutes of your workout, exhaust those abs by doing crunches on a slant board. Place your hands at the sides of your head and crunch slowly, trying to bring your rib cage to your pubic bone, exhaling during the contraction. Two or three sets of 20 reps of this will bring your 30-minute body blast to a close.

Just a half-hour out of your day is all it takes to feel great and notice significant physical results. Your body, your mind and personal trainers everywhere will thank you. FLEX.

FLEX FORUMS: Discuss your quick workouts with fellow bodybuilders.

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