One of the most frequently used excuses for skipping exercise is that there’s simply not enough time to squeeze it in. And frankly, for a lot of modern adults, this excuse rings true. Between work, social obligations, family life, and even school, life is constantly nipping at your heels in a way that makes exercise a challenge.
Dempsey Marks, a fitness expert, yoga instructor and co-creator of the PreGame Fit fitness and lifestyle program knows where you’re coming from, “Our philosophy is moderation and balance—the idea that fitness and healthy living don’t have to be all or nothing, black or white. Fitness is something that’s easily integrated into a busy schedule and is doable and maintainable.”
Sounds nice, right? While technically PreGame Fit was designed specifically for college students, its lessons and structure are universal. Marks says, “PreGame Fit addresses the three key barriers that most often prevent young people from exercising: time, space, and affordability.” The workouts are designed to take just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, and you never need more than five square feet of space to complete the strength training moves.
Just be aware that most workouts do include a high-intensity element. The reasons are intentional, says Marks, “Recent studies confirm that short, high-intensity workouts are as beneficial—and more so in many cases—as traditional, longer workouts.” This means your exercise routine doesn’t have to take over your life—it can fit into your life, no matter how busy you are.
How to Perform the 7-Minute Stack Workout
PreGame Fit instructors refer to their circuit workouts as “stacks.” This workout provided by Marks consists of two, seven-minute stacks. All you need to do is set a timer for seven minutes. When you start your timer, you start your stack—completing each exercise as described for the number of repetitions suggested. You’ll continue performing the exercises in a continuous circuit until the time runs out. Marks says, “Do your best not to rest. Your goal is to complete each stack as many times as possible while maintaining good form.”
Do your own warm up to start—try leg swings, jumping jacks, squats, and lunges—then progress through the following stacks:
Stack 1 (7 minutes):
- 20 Wood Chops (10 per side)
- 40 Russian Twists (20 per side)
- 24 Speed Skaters (12 per side)
Stack 2 (7 minutes):
- 10 Burpees
- 12 Bent Over Row
- 50 Scissor Kicks (25 per side)
For detailed instructions on how to perform each exercise, Marks provided the following descriptions and images. 2
Stack 1, Exercise 1: 20 Wood Chops (10 Per Side)
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly out.
Hold a dumbbell in your hands and extend it over your right shoulder.
Engage your core, bend your knees, and rotate your torso to bring the dumbbell down diagonally to your left knee. Keep your arms straight, but don’t lock out your elbows.
Pause and return to the starting position in a controlled manner. This is one rep.
Complete the designated number of reps before switching sides.3
Stack 1, Exercise 2: 40 Russian Twists (20 Per Side)
Begin in a seated position with your knees bent. Your feet should be about a foot away from your butt, your heels in contact with the floor.
Lean back slightly to engage your core. Be sure to keep your back flat and straight.
Cross your legs and lift your feet about three to five inches off the ground.
Interlock your hands in front of you, or hold one dumbbell in between your palms.
Keeping your core engaged, rotate your torso to the right and then back to the left. Your hands should come close to the ground but shouldn’t touch it.4
Stack 1, Exercise 3: 24 Speed Skaters (12 Per Side)
Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart (or slightly wider).
Engage your core and jump to the right, landing on your right foot, crossing your left leg behind you diagonally. Allow your left arm to swing across your body and your right arm to swing behind you.
Upon landing, jump immediately to the left and switch your arms and legs.5
Stack 2, Exercise 1: 10 Burpees
Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart (or slightly wider), arms at your sides.
Bend your knees and squat down, placing your hands on the floor (shoulder-width or slightly wider).
Jump your legs back, landing in a plank position. Keep your core engaged. Your body should be a straight line from the crown of your head to your feet.
Jump your feet back up to your hands.
Explosively jump upwards, reaching your hands straight up and land softly in the starting position.6
Stack 2, Exercise 2: 12 Bent Over Rows
Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart (or slightly wider), holding dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in.
Bend your knees slightly and hinge your torso forward. Be sure to keep your back straight and core engaged.
Allow the dumbbells to hang down naturally from your shoulders.
Keeping your upper body stable and palms facing in, row the dumbbells up to your torso, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Your elbows should remain close to your body.
Pause and slowly lower your arms back down to the starting position.7
Stack 2, Exercise 3: 50 Scissor Kicks
Begin lying on your back, hands placed under your hips.
Press your lower back into the ground.
Lift your legs about five to eight inches off the ground and scissor kick, crossing one leg over the other and repeating on the other side.