Regular workouts are a difficult thing to keep up. Getting down to the gym for an hour can be tricky when you’re balancing a job, your home life and your social life as well. As such, many people end up skipping exercise altogether; after all, if you can’t get a good workout in then what’s the point?

Well, some exercise is always better than no exercise. Furthermore, you don’t need an hour to get into shape. If you’re pushed for time, you can get a good amount of exercise in a much shorter period. How long? Well, if you’ve read the title of this article you can probably already guess.

This two-minute routine will work your lower body and test your cardio. As with all exercises, pay close attention to the appropriate form for each movement in order to prevent injury.

The routine

Without a break between sets, perform the following exercises (details on form below):

  • Jumping jacks for 20 seconds
  • Jump-squats for 20 seconds
  • High knees for 20 seconds
  • Side lunges for 20 seconds
  • Squats for 20 seconds
  • Mountain climbers for 20 seconds

And that’s it! Two minutes total, and the workout is complete. Here are the details of each exercise, so you can make sure you’re doing everything right and not putting your body at any risk.

Jumping jacks

This is the same star-jump you will have done hundreds of times in school PE class. Start standing with your feet together and your arms by your sides. Jump up and land with your feet a bit more than shoulder-width apart. At the same time as you move your legs, raise your arms up from your sides and above your head. Then jump back to your start position.

The main things to be aware of here are to land softly with your knees bent, and to keep your back nice and straight. This way you avoid putting too much pressure on these parts of your body, which can become sore from repeated movements.


Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and squat down by bending your knees. Keep your back straight, and make sure your weight is behind you. Your chest should be sticking out – as should your rear end – and you should be looking straight forward.

Keep going down until your bum has just passed your knees, then drive through your heels and jump up as high as you can. When you land, absorb the force of it by bending your knees and going straight back into another squat.

High knees

These are easy. Simply run on the spot, lifting your knees as high as you can as you do so. Aim to at least get them above your waist each time. This is a very cardio-centric exercise, but it can still be hard on your back if you end up leaning over. Keep your back straight and your head facing forward as you do the exercise

Side lunges

Stand with your feet together. Remain facing in the same direction, but take a nice deep step out to the side with your right foot. Bend that knee and move your whole body over to the right, but keep your left foot where it is. The left leg should straighten out as a result.

With a nice, controlled movement, return to your starting position. Then repeat with the left leg, and keep alternating between them as you do the exercise. Again, the key is to keep your back straight throughout, and maintain good posture with your head facing forwards. If it seems like we’re repeating ourselves on this point, that’s because it’s so important!


For this exercise, simply repeat the squat from the jump-squats we mentioned earlier. However, instead of explosively jumping into the air, simply push yourself back up into your start position. Again, posture is vital for squats, so keep that back straight and that chest out!

Mountain climbers

Last but not least, mountain climbers. Position yourself in a plank position with your hands and toes on the floor and your back straight. Bring one of your knees up to your chest, then as you bring it back quickly switch feet so your other knee is up. Try to get into a rhythm with this, as it will make it easier.

What now?

This two-minute workout is enough, if you complete it on a regular basis, to make up for you skipping a gym session. It will burn calories by making your heart beat quickly, while also building muscle in your lower body and core.

If you want to commit to doing this workout on a regular basis, but are finding you want more of a challenge, you can always repeat it. Complete all six exercises, rest for about 30 seconds, then start from the beginning. You can do this again and again, as much as you can cope with. Try for 20 sets if you’re feeling really ambitious!