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Get a great workout in 30 minutes

Yes it's true! All you need is 30 minutes to perform a great cardiovascular and strengthening workout

Better yet, you can perform the workout at home without any expensive equipment. To ensure you get an effective cardiovascular workout it's essential to keep your heart rate elevated to 60-80 per cent of your maximum heart rate (maximum heart rate can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220). This means that you have to keep moving during the workout, so try to limit the breaks!

The key to this workout is to perform a 30-second interval after each set. The interval can consist of either skipping rope, jogging on the spot, (alternate by bringing your knees up towards your chest or by bringing your feet towards your butt), and stepping up and down onto a bench or stairs. Be sure to use a comfortable but challenging weight to get the most out of the strengthening exercises. Start the workout by warming up for five minutes with one of the above intervals and then you're ready for the first exercise.

- Alternating lunges: Place your feet together with your toes pointed straight ahead and your hands at your sides. Take an exaggerated step forward with your right leg. Bend your right knee slowly, lowering your body close to the floor. Keep your right knee directly over the right foot and your back straight. It's important your right knee does not extend forward over your right foot. When your rear knee is about two inches above the floor, hold for one second and slowly return to the starting position.

Repeat the exercise with your left leg. You should feel your gluteus and thigh muscles, not your knees, ankles or back.

Perform two sets of 12-15 repetitions/leg.

- D.B. hamstring deadlifts: This exercise is effective at isolating the hamstrings, gluteus and spinal erectors. Start standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your back straight, slowly bend forward at the waist and lower the dumbbells down to your knees until you feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings. Reverse the procedure to return slowly to the starting position. Most of the effort should be felt in your hamstrings.

Perform two sets of 10 repetitions.

- Two-arm dumbbell rows: Holding one dumbbell in each hand stand in a bent-over position with your feet shoulderwidth apart, knees slightly bent and back flat. Using a rowing motion squeeze your shoulders together and pull the dumbbells up to your hips, squeezing your mid and upper back muscles. Slowly return to the starting position.

Perform two sets of 10 repetitions.

- Dumbbell presses with a stability ball: The stability ball is a great addition to your workout because as you perform your strengthening exercises the trunk musculature is simultaneously working to balance and stabilize the body. To begin this exercise lie flat with your back on a stability ball and your knees bent at right angles and your feet flat on the floor. Start by holding one dumbbell in each hand with the dumbbells positioned beside your shoulders and slightly above your body. Press the dumbbells up above your chest until your arms are almost straight, bringing them together at the top. Slowly return to the starting position.

Perform two sets of eight repetitions.

- Bent-over dumbbell raises: Holding one dumbbell in each hand stand in a bentover position with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and back flat. Start holding the dumbbells in front of your knees. Stay in the bent-over position and raise the dumbbells outside your body to shoulder level, keeping the same bend in your arms throughout the motion. This is an effective shoulder exercise that isolates the rear deltoids and can improve posture.

Perform two sets of 15 repetitions.

- Alternate crunches on stability ball: Start this exercise by sitting upright on a stability ball and move your hips forward gradually lying back onto the ball. Place your hands across your chest. Once in this position concentrate on raising your chest and shoulders up to a 45-degree angle alternating side to side. Be sure to squeeze your abdominals when at the top of the movement and remember that you can increase the difficulty by putting your feet closer together.

Perform two sets of 12-15 repetitions/side.

- Hip lifts: This is a great exercise for the lower abdominal area. To perform this exercise lie face up on the floor on an exercise mat. Place your hands by your sides and your legs directly above your hips. Once in this position raise your hips off the floor one to two inches and return to the starting position.

Be sure not to swing or use momentum when performing this exercise. You may not be able to produce much movement at first, but with practice you should feel your lower abdominals getting stronger and tighter.

Perform two sets of 20 repetitions.

Shaun Karp is a certified personal trainer. Info: 604-420-7800 or