Here’s How to Work Out During a Commercial Break (Seriously!)

updated May 3, 2019
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You might have planned to fit a workout in… but it’s freezing cold, pitch black outside, and The Bachelor is coming on. If the living room is looking a lot more appealing than the gym, the good news is that you don’t have to leave it.

“What if told you that you could mesh training with your favorite television show?” says Chicago-based trainer, Liu Gross. “For the truly driven or super efficient I’ll offer a way to do both—exercise during the commercials.”

The average commercial minutes per hour of programming on broadcast network TV was 14:37 seconds from September 2016 to July 2017, according to Nielson reports mentioned on Commercials on cable network programs averaged 16:08 during that time. That’s just enough time to hop off the couch and squeeze in a little exercise. Cut the cord? Scroll down for our binge-watching plan, too.

The Ultimate TV Commercial Workout

Try this workout during the breaks of an hour-long show, suggests Gross. Perform each bodyweight exercise for the length of a single commercial. As the commercial changes, move to the next exercise. Continue this until the show comes back on. Whenever a new set of commercials comes back on continue the next movement in the circuit by picking up where you left off.

Jumping Jacks: Get your heartrate up with this fitness move you’ve probably been doing since preschool.

Bodyweight squats: From standing position, feet shoulder-width apart, shift your hips back and down, lowering your hips to knee height and then pushing back up again. Squeeze your butt on the way up!

Forward lunges: Lunge forward with one leg, transferring your body weight into the forward foot placed firmly on the floor, making sure your knee doesn’t go past the toe. Continue lowering your body to a comfortable position or until the front thigh becomes parallel with the floor. Firmly push off with your front leg (using your thighs and butt muscles) to return to your upright, starting position. Switch sides, placing other foot forward.

Reverse lunges: Stand with the feet about hip-width apart, and then step backwards with the left foot, lowering the left knee almost to the ground. Press the right foot into the ground, and step the left leg forward to return to the original starting position. Step back with the right foot next into a backwards lunge. Alternate legs.

Punches: These can be forward punches (jabs) with your feet planted and twisting your torso as you aim for an imaginary person’s chin in front of you alternative left and right punches, or cross punches (aiming for opposite walls) and twisting your foot and knee of the punching arm towards the direction you’re punching.

A Mid-Binge Pick-Me-Up

If you’re strictly watching Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime these days, you might have graduated past the traditional commercial break. Instead, give yourself a quick time-out while the next episode is loading, or during a 30-second ad throughout the day while watching any online video. It’s the perfect opportunity to sneak in a mini workout.

In 30 seconds you can…

“Stand up and shake your body!” suggests New York-based, Noam Tamir, CSCS, founder of TS Fitness. “This helps the nervous system, blood flow, and synovial fluid—the fluid that helps with lubricating the joints. It also helps to release tension.”

Do some bodyweight squats. “When you only have time to get a quick workout in, doing leg exercises is always going to give you the best bang for your buck,” Tamir says.

Or do some diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing or “belly breathing” means you are expanding your diaphragm versus expanding the chest. Inhale through your nose for 2-3 seconds and feel your stomach expand, rather than your chest. Then slowly exhale through your mouth with pursed lips for 4-6 seconds making sure you’re getting all the air out of your lungs and then repeating. “Your diaphragm is actually the most efficient breathing muscle and sits at the bottom of your lungs,” Tamir says. This is a great way to increase mobility and activate your core.