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It’s a common misconception that in order to reach your fitness goals, you need to spend hours in the gym. On the contrary, exercising for small amounts of time can be extremely effective.
Aside from saving time, there are some serious health benefits to short workouts, if completed at the right intensity. A recent
In other words, even small amounts of high-intensity exercise can make a difference.
So whether you’re looking for a workout that burns fat using only your body weight, or you prefer to tone up with a heart-pounding Zumba session, there’s something for everyone. To help you choose, we’ve rounded up the best workouts under 20 minutes. Whatever you decide, it’s time to get moving!
Rachel Aust is the personality behind Eat Run Lift, which offers customized gym or at-home workouts and nutrition training. This 20-minute workout, complete with warmup and cooldown, focuses intensely on legs and abs to get you big results in a short amount of time. All you’ll need for this bodyweight workout is the space to do it in. If you’re a beginner, skip this routine for something a bit easier, and if you’re an avid strength-trainer, suit up!
Whether Zumba is your speed or not, this hybrid cardio-toning routine will have you sweating. Great for intermediate and advanced exercisers, this workout is what we like to call Zumba on steroids, packing a heart-pumping cardio routine with full-bodyweight exercises. You’ll up your cardio game and coordination if you make this workout part of your weekly regimen. And even better, you need no equipment to get it done — just an empty space to move around. Grab a friend to do this routine with. High-energy — and endorphins — are contagious!
Personal trainer Emi Wong’s 20-minute HIIT workout delivers a whole lot of calorie burning in less time than it would take to watch your favorite Netflix show. HIIT is incredibly effective for losing calories and your busy schedule — a short period of all-out effort, an even shorter rest, then back at it — means you can complete a seriously tough workout in no time at all. With three circuits hitting major muscle groups, Emi’s routine is great for regular exercisers who are short on time.
A better option for beginners, this low-impact Tabata routine from personal trainer Molly, provides all of the benefits of a HIIT workout without jamming on your joints — and thus lessening your chances of injury. You’ll need a light set of dumbbells to complete Molly’s routine, but even beginners can take part. Feel free to slow down to a comfortable pace so you don’t compromise your form, and modify any moves that are too difficult. Start by completing this routine a few times a week and watch your performance increase.
A veteran of the British Army, Lucy Wyndham-Read has over 25 years of experience in fitness under her belt. Her 20-minute, full-body workout features modifications for beginners, while offering more advanced moves for those who want a more intense burn. It’s also low-impact, so no need to worry about jumping. No equipment is required, and the workout’s mix of cardio and bodyweight exercises will work both your cardiovascular and muscular stamina. Cap it off with a quick stretch led by Lucy to cool down.
Joe from The Body Coach will make you marvel at how fast 20 minutes will fly by when you spend the time doing one move per minute, nixing boredom and anticipation. You’ll need an interval timer — like via an app on your phone — to complete this routine easily, but no other equipment. Mountain climbers, pushups, side shuffles, jumping lunges, and burpees are a taste of what you’ll get during this 20-minute routine, and all moves can easily be modified for beginners. Bonus? Joe’s Australian accent is super charming.
Rise and shine! You’ll start your day off with a big smile on your face thanks to this quick morning bodyweight workout from Millionaire Hoy. The circuit routine has you working 45 seconds and resting for 15, with lots of full-body moves that engage your core with jumping. The video is geared toward intermediate fitness levels, but a pop-up screen is available for beginners who need modifications. Quick warmup and cooldown sequences bookend the workout, and when it’s over, you’ll be ready to take on your day.
This 20-minute hotel room Barre workout requires no equipment to get you sweating, combining cardio intervals with body-chiseling Barre moves. Ballerina turned Laker Girl turned fitness instructor Action Jacquelyn, designed this workout that can be done anywhere. So give it a try and you’ll get a nice mix of high-intensity cardio and some slower-paced, barre sculpting moves, like plank to pike and core leg lifts. This routine is best for intermediate or advanced exercisers who are on the go.
What’s better than one personal trainer cheering you on? Two, of course! In this workout, Coach Kozak and Claudia of Heart and Soul Fitness (HASfit) keep you motivated. Their routine is performed Tabata-style — meaning four back-to-back exercises are performed for 20 seconds all-out, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Claudia performs modified versions of many of the exercises, a great option for beginners. But if you need a challenge, follow along with Coach Kozak. A handy timer on the screen helps you keep up, and inspiring words make sure you stick with it until the end.
Bodybuilder and competitor Katie Corio shares a classic, full-body workout that can be completed in your backyard. There’s one move that requires additional weight, but Katie gets creative and grabs a chair outside to complete her shoulder presses. Keep in mind that what you see in the video is only one circuit, and Katie indicates to complete it two more times for a total of three rounds. She definitely makes it look easy — try out this routine if you’re an intermediate or advanced exerciser only.
Christine Salus promises her followers that this quick 20-minute HIIT workout will not only be an effective workout, but that it will boost your metabolism with the HIIT intervals that burn calories even after the workout is over. You’ll need a set of dumbbells, a kettlebell (or heavier dumbbell), and a chair to work along with Christine who does a combination of cardio intervals and strength moves with weight. You’ll see moves like incline pushups (killer!), weighted lunges, and everyone’s favorite move: burpees. Christine just announced that she’s taking a break from YouTube videos due to some health issues, so check out her previous posts for more ideas.
Whether you’re aiming to get a “beach-ready” bod or not, this bodyweight workout is still one that will help you feel good in your skin. This routine by GymRa incorporates full-body moves like squats and punches to target multiple muscle groups at the same time, especially your core. Make sure you’re actively engaging those muscles throughout to get the best results. The workout’s focus on cardio will up your stamina — make sure you’ve warmed up beforehand as the trainer gets right to work.
With over 2 million followers on Instagram, you could say that trainer Lyzabeth Lopez knows a thing or two about fitness. And with curves that don’t quit, she’s also an inspiration for many women around the world. Her 20-minute workout focuses on strength-building moves like pushups and cardio intervals and, of course, plenty of booty work to reach that hourglass figure. Advanced exercisers should have a jump rope and kettlebell available — beginners are fine without equipment. Three rounds of 8 exercises with narration and guidance by Lyzabeth will have you looking and feeling great in no time.
Ten cardio exercises for one minute each, repeated twice. Nothing could be simpler, right? And despite the name, Runtastic Fitness isn’t just for runners — it’s for anyone who wants to burn a few calories during their day. But if you feel like hitting the pavement in the not-so-distant future, this workout will definitely help you get your endurance up and torch some calories. Beginners could easily modify trainer Lunden’s workout, and hardcore gym-goers could add weight for an added challenge.
If you’re looking for a quick, fat-burning workout that combines cardio and core strengthening, this video from Fit Bottomed Girls is the one for you. Featuring Sean Vigue, this workout includes classic moves like planks, jump squats, and Pilates-inspired situp variations. We asked the team at Fit Bottomed Girls what they liked best about workouts that are 20 minutes or less and they said: “We love that they’re relatively short and easy to fit into your day, but also, if you maintain a high intensity, they can get you big results!”
Jessica Smith is known for her Walk Strong six-week transformation program for weight loss, and this short routine is a great complement to that. Whether you’re pressed for time or on the go, this workout on Jessica Smith TV gives you a whole-body, circuit training experience in 17 minutes — no equipment needed. Great for beginners, Jessica’s routine features lots of core work and low-impact cardio moves. Amp it up by adding a jump or holding a dumbbell during select moves. Check out Jessica’s other videos for even more easy at-home workouts.
If intensity is what you crave, Fitness Blender’s 15-minute HIIT workout is for you. You’ll complete two sets of 12 exercises — 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off — with a warmup and cooldown included. No equipment is required. During the video, trainer Daniel Segars reminds you that “Doing HIIT isn’t about just killing yourself. It’s about trying to do each one of these as clean and as hard as you possibly can.” And with explosive moves like burpees and star jumps, you’re sure to burn calories and work up a sweat.
Earlier this year, modelFIT founder Vanessa Packer teamed up with fitness fashion brand Sweaty Betty to create two exclusive workouts for the fashion site. One of the workouts is this powerful 20-minute leg and butt workout. Rather than large, explosive movements like burpees or jump squats, the modelFIT method breaks down movements into smaller, more isolated moves. Recommended equipment includes 3-pound ankle weights and 2-pound hand weights. Great for beginners, but deceptively hard for even seasoned exercisers.
If you’re looking to tighten your backside, this 12-minute strength workout by Tone It Up founder, Karena Dawn, sculpts your booty using an exercise band and a mat. Regarding the workout, Dawn says “This is definitely a booty burn!” You’ll target your butt from different angles as you squat, lunge, and lift your way toward achieving your fitness goals. Make it more or less challenging by adjusting the tension of the bands accordingly.
In LIVESTRONG.COM’s 5-minute booty challenge, celebrity trainer and former professional soccer player Nicky Holender wastes no time in showing you how to tighten and tone your glutes using just your body weight. This video is an excellent option to tone your tush when you have very little time to spare, and includes moves like the glute bridge and single-leg booty raises. Incorporate this short sequence into your workout a few times a week, or pair with cardio for an all-around option. Prepare to be lifted!
Another free routine from Millionaire Hoy, this short 15-minute workout is perfect for right after a workout if you want to target your abs. Throughout this at-home core workout, Hoy offers instructions to increase or decrease your intensity depending on your current fitness level, so it’s great for anyone. No equipment is necessary to get a burn with this one, and helpful cues at the bottom of the screen show you what’s next so you can mentally prepare.
In this 12-minute video, certified personal trainer and holistic health coach Sarah Dussault provides a fresh take on the boot camp style workout, no equipment required. She starts with one exercise and works up to six in a row for an intense booty burn. Dussault offers this tip to cut back on your workout time: “Short workouts are only effective, in my opinion, if you work hard. They can be more effective than a longer workout — you just have to give it your all!”
You’ll work up one heck of a sweat with this calorie-crushing whole-body HIIT workout courtesy of BodyRock. Twelve moves in 12 minutes with no equipment. It will have your heart pumping and muscles burning. Keep track of reps completed and try to beat your best the next go-around. Lisa-Marie Zbozen, the host of BodyRock.TV, tells us, “Our workouts are actually 12 minutes of HIIT-infused resistance training. In 12 minutes, you can get an intense, full-body workout that is perfect for fat loss and general conditioning.”
Ab workouts can be a challenge, but 10 minutes is doable! This upbeat ab workout by BexLife’s Rebekah Borucki features 40-second training intervals followed by 20 seconds of rest. Borucki gives you cues for proper form, technique, and breathing in a variety of body positions. And, you won’t need any equipment. “If you can feel your heart beating hard, that’s awesome! That means you’re getting cardio as well as strength,” she says. Add this to the end of a cardio or strength session or better yet, make the most out of your time in front of the TV and get your sweat on.
For many people, toning their lower belly is the hardest. This step-by-step 8-minute workout by SteadyHealth will help you inch a little closer to your fitness or weight loss goals. In conjunction with a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regime, this short routine can help you flatten that lower belly area. The video provides helpful cues for the number of reps you should complete based on your ability level, and shows you which muscles a particular exercise will target. Add it to the end of your workout to get the most bang for your buck.
Inspired by travel wanderlust, barre3 created this super-charged no-equipment, 10-minute workout. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you don’t need to compromise your fitness goals with this full-body sweat session featuring Dino Malvone, the barre3 West Village studio director. Blending yoga, Pilates, cardio, and weight training, barre3 has several workouts that are 20 minutes or less. “They’re fast, effective, and you can do them anywhere — your desk, a park bench, a hotel room, you name it,” says Malvone. Beginners will find this challenging, but seasoned exercisers should find the routine just right.
In this CosmoBody video, Astrid Swan guides you through an 11-minute dynamic cardio routine. If you’re a burpee fan, this workout is for you — it contains several sets of the exercise to get your blood pumping and blast calories. Swan favors these shorter workouts because they’re convenient and often more efficient than longer workouts, where your intensity can decrease as you get tired. You won’t need any equipment but you’ll definitely need your determination to make it through!