Between work, family, and other obligations, it can be very difficult to squeeze in time to exercise. But it seems that many of life’s little problems can be solved with the internet’s help.
We browsed the web and rounded up our favorite workouts that you can do in 20 minutes or less. From body weight exercises to HIIT routines, these short exercise sessions will build strength and endurance without countless hours at the gym.
In fact, a 2016 by researchers at McMaster University in Canada showed that even one minute of high-intensity exercise had health benefits, like increased endurance and improved blood glucose levels.
With an all-star cast of fitness instructors, there’s something for everyone on our list. Pick a workout and get moving!
12-Minute Fat-Burning Cardio Core Bodyweight Workout
If you’re looking for a quick, fat-burning workout that combines cardio, core strengthening, and bodyweight exercises, this video from Fit Bottomed Girls is the one for you. Featuring Sean Vigue, this workout includes moves like planks, jump squats, and Pilates-inspired sit-up variations. We asked the team at Fit Bottomed Girls what they liked best about workouts that are 20 minutes or less. Here’s what they had to say:
“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!”
The Quiet At-Home Workout That Crushes Calories
Is it possible to get moving and burn calories without waking the baby or getting an angry knock on your door for disturbing the neighbors? In this 10-minute quiet workout from PopSugar Fitness, you can get a great workout without a lot of noise. With a light set of free weights and modifications to suit your fitness needs, this workout will have you building muscle (almost) without making a peep.
Anna Renderer, health and fitness host for FitSugar TV says, “As a mother of two who works full-time, fitting in fitness can be challenging, but 20-minute workouts are easy to fit into my busy schedule! I can squeeze in a 20-minute sweat session in the morning before my family wakes up, or in the evening while dinner is in the oven.”
17 Minute No-Equipment Total Body Circuit Workout
Whether you’re pressed for time or on the go, this workout by Jessica Smith TV gives you a whole body, circuit training experience in 17 minutes — no equipment needed. Smith says, “20-minute workouts can be very effective as long as you are concentrating your efforts and making the most out of your time. Look for sessions — like our ‘excuse-proof’ circuit — that use multiple muscle groups at once and keep your heart rate elevated the entire time. Just be sure to balance out higher-intensity days with lower-to-moderate intensity work to avoid overtraining and stressing your system.”
15 Minute HIIT Workout
If intensity is what you crave, Fitness Blender’s 15-minute HIIT workout is for you. American College of Sports Medicine defines HIIT sessions as “high intensity interval training” and says this type of exercise program includes periods of high-powered exertion followed by a period of recovery, which differs depending on your workout. 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.” With explosive moves like burpees and star jumps, you’re sure to torch calories and work up a sweat.
ModelFIT Legs and Bum Workout
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. According to the modelFIT website, “Instead of large movements which rely on momentum created by joints (i.e., burpees, jump squats, etc.), the modelFIT method breaks these movements down to the small portion in which your muscles are working the hardest. The result is more effective muscle burn without any strain on joints.” Recommended equipment includes three-pound ankle weights and two-pound hand weights.
12 Minute Booty Burn with Karena!
If you’re looking to tighten your backside, this 12-minute workout by Tone It Up founder, Karena Dawn, sculpts your booty using a band, a mat, and the beach as your backdrop. Regarding the workout, Dawn says, “This is definitely a booty burn!” You’ll target your booty from different angles as you squat, lunge, and lift your way toward achieving your fitness goals.
5-Minute Booty Challenge with Nicky Holender
In LIVESTRONG.COM’s five-minute booty challenge, celebrity trainer and former professional soccer player, Nicky Holender states, “Working a muscle that you don’t use often can give you huge health benefits.” While we don’t know for certain if five-minute bouts of exercise can replace longer workouts altogether, this video is an excellent option to tone your tush when you have very little time to spare.
15 Minute Six-Pack Abs Home Workout to Burn Fat and Build Core Strength
Fitness trainer, Millionaire Hoy, features hundreds of fun and free exercise videos on his YouTube channel. In this video, Hoy recommends, “This is perfect for after a workout if you want to hit those abs and target them here for 15 minutes.” Throughout this at-home, core workout, Hoy offers instructions to increase or decrease your intensity depending on your current fitness level, so it’s perfect for anyone to give a try.
Sarah's Ultimate Booty Boot-Camp Workout
In this 12-minute video, certified personal trainer and holistic health coach, Sarah Dussault, provides a fresh take on the boot-camp style workout. 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!”
Twelve Minute Madness Workout
You’ll work up one heck of a sweat with this calorie-crushing HIIT workout courtesy of BodyRock. If you’ve been waiting for a fast-paced, at-home workout, the wait is over. 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.” One look at this video and you’ll see BodyRock workouts are no joke!
Flat Belly 10-Minute Abs Workout
Who doesn’t dread an ab workout? But 10 minutes is doable for anyone. 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. “If you can feel your heart beating hard, that’s awesome! That means you’re getting cardio as well as strength,” she says during exercises in the video.
Can't get rid of lower belly fat? Then you must try this great workout!
For many people, toning the lower belly is the hardest. But, this step-by-step, eight-minute workout by SteadyHealth will help you inch a little closer to your fitness or weight loss goals. This company aims to provide users with credible health, fitness, and nutrition information. The SteadyHealth team notes, “The workouts are very effective. If you have enough energy, you can even do them twice a day, but if not, even twice a week makes a difference.”
10 Minutes with Dino 2
Inspired by travel wanderlust, barre3 created this super-charged, 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.
Cardio to Slim and Sculpt your Bod!
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 super convenient and often more efficient than longer workouts where your intensity can decrease as you get increasingly tired,” she says. Just how effective are 20-minute workouts? “It depends on your fitness goals and your intensity,” Swan adds.
Jenny Lelwica Buttaccio, OTR/L, is a Chicago-based, freelance lifestyle writer and a licensed occupational therapist. Her expertise is in health, wellness, fitness, chronic illness management, and small business. For more than a decade, she’s battled Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and interstitial cystitis. She’s the creator of the DVD, New Dawn Pilates: Pilates-inspired exercises adapted for people with pelvic pain. Jenny shares her personal healing journey on lymeroad.com with the support of her husband, Tom, and three rescue dogs: Caylie, Emmi, and Opal. You can find her on Twitter @lymeroad.