20 minute workout

Don't have time for a long workout? Get your daily exercise in only 20 minutes!

If you've been working late, traveling, or overrun from other commitments, here's a solution for you. This workout is hard, fun, but best of all it only takes 20 minutes. It's a mini circuit training workout intended to get your heart rate up, with some strength training incorporated into it. The best part is that it requires zero equipment so you can do this workout during break at the office, in a hotel room, or in your living room!

The workout: There are 9 exercises to be completed. They are broken down into groups of three: 3 warmup exercises, 3 upper body exercises, and 3 lower body exercises. 

The set: For each exercise alternate between performing the exercise (the "on" phase) and resting (the 'off' phase). The ratio of the on/off sequence will increase and then decrease in a pyramid like fashion:

10 seconds on/10 seconds off

20 sec on/10 sec off

30 sec on/10 sec off

20 sec on/10 sec off

10 sec on/10 sec off

Perform the entire pyramid for the 1st warmup exercise, then without a break immediately repeat the pyramid for the 2nd warmup exercise, and so on. After you've gone through the 3 warmup exercises, take a 1-2 minute break to rest and drink some water. Perform the 3 upper body exercises, take a 1-2 minute break, and then perform the 3 lower body exercises. You might find it difficult to keep track of the time during the workout. Try having a family member of friend call out the time for you or download the interval timer app or the HIIT interval timer app to create a personalized interval stopwatch. 

Warmup exercises: 

1) The skier: 1) Stand with your feet together and knees slightly bent. 2) Keeping your feet together, hop quickly from side to side keeping your upper body as still as possible. Advanced option - One-legged skier: Hop from side to side but land on your outside leg only. 

2) The mountain climber: 1) Start with your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders. One leg is bent with your foot underneath your torso. The other foot is straightened behind you with your toes on the ground. 2) Bring your rear foot forwards so it's underneath your torso as you simultaneously move your front foot back. 3) Repeat this motion as fast as you can. Easier option - Modified mountain climber: 1) Stand up straight with your feet around shoulder width apart but with one in front of the other. 2) Jump and bring your rear leg forward and your front leg back. 3) Repeat this as fast as you can. 

3) Jumping jacks: This is a modified version of the classic exercise. 1) Start with your feet together and your hands at your side. 2) Jump and bring your feet out to the side as you bring your arms up and clap your hands above your head. 3) Bring your hands back down and your feet together to return to the starting position. 4) Jump and bring your feet out to the side as you clap your hands in front of your chest. 5) Repeat steps 1-4.

Upper body exercises:

1) Pushups: 1) Start with your hands on the ground underneath your shoulders and your legs straightened behind you (in plank position). 2) Keeping your core strong (not dropping your hips), lower your chest towards the floor by bending your elbows. 3) Straighten your elbows to bring yourself back to plank position. Easier option - Knee pushups: The same exercise as regular pushups but start from your knees instead of your toes. Easiest option - Wall pushups: 1) Stand approximately 2 feet away from a wall. 2) Bend your elbows so you bring your nose as close to the wall as possible. 3) Push away from the wall by straightening your elbows.

2) Leg lifts: 1) Lie on your back with your legs straight (you can have your hands by your sides or placed underneath your butt to make it a little easier). 2) Tighten your core to bring your legs up towards your body, keeping your legs as straight as possible. 3) When your legs are approximately perpendicular to the floor, lower them until they're almost touching the floor and then repeat. Easer option - Leg kickouts: 1) Start in the same position as leg lifts. 2) Bend your leg and bring your knee towards your head, keeping your other leg straight and slightly off the ground. 3) Alternate legs and repeat.

3) Wall triangles: 1) Stand with your back flat against a wall with your feet about 6-12 inches away from the wall. 2) Bring your arms up so your elbows are making a 90 degree angle beside your head. 3) Keeping your arms on the wall the entire time, reach your arms up and touch your hands together above your head. 4) Bring your arms back down to 90 degrees and repeat.

Wall triangles

Wall triangles

Lower body exercises:

1) Squats: 1) Stand with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. 2) Bend your knees and lower your butt toward the floor. 3) When your thighs are approximately parallel with the floor, straighten your knees to stand back up and repeat. Advanced option - Jump squats: 1) Bend your knees to get into a squat position. 2) Explosively straighten your legs to jump into the air. 3) When you land, immediately return to squat position and repeat.

2) Bridge: 1) Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet shoulder width apart and flat on the floor. 2) Push down on your heels and lift your hips in the air so that only your shoulders and feet are in contact with the ground (there should be a straight line between your shoulders and your knees). 3) Hold this position. Easier option - Bridge pulses: Instead of holding the bridge, slowly lower and raise your hips (but never let your butt touch the ground).



3) Lunges: 1) Stand with your knees slightly bent. 2) Lunge forward with one foot and lower yourself until your back knee gently touches the floor. 3) Push off the ground on your front foot to drive yourself back to standing position. 4) Repeat this with the other foot, and so on. Advanced option - Jump lunges: 1) Lunge forward as you do in the normal lunges. 2) Explosively push off the ground with your front foot so that you jump into the air. 3) While in the air, switch your feet so your front foot is back and your back foot is in front. 4) Land in a lunge position and repeat. 

You did it! You might find that it's very difficult the first time you go through it. That's okay it's meant to be hard! If these exercises are new to you, try the easier versions of each exercise first and then gradually progress to the harder exercises. As always, remember to hydrate and refuel after.