20 minute cardio and strength circuit workout

This workout combines cardio and strength exercises in a short but hard 20-minute circuit. It works all of the energy systems and requires speed, agility, strength, and stamina. It requires zero equipment so you can do this workout in a park, hotel room, or in your living room!

The workout: There are 12 exercises to be completed (6 cardio, 2 lower body strength, 2 upper body strength, and 2 core strength exercises). Each set consists of a core exercise alternated with a strength exercise (6 sets in total).

Each exercise will be performed for 20 seconds (the "on" phase), followed by 10 seconds of rest (the 'off' phase). For example, set 1 will go as follows:

Set 1: Cardio + Lower body

Jumping jacks: 20 seconds on/10 seconds off

Lunges: 20 seconds on/10 seconds off

Jumping jacks: 20 seconds on/10 seconds off

Lunges: 20 seconds on/10 seconds off

Jumping jacks: 20 seconds on/10 seconds off

Lunges: 20 seconds on/10 seconds off

This entire set should be performed without a break. The 10 seconds rest will mostly be spent getting into position for the next exercise. At the end of the set, take a 1-2 minute break to rest and drink some water and then move on to set 2.

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. 

The sets:

Set 1: Jumping jacks + Lunges

Set 2: Mountain climber + Pushups

Set 3: Skiier + Leg lifts

Set 4: High knees + Squats

Set 5: Butt kicks + Dips

Set 6: Burpees + Bicycle

The exercises: 

1a) 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.

1b) 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. 

2a) 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. 

2b) 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 - Half 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.

3a) 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. 

3b) 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. 

4a) High knees: 1) Run on the balls of your feet, but bring your knee up as close to your chest as possible on each step. 2) Keep your strides small and move your arms in opposition to your legs.

4b) 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.

5a) Butt kicks: 1) Similar to high knees, keep your strides small as you run. 2) On each stride, bring the foot of your back leg up towards your butt (so your heel is kicking your butt).

5b) Dips: 1) Find a bench, ledge or chair to sit on. 2) Place hands on either side of your butt with fingers facing forward. 3) Slide forward to bring butt off the bench (with legs outstretched in front of you). 4) Bend elbows to lower your butt towards the floor. 5) When elbows are at approximately 90 degrees, straighten elbows to return to starting position. 

6a) Burpees: 1) Stand comfortably with feet narrower than shoulder width apart. 2) Bend at knees to bring hands beside feet. 3) Jump your feet out to land in plank position. 4) Jump feet back in to starting position. 5) Push off the ground explosively, bringing arms straight into the air as you jump up to return to starting position. 5) Repeat.

6b) Bicycle: ) Lie on back with legs up and bent at 90 degrees. 2) With arms bent and fingers lightly touching ears, bring right elbow and left knee together (as straighten right leg). 3) Move left elbow and right knee together (as straighten left leg). 4) Repeat (should be one continuous motion).

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 you need to you can switch to 15 seconds on/15 seconds off, or take a lot of rest in between sets. As always, remember to stretch, hydrate and refuel after.