Do 20 Minute Workouts REALLY Work?


“But I never have time to workout ”

You know how many times I’ve heard that?  I’m sure you can imagine.

The old, lack-of-time-card is a tried a true method employed whenever someone really wants to say, “I’m too lazy to work out today”.  Sure, most of us lead pretty hectic lives, but I’m willing to bet anyone can carve out just a little bit of time in their day for a workout.

But how much time do I really need, I hear you asking…

Twenty minutes.   That’s it.

“Can you really get accomplish anything only using 20 minute workouts?”

Answer: YES. In fact, I hooked myself up to a heart rate monitor to check out the actual numbers associated with some of these 20 minute workouts, and let me tell you, they work. Really well.

Maximize your 20 minute workouts with these 4 rules…

  1. Compound exercises only. No bicep curls or tricep extensions here; we want exercises that are going to hit multiple muscle groups, fatigue you faster, and boost your metabolic rate faster.
  2. Little to no rest breaks.  If we’re working out for only 20 minutes, we need to be spending almost all of that time……working out.
  3. Opt for heavier weight and less reps over lower weight and more reps. If you’re lifting a light weight it’s going to to take too long to actually fatigue that muscle we want to burn out!
  4. Finish all workouts with an uptempo cardio blast.  This will really ensure you’re getting that metabolic boost from these workouts.

Three 20 Minute Workouts for Total Body Conditioning

These three 20 minute workouts are going to focus on a few key areas most of you guys and girls are looking to improve; reduce body fat, improve muscular strength, and boost endurance. Feel free to use these workouts whenever you’re short on time but still want a killer workout.

Workout 1

  • 8-10 Dumbbell Squats
  • 8-10 Box Jumps
  • 8-10 Push Ups
  • 8-10 Squat Presses

Repeat the following circuit for 16 minutes.  Complete as many rounds as possible.  Finish things off with a four minute finisher of 10 burpees/30 high knees, repeated as many times as possible.

Workout 2

On a treadmill…

Perform the following interval sprints…

  • 5 intervals of 60 seconds jog/30 seconds sprint
  • 5 intervals of 45 seconds jog/45 seconds sprint
  • 4 intervals of 30 seconds jog/45 seconds sprint

Workout 3

Perform each exercise for 60 seconds.  Complete as many GOOD reps in that time as possible.  Cycle through four times for 20 minutes.  Really push yourself during the last few minutes to get that metabolic boost and all-day calorie burn.

  1. Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
  2. Dumbbell Swings
  3. Reverse Lunges
  4. Russian Dumbbell Twists
  5. Jump Rope

As I mentioned above, these 20 minute workouts are especially effective in burning calories. How do I know?  Well, I hooked myself up to my heart rate monitor and gave them a go at my full potential.  I’m talking max-out, gave-it-all-I-had effort.  With that in mind, let’s check out the numbers…

Total calories burned:

Workout 1: 309

Workout 2: 298

Workout 3: 331

Not too shabby, huh? Do five, 20 minute workouts a week and you’re looking at a total calorie deficit of over 1,500 calories.  Thats nearly half-a-pound of body fat GONE, each week.  There’s no excuse for missing workouts if you’re going to use that no-time card.

They key to making the most of what little time you do have, is incorporating the rules listed above and using the most effective 20 minute workouts for your goals.

Hopefully this helps give you an idea of what kind of workout you can really accomplish in just 20 minutes.  If you’ve got any questions, leave a comment below!

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