Not enough time for a workout? We beg to differ!


The “I Don’t Have Time!” Workout Solution


“I only had 20 minutes so I didn’t have enough time to do my workout!”

“There’s no way I can have an effective workout in 20 minutes.”


I have heard both of those statements many times and I always respond the same way. “A 20 minute workout, done the right way, is more effective than no workout at all.”


Don’t underestimate what you can accomplish in 20 minutes. If you do things right, that’s enough time for an effective, fast workout. Below I am going to provide you with four sample 20-minute workouts, and they should give you some great ideas to create your own as well.

These 20 minute workouts are ideal for:

  • Days you are pressed for time and can’t perform the scheduled, regular routine.
  • When you just aren’t feeling your regular or scheduled routine!
  • When you just flat out don’t want to spend more than 20 or so minutes working out. (remember, something, done correctly, is better than nothing)

And to get the greatest benefits from these sample 20-minute workouts, there are a few simple rules to apply.


4 Rules for 20-Minute Workouts

The main principle when you’re short on time (or just don’t want to spend much working out) is embracing the less, but better principle. You need to only follow four simple rules for effective 20 minute workouts:

Use the best exercises – that means compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time (e.g. squats, push-ups).

Use a challenging load or variation.

Don’t rest longer than necessary. If you’re limited on time, you can’t spend most of it resting and doing nothing.

When you repeat the workout, strive to improve your performance.


Now that you know the rules, let’s dive into the sample 20-minute workouts.


Sample Workout 1 – Countdown








If you “only have 20 minutes” to devote to a workout, spend the first five doing a fast and simple warm-up. A great way to start is to perform 1-2 easy sets of the exercises in the workout.

After the warm-up get your weights ready, set a timer for 15 minutes, and perform as many circuits as possible in that time (WITH PROPER TECHNIQUE, OF COURSE!). When the buzzer sounds, you’re done. Here’s a terrific sample workout that’ll work your entire body.


1a. Goblet squat x 10-12 reps

1b. One arm dumbbell push press x 8-10 reps per arm

1c. Chin-up (or assisted chin-ups) x 8-10 reps


Perform those exercises, one after the other, in circuit fashion. Be prepared to experience how effective a 20-minute workout can be.

Each time you repeat the workout you can either perform more reps per set (try 12-15), vary the load (heavier weight/fewer reps), or strive to perform more circuits in the same 15 minute time period.


Sample Workout 2 – AMAP


AMAP means as many as possible, and that’s what you’ll do with this workout. You’ll perform as many reps as possible for each exercise listed below in 60 seconds, and then move on to the next exercise and do the same thing until you perform all five.


1) Rear foot elevated split squat (right leg) x 60 seconds

2) Rear foot elevated split squat (left leg) x 60 seconds

3) Close grip push-up x 60 seconds

4) Face-pull x 60 seconds

5) Kettlebell or Dumbbell swing x 60 seconds


You may not be able to perform each exercise non-stop for 60 seconds, and that’s fine. Do as many as you can and rest only as needed.

Rest as little as possible between each exercise, and then repeat it a total of two or three times.


 – What do you think of the first two? Have questions? Want to speak with a coach? CONTACT US BY CLICKING HERE or GIVE JON A CALL at 563-505-1079! We are here to help!


Sample Workout 3 – The Power of 3

Power of 3









We love this tried-and-true format for a fast and effective workout.

Perform three exercises for three sets each.

1a. RDL or Single leg RDL

1b. Inverted row or One arm dumbbell row

1c. Push-up or Dumbbell bench press

Perform those three exercises in circuit fashion, one after the other, for a total of three circuits and keep the rest between exercises to a minimum. A good rep range to use is the standard 3×10-12 reps for each exercise. Or you can do 1×6, 1×10, and 1×15 for variety.

Remember, put 100% effort and focus into every rep of every set. Make it count!


Sample Workout 4 – Top O’ The Minute


After a five minute warm-up set a timer for 15 minutes and at the top of every minute perform a set of an exercise.

You have dozens of options, but be sure to use a compound exercise like a deadlift or squat for strength-based workouts, but be sure to use a lighter weight than you normally would. You can also use a more conditioning-based exercise such as kettlebell swings, burpees, or farmer carries.

At the top of each minute, do a set. For example with a deadlift or squat, you could do five reps at the top of every minute, and after the 15 minute time period is over, you’ll have performed 15 sets. For deadlifts and squats keep the reps in the 6-8 range and start with a weight you could lift for 10 reps or so. This may be easy for the first few minutes, but it will get more challenging as fatigue accumulates.

For kettlebell swings or burpees, do a set that takes approximately 20-30 seconds or so to complete. Then you’ll rest until the top of the next minute rolls around. Again, start conservatively!


What Can YOU Do in 20 Minutes?


These are just four examples for effective 20-minute workouts and there are many possibilities whether you work out at home with just your bodyweight or if you prefer to train at a gym. How much time you have isn’t the important thing – making the most of what you do have is what matters.

Follow the four rules above and you’ll accomplish more than you realized was possible.

Can’t even spare 20 minutes some days? Could you find 5 (minutes)? I bet you can…MESSAGE ME and I will give you a 5 minute routine to get you huffin’ and puffin’ and breaking a sweat!  The key is to develop consistency.  Commit to doing SOMETHING, ANYTHING, each day so that exercise becomes a habit!

Still feel like you need some additional guidance, give us a call, 563-505-1079, and schedule a complimentary Success Session with a trainer today!

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