3 Trainers Share the Workouts They Do When They Only Have 20 Minutes
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Whether we’re wrapped up in the holiday hustle and bustle or simply weighed down by our standard daily schedules, sometimes it’s just hard to fit in time to work out. We know that exercise keeps us on top of our physical and mental games, though, so we make it work (most of the time!). Sometimes that means simply squeezing in a quick 20 minutes in the morning before the day starts, during lunch, or while the kids are napping.
The good news is, shorter workouts can be just as effective as logging more miles and booking longer dates with the gym, especially if you know how to use your time. “Just because it’s a short workout doesn’t mean it’s a bad workout,” says Aaptiv trainer Meghan Takacs. “I actually like consolidated workouts because you know you’re there to work hard, not long, so you get the most out of your time.”
Read on to learn how three trainers fill a 20-minute workout slot. Then sign up for Aaptiv, where you can filter workouts by duration and find a class that fits into your day, no matter how much time you have.
1. Try Tabata. “If I only have 20 minutes to work out, I’ll do a Tabata-style workout,” says Aaptiv trainer Candice Cunningham. In tabata-style training, you perform each exercise for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat that pattern for eight rounds. Each exercise is performed for four minutes each in this style. This type of training is ideal for shorter workouts because it ups the intensity of any move you perform. You can do pretty much any body weight or weighted exercise in this style for a quick, intense workout. “I’ll do squats for eight rounds, push-ups for eight rounds, jump squats for eight rounds, and, finally, mountain climbers for eight rounds,” says Cunningham.
2. HIIT it up. By now we know that HIIT-style workouts are beloved in all fitness circles from strength training to cardio. “High-intensity interval training challenges us and increases our heart rate with minimal rest, so we’re constantly working in a high fat-burning zone,” says Aaptiv trainer Kelly Chase. “If I have 20 minutes to work out, I do a HIIT strength training workout or do HIIT on the treadmill.”
Chase recommends trying sprints outdoors or on a treadmill for a quick cardio workout or grabbing dumbbells and incorporating strength moves into HIIT-style intervals.
3. AMRAP works. AMRAP, or as many rounds as possible, workouts get your body operating at a threshold level for the full workout. According to Takacs, this means you’ll actually burn a lot more calories post-workout when the actual exercise is done than you would after performing a steady state workout. “For AMRAPs, I always mix weights and running because your body gets to work on endurance while improving lean muscle mass,” says Takacs. “When your body does weight training and sprints, your muscle fibers break down more, and when you stop working out, it goes into repair mode and uses calories to rebuild those muscle fibers.”
Takacs’ 20-minute AMRAP includes a 400-meter run, 10 push-ups, and five single-arm snatches per arm (see how to perform this move here) for a killer total body strength and cardio blend.
(Photos via Getty)