On a Time Crunch? Here Are 2 Ideas for a Quick Gym Workout

alarm clock and dumbell
No matter how full your weekly schedule looks, you should be able to find time for this quick gym workout.

by Catherine Santino

Let's face it: Many of us simply don't have the ability to carve out an hour for the gym every day (or even every other day). Rather than stress yourself out over it, why not squeeze in a quick gym workout in the time it takes to watch an episode of your favorite TV show?

In the grand scheme of your day, a short gym visit can be over in the blink of an eye — and it'll boost your energy and confidence for the rest of the week! Not only that, but you could also see some long-term benefits.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that a mere 30 minutes of physical activity can help prevent chronic disease in adults, reduce fat, improve sleep, increase your self-esteem, and even increase your chances of living longer. All that for just half an hour of exercise a day! It's a good deal.

Here are two options for a super quick gym workout that'll have you in and out (and feeling great) in no time.

The 20-Minute Challenge

Instead of hitting the snooze button, consider getting up right when your alarm goes off and starting your day with this fast and fun — yet challenging — 20-minute workout:

  • 5 minutes on the elliptical or treadmill (do this as an easy warm-up to wake you up and get your heart rate going!)
  • 10 kneeling pushups
  • 30 seconds of burpees (burpees can be tough! You can briefly pause to rest whenever you feel the need)
  • 10 lat pulldowns
  • 10 leg raises
  • 30-second plank (on your elbows or hands, depending on your fitness level)
  • 10 squat jumps (try holding a weight or medicine ball for an added challenge)
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers
  • 10 kneeling pushups
  • 30 seconds of burpees (you can briefly pause to rest whenever you feel the need)
  • 10 lat pulldowns
  • 10 leg raises
  • 30-second plank (on your elbows or hands, depending on your fitness level)
  • 10 squat jumps (try holding a weight or medicine ball for an added challenge)
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers
  • 15 reps (per leg) of dumbbell lunges (select weight based on your fitness level)
  • 3-minute cooldown (time to stretch it out!)
     

30 Minutes of Sweatin' and Smilin'

If you have 30 minutes to dedicate to exercising, the following regimen will get you active and feeling super accomplished. This routine allows you to devote a little more attention to the muscles in your upper and lower body, as well as your core:

  • 10 minutes of walking on an elliptical or treadmill
  • 30-second side plank (on your elbows or hands) on each side
  • 20 lat pulldowns
  • 30 seconds of burpees
  • 15 leg raises
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers (rest briefly after 15 seconds)
  • 10 squat jumps (hold a weight or medicine ball for an added challenge)
  • 10 reps (per leg) of dumbbell lunges (choose a weight based on your fitness level)
  • 20 medicine ball Russian twists
  • 30 seconds of burpees
  • 20 lat pulldowns
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers (rest briefly after 15 seconds)
  • 15 leg raises
  • 10 squat jumps (hold a weight or medicine ball for an added challenge)
  • 20 medicine ball Russian twists
  • 10 reps (per leg) of dumbbell lunges (choose a weight based on your fitness level)
  • 20 hip raises
  • 30 seconds of burpees
  • 5-minute cooldown (stretch your muscles and foam roll any tight areas)
     

If you can't finish all of these exercises in the allotted time, feel free to cut back on reps or shorten the time spent doing burpees and mountain climbers (15 seconds will still raise that heart rate). Time constraints and reps aside, if you work hard for 20 minutes, you're going to get a great workout! No matter who you are or what your schedule is like, everyone has time for a quick gym workout — next time you're planning a sweat session, consider giving one of these two routines a try.

Remember, it's OK if you can only make it to the gym for 20 minutes at a time — simply showing up is an accomplishment. What's important is that you're taking steps toward being more active and reaching your fitness goals. As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.