After more than 20 years of working out and developing programs for other people I’ve come to find that brief, intense workouts are the best way to train for building muscle and losing body fat. This is especially true when you’re eating right by cutting processed carbohydrates and sugar and doing things like intermittent fasting. That’s because workouts lasting 20 minutes or less enable you to put your all into every set and rep without completely running out of gas and feeling wiped out for the rest of the day.
Like everything else, the key is to arrange your workout properly. This article shows you how. After reading it have a new way to work out that will help you change your body as fast as possible.
My Experience With 20 Minute Workouts
I began experimenting with this style of training about a year and a half ago. Since then, my workouts never last longer than 20 minutes. Even so, my results have exceeded my expectations. I’ve kept off the weight I initially lost and gained several pounds of muscle.
My strength has increased too. After a few months I went from performing 1 arm kettlebell snatches with a 25 to a 50 pound weight. My wife trains this way too and stays lean year round despite her love of tortillas.
An Effective 20 Minute Workout Must
- Use compound exercises that train 1 or more large muscle groups (i.e. back, chest, legs, shoulders) at a time. Include exercises like burpees, kettlebell swings, and push ups are great choices. Biceps curls, calf raises, and leg extensions should be avoided.
- Have you perform as much work (sets and reps) as possible at every workout. This is done by limiting rest periods and doing total body exercises.
- Be done with 100% intensity. The harder you work, the better your results. You need to lift as heavy a weight as possible and do 5-8 reps per set.
- Have you rest as little as possible between sets. Studies show minimizing the amount of time you rest between every exercise increases the calories you burn before and after your workout.
- Have you working out 3-4 times a week. You can add more workouts if you like to help you lose fat and make progress faster. I get my best results when doing these workouts 5-6 times, and sometimes more weekly.
- Use training methodologies like complexes which enable you to perform more work in less time.
Sample 20 Minute Workouts
Below are 3 workouts that take 20 minutes or less to complete (not including your warm-up and cool down). Adjust the sets, reps, and rest periods between each exercise to accommodate your fitness level. If you are new or just getting back into shape you should perform fewer sets and rest longer between exercises. Those of you who have been working out 3-4 times a week regularly for 6 months or longer may want to add more sets and reps and rest less between exercises. The more work you perform, the better your results.
Workout 1 – 20 Minute Dumbbell Or Kettlebell Complex
This program requires a dumbbell or kettlebell. It’s great for both losing fat and building muscle.
Do not rest until you have performed the last exercise in the series. Rest for 2-3 minutes and then repeat the cycle again.
You should aim to perform as many complexes in 20 minutes as possible. Begin with 3 and aim to do more at every workout.
- Alternating Kettlebell Swings – 6 reps with each arm
- Kettlebell Push Ups – 6 reps
- Front Squats With Dumbbell or Kettlebell – 6 reps
- 1 Arm Standing Shoulder Press – 6 reps
Workout 2 – 20 Minute Circuit Workout
This is workout is to be done outside or somewhere indoors where you have at least 25 yards to run, throw, and move down. Do each exercise one after the other with no rest between each. Rest for 2-3 minutes after the last exercise. Repeat for the prescribed number of sets.
Begin performing each exercise over a distance of 25-50 yards per set. The fitter you are, the longer the distance you should cover.
Do 3 circuits your first workout. Aim to perform as many circuits as possible at every workout.
- Kettlebell Throws
- Kettlebell Lunges
- Bear Crawls
Workout 3 – 20 Minute Bodyweight Workout
Don’t let the lack of equipment fool you. This workout will quickly have you sweating and your heart pounding. Do this workout the same way you perform the other workouts. Don’t rest between exercises.
Only rest after you have performed the last exercise in the circuit. Then rest for 2-3 minutes and repeat.
Start with 3 or 4 circuits your first workout. Make it your goal to increase the number you do at every workout.
- Burpees – 10 reps
- Push Ups – 10 reps. Switch to plyometric push ups if the regular style is too easy.
- Split Squats – 10 reps
- Inverted Rows – 10 reps
- Wide Outs – 10 reps
Get Ready For Results
Once you’ve tried these workouts you’ll see how it’s possible to get in a killer workout that produces results in 20 minutes or less.
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