Got 20 Minutes? Get Fit!

One of the biggest excuses for not working out is, "I just don't have the time." Of course, we're all busy and getting busier all the time. That makes it hard to get to the gym, let alone spend enough time there. The time you spend at work, with your family, stuck in traffic and satisfying social obligations is bound to take precedence.

With all you've got going, can you devote 20 minutes to staying in shape? That's not so much to squeeze into an already tight schedule. This allotment might not be enough to win you any bodybuilding trophies or marathon medals, but in that 20 minutes you can effectively get a good basic workout.

The key to achieving a good workout in only 20 minutes is to go at it fast. Using training techniques like supersets (where you move quickly between two exercises) and drop sets (a training-to-failure strategy that involves decreasing reps and stripping weight from one set to the next), you'll be exercising with incredible intensity while speeding up workout duration. There's no time for taking it easy between sets when you only have 20 minutes to work with!

Here's a program to use when you have enough time to make it to the gym, but can only spare 20 minutes for training. Remember to keep going, moving quickly from one exercise to the next. You can catch your breath over a protein shake when you're finished.

Moving set to set, exercise to exercise, with no rest between is hard work. But because you're working opposing muscle groups between sets, you aren't sacrificing quality. Start with abs, move on to upper body muscles and finish with legs. A whole body workout in just 20 minutes.

The Arnold Press works the entire deltoid in one exercise, and the drop set technique starts you out with heavy weight and lots of reps, stripping off plates and decreasing reps as you continue. The object is to reach or approach failure with each set.

Finish off the workout with leg training. Dumbbell squat and stiff-leg deadlifts really work those thighs, and supersetting the two movements will finish off this workout with a bang! Now what about those days when you don't have the extra time needed to get to the gym?

The only piece of equipment you'll need for this fast and simple home gym program is a pull-up bar. They're available at many retail outlets and, if you know anything about hardware, can easily be made with plumbing supplies and basic hand tools. Secure it between two stable vertical planes, like inside a door frame, and leave enough room for your head to clear the top.

The abs training consists of crunches and leg raises performed while laying on the floor. Do them fast enough, and you'll get a combined cardio and resistance effect. Moving on to upper body exercises, doing push-ups between two chairs provides an extended range of motion making each rep that much harder to complete. Be sure you keep the chairs steady throughout. The squats and lunges are performed like calisthenics using your body weight for resistance. Try it and you'll see that working the full 20 minutes with no rest and plenty of intensity will provide an effective and efficient whole-body workout.

So there you have it, two training options for the time-pressed fitness enthusiast. You can take it to the next level by purchasing a jump rope. A set of variable weight dumbbells is another budget-conscious way to diversify your training.

Where you go from there depends on your goals and determination. Fortunately, time will be less of an issue.
Leave a Comment
Tilley Fernando
Feb 27, 2009
This wont work. Body needs time to rest as well. But this workout plan is better than doing nothing
Feb 27, 2009
You're body needs rest in between sets on the same muscle group but not necessarily inbetween changing muscle groups.
Garrett Butler
Feb 27, 2009
It's a great workout strategy and can work wonders for those of us who have been lagging on our workouts. The only reason it wouldn't work is if you aren't putting any effort into it. Also, because you're switching muscle groups for each exercise, you aren't burning out. It's brilliant for us everyday Joe's.
Feb 27, 2009
Samuel Clark
Feb 27, 2009
I like this. Another thing I would do to make this more intense is to hold something heavy and non rigid (like a sandbag). This helps grip strength (forearms) and you can do rows, squats, you name it.
Hugh Mungo
Feb 28, 2009
I've done opposing supersets for years. It works great but I also do cardio to build up capacity/endurance for heavy weights. This is a great start to get off your wide butt
Feb 28, 2009
I like home workouts every once in a while, when life doesn't give me a chance to go to the gym. Without naming any specific product, I recommend the pull-up bars that hook on top of a door frame. Also, I recommend one-leg squats using a chair (great to balance out your strength on both sides).
mayur poojary
Mar 02, 2009
i feel this workout is good enough,if you miss your gym some day,atleast it will keep u pumped up...
Mar 10, 2009
Sounds alot like H.I.G.T from abfitt