Workouts You Can Do in 20 Minutes or Less


It’s normal to be short on time during the holiday season. You tend to make sacrifices in order to get things done like shopping, cooking, entertaining and spending time visiting with family. Sometimes your workouts don’t make the cut because you just can’t fit them in. Don’t ignore your fitness this holiday season. Here are some no-excuse workouts you can do in less than 20 minutes anywhere you wish, even your home!


High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves workouts where you perform at 100 percent effort for a short time, followed by a short and sometimes active recovery. “All out intensity efforts resulting in shortness of breath require the body to take in excess oxygen post-exercise in order to recover,” says Eric Salvador, head instructor at The Fhiiting Room studio in New York City. “This process, commonly referred to as after burn, boosts metabolism for hours post-exercise.” Get your burn on with this HIIT workout. Repeat the entire circuit twice.

Equipment Needed: Jump rope

Interval 1

–Jump rope for one minute (aim for 80-100 reps)
–Do 10 squat thrusts. (How to do it:  Stand with your feet together, squat down keeping your knees in line with your ankles, place your hands on the floor next to your feet. Jump your feet backwards into a pushup position. Then jump feet back in and return to standing. Add intensity by jumping after you stand up.)
–Do 10 pushups. (How to do it: Get into plank position. Keeping your elbows as close to your body as possible, bend your elbows and lower yourself down as close to the ground as you can without touching the ground. Push yourself back up.)

Interval 2

–Jump rope for one minute (aim for 80-100 reps)
–Do 8 squat thrusts
–Do 8 pushups

Interval 3

–Jump rope for one minute (aim for 80-100 reps)
–6 squat thrusts
–6 pushups

Interval 4

–Jump rope for one minute (aim for 80-100 reps)
–Do 4 squat thrusts
–Do 4 pushups

Interval 5

–Jump rope for one minute (aim for 80-100 reps)
–Do 2 squat thrusts
–Do 2 pushups

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Tabata is a particular form of high intensity training that can help improve not only aerobic systems but anaerobic as well. And it can be done in four minutes flat. “Tabata is amazing because in as little as four minutes you can increase your aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, VO2 max, resting metabolic rate and burn more fat than a traditional 60-minute aerobic workout,” says Caitlin McGowan, Group Fitness Manager at Equinox. As with every tabata protocol, perform each tabata below at maximum capacity for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat each eight times for a total of four minutes on each move.

Tabata 1: Burpee

Targets: full body, arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings

How To Do It: Get into a squat position. Jump your feet back so you’re in a plank position. Jump your feet back up to your hands. Stand up and jump as high as your can. Return to starting position. Repeat for 20 seconds.

Tabata 2: Alternating Reverse Lunge

Targets: lower body, quads, glutes, adductors, calves, hamstrings

How To Do It: Stand tall, arms at your sides, and take a step backwards with your right leg. Lower down to a squat, bending both knees to 90 degrees. Keep right hip directly in line with your right knee, heel lifted and left knee directly over your left ankle. Continue to lower until your right knee almost touches the floor. Using your legs, raise back up to start position. Repeat stepping back with the left leg.

Tabata 3: Speed Skaters

Targets: cardio

How To Do It: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Hop as far as you can to your right and land on your right foot, sweeping your left leg diagonally behind you, while swinging your left arm across your body and right arm behind your back. Jump to the left and repeat on the opposite side.

Tabata 4: Caterpillar Crawl to Pushup

Targets: upper body, core, shoulders, chest, arms, legs

How To Do It: Begin standing with feet together. Bend over all the way, touching your hands to the ground. Walk your hands forward until your body is in a pushup position. Perform a pushup. Walk your hands back towards your feet and stand up.

Tabata 5: V-Ups 

Targets: core, abs

How To Do It: Lie down on your back on the floor, legs extended straight, arms straight back overhead. Keeping your legs straight and feet together, lift your legs into the air as you simultaneously raise your arms and upper body off the ground. Slowly return back to starting position.

Related: Holiday Boot Camp Workout – Tabata Style

By Amy Schlinger