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The Best Workouts You Can Do in 20 Minutes

You don't need a full hour or even a half hour to get an effective workout.

Let's be honest. The best workout you can do is the one you will do. Whether you have an hour to spend or only 20 minutes, you have to do the work. But 20 minutes can be very effective if you keep a few things in mind.

Before Your Workout

Before you even get to the gym, go outside or even into your living room for your workout, have a plan. Don't waste any of your 20 minutes deciding what you are going to do that day. Be prepared with your plan and ready to go in the time you have. When you plan, determine the focus of your workout. Are you doing a cardio-based workout, want strength training or focus on stretching? Or does this 20-minute workout need a little bit of everything? Get specific so this workout helps you reach your goals.

Cardio Focus

To get that heart rate up and burn the most calories in your 20 minutes, a HIIT workout is probably your best bet. High-intensity interval training mixes active rest with high-intensity bursts to raise your heart rate and push your body. It is preceded by a warm-up and followed by a cooldown to gradually prepare your body for the work, and allow it to relax after your workout. You can choose the length of your active rest and higher bursts to push yourself and personalize your workout based on what you are doing: treadmill, bike, elliptical, stairs, jump rope, hills, rowing or anything else.

Strength Focus

Think circuit training, supersets or giant sets for a quick and effective strength training workout. Design a workout that you can move quickly from one exercise to the next in order to get the most bang for your buck in 20 minutes. You can get a great full body workout, or focus in on just a couple of muscle groups depending on your goals.

A Bit of Both

Want some cardio and strength? Well, you definitely can do that with a HIIT type program. Your active rest will just be strength type exercises rather than lower intensity cardio. Here's a quick example of a workout:

  • Superset Dumbbell squats and dumbbell rows
  • 30 seconds of burpees
  • Superset walking lunges with push-ups
  • 30-second sprint
  • Superset steps ups with triceps dips
  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks
  • Superset glut bridges with dumbbell biceps curls
  • 30 seconds jump rope

Repeat through as many times as you can in 20 minutes.

Lengthen Your Body

Stretching is important and you can stretch for 20 minutes if that's what your body needs — and some do. Or you can flow and move, burn a little more calories and get a stretch with a quick 20-minute yoga session. If you don't want a whole stretching workout, at least save enough time to stretch the muscles you worked that day.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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