A 20-Minute Workout Is Effective — Here’s Why

A 20-Minute Workout Is Effective — Here’s Why

When your schedule is crammed with appointments and your to-do list is endless, sneaking off for an hour-long workout can seem like an impossible task.

So, instead of skipping your workouts altogether, shorten them. If it’s done right, a 20-minute workout can be an effective way to stay fit when exercise is the last thing on your mind.

Read on to learn how.

Benefits of a 20-Minute Workout

Longer workouts are great for shedding fat, building muscle, and reaching next-level strength and fitness. That’s why you’ll find them in many programs on BODi — like 21 Day Fix10 Rounds, and 6 Weeks of THE WORK.

But a 20-minute workout can be incredibly effective, too. Here are some key benefits of short-and-sweet workouts.

Joey Thurman doing banded ab exercise


“When it comes to losing fat, building endurance, and elevating cardiovascular fitness, density is more important than duration,” says Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S..

“That’s why a 20-minute workout that keeps the intensity high and rest periods short can deliver the same — or even better — results as a lower-intensity workout that’s two or three times as long,” Thieme adds.


“Shorter, more concise workouts are easier to fit into hectic schedules,” notes Jack McNamara, M.S.c., C.S.C.S., a clinical exercise physiologist and NASM-certified personal trainer in London, England.

Easier to Stick To

No matter what else you have going on in your life, 20-minute workouts could be all you need to build a healthy routine and stick with it. After all, it’s tough to skip a workout that takes less time than most Zoom meetings.

How to Get the Most Out of a Quick Workout

If you only have 20 minutes at home or the gym, here are a few tips for maximizing your time.

1. Give it everything you’ve got

“You want to keep the intensity high to crank up your heart rate, elevate your metabolism, and kick your calorie-burning into high gear,” Thieme says.

“You’ll know you hit the sweet spot if you finish your workout feeling sweaty and challenged, but also motivated and energized,” Thieme adds.

Feel spent and defeated? You probably went too hard. Dial it back a bit next time.

2. Try a higher-intensity workout

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to maximize the benefits of a short workout if you’ve been exercising for a while, though beginners should work their way up it.

HIIT involves alternating short bursts (10 seconds to 2 minutes) of exercise at all-out intensity with equal to shorter periods of rest or low-intensity exercise. It can be performed with strength exercises or traditional cardio options like biking, rowing, or running.

Push hard during those work intervals, and you shouldn’t be able to speak even in short sentences.

An alternative to all-out efforts followed by brief periods of rest is most-out effort that doesn’t stop. For insance, BODi LAVA, the upcoming program from Super Trainer Elise Joan, is a blend of power yoga, primal movement, and bodyweight strength training that flirts with your limits for 20 uninterrupted minutes to build muscle, cardiovascular endurance, and greater ease of movement.

3. Use combination exercises

Combination exercises merge at least two different movements into one fluid, complex task. The key is to choose exercises that target opposing body parts so that one can take a breather while the other one works.

“Combining two exercises forces your heart to work harder, which is a great way to boost the intensity and sneak in some extra cardiovascular training,” McNamara says.

And let’s not forget, targeting more body parts at once means more calories burned and more muscles worked, which can ultimately result in more muscle overall.

Try these two combination exercises:

  • Reverse Lunge to Shoulder Press: “This move builds shoulder strength and helps fix muscle imbalances [in the lower body] by working one leg at a time,” McNamara says. “It also demands a lot of muscle engagement and coordination throughout the whole body.”
  • Romanian Deadlift to Bent-Over Row: This move targets multiple muscles in your posterior chain — from your hamstrings and glutes to your lats and traps — for greater back-body strength and power, McNamara says.

20-Minute Workouts on BODi

20 minute workouts on bodi

There’s something on the BODi app for every body, goal, preference, and itinerary.

Job 1

Super Trainer Jennifer Jacobs’ functional training program helps you prioritize your health and fitness habits with workouts that hit multiple muscle groups every day, five days a week, for four weeks.


Super Trainer Megan Davies’ #mbf20 is five strength-training workouts that each target a different muscle group. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to get ready for the complete #mbf program or just experience the benefits of weight training on a tight schedule.


Get ready for a nonstop fusion of power yoga, primal movement, and bodyweight strength training, 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Super Trainer Elise Joan challenges you with low-impact, fat-scorching workouts that don’t stop for 20 straight minutes. Drops June 27th!

Transform :20

This a fat-burning, full-body workout has zero breaks and no repeats. Six days a week for six weeks, Super Trainer Shaun T will push you to your limits — all while torching calories and targeting your core, legs, glutes, and upper body.

600 Secs

Twenty minutes is enough time to do two of Devin Wiggins’ 40-plus high-intensity workouts. Each focusing on abs, booty, legs, arms, core, resistance, cardio, or recovery, they can be combined and stacked together to reach any goal.

Fast Results With Joey Thurman

Short on time and want to see visible results in as little as three short weeks? Celebrity trainer Joey Thurman’s high-energy program will help you get tight, toned abs AND a total body workout, the only equipment being a mini-band.

22-Minute Hard Corps

If you’ve got just two more minutes to spare, these boot camp–inspired workouts will help you get ship shape. Six days a week, Super Trainer Tony Horton uses a military cadence to work your entire body with basic, uncomplicated moves that get old-school results.