Not Much Time — Pick and Choose from 20-Minute Workouts

The commanding general of U.S. Army South participates in the CEO Caucus Challenge Cancer Awareness Ride in Belize.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. K.K. Chinn, the commanding general of U.S. Army South, participates in the CEO Caucus Challenge Cancer Awareness Ride, April 8, 2016, Belmopan, Belize. (Spc. Zakia Gray/U.S. Army photo)

Sometimes, instead of having a full hour to train, you are limited to 20 minutes or so. Here are a few 20-minute workouts that you can combine to make a 40- to 60-minute workout, or pick one when short on time.

Burpee/dynamic stretch pyramid 1-10: Run 25 meters, one burpee; run 25 meters, two burpees ... continue to 10. Runs can be a variety of dynamic stretches (butt kickers, leg swings, stretch/steps, etc.). This one takes about five minutes and makes a great warmup.

Weight room

As many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 20 minutes:

  • Pullups max
  • Push press 10
  • Rows 10
  • Bench press 10
  • Abs of choice one minute

This one is an upper-body exercise that features two push and two pull exercises and an ab of choice for one minute.

Running: Run 20 minutes. How far do you get?

Run/PT Mix

Repeat as many times as possible for 20 minutes

  • Max pull-ups
  • Push-ups 25
  • 50-meter easy jog
  • 100-meter sprint
  • 50-meter easy jog
  • 100-meter sprint

20-minute swim: How many laps do you get?

20-minute bike pyramid: Make each minute harder by increasing resistance by 1-2 levels each minute until you fail to maintain 80-100 rpms.

20-minute tread water: Combination of no hands and hands only as a mobility session.

There are countless ways to get 20 minutes of activity, as you can see. Get creative with your 20 minutes and get something in, even if it is a five- to 10-minute walk after every meal of the day.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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