The 20-Minute Exercise Plan

It’s not always easy to find time for the gym. The duress of long work days and utter distraction can make it difficult for some active gym-goers to execute their commitment of a weekly workout regimen. You don’t need a gym membership to maintain that sleek figure you’ve worked so hard to attain, though. Infomercials that brag about 20-minute workouts, which are supposedly tailor-made to get you ripped, might be exaggerating to a certain extent, but 20 minutes of exercise everyday will help you stay in shape without forcing you to grind for time during the five o’clock rush.

Rev-up Your Workout Intensity

Revving up the intensity of your workout will help you achieve fitness goals in a shorter amount of time. Although most gym-goers don’t have a ton of exercise equipment at home, high-intensity circuit training that incorporates body-weight exercise will fuel strength development, and also increase your muscular endurance. You don’t need to spend hours upon hours in the gym to maintain an athletic build. Instead, you need the mental tenacity to handle intense bouts of continuous exercise without rest. Circuit training is a highly efficient exercise strategy that enhances fat loss and promotes muscular development throughout the entire body.

Body Weight Exercise

Your 20-minute exercise plan should include a variation of different strength-building exercises that target each major muscle group in the body. Pushups are the foundation of an at-home circuit training program. This body-weight exercise targets muscles in the shoulders, arms and chest, and also helps stabilize muscles in the core. Pull-ups are another solid example of an at-home body-weight exercise. This upper body strength-building activity works similar muscles as pushups, but also trains the lats and forearms. If you do not own an at-home pull-up bar, you can substitute another exercise for additional variation, such as high knees or triceps dips, or use monkey bars at the local playground. Finally, execution of plyometric jumps, which commonly include the act of jumping vertically, and performance of planks, can help complete your customized circuit training program.

Executing the “Circuit”

A “circuit” is a group of exercises performed with minimal rest time in between each activity. Your customized circuit should include six to eight exercises. You should perform at least 15 to 20 repetitions of each activity before resting for approximately 20 seconds, and then proceeding to the next exercise. For example, a circuit that includes high knees, pushups, plyometric jumps, pull-ups, planks and triceps dips would be performed in sequence as one set. You will need to complete multiple sets to execute a full circuit training session.

Completing Multiple Sets

Time yourself for 30 seconds using either a smartphone or stopwatch while performing exercises such as high knees. You should then briefly rest and drop into the pushup position. Perform 20 pushups, rest, and then jump continuously for 30 seconds. The second tier of this sequence would require you to perform 15 to 20 pull-ups, record a comfortably timed plank (e.g. 30 seconds), and finish with 15 to 20 triceps dips. Each sequence of exercises should be performed three to four times over a 20-minute time period. It is recommended that you rest for two minutes in between each sequence. Proper execution of each exercise will ultimately help you stay in shape without feeling guilt about not getting to the gym in time.


About Author

John Shea is a team sports fanatic and fitness aficionado. His work has been published across a wide platform of online audiences in the realm of health and fitness. His passion for fitness is exemplified in his writing, as he aims to help readers improve their overall well-being.

Posts By John Shea
  • Wendy Bottrell

    20 minutes can be a perfect amount of time for an intense training session without going to the gym! Circuits, tabatas or even sprinting can be very effective, time saving and fun if you train with a partner!

  • Mahima Blair

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  • Charlotte Brown

    I totally agree with you that 20 minutes of exercise or workouts
    everyday will help you stay in shape. I am also doing yoga and
    exercises daily before going out for work, it helps me alot to stay
    active and fresh all day. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.

  • JessM

    20 minutes really is all you need. People get obsessed with working out when all you need to do is a few short sessions a week combined with a reasonable diet and being mindful of a couple of other key things. For an idea of what a complete program for sustainable weight loss looks like, check out this article: fatfreeme(DOT)net/big5

  • Jane Blue

    If you engage in a 100%, 20 minutes can be really enough. You have to remeber about quality of your training- how much of yourself you give.

    Jane from

  • Chris Turner

    I think 20 minute exercise plan is something that people can stick to. It’s not a long time and anyone can fin 20 minutes spare to do exercise.

    Thanks John for sharing this.

    Chris from

  • Make Healthy Life

    You are right.

  • jovin @naturehealth

    helpful information, it can help people

  • IncenseandCandlesAdvice

    I think this idea is cool, but I’ve tried something like this and it did not work out for me. I think longer routines with less repetitions can be better.

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  • gtsipe

    anyone who can do 15-20 pullups in one circuit is in seriously good shape, probably less that 5% of the male population from 20-50 y.o.