This 20-Minute Workout Is A Nonstop Sweat Fest

How do you find fitness in 20 minutes? By going hard for every second of it.

Twenty minutes might not sound like a lot of time for a sweat session and, frankly, it’s not. But sometimes it’s what you’ve got. Fortunately, there are ways to dive into a down and dirty workout for men. “With the right moves,” says Jayson Lee, a personal trainer in New York City, you can burn more calories in 20 minutes than a lot of guys do in a full hour at the gym.”

The key — and it’s a big one — is to keep your body moving from one exercise to the next. Where normally you’d pause, drink some water, and check your phone during a longer workout, to burn fat you need to keep your heart rate elevated the whole time, says Lee — and that means no stopping.

As for the muscle-building piece to the puzzle, it’s an urban legend that guys need to lift super-heavy weights to bulk up: A recent study in the Journal of Human Kinetics found that light weights add as much muscle mass as heavy weights when they are lifted until the muscle fatigues. If you’ve got a set of hand weights at home (ones you can do about 10 reps with), great. If not, a water jug, jerry can filled with water, a heavy stool or chair (not the family heirloom, please), or even a rock from the yard will do the trick.

Ready? Start here.

Progressive Stairs

Time: 3 minutes

How to: If you have stairs in your house or your building, begin by climbing one step at a time slowly, about a step every two seconds, for 30 seconds. (When you got to the top of the staircase, job back down and start again.) Next, speed it up to a step per second for 60 seconds. Now that your legs are warmed up and heart is pumping, do two steps at a time, one second per step, for 90 seconds.


Time: 2 minutes

How to: Grab your dumbbells, rock, jug, or chair with both hands. Standing with feet hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out, hoist your weight straight above your head. Bend knees and drop your seat toward the floor until quads are parallel with the ground, knees over toes. Keep arms above head. Return to standing. Do 20 reps in ~60 seconds. Now, drop your arms and hold your weight with both hands in front of your body. Repeat the squats, but this time, as you bend your knees, press your arms directly overhead. As you return to standing, lower the weight. Do another 20 reps in ~60 seconds.

Box Jump

Time: 2 minutes

How to: Find a stable bench, chair, or step about two feet off the ground. Stand in front of it. Bend knees, swing arms back then forward as you spring from the ground and propel yourself on top of the box. Quickly hop down and repeat. Aim for 30 jumps per minute x 2 minutes. (If you’re a box-jumping whiz, alternate single-leg jumps to make it harder)

Rock Press

Time: 2 minutes

How to: Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor. Grab your weighted object in both hands, bend elbows, and lower it to above your chest. Straighten arms and press weight straight up toward the ceiling. Lower. Continue reps for 60 seconds, then adjust your press angle by about 45 degrees, so that when you straighten your arms, the weight travels just past your head. Lower. Continued angled presses for 60 seconds.


Time: 3 minutes

How to: This combo move combines two major fat burners into one killer move. Start standing, feet hip-width apart. Bend at the waist and lean forward until your hands touch the floor. Shift your weight to your hands and jump your feet back into a plank position. Do a pushup. Bend your right knee out to the side and hike it in the direction of your ear. Straighten right leg and repeat on left side. From the extended plank position, bend both knees, push through toes, and spring your feet forward so they are between your hands. Straighten legs and spine, pushing through the floor as you jump vertically. Land with soft knees and begin sequence again.

Deltoid Crusher

Time: 3 minutes

How to: Grab your weight/water jug in your left hand, feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping knees soft and spine straight, raise your left arm directly out to your side. Lower arm. Next, raise your left arm straight in front of you. Lower arm. Raise left arm to the side again, hold a beat, then keeping it straight and level, carry your arm directly in front of you; hold a beat, then lower. Reverse this sequence: Keeping weight in left hand, raise your left arm straight in front of you, hold; then carry it out to your left side, hold, then lower to your left side. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps on your left side and 10 reps on your right. That’s one set. Complete 3 sets.

On/Off Sprint Drills

Time: 2 minutes

How to: If you have a yard or driveway you can run in, use that. If you’re stuck indoors, do what’s called “high knee sprints”: Basically, hike your knees as high as you can with every step, focusing on vertical motion and traveling very little distance. For 10 seconds, run as hard as you can, moving your feet as fast as possible (picture a football drill). Then take 10 seconds to walk or jog slowly. Repeat 6 times. (Note, the first 2-3 reps will feel easy. Don’t be fooled!)

Abdominal Roll-Ups

Time: 2 minutes

How to: Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Grab your weight with both hands, arms straight in front of you and holding weight just above your hips. Engage your core and slowly roll up to a sitting position, raising arms (keep them straight) and pressing weight directly overhead as you do. Roll back down until your back is flat on the floor, arms down at your hips again. Repeat for 2 minutes. (Note: This should be a slowly and deliberate move to articulate each core, arm, and back muscle. Each rep should take 7-10 seconds.)


Time: 1 minute

How to: Lie facedown on the floor. Prop yourself up on your elbows, forearms flat against the ground. Push through your feet and rise up onto your toes, raising your hips off the group to create one long line from your head to your feet. Engage your core and hold for 60 seconds.