Staying fit and strong has often been associated with spending hours in the gym, grinding away with weights, running machines, exercise classes, or whatever the latest trend in the fitosphere is.
It is not disputed that exercise is good for you, but some people may find it difficult to fit long workouts into their daily routine. Others may just not know what to do or where to start. This article is going to present 3 quick full body workouts, which can be completed with no equipment, anywhere. These quick workouts can all be completed in less than 20 minutes, however if you wish to work out for longer, they are repeatable.
Workouts don’t have to take up a large portion of your day. A 2018 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (1) researched the effects on workout duration on improvements in strength and endurance. The study took three groups of men, completing the same seven weight lifting exercises, working in rep ranges between 8 and 12. The first group completed one set of each exercise, totalling 13 minutes of time. The second group completed 2 sets, totalling 40 minutes. The third group completed each exercise three times, taking the workout time to 70 minutes. The results showed that there was a negligible difference in increases in strength and endurance for the three groups, meaning that the workout length did not make a difference to these markers; as long as the workout was done, there was an improvement. There was a difference however in muscle hypertrophy (muscle mass gain), whereby there was a correlation between increased workout volume and increased muscle hypertrophy.
So, the conclusion of the study? If you want to increase your strength and endurance, it can be done with three quick 13-minute weekly sessions. The workouts presented in this article can all be completed within 20 minutes, with no equipment necessary. This means that they can be done at home before your commute to work, on your WFH lunch break, or during a spare bit of time in the evening. In short, you don’t really have a time-related excuse not to do them.
10 Minute EMOM
An EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute) workout is a great way to spike your heart rate and get your reps in. The premise is to complete the same exercise (or same grouping of exercises) with a given number of reps within a minute, and then repeat that on the minute, every minute. These workouts are great as they give you a target number of sets to complete; they also encourage you to complete the sets faster, as the faster you complete it, the more rest you get between sets. The best way to complete an EMOM is to just have a running stopwatch, and keep your eye out for when that new minute starts. For example, if you complete the exercises in 40 seconds, you get 20 seconds rest. If it takes you 50 seconds, you get 10 seconds rest.
EMOM workouts can be any length, but the one presented in this article is 10 minutes. This is enough of a burst to spike your heart rate, and can be repeated if you want to. The workout consists of three exercises, which together will work your full body. The exercises provide your muscles with stimulus, increasing their strength and endurance, whilst increasing your heart rate will help improve your cardiovascular fitness and help you burn more calories.
The workout is as follows:
- 8 Burpees
- 7 Squat Jumps
- 6 Press Ups
You should first complete 8 burpees (you can choose ‘chest to floor’ burpees, or standard burpees), following which you should go straight into 7 squat jumps, ensuring that with each rep you push from the ground as explosively as possible. Following the squat jumps, you should go straight into 6 press ups; these can be completed as standard press ups, or scaled down to press ups from your knees.
I’d say you want to aim to get at least 10 seconds rest between sets to ensure that you can complete the full 10 minutes whilst maintaining good form on the exercises. If you are not getting that rest on the first couple of sets, then you can scale the workout by decreasing the number of reps that you complete per exercise.
You will find that as the sets go on, you will probably be getting less rest due to each set taking longer to complete due to fatigue. This is normal; the main objective of the workout is to ensure that you finish all 10 sets, and whatever number of reps you’re working with remains the same throughout (rep adjustments should only be made towards the start of the workout). If you are getting very little rest towards the end of the workout, try to push through! The workout is hard, but it is meant to be.
Tabata workouts have been named one of the most energetically effective high intensity intermittent training methods by a study published in the Journal of Physiological Sciences (2). In short, you are getting the most bang for your buck in terms of what you get back from the work you put in.
The actual definition of a Tabata workout is training at the intensity which would exhaust you during the 7th or 8th set of 20 second bouts of exercise, with 10 seconds rest between each set. The most common protocol for this is therefore to complete an exercise as hard as you can for 20 seconds, take 10 seconds rest, and complete 8 times (taking you to a total of 4 minutes). Tabata Workouts can be completed using cardio exercises such as running or cycling, for which you push as hard as you can during the 20 seconds work period. You can also complete them using bodyweight exercises such as press ups or air squats, whereby you complete as many reps as possible during the 20 second period, which will take you to total muscular failure after the 4 minute set.
In order to get a quick full body workout, I’d suggest completing 3 exercises in total, taking at least 2 minutes rest between each exercise:
This workout will target your full body: the press ups focus on chest, shoulders and arms; air squats will work your whole lower body; and mountain climbers will require you to keep a strong core through your abs, back and shoulders.
HIIT workouts are defined as bursts of intense exercise, between which you have low intensity active recovery periods (3). For example if you are running, the high intensity aspect could be a sprint, whilst the low intensity part could be a jog. If you are a beginner, it could be an intense fast jog with low intensity periods of walking. The main idea is that the high intensity exercise periods will increase your heart rate and deplete the oxygen in the muscles, causing your body to produce energy anaerobically, following which the low intensity active recovery will help your body revert back to aerobic mode (3).
Many HIIT protocols are based on defining heart rate targets, however for the purpose of simplicity, this article will present them purely on your own perceived effort; in short, for high intensity intervals, work as hard as you can. For low intensity intervals, take it easy, but just keep moving.
- 1 Minute Air Squats
- 1 Minute Active Rest
- 1 Minute Plank
- 1 Minute Active Rest
- 1 Minute Chest to Floor Burpees
- 1 Minute Active Rest
HIIT workouts are fantastic for beginners as they do not require you to hit a certain number of reps within a time frame. In addition to this, they rely on your own perceived rate of exertion, meaning that only you can know how hard you have worked.
This article has presented three quick full body workouts that can be completed without equipment, anywhere, at any time. If you are looking for some workout clothes to train in, then be sure to check out our 247 collection, a range suitable for any purpose, and every scenario. If you enjoyed these workouts, then be sure to check out our 247 App. On here you will receive a weekly training plan, with daily workouts incorporating high intensity training, weight lifting, and cardiovascular exercise. The App also allows you to track completion of workouts, daily hydration targets as well as having reminders for further wellness goals such as reading 10 pages of a book per day.
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- Schoenfeld, B. J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, K., Belliard, R., & Alto, A. (2019). Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 51(1), 94–103. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001764
- Tabata, I. Tabata training: one of the most energetically effective high-intensity intermittent training methods. J Physiol Sci 69, 559–572 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12576-019-00676-7
- Alansare, A., Alford, K., Lee, S., Church, T., & Jung, H. C. (2018). The Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training vs. Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training on Heart Rate Variability in Physically Inactive Adults. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(7), 1508. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071508