I’ve heard the question a lot, “Is 20-30 minutes enough time for me to get a good workout in?” And the answer is absolutely. In fact, a 20 minute workout kicks ass; it gets you in and out of the gym quickly and can be extremely effective if you push hard enough.
Anyone who doesn’t agree that a 20 minute workout is enough probably isn’t pushing themselves hard enough. The key is to have no rest between sets and work to absolute failure every set (and even past failure with some negative reps). It’s about getting out of your comfort zone and going all out every single set, mixing in high and low reps. After all, you only have 20 minutes so you need to do WORK.
Today I did a back workout in about 20 minutes. It consisted of pull-ups, seated cable rows, dumbbell rows, lat pulldowns, and another set of pull-ups [which I was only able to get literally two by then], all sets to failure, with no rest between them. After completely burning out with that giant circuit set, I rested for 1 to 2 minutes and repeated it all again. I did this whole circuit a total of 4 times & threw in a couple random exercises here & there. My back was burning all over and I finished up with some hyperextensions. I downed my protein and was done. Twenty minutes, short and sweet (& brutal).
You can work any muscle group with this same type of 20 minute workout:
Pick 4-6 exercises for that muscle group as a circuit
Go until failure every set, with no rest in between
Repeat this circuit 3-4 times.
It’s that simple. I think you will realize that if you only have 20 minutes, it is worth getting a workout in. And you may find that you are going so intense in this short amount of time that you aren’t always pushing yourself as hard as you can day-to-day in your longer workouts. Get out of your comfort zone!!
Thanks for reading!
Update 11/23/14: My back was more sore from this workout than it has been in a long time. I am going to start doing more of my workouts like this one.