The Best 20 Minute Workout To Get Fit At Home

20 minute workout

How To Get Fit At Home

This is a good 20 minute home workout to help you to get fit and healthy at home. It’s also a great way to lose fat fast, as it works your whole body. The more work you put in, the more fat that will fall off! You can always find time to get a 20 minute cardio workout into your daily schedule, and this is the best 20 minute workout you can do!

The workout starts with a warm-up jog and then has 8 bodyweight exercises designed to help tone and burn fat. All the exercises are traditional old school fitness exercises that are performed in martial arts clubs, aerobics classes and gyms the world over.

This quick home workout routine is designed to improve both cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance. It is also great for toning the body, so you can use this as a home-based 20 minute toning workout too.

Perform each exercise as intensively as possible and then rest for up to 30 seconds before moving on to the next one. Always ensure that you perform the exercises correctly, holding proper form, especially in the hip bridges and squat thrusts. Breath deeply and naturally throughout.

This 20 minute circuit workout targets the whole body, improves cardiovascular efficiency and tones and strengthens the body. This workout is a great way to prepare for a more serious circuit training workout. This twenty minute workout also requires no equipment, so you really can do it anywhere.

The 20 Minute Workout Routine

1. Jog in one place for 3 minutes

Simple light jogging on the spot. This does not have to be intensive, so no high knees or jumping around, it is just to gently warm you up for a few minutes before the main exercises.

2. Jumping jacks: 50 repeats

The classic old school cardio burner. Also known as the star jump, start by standing up straight with your feet together, then simply jump the feet out to the sides, just wider than shoulder width apart while lifting you hands upwards.

Return to normal standing position. When landing, bend your knees slightly to reduce the impact on knee joints.

3. Crunches: 15 repeats

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Place your hands at the sides of your head with your fingers lightly touching your temples, with elbows pointing outwards.

Try to keep your neck in a straight line with your spine, fixing a point on the ceiling above you is a good idea. Flex your waist to raise the upper torso from the floor so that you are “crunching” your abdominals.

Ensure that your abs are engaged (contracted) throughout the movement, hold for a second. Then lower yourself until the back of your shoulders touches the mat before repeating. Muscles worked: Abdominals

4. Hip Bridges: 10 repeats

Lie on your back with your arms straight and out by your side and palms facing upwards. With only the heels of your feet touching the floor lift your hips up to form a straight line from the shoulders to the knee.

Your legs should be almost vertical from the foot to the knee. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) and then lower yourself. Muscle worked: Lower back, hamstrings and glutes.

5. Step ups: 1 minute

You will need a stepper for this. If you do not own a stepper then you can use the bottom step on a flight of stairs or a sturdy stool. Simply stand in front of the step and step up onto it.

Alternate your leading leg on each step, so left then right up onto the step, return with left first then right. Then on the next step lead with the right then left leg, return with right first. Repeat. Muscle worked: hamstrings, gluteus, quads.

6. Reverse crunches: 15 repeats

Lie on your back with your hands on your sides. Keep you knees bent. Bring your knees towards your head, till your hips come slightly off the floor. Hold this position for a second, and then lower your knees. Muscle worked: lower abs and obliques.

7. Mountain climbers: 1 minute

Get down on your hands and knees and raise your knees like a starting block sprinter.

Run in that position, supporting your upper body with the palms of your hands. Keep your back straight. Muscles worked: triceps, deltoid muscle, gluteus, quads, hamstrings, calves.

8. Push–ups: 15 repeats

The classic push, in the plank position with palms flat on the floor, point forward, about shoulder width apart. Muscles worked: triceps, deltoids, pectorals.

9. Squat thrusts: 1 minute

Stand straight. Now, drop to a crouch position. Immediately thrust your legs out straight behind on your toes, in push up position, now jump to pull legs back to the chest, in crouching position, then stand up straight. Muscles worked: arms, legs, chest, and lower back.

Cool down by walking around, until your heart rate starts getting back to normal, stretch.

A 10 Minute Circuit?

We tested this routine and the routine took 10 minutes to complete, however, for beginners it is best to take your time and rest more between each exercise. As you get fitter you should aim to go through this circuit twice to make it a full 20 minutes of high intensity exercise.

If you do it twice, there is need to do the 3 minute jog again – you may need to take a little more rest between exercises in the second round. We have also today increased the jumping jacks to 50 (was previously 25). If you do just one round then 25 really is not enough!

You should be able to perform this workout every day – in fact, it is highly recommended to do a 20 minute workout everyday for long-term health and vitality. If you wish to increase your exercise rate to get fitter and burn off even more fat, then use this as a circuit training workout and repeat it once or twice.

This simple 20 minute workout routine could be done twice a day, once in the morning before work and then again in the evening. A few readers have asked if we have a
the 20 minute workout video to go with this article, but at the moment we do not, sorry! This is a great way to get fit in 20 minutes, lose weight and lose weight as well as improve your overall fitness and mental well being!

456 Comments on “The Best 20 Minute Workout To Get Fit At Home”

  1. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Ashley, you can certainly do this every day. If you want a complete plan then you need to order here: Personal Weight Loss Plan

  2. Hi, I have recently joined a mens rec slo-pitch league. Age 35 and over, we all have day jobs. I’ve let myself get pretty out of shape over the last 5 years. 6ft, 210lbs. the season starts in may, I’m thinking that if i follow this circuit daily It will reduce my chances of getting hurt and improve my overall play. What do ya think?

  3. MotleyHealth says:

    Sounds like a great plan JJ. Adjust your diet also, drop the junk food, alcohol (you can have some). Eat lean meats, fish, eggs, vegetables etc. Probably a good idea to get jogging also, as it will involve a bit of running about. Stretch well also after your workout, a lot of injuries are from over-stretching while playing a sport – your adrenaline will push you harder in a game than during exercise, and the muscles and tendons are not used to it.

  4. If i were to do this routine , how many calories would i burn in the averaged 20 minute workout if i didnt cheat myself and was none stop with it ?

  5. MotleyHealth says:

    Around 150-200 calories. It really depends on how intensive you exercise and how much you weigh.

  6. ^^^ Will be 17 in a month, Hight is 5’5 and weight is 160… I do the workout without a break and even extra sets of things. So around 200 ?

  7. MotleyHealth says:

    200 Calories sounds about right, yes. Do not get too obsessed with trying to measure energy intake and consumption though, we are not machines!

  8. Tried this exercise yesterday, and find it perfect as it pushes me slightly, but not so much I’m keeled over puffing. Only thing is I forgot to stretch abs, so today everything is great… Except them!

  9. MotleyHealth says:

    Great to hear that Alex!

  10. Jason Stone says:

    Hello It’s Jason (remember me?)
    I got through the winter and my weight continues to fall, whilst I have significant muscle tone on my abbs, biceps and glutes. I originally intended to convert this routine into circuit training once I had completed it. But instead having found the squat thrusts to demanding (at least THEN…I DO intend ultimately to do Burpees) and the Mountain Climbers uncomfortable and impractical; I instead a currently doing a 3-5 Minute Jog, followed by 3 minutes of Jumping Jacks (approximately 250 Jumping Jacks), followed by Hip Bridges, and 50 Crunches and Reverse Crunches, and 10-20 Pushups. I also do several types of curls and 4 sets of 12 of each with 10Kg Dumbells. I am still disatisfied with my pecs and am having trouble finding an exercise which REALLY targets them…everyone says “Pushups” but I still find it very hard to do that many…I have considered purchasing a Gym Bar to work on my Biceps and Pecs because the Dumbell Floor Press doesn’t seem to be quite doing the business. Should I continue doing MORE crunches, etc and maybe 5 minutess of Jumping Jacks ? Where should I go with the Dumbell routines…continue to add more of the exercises you list on the page or just do more sets ? I know you along with others advise against doing the same routine two days running but I find it hard to very it much…. I will do more of the “non-curl” exercises (I have been doing the Floor Press, The Lateral Raise, the Triceps Kickback….and the Shoulder Press..but not as regularly as the Curls. Any advice from here….? (

  11. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Jason, great to hear from you. If push ups alone is not giving you the results you need for your chest you need to lift weights. Vary the lifts – standard bench press, incline, decline presses, and chest flyes. Maybe some days do the push ups first so that you have more energy to complete the sets. More will be beneficial too. You could always do multiple sets of 5 throughout the workout to help the muscles recover, e.g. 5 push ups, then jumping jacks, another 5 push ups etc. etc. But you may get better results if you invest in a bench and a barbell.

  12. Jason Stone says:

    Thanks-I will consider the “multiple sets” suggestion (I have tried it already doing two sets of pushups in a routine (one “full” set of 10 followed by 10-15 intermediates). I am reluctant to use a bench, I had the opportunity to buy one for only £15 a while ago and decided I couldn’t spare the space. I MIGHT buy a Gym Bar which in addition to allowing me to do Pullup’s and Chin Up’s would allow me to do deeper Pushup’s and Dumbell Floor Pressup’s but I think that (and maybe a gym mat) are the full limit of my equipment. I have already purchased a second set of dumbells (as we discussed) to allow me to vary the weights but beyond that I have always noted how so much exercise equipment gets bought on a whim and then pushed under the sofa after a couple of months….so I am focussed on using what I have.

  13. Jason Stone says:

    Regarding weight loss ? Why does everyone say “Be Careful now the hard part is keeping it off” ? Why is there a tendency to “fall off the wagon” ?

  14. MotleyHealth says:

    Because most people see diet and exercise as a short-term solution to being overweight and think that once you reach that ideal weight you will magically maintain it even if you go back to your old unhealthy ways. Many people just hate exercise and love food. It is only hard to keep the weight off if you start eating all that junk again and stop moving!

  15. Jason Stone says:

    Right that’s what I thought…..I keep on trying to add more exercises…..but I don’t want to put more than an hour in a day TOTAL. I suppose as time goes on I can put in more intense exercises such as Burpees ?

  16. MotleyHealth says:

    Yep, and lift heavier weights too. And if doing cardio, run, cycle, row, swim faster. As we get fitter we can do more in a shorter time – that is the beauty of getting fit to lose weight rather than just trying to diet.

  17. Jason Stone says:

    GREAT to hear that confirmed! It’s always nice when an expert backs up what you’ve already worked out for yourself….:) I switched from doing a fixed number of Jumping Jacks to 3 minutes worth (I may increase it 5minutes) what do you think ? As I continue to get fitter I thought that I would be able to do more in the same time and was “future proofing” my routine.

  18. MotleyHealth says:

    Sounds like a good plan Jason.

  19. Tramina McLaurin says:

    Hi I am 19 years old, 5’5 & 153lbs. . .I gave birth to my son Zayden 7 months ago and I would love to lose my belly fat before May 24th of this year (2013). I do need as much help as I can recieve.

  20. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Tramina, you can make a lot of progress in 4 weeks. What you need to do is start exercising daily. On some days just do steady cardio, such as jogging, cycling, rowing etc. On alternate days do circuit training, such as the workout above, or weight training using free weights or gym equipment. Aim to do 60 minutes of exercise. When weight training you will be having rest periods between sets and exercises so it is not 60 minutes constant exercise. In addition to this you need to ensure all the junk is removed from your diet. In a 4 week plan you cannot afford any “cheat days”, so every day must be clean, lean food. 3 meals a day, drink plenty of water, work hard.

  21. hi im marvin 19yrs old 5’10 hieght and 200 pounds.. is my weight normal? if not. wat exercises will you suggest me to do? thanks!!!

  22. Gloria Destinee says:

    Hey, I am 6’2 and weigh 150 pounds. I am trying out for volleyball on MAY 7th and I want to be toned a little and atheltic looking. Do you think if I do this every day twice a day, I’ll be toned by then?

  23. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Gloria, yes, this will tone you up. Although I would suggest doing once a day and also doing some running / interval training, i.e. warm up and then sprint for 30 seconds followed by recovery jog. You want to be quick on your feet too.

  24. Anthony Ruiz says:

    Hi, I am looking to lose weight I am 16 year olds and I was wondering how many calories I will burn per round? I want to be in shape by next school year in August and would like an estimate of how much I will lose.

  25. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Anthony, hard to say really. I guess you will burn about 200 Calories in 20 minutes if you work hard.

  26. Jason Stone says:

    Hello again (what’s your name by the way have I been talking to the same persona all this time).

    I followed your advice of doing FIVE pushup’s after each of the other exercises I am doing and it seems to be working….I do 25 full one’s now and they seem to be getting a little easier though I suspect it will be a while be for I can do 25 Full Pushup’s in ONE go….

    I still wonder though about pushing things forward I do feel that I still need to do more…I now do 3 minutes of Jumping Jacks (I suppose I can do more and more in that time as I get fitter but maybe I should do FIVE minutes?) As a cardio I find it hard to beat and it’s been very good to me… but in my heart I think I should be switching more to Burpees maybe. After the Jumping jacks I do 50 Crunches , 50 Reverse Crunches and I do three sets of 30 Hip Bridges after each with five set of five Pushup’s in between EACH exercise. I also do lots of curls (I know you say I should try the full Dumbell routine 2-3 times a day but I still can’t face doing all that stuff plus I want to focus on biceps, triceps, pecs, abs and glutes…why do you think so far…? What should I do next. I have distinct muscle mass in all these areas (and I like the way my body feels when I shower now-I woud f*** me if I was gay!). However I STILL don’t have visible pecs (though bearing in mind I had a C cup only 8 months back maybe I should not complain), and whereas I have visible abs now I still have what seems to be a fair amount of excess skin…it’s a little frustrating because whereas I FEEL fit (both inside and OUT) I don’t quite have that muscley body yet. Advice please ? p.s Are you on Facebook?-if so under what name ?)

  27. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Jason, it’s Jon. Maybe time to increase the intensity. Take a look at our page on Metabolic Conditioning.

    Some ideas taken from the CrossFit method:

    1. Before doing the above workout, run 800m
    2. Before each circuit run 400m (drop the jogging on the spot a jumping jacks) – this should be a fast run after a warm up though.
    3. Modify the above workout to suit your needs – swap the squat thrusts for burpees, swap the step ups for box jumps – aim to jump higher, this builds more powerful legs and burns a lot more calories.

    Muscley body – you have to start lifting more weight to get more muscles. This workout is good for getting fitter and building a lean body, for large muscles you need to hit the gym really. See our Strength Training section for some pointers.

    Full Dumbell routine – if I said 2-3 times a day I actually meant 2-3 times a week!

  28. Jason Stone says:

    You DID say 2-3 Times a week I must have mistyped…. but that’s the WHOLE dumbell routine which I still find a bit demanding to do in one go I still MUCH prefer doing curls virtually every day.

    Ok I will look into it…I am still not lifting the maximum weights I have since the basic advice is always to go for tone rather than bulk and to do that I lift 10kg multiple times….but I can go upto 15kg.

    Thanks for the advice….

  29. Jason Stone says:

    Thanks for the advice….but I am reluctant to leave my home gym…it offers enormous savings and advantages over a gym (time, money and freedom to do it in the nude) (there’s an image….and frankly a somewhat better looking image than when I started this journey in October.!

    There IS a park right across the road…but I much prefer to focus on specific areas basically and intense home cardio folllow by workouts for the Torso (bicep, pecs and abs) and glutes. Your advice about doing five pushups inbetween all my other exercises is working…I hope within another few months I will finally have some pecs to replace the man boobs I so mercifully lost what seems so long ago.

    My limits are less than an hour a day (I don’t do more than 30-35 minutes including my dumbell routine right now…for all my success…

    I may go to the gym…eventually…maybe to pull the kind of hard body woman I couldn’t get before….

  30. Hi, this is Jovi, your Simple home exercise is very nice, these type of exercise give good and comfort after doing, thanks

  31. I’m desperately in need to get fit and lose weight but don’t wnat those expensive gym memberships or buying expensive equipment to gather dust after a month.

    I looked for a fitness regime that was free and to do in my own home and found yours. Like most people my mentality is to ‘Beast’ yourself and I thought your programme seems too easy.

    Boy was I wrong. Did my first one today and couldn’t complete my second set of mountain climbers lol. At least i have a goal now to finish a complete set twice and to complete both sets with ease.


  32. MotleyHealth says:

    Great Sean. As soon as this is too easy for you let us know and we’ll give you something harder to do!

  33. i want to loose 5kg in 1 month at home?before 2 months i did sit ups and i got really bad pain in my ribs it almost took month to go.So what types of exercise would you refer me?

  34. Jason Stone says:

    Hello Jon -it’s me again…I am running into a bit of a wall I think. I realise that I have been neglecting my triceps in favour of bicep curls….but there is a reason for this I find the triceps dumbells exercises hard to do and I have nothing on which I can do DIP’s with, (or can I do them on the floor…someone on YouTube does! I remain disappointed with the relative lack of muscle tone in the my pecs. I followed your suggestion to insert five pushups in between my other exercises. It worked but several months on I still find it hard to do more than seven in those multi sets and probably can’ do more than TEN in one go. I still haven’t tried the burpees and I can’t use the Door Gym Bar for pull ups, because I just don’t think the door frame can take my weight. When I started this back in October I probably weighed close to the 300lbs the Gym Bar is certified for. In short-I am still failing to focus on the pecs, and triceps and I think I need to supercharge things somehow….

  35. MotleyHealth says:

    For triceps start with chair / bench dips. Aim to do several sets of 10 dips in each workout. This is possible the best way to get started. As for push ups, just keep working at it – maybe start some workouts with the push ups. You should be able to do much more when your arms are fresh. I would not bother with the door gym bar for now, performing full pull ups is a big challenge, so focus on the basic exercises first.

    Chair / Bench Dips:

    chair dips

  36. Jason Stone says:

    Thanks….I am trying but I find some of the Triceps exercises a little awkward….and I still prefer to use dumbells for now…I am having to force myself because I got so used to simply adding more reps and heavier weights, doing new exercise is a bit of a stretch for me but it HAS to be done so I have been doing it. I have started doing 3 sets of 8-10 reps with 15kg on each arm (the full set which I bought on your advice in October so long ago it sometimes seems! The simplest advice I have heard for weight training recommends 3-4 set of 5-8 reps of the heaviest weight you can comfortably life if you are aiming for improved.muscle mass and 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps with somewhat lighter weights for tone. I’ve been trying to ride the line of both…I always aim to do 12 reps and work upto it… (with my existing set’s of weights I can assemble a pair of 20kg without getting new (larger) free weights….but can I do this multiple times during the day? (as I DO sometimes).. As we have discussed before, I know you say I should avoid doing the same weight training everyday and IDEALLY I would like to do the full routine that you published but I prefer to concentrate on specific muscle groups (which is basically as you might expect the torso and the arms….. How long can I do weight training in one session…it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes (maximum) to do my existing routine…..

  37. Jason Stone says:

    Thanks I actually read this two days before I wrote my last message….I will keep on going….Thanks

  38. Jason Stone says:

    To clarify I do 3-4 Sets of of 8-12 reps doing both hammer curls and basic curls. (I recently upped to 15Kg) so I dropped the reps to 8 and the sets to 3 but am working back now to 10 (which I did today).

    My concerns are you said ideally I shouldn’t do the same weight training TWO days running if I wanted best results. I am now FORCING myself to focus on the triceps and a lesser extent the pecs….. But I usually only do shorts sessions and if I have a lot of free time that day I might do TWO session. But surely I shouldn’t doing curls etc for an hour (I don’t think it’s necassary anyway-I am quite pleased with my results but I would like to improve both their size AND tone of course. I MAY return to CYCLING to work again (in which case I will probably abandon at home cardio and focus entirely on muscle training….any thoughts?

  39. MotleyHealth says:

    Curling for an hour does seem excessive. Cycling is good cardio, no problem at all with that. You say you are pleased with the results – this is the most important thing. Keep up the good work. Keep aiming to lift more and get some cardio in to burn more fat.

  40. So good!

  41. MotleyHealth says:

    Glad you enjoyed it Maleeha.

  42. Hi Jon, thanks for the workout – I have some weakness in my lower back and I’m feeling extra strain when I do the reverse crunches. Am I doing it wrong is that to be expected?

    Thanks again

  43. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Jane, it you have weakness in the lower back this will certainly be a harder exercise to do. Maybe for now reduce these – you will still be strengthening the lower back with other core exercises; hip bridges and lunges will help to strengthen these muscles.

  44. I do weights and cycling do I still need to do the exercises every day to get best results

  45. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Andy, I guess that depends on what your goals are. These exercises will certainly help with your fitness and agility, but if you are cycling and weight lifting a lot, you may not need to do this.

  46. Jason Stone says:


    Long time no see! Jason here (see above). I’ve bought some 50lb weights and I am using them….these are huge for dumbells but I want to perserve. Just how many sets and reps do I need to do to make my muscles REALLY hard. I did OK with smaller weights on 4 sets of 15….but even then they weren’t supper toned. Just how many do I need to do ? Break it down for me please.

    All the best…keep up the goodwork!

  47. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Jason, good to hear from you again. Are those 50 pound dummbells? That is three times heavier than the 7.5 kg dumbbells you started with – well done.

    3 sets of 12-15 should be enough to build your muscles. Once you are stronger toning is going to mostly come from cutting fat. General rule of thumb is that more reps means larger muscles, fewer reps with heavier weights means more compact muscle that is more powerful.

    How is the general fitness / weight loss? Just keep going and keep an eye on the diet to help the fat come off.

  48. Hello, my name is Katie. I am 16 and just wanted to start exercising to keep fit in general, become more flexible and get a better body shape. What kind of exercise would you recommend? I have some folds in my armpits and don’t really know what to do about my neck either.
    I was thinking about general exercises in the morning or evening and maybe running in the park on the weekends or something.

  49. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Katy, this home workout is probably ideal. Running will get you fit but it will not help tone your muscles (other than legs) so won’t directly help with armpits or neck. A full body workout will promote muscle growth that is needed to be fit, healthy and toned.

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