Time is a valuable commodity. It's hard to pack all of your commitments and responsibilities into one tiny 24-hour block and still have time for things you want to do. If exercising is one of those things that has been pushed off your schedule, there's reason to rejoice -- you can get an effective workout in 20 minutes and without using weights. The key is in the intensity, so give the exercises all you've got.
Calisthenics were the original no-equipment exercises, using the body's own weight for a resistance factor to produce results. You can kick up the intensity and keep it in high gear by doing a calisthenics workout with super-sets, moving directly from one set to the next with little or no rest in between. Warm up with two sets of 10 jumping jacks, then do sets of 10 of exercises like crunches, variations on pushups (regular, wide and triceps pushups, for example), squats, lunges and calf raises. Do the pushups and crunches for an upper-body workout and the squats, lunges and calf raises for a lower-body workout.
Running provides a beneficial cardio workout without need for weights or any equipment other than a good pair of running shoes and a watch to tell you when it's time to head back home. See how far you can run in 20 minutes, or break your running workout into sets alternating a brisk jog with sprints.
With a number of different poses that also serve different purposes, you can design a 20-minute yoga routine for any time of day or any mood you're in. Whether you need to unwind, energize or clear your mind, there are ready-made yoga routines, or you can mix and match poses to create a 20-minute yoga workout to meet your needs. You can begin your routine in the Easy pose or Child's pose, then move into two or three standing poses like Downward-Facing Dog and Standing Forward Bend. Energizing and clearing poses like those in the Sun Salutations, the Warrior pose and the Four-Limbed Staff pose work well in the middle. You can time your poses, but it is effective practice holding them for a count of breaths, like five or 10.
Incorporating dance moves with martial arts has resulted in an intense cardio workout that doesn't require weights or even a punching bag or set of boxing gloves. You can kick, punch and box away more than 300 calories in just 20 minutes working your heart along with your muscles. ShapeFit.com recommends taking a few classes before you go it on your own to assure you have the proper technique and form down. Once you know the moves, though, you'll be kickboxing away the pounds and inches and toning your body with a quick, enjoyable and challenging workout.
- Military.com: Avoid the Gym by Using Calisthenics
- Yoga Journal: Designing a 20-Minute Yoga Routine
- Military.com: The Best Twenty-Minute Workouts
- Matt Siaperas; Personal Trainer, Hardbodies Gym; Blackfoot, Idaho
- ShapeFit.com: Top 5 Cardio Exercises - Best Ways To Burn Fat and Lose Weight
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.