This Full-Body Bodyweight Workout Takes Just 20 Minutes

3 weeks ago
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Looking for a quick workout that will give you an incredible bang for your buck? This full-body bodyweight workout will burn out all your major muscle groups—your upper body, core, legs, and glutes—in just 20 minutes.

Working all your muscles together has more benefits than just making your workouts more efficient. “By hitting all your major muscles, you reduce the risk of muscle imbalances, which can lead to chronic injuries like tendonitis and ligament issues,” Alicia Jamison, CPT, trainer at Bodyspace Fitness in New York City, tells SELF. For example, if you train your quads more than your hamstrings, and you’re lacking strength in the latter, you may be at higher risk for ACL tears and strains.

In this full-body workout created by Jamison, you’ll be working all of your muscle groups in circuit fashion, with longer periods of work and shorter periods of rest. This will give you a cardiovascular boost: You’ll increase your heart rate while also strengthening your muscles.

Training with just your bodyweight is powerful in itself, but if you’re looking for more of a challenge with this workout, Jamison suggests playing with speed during your 40-second work periods. “By increasing our time under tension, we’re able to increase our muscle strength and muscle size,” she says. The more reps you perform during that 40 seconds of work, the more muscular burnout you’ll feel. But remember: It’s integral to focus on form, even when you’re not using heavy weights or equipment—so start slow and make sure you master each move before adding a faster tempo to the mix.

When you perform your reps too quickly, it’s easy for your form to falter, especially when you’re working out at home and don’t have a trainer or instructor to provide hands-on alignment. Jamison commonly hears about lower back pain, which can occur when you’re not properly engaging your core. “To prevent back pain, make sure you keep your chest proud and squeeze your glutes,” she says. “That pulls tension away from our lumbar spine, and that way, it won’t burn out your lower back.” Make sure you’re bracing your core not only in abs-focused moves, but throughout your entire workout too.

Before heading into this full-body bodyweight workout, take five minutes to warm up: Think light cardio like jumping jacks, high knees, or marches, followed by dynamic stretches that loosen up your shoulders, hips, T-spine, and quads.

Ready to work hard for a 20-minute full-body bodyweight workout? Here’s everything you’ll need to get started.

The Workout

What you’ll need: A chair, table, or step, and an exercise mat for extra cushioning.

The Exercises

  • Bicycle crunch
  • Bulgarian split squat
  • Superman with arm extension
  • Feel-elevated glutes bridge
  • Elevated push-up

Directions

  • Perform each exercise for 40 seconds, resting for 20 seconds before moving on to the next move. (For the Bulgarian split squat, stay on the same side for the entire 40 seconds, switching legs each round.)
  • Complete four rounds total.

Demoing the moves below are Delise Johnson (GIF 1), CEO and strength coach at Wellness and Weights; Cookie Janee (GIF 2), a background investigator and security forces specialist in the Air Force Reserve; Sarah Taylor (GIF 3), a personal trainer and Canadian-based fitness blogger; Hejira Nitoto (GIF 4), a mom of six and a certified personal trainer and fitness apparel line owner based in Los Angeles; and Amanda Wheeler (GIF 5), a certified strength and conditioning specialist and cofounder of Formation Strength.

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