Effective workout in 20 minutes


How to train when we are short of time? Do not expect wonders from small investment although some progress can be made even during 20 minutes. And even a small step forward counts.

  • ‘As you sow so shall you reap

…also works in exercising. Let‘s take a personal trainer. Usually, he charges about 10 EUR per session. In ten hours he cashes in one hundred, which isn’t bad (here in Slovakia). But there is also an older trainer at the gym who is more experienced, he works with fitness models and has good results. He can afford to charge 15 EUR. For him it is enough to work 6.6 hours to earn the 100. And he can go on to chat up girls. His works carries more added value but it is also more demanding. He must adjust the rest of his time to do it well, it includes proper nutrition, relax and from time to time he must read a book or visit a workshop.


The more time I put in – the more profit I can expect. However, if I learn to do the thing more effectively, I can get the same result in shorter amount of time. Sometimes, we do not avoid a little bit of discomfort along the way.

Thrusterperform a front squat and transition dynamically into an overhead press. Use hip drive to accelerate the bar and save your shoulders from fatigue. It hurts but at the same time works. 

Now I try to apply it into training. There are folks who complain that they have only 20 minutes three times a week to exercise. It gives them one hour total time.  When I compare this hour to the rest of the week; I end up facing ration 1:168! Is one hour strong enough to affect the remaining 167? It can be if I improve the quality of the time spent in the gym – like the personal trainer who makes 100 in almost half the time.

Intensification methods are the key

During a 20-minute training, I must pile up the volume and intensity to the degree that it will give my body an impulse that outlasts even when I am out of the gym. It can be achieved by intensification methods. Try cutting the breaks between exercises, combining the exercises into super-sets, even three-sets, include intervals of cardio – rope skipping or burpees – in between the sets and so on. Circuit training and CrossFit use similar principles to perform a series of exercises/moves in limited amount of time.

Twenty minutes in such intensity is enough to force the organism to start making changes. In a way, one hour can affect the remaining 167 in the week. However, we must spend some time on preparation in order to make the gym hour count. It includes nutrition planning, relax, studying magazines…

CrossFitNitra lying to judge
Trying the limits is all right if you know what you are doing and do not do it often.

Naturally, the above mentioned principles aren’t suitable for newbies in the gym. Young trainer who just finished his degree can’t walk into the gym and charge fortune for a session. This applies to all walks of life. But if I don’t see the desired results even after a few years, there is time to make a change. It is also about experimenting and pushing out limits.


There is a quote by Socrates that grasps the idea not only for workout but life in general.
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
– I think that it can be applied also to of which his mind is capable. There is always connection between physical and mental activity.

The following routine can be the change towards more effective workouts.

Back conditioning workout

pull-ups MePull ups on the bar improve the grip strength and work your back all the way down. Who wants to get the max effort, try this.

  • Set 3 minutes on the timer.
  • Start doing pull ups for maximum reps.
  • When you cannot do any more, immediately move to the rowing machine and row 250 metres as fast as possible.
  • Rest till the end of the 3 minute interval and repeat 6 to 8 times.

For those who want to improve fitness: this  also works your aerobic capacity. Rowers are among the fittest sportsmen. For those who want to lose weight: accumulated energy deficiency that helps you burn some fat while doing other things. For those who want to get strong: do heavy squats or deadlifts before this workout and reduce the number of rounds to 3. For beginners: First, practice the basics! If you do cannot do pull-ups (learn pull-ups!) do pushups. If you do not have rowing machine, run or do burpees.

Actually, you can do this workout with any combination of exercises, even include 3 or 4 exercises. For example: 20 squats with 50 kg, 30 sit-ups and run 200 m.

I follow similar pattern. When I am not preparing for some competition, I exercise only about 4 hours a week and I am stronger and in better form than at the college when I used to do sport for about 12 – 13 hours a week. It is relative, because there are many guys much stronger and effective than me. Because of that I do not miss the opportunity to train with them…

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