20 Minute Workout For Muscle Building

20 Minute Workout

We don’t always have time for a full workout due to our busy lives, however i’m sure you can spare just 20 minutes a day.

Some days you find that you are really pushed for time and that it is nearly impossible to get a good workout in, don’t worry, the day is still plentiful and you can easily fit this 20 minute workout in there somewhere.

This isn’t just for beginners either, as you can spend your time increasing workout intensity, simply follow the plan, work hard and move quickly. You still have to get good volume over 20 minutes to see decent physique gains, one or two short workouts a week won’t get you fit.

Using the get in and get done mentality pays great dividends here, aiming for 4 to 6 intense workouts per week, choose one of the following categories:

  • Midrange strength workouts.
  • Complexes.
  • Challenges.
  • Conditioning.
20 Minute Workout

Some of the best workouts can be done in such little time there really is no excuse.

1) Mid-Range Strength Workouts

Multi jointed exercises are great in the 5 to 8 rep range and if challenging with weight it can produce a great size and strength combination.

These three workouts are great, change them around to target different muscle groups:

Workout A


  • Bent over barbell row – 3 sets of 8 reps.
  • Romanian deadlift – 3 sets of 8 reps.
  • Push press – 3 sets of 8 reps.

Front barbell squat – 4 sets of 5 reps.

Workout B


  • Romanian deadlift – 3 sets of 8 reps.
  • Incline dumbbell press – 3 sets of 8 reps.
  • Wide-grip lat pulldown – 3 sets of 8 reps.

Bulgarian split squat – 3 sets of 6 reps per leg.

Workout C

Giant Set

  • Dumbbell floor press – 3 sets of 8 reps.
  • Chinup – 3 sets of 8 reps.
  • Bent over rear delt raise – 3 sets of 12 reps.
  • Sliding leg curl – 3 sets of 8 reps.

Trap bar deadlift – 4 sets of 6 reps.

20 Minute Workout

The bent over barbell row is another great example of some complex workout routines you can do in little time.

2) Complexes

A metabolic complex is a string of exercises performed together smoothly without rest, these are ideal for fat loss, they involve huge amounts of work in a short space of time, ideal for the time conscious.

Some of the following exercises can be a little more advanced but we are not looking for perfect Olympic standard form here, we are more looking for a safe clean set that works, don’t worry if you’re no pro, just get the basics in there, neutral spine, explosive lifts etc.

The goal is to move a lot of weight in a short space of time, because of this weight won’t be all that high, a good guide is a weight you can push overhead for 10 reps.

Barbell Complex

  • Pick a weight you can perform 10 overhead presses with, this weight will be used for all exercises.
  • Perform 6 reps of each without rest as this is a cycle.
  • Rest for 90 seconds between each cycle.
  • Repeat five more times.

Done in order:

Circuit – 5 Rounds

Bent over barbell row – 6 reps.

Barbell shrug – 6 reps.

Romanian deadlift – 6 reps.

Hang clean – 6 reps.

Front barbell squat – 6 reps.

Push press – 6 reps.

Dumbbell Complex

  • Use a weight that you can perform 10 overhead presses with, this will be used for all exercises.
  • Perform a rep of each exercise then move fluidly onto the next.
  • Repeat all exercises in order for 8 times, this is one cycle.
  • Rest 90 seconds between cycles.
  • Repeat 5 times.

Exercises done in order:

Hang clean

Push Press


Alternating Renegade Row

12-8-40 Complex

Men: Use dumbbell weight 50% of bodyweight for goblet squats.

Women:Use dumbbell weight 30% of bodyweight for goblet squats.


Repeat trisets for 20 mins with 40 – 60 seconds rest between each triset.


Goblet Squat – 12 reps.

Pushups – 8 Reps.

Plank – 40 Seconds.

best bicep exercises

You can push yourself hard as the workout is only supposed to last 20 minutes so get the most out of it.

3) Challenges

A challenge is doing as much work as possible within a set time period, this is a good way to keep the workout fresh and intensity high. Perform multi joint lifts and do as many as you can before time expires.Low technique lifts are best as heavy fatigue can make heavier lifts dangerous.

11-Minute Squats

Pick a weigjht that is 30-40% of your 1RM for back squats, do as a many reps as possible without putting the bar back, do 2 sets of goblet squats to warm up.

Barbell squats – 3 minutes with 3 minutes rest.

Barbell Squats – 2 minutes with 2 minutes rest.

Barbell squat – 1 minute.

Push-Pull Challenge

Go through the following exercises until you reach the target number, it will take at least 8 cycles to get to the goal, with fatigue this may take 10 – 12.

Pushups – 10 reps, Goal – 80 reps.

Pull ups – 5 reps Goal 40 reps.

Push-ups – closed triceps position – 10 reps, goal of 80 reps.

Chin-ups – 5 reps with 40 reps as the goal.

20 Minute Workout

Conditioning is just as important for the body as the weight training itself.

4) Conditioning

The workouts above help count as conditioning but nothing replaces the good old-fashioned methods:


Find an open area, take five cones and set up a geometric shape, pick any combo of sprinting, backpedaling and shuffling between the cones, it matters more that you move explosively, staying low with your chest out and back straight.

Hill Sprints

On a hill with a moderate length of 20 to 40 yards, sprint up the hill timing it and then walk back down, at the bottom use a 6:1 rest to work ratio, so if you sprinted 6 seconds then rest 35 seconds and go again, repeat for 20 minutes.

Interval Runs

Distance running is not great for building a lean, muscular physique. Interval runs are a great change that won’t burn up muscle tissue. The following performed for 20 minutes are very effective and simple:

  • 30 seconds hard run and 60 seconds walk.
  • 45 seconds hard run  and 90 seconds walk.
  • 30 seconds hard run and 90 seconds slow jog.
  • 45 seconds hard run and 120 seconds slow jog.
20 Minute Workout

Once you have mastered it all together you can say goodbye to that lazy couch potato lifestyle you used to have.

Getting It All Together

Ideally you should be following a 5 day split, this can be two days of mid-range strength training and one day each for complexes, challenges and conditioning. If only four days are available then skip a challenge or conditioning program. If you have an extra 6th day then add a second day of complexes or challenges.

Simply chose a workout from each category and go for it, you’ve probably noticed a lot of squatting involved, a multi-joint exercise like a squat will give you the greatest whole body stimulus, if your legs are a little sore then reduce the load the next time out but keep going and your body will adapt to suit.

So you can see that a quick 20 minute workout is do able for almost anybody.


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