3 Holiday Workouts Under 20 Minutes

{By Taylor Cartee}

It always seems that the five or six weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year are the busiest, most dessert-filled weeks of the year. Whether you’re traveling or hosting, it can be hard to prioritize fitness.

Here are three different workout options: abs, total body, and HIIT that are all under 20 minutes and require no equipment. I highly recommend that you download a free interval timer app, but a regular timer works fine. The other day I even used the microwave timer in my kitchen to squeeze in a mini workout while I was waiting for water to boil!

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1. Ab Blast: I set my interval timer for 8 sets of 1 min of work, 15 seconds of rest.

Plank (from forearms)
Side plank (1′ ea)
90/90 pendulums

Scissors (slowly, with straight knees!)
Toe Touches (try to keep your knees straight!)
Bicycles (keep your shoulder blades off the ground the whole time)

Check out my video here to see.

2. 20 Minute Total Body At-Home Workout

Complete one minute of each exercise with no rest between exercises. Rest one minute after you finish the entire “round.” Repeat for a total of three rounds for a 20-minute total-body workout. If one minute of each exercise is too challenging, feel free to scale back to 30 or 45 seconds per exercise and slowly build your endurance.

Sumo Squats

Start with your feet wider than hip-width, toes pointing out. Keeping your chest tall, sit back into a squat, as if you’re reaching for a chair behind you. See how low you can go without your knees caving in or pushing forward past your toes. Alternate between 10 regular squats and 10 Squat pulses for one minute

Burpee with Pushup

Start in push-up position. Complete a pushup, then jump your feet up to your hands, and explode upwards into a jump. (Hint: use your arms to help propel yourself up! Your hands should be above your head at the top of your jump). Land softly, and drop back into the push-up position. (See how quietly you can do these!)


Start prone on the floor. Arch your back and simultaneously lift your arms and legs off the floor. This is “Superman.” Count to five, and then roll into “Banana”: Your butt should be on the floor, core tight, legs extended and off the floor, and your arms should be extended in a mirror image of your legs. (Banana is the inverse of Superman.) Try to use only your core (not your arms!) to roll from Superman to Banana, and back to Superman.

Wall Sit

With your back against the wall, drop into a squat until your knees form a 90’ angle. Keep your core engaged for the duration of this exercise, and keep hands off your legs!

Bridge with Extension

Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Tighten your core, and lift your hips as high as you can. Keeping your thighs parallel and hips level, slowly extend your right knee until your right leg is straight and only your left foot is on the floor. Keep your thighs parallel as you return your right foot to the floor, and repeat with the left leg. This is one rep. If you find you struggle to keep your hips from dipping side-to-side, lower them to the floor between each rep. Once you can do several reps with good form, keep your hips up in the bridge position between reps.

Plank to Pushup

Start in a forearm plank position. Keeping your body in a straight line from shoulders to toes, raise yourself one arm at a time to a pushup position (hands on the floor, elbows extended). Return to plank position, one arm at a time. Do 30 seconds leading with your right arm, and 30 seconds leading with your left arm.

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3. Holiday HIIT

HIIT stands for “High Intensity Interval Training” and is a great way to push yourself to the max, recover, and do it again. HIIT is incredibly popular because it is a great way to build power endurance, burn calories without compromising lean muscle mass, and because it revs your metabolism to keep burning calories efficiently after the workout it done. Because HIIT requires 100% effort for the high intensity intervals, warm up with butt kicks, high knees, walking lunges, lateral lunges.

Perform 20 seconds of each exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. On the rest interval, stand tall and try to breathe through your nose. Aim for four sets of each exercise, or do the exercises back-to-back and perform four rounds. Click on these to see video how-tos.

Skater Jumps 

Squat Jumps 

Side-to-Side Plank Hops 

Switch-Jump Lunges 

Hit your upper body and core with the Plank Walk: From a full plank position, imagine that you’re planking on a compass, and your hands are at North. Keeping your back straight and your hips level, walk your hands from “North” to “West” then back to “North,” then to “East” then back to “North.” That’s one rep! Aim for 3-5 reps with good form. Feel free to add a resistance band tied around your wrists!

Cool down with with Single-leg Romanian Deadlifts, 30 each leg.

Try these workouts and you’ll be feeling great through the holidays!

What are your favorite fast workouts?