Most of us think 20 minutes isn't long enough to get in a workout that offers great benefits. Most of us believe we need to spend up to an hour, and even more, to see any results. So we often don't bother to train when time is short.

But this is definitely not the case, whether your goal is weight loss, increased fitness or improved muscle tone, 20 minutes can certainly do some serious work towards what you're trying to achieve.

In fact, 20 minutes not only makes sense for a busy schedule, but current research shows it's plenty of time to stay, or get, in shape.

Have a go at these quick workouts.

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Fat burning in 20 minutes

Goal:

Increase metabolism while building lean muscle mass to maintain optimal calorie burning all day long.

Overall strategy: Perform complex exercises that work large muscle groups; do high reps and take very little rest between exercises.

This approach produces immediate short-term calorie burn and builds maximum muscle mass, which in turn generates long-term calorie burn.

Perform two sets of 15 of each exercise with only 10 seconds rest between.

Exercises

The position you should be aiming for in a side lunge. Photo / Supplied
The position you should be aiming for in a side lunge. Photo / Supplied

Lunge

Bicep Curl with dumb bell

Squats with dumb bell

Shoulder Press with dumb bell

Press Up

Side Lunge

Standing with feet shoulder width apart, step to the right side bending your right knee and keeping your left leg straight. Hold for a moment then push back to your start position. This is a great single leg workout and an option to target different parts of your leg. Repeat and then switch to the other side

Bench press
This is the same as a chest press but we often use a bench at the gym with DB's or free weights. You could use a Swiss ball to lie on or even the floor on a matt works equally well when starting out. If at home you can lie on the floor, take some tin cans or water bottles and holding them in each hand while lying on the floor push them towards the ceiling and return to start position - repeating for your desired number of repetitions
Bicycle crunch
Lying on the floor on your back with hands behind your head, bring one knee to your chest and reach forward to try and touch it with your opposite elbow. Alternate sides so the other knee and other elbow try to meet. Take it slowly and focus on activating your core abdominals. Be sure to support your neck gently and do not pull or twist your neck when performing
Superman

Lee-Anne demonstrates the
Lee-Anne demonstrates the "superman" pose. Photo / Supplied

20 minute "new to exercise" workout

Goal:

Ease into weight training with basic exercises, focusing on developing correct form.

Overall strategy: Work the core and major muscle groups--legs, back, chest and shoulders--but keep it simple. Focus on form, movement and breathing.
Perform 1 set of 12 of each exercise with 30 - 45 seconds rest between each exercise

Exercise

Chest Press

Great for upper body toning - lying on your back using DB's or weighted containers or if at a gym there are many seated chest press machine options available.

Basic Squat

Back Row

This can be done at home with a sturdy handle or stick between two chairs. Lie flat underneath and pull yourself up to the stick or, at the gym, there are some great back row machines including seated row, lying row and standing row.

Leg Press

At the gym this is usually performed with machines commonly found in nearly every gym. At home you could swap this for chair squats or walking lunges. The goal is to work all of the lower body while activating your core abdominal muscles.

Standing Shoulder Press

Grab a tin can or milk bottle in each hand and, while standing, push them above your head and lower again repeating until you reach your desired number. This is great to target and tone the shoulders. Imagine you are simply reaching up and popping away something in a high cupboard - a few more times than you usually would.

Running on spot - 60 seconds

Floor Crunches

20 minute toning workout

Goal:

Get a tough-as-possible all-body workout.

Overall Strategy: A mix of complex and nuts-and-bolts exercises that work the core muscles and major muscle groups. Whenever possible, use dumbbells, not machines, to increase difficulty and engage muscles more fully.
Perform 3 sets of 10 of each exercise

Exercises

Chest Press with dumb bell

Squat with dumb bell

Back Row

Leg Press

Standing Shoulder Press

Seated Leg extension

This is often performed at the gym on a special machine but you can start out at home or at the office by sitting in a chair. With knees bent, lift one foot off the ground and while holding your thigh off the chair straighten and bend your leg 8-12 times, squeezing the leg muscle as you go. Once finished, perform the same movement on the other side

Swiss ball Leg Curl

This is great to work the back of the legs, your core abdominals and your lower back. Lying on the floor with your feet on a Swiss ball, lift your hips up using your hands on either side of you to balance and curl the ball into you. Roll it back out using your legs. It takes a little practice and perseverance but it's well worth the effort.)

Remember to warm-up and cool down when exercising and ensure you are drinking water in the warmer weather.

If unsure about starting an exercise program or you are new to exercise, please consult with your doctor first.