dynamic stretching

How to create the best 20 minute workout

We head to the gym or lace up our running shoes most days. Maybe we’re 100% consistent with our workouts or maybe we’re still struggling to build that habit. But either way, we can all identify with the nagging question: did I do enough?

I talk with women all the time who tell me they’re hitting the gym, getting consistent, but they never feel like they’ve done enough. When they get home, they are constantly beating themselves up, wondering if they should have done more, pushed harder, or stayed longer.

They’re never finishing a workout feeling awesome. And that sucks, right? This makes working out 10000000x less fun AND it makes makes staying consistent with our workouts even more difficult. (are you making one of the top 3 workout consistency mistakes?

I get it. When I first graduated college and started trying to make changes to my body composition, I was working out a TON. I did at least two BodyRockTV or FitnessBlender workouts per day and ran three days a week. I remember waking up at 6am, rolling out of bed, and grabbing my computer to choose my daily workout. First, I filtered out the ‘too easy’ workouts (anything level 1-4). Then, I reviewed the level 5 (or most advanced) FitnessBlender workouts and picked 2-3 to complete that morning. Even after killing myself for an hour, I would feel like I should have worked harder or done more. It was an awful feeling.

So, with lots of experimentation, I’ve found a formula for creating the best 20 minute workout, and I’m sharing it today. I’ve found that the best 20 minute workouts have four components, so  if we include these, we can rest assured we’ve created the best 20 minute workout out there and stop questioning whether we’ve done enough.

Why 20 minutes?

When we’re training for RESULTS (whether aesthetic or performance), intensity trumps duration. When we work out for short periods of time, we are able to push harder and challenge our bodies more than if we drag ourselves through a 60 minute session.

By implementing 20 minute workouts into our routines, we stop making the “I don’t have time” excuse. Through working with women around the world, I’ve found that the 20-30 minute workout is a #ConsistencyKey (a high impact behavior that make us significantly more consistent).

With that, let’s see this formula for the best 20 minute workout, shall we?

The DARR Formula for creating the best 20 minute workout

So, with lots of experimentation, I've found a formula for creating the best 20 minute workout, and I'm sharing it today. I've found that the best 20 minute workouts have four components, so if we include these, we can rest assured we've created the best 20 minute workout out there and stop questioning whether we've done enough.

Dynamic warm up

When we’re pressed for time, our default is to skip the warm up (*I’m guilty of this*). This is a big no-no.

Warm ups decrease likelihood of injury and help our bodies prepare for intense movement.

If we don’t have time, just include 2 minutes of dynamic stretching and light cardio (think jumping jacks, high knees).

dynamic stretching

Activation round

OK. We’ve used 2 minutes for our warm up. 18 minutes to go in the best 20 minute workout. The next step of the DARR Formula is activating the muscle groups to be used in the workout. With DARR, we focus on full body workouts, so I recommend choosing 1-2 movements per muscle group (listed below).

Lower body

Glute bridges

Glute bridge marching

Bodyweight squats

Bodyweight lateral lunges

Upper body

Arm swings

Arm circles

Elevated push ups

Core

Bird dog

Toe taps

Dead bug

Plank

Alternatively, you can go through one round of my general warm up or my glute and core activation warm up. Both incorporate the dynamic warm up and activation elements.

Resistance training

When pressed for time, we want to make the most of the time we have. So for the remaining 16 minutes of our workout, we will do some high intensity resistance training. My favorite way to do this is implementing Metabolic Effect’s Rest Based Training (RBT) principle (see more here). With RBT, we work as hard as we possibly can for the prescribed interval, resting only as needed.

The simplest way to do this is to do a 4×4 circuit: four exercises (1 total body, 1 lower body, 1 upper body, and 1 core exercise), 1 minute per exercise, four times through.

Alternatively, below are a couple of my favorite full body workouts that you can use for the resistance training portion of the workout.

My go-to full body workout

25th birthday inspired full body workout

10 minute full body ladder workout

Full body chained complex workout

Metabolic conditioning full body workout

Recover

Here’s our bonus section. Before we get on with our days, the best 20 minute workout’s gotta include some sort of recovery or cool down.

Foam rolling, stretching, and dog walking are my favorite forms of post workout recovery. Even when pressed for time, taking just a few minute to breath deeply and take a walk can make a huge difference to your performance longer term.

Use the DARR Formula to create the best 20 minute workout out there, and let me know how it goes!

So, with lots of experimentation, I've found a formula for creating the best 20 minute workout, and I'm sharing it today. I've found that the best 20 minute workouts have four components, so if we include these, we can rest assured we've created the best 20 minute workout out there and stop questioning whether we've done enough.

Each month, I share an exclusive DARR workout with my tribe. If you wanna get free workouts that are effective and results driven, join my tribe. I’m sending out the next one soon!

What’s your favorite 20 minute workout? 

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