This whole-body 30-minute blast will build fitness, strength and stamina. The perfect general-purpose everyday workout.
30 minutes of moderate- to high-intensity physical exercise is optimal for sustaining health and well-being (in conjunction with, of course, clean dietary practices, the active avoidance of sedentarism and engaging in positive social interactions – there’s a bit more to health than meets the eye).
The government recommend 150-minutes of light- to moderate-intensity exercise a week is not nearly enough. This duration is merely an ‘absolute minimum dosage’ suggestion that, in truth, is only marginally better than doing nothing. If people were told the truth – to wit you should be engaging in some form of exercise EVERY DAY! – most would throw in the towel out of protest at what is to them an unobtainable expectation.
But if you think about it, 150-minutes of weekly exercise is obviously not enough, not when there’s over 10,500 minutes in a week. It doesn’t take the brains of a NASA scientist to figure out that exercising for 1.5% of the week will not offset sitting on your arse for the remaining 98.5% – or 10,350 minutes.
We all intuitively know that 150-minutes of exercise across the week is inadequate – especially when (according to the government) household chores, deadheading your marigolds or copulating can constitute as ‘active’ minutes.
More and more health professionals are openly advocating – or prescribing – a minimum daily dosage of 30 minutes. As part of a healthy lifestyle we should participate in one daily workout which consists of a mixture of cardio, calisthenics and resistance exercises. The intensity should vary from light, to moderate to high intensity.
To help you implement a daily exercise regime we have designed an all-purpose whole-body 30-minute workout. Comprised of 10 X 3-minute individual AMRAPs (As Many Reps As Possible) this workout will stimulate every aspect of your physicality. And thanks to its innovative design this workout is fully customisable, every exercise can be interchanged and it can be completed in a commercial gym, at home or in your local park: hence why we’ve called it an ‘all-purpose’ workout.
But if 30 minutes is too much to start off with try this 20-Minute Workout instead.
How it works
On completion of a 10-minute progressive warm-up you are to work through the following 10 AMRAPs: perform as many repetitions, or cover as many metres, of the 10 exercises as possible in 3-minutes.
10-minutes cardio and calisthenics
30 Minute Workout
1) 3-minutes Skipping
Skipping is perhaps one of the best all-round fitness developers – which accounts for why it is a staple of the boxer’s training diet. Bruce Lee said 10-minutes of skipping was as beneficial as a 30-minute run. By that logic, this 3-minute AMRAP is the equivalent of 9-minutes of running – that’s some bang for your buck right there! The objective here is super simple: jump that rope as many times as possible.
2) 3-minutes Hanging Leg Raises
HLRs are more than merely an abdominal toner. They develop core stability and grip strength. In addition, they are eminently modifiable – meaning you can either settle for easy knee raises or test yourself with toes to bar. And if HLRs ever get too easy, which they never do, there’s always the option of increasing the resistance by gripping a medicine ball between your knees.
3) 3-minutes Cycling
As well as being a Class A cardio conditioner cycling builds superior stamina while also burning fat like the stuff’s going out of fashion. The objective here is to try and cover as many metres as you can in the allotted time. Firstly, set the resistance to between 8-12 and then fight tooth and nail to maintain an RPM of plus-100.
4) 3-minutes Plank
The plank is a classic core stability exercise and abdominal toner. But planking also builds strength in the chest and shoulders, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that it’s an isometric partial press-up. If when imitating a two-by-four you have to take a rest at any point, because your chest and posterior deltoids have combusted, pop on your knees, shake the arms out, take deep breath and resume the position. The seconds you can hold constitute as reps.
5) 3-minutes Punching Bag
Boxing is by far the best all-round fitness developer (I know said that about skipping but it is a boxing exercise so is subsumed under that sweeping unsubstantiated statement). Boxing improves cardio, muscular endurance, explosive power … need I go on? Okay then, you asked for it: coordination, agility, reaction time, and, in addition to this panoply of physical attributes, boxing is a brilliant fat burner and muscle toner. Furthermore, as well training every conceivable component of fitness, you’ll also marginally develop your pugilistic prowess! For 3-minutes you are to throw as many 1-2 combinations as you can – that’s a lead left followed immediately by a straight right. Each 1-2 counts as 1 repetition and between each combo there should be a distinct but infinitely brief pause: 1-2! … 1-2! … 1-2! … you get the idea. (But what if I don’t have access to a punch bag or pair of gloves? Everything is the same except you are to shadowbox while holding a pair of light dumbbells.)
6) 3-minutes Press-ups
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a bit sadomasochistic to place press-ups straight after punches, on account of the fact that they work exactly the same muscle groups. For this session planning misdemeanour no apology will be advanced. Just man-up and get on with it. Set a countdown timer, adopt the press-ups position and pump those arms like a pair of well-oiled pistons. How many reps can you rack-up in 3-minutes?
7) 3-minutes Ergo Row
No session is complete without a row. It’s such an awesome exercise and it’s enjoyable – at least I think so. The objective here is as unambiguous as objectives get: cover as many meters as your physicality will permit in the specified time. It is recommendable to determine a pace before disembarking. Hold the pace for as long as possible then, for the final 30-seconds, sprint as though your eternal soul depends on it.
8) 3-minutes Kettlebell Swing
Granted, at this point your forearms should be aflame and your fingers as fragile as warm Kit Kats. Swinging a recalcitrant, gravity-addicted lump of pig iron in such a state is tantamount to purgatory. But, as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Taking the bell off the floor by executing a near perfect sumo squat, initiate the movement by pulling the bell back into your groin then, firing the glutes, thrust forward propelling it level with your chin. Repeat for 3-minutes.
9) 3-minutes Burpees
This is an exercise that needs no introduction. Just ensure that, when performing this simple yet supremely effective exercise, your feet from the crouched position go out together and, from the press-up position, come back in together. Also, don’t forget the plyometric jump at the top.
10) 3-minutes Run (at 15% incline)
True, running is as old as the hills and is the ultimate no-thrills exercise – which probably explains why it’s the least liked (I’ve never met anyone who enjoyed running). However, few exercises promote cardiovascular fitness and burn fat like quickly putting one foot in front of the other does. And with the added intensity of the incline, you’ll forge cast-iron mental toughness too!
5-minutes walking (0% incline) + 5-minute full-body stretch
Total distance travelled =
Total reps =
(Let me know what time you achieved: www.hungry4fitness.co.uk)
Enjoyed this circuit? Has it left you hungry for more? Click on the image below and get your copy of the Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits Vol. 1.
Circuit training is one of the best forms of physical exercise for maintaining and increasing overall-fitness. A well designed circuit will provide a great cardiovascular workout, strengthening the heart and lungs in the process, whilst also improving muscle endurance and developing functional strength. This unique combination, of fat burning and muscle building, which singular exercises, such as running, cycling, swimming or weights cannot give, will help to sculpt a lean defined physique.
(As we are very interested in user experience here at Hungry4Fitness, we would be very grateful if you could take a few seconds out of your day to leave a comment. Thanks in advance!)
Adam Priest, former Royal Marines Commando, is a personal trainer, lecturer, boxing and Thai boxing enthusiast.