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November 25, 2020

The 30-minute workout: Rethink how long your training session needs to be

Fitness Workouts
30 minute workout pushups Ivan Samkov/Pexels

Who says it needs to take hours to workout? Muscles react to the intensity level of a strength training session more than the time it takes to complete. A 30-minute workout that incorporates full-body movements is a perfect way to fit exercise into a busy day.

One of the most common excuses I hear from clients, when asked why they don't workout as much as they'd like, is a lack of time. There are just not enough hours in the day. After a long day of work or a late night getting things done, the last thing you want to do is set your alarm an hour earlier than usual to exercise.

I refuse to accept this answer. It's true that you may not have an hour or two in your schedule to exercise, but who says a workout needs to be two hours? Or even an hour? Of course, I love when I have a two-hour break and can take my sweet time training and choosing which podcast to listen to (Yes, I listen to podcasts instead of music! Don't @ me.), but free time like that doesn't come around often.

Let me introduce you to the 30-minute workout. It's quick, efficient, and will do wonders for your body and your conditioning. My favorite kind? No equipment, bodyweight-style, high intensity. 

We need to change our mindset about what a workout has to be or how long it must last.

Our bodies don't know or care how long the workout is; rather your muscles react to your level of intensity and how much you're pushing yourself. Thirty-minute workouts are dependent on the design of the workout. It's important to incorporate full-body movements, as you want to cover as much of the body as you can in the little time that you have to train.

Start to combine strength training and plyometric exercises for 30 minutes, with minimal breaks and high energy, and I promise that you will be happy you're done after a half hour. 

Try this quick bodyweight workout, but I'm warning you in advance: This workout will crush you. 

30-Minute EMOM Workout

EMOM stands for "every minute, on the minute." Begin performing the assigned exercise at the start of each minute, complete the repetitions, and then rest for the remainder of the minute before moving on to the next exercise. For example, at the start of Minute 1, begin doing pushups and plank jacks. If it takes 45 seconds to complete them, rest for 15 seconds before moving on to the Minute 2 exercises.

Repeat the entire 5-minute routine six times until you've hit 30 minutes. To see how to perform each exercise, check out the videos in the Instagram post below.

• Minute 1: 10 pushups and 20 plank jacks
• Minute 2: 10 squats and 15 squat jumps
• Minute 3: 30 jumping jacks 
• Minute 4: 20 lunges 
• Minute 5: 20 situps

Gabby Drucker owns Drucker Fitness, a Philadelphia-based personal training studio and online training business. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Pre and Postnatal Certified Trainer. Follow her on Instagram at @druckerfitness or visit

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