Training

30 Minute Workouts For Any Occasion

The gyms are now open (YAY!). We know it’s a little different to the gym we remember, with safety measures and restrictions in place, so it’s important you think of yourself and others and follow the guidance — to keep us all safe.

We also know some people are still not ready to head back just yet and that’s ok too. So, we’ve got the perfect 30-minute workouts for anyone, whether you’re just starting out, heading back to the gym, or still pushing it at home. These workouts will help you get fit, strong, and reach your goals. 

Everyone should be looking to do at least 150 minutes of exercise (5 lots of 30 mins) each week, to keep us feeling fit and healthy. This makes our 30-minute workouts the perfect way to use your time effectively and efficiently. .. 

Let’s get started with our 30-minute workouts for every level, helping us to get fitter wherever you are…

The warm-up

Before you jump on a treadmill, hit the squat rack, or start smashing out 100 burpees, it’s so important that you ensure your body is prepared for the demands of exercise. A warmup is designed to get your cardiovascular system revved up by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles. It’s also essential to help reduce muscle soreness and lessen your risk of injury.

When working out for a limited amount of time such exercises such as skipping or large compound movements to get as many joints and muscles engaged and ready to work. A decent warm-up should be around 6 minutes long but you can make it as long as you need.

 

30-Minute Workout For Beginners

1. Walking Lunges

Equipment: Dumbbells or Bodyweight

Method: Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your hands stay by the side of your body holding dumbbells or on your hips if using just your bodyweight. Step forward with your right leg, putting the weight into your heel and bend the knee lowering down so that it’s parallel to the floor in a lunge position and pause for a second with your right foot planted, move your left foot forward, repeating the same movement on the left leg remembering to pause as your left leg is parallel to the floor in a lunge position continue to repeat this process “walking” yourself forward as you lunge, alternating legs.

Sets: 3   Reps: 10 reps each side 

 

2. Dumbbell Glute Bridge

Equipment: Dumbbell or Bodyweight

Method: Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, tucked close to your glutes. Place your dumbbell across your hips and rest your hand on it to stabilize or lay your arms at your side outstretched if not using a weight. Contract your glutes and drive your hips towards the ceiling lifting your bum off the ground and pushing through your feet. When you have lifted your hips as high as you can so your weight is through your feet and shoulder, pause for a second and squeeze your glutes and abs before lowering your hips back down to the floor controlling the movement throughout. 

Sets: 3   Reps: 12

 

3. Press up (kneeling if required)

Equipment: None

Method: Start in a high plank position, placing your hands as wide as is comfortable. The narrower your hands the more tricep is involved and the wider apart your hands the harder you will work out your chest.  Slowly lower your chest towards the floor, bending at the elbow and keeping your abs engaged, just before you touch your chest to the floor, push through your hands and return to the start position. If you cannot complete the movement on your feet without touching the floor then drop your knees to the floor and use the same method as above. 

Sets: 3   Reps: 15

 

4. Squat to Shoulder Press

Equipment: Dumbbells 

Method: Stand with your legs hip-width apart and core engaged. Dumbbells should be held at the shoulder with your elbows bent. Start by dropping into a squat,  by bending the knees to 90 degrees, keeping the back straight and the core engaged. At the bottom of the movement push through your feet driving your hips up, and reversing the movement. As you do this drive your hands upwards above your head to shoulder press the dumbbells squeezing the shoulders and traps. (if you don’t have dumbbells, hold your hands by the side of your head like you would if you were holding them and repeat exactly the same movement as stated) 

Sets: 3   Reps: 12 reps

 

5. Crunches

Equipment: None

Method:  Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands by your forehead or cross your arms over your chest. Contract your abdominals by pulling your belly button in towards your spine, and slide your rib cage towards your hips, ensuring your lower back remains pushed into the floor. Your shoulders should lift slightly off the floor. Squeeze at the top of the movement and then lower yourself back to the starting position ensuring to control the movement

Sets: 3   Reps: 20 reps

 

30-Minute Return-To-Gym Workout

1. Barbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

Equipment: Barbell

Method: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and overhand grip on the barbell, bend the knees slightly so they are soft but keep them stationary. Engage your core by pulling your belly button to your spine and pulling your lats back and down. Start to lower the barbell by hinging at the hip and keeping your back straight. When the barbell hits around your shin, drive your hips forward and through bringing your body back up to starting position. 

Sets: 3   Reps: 15-20

 

2. Barbell Squat Thrusters

Equipment: Barbell

Method: Stand with feet hip/shoulder distance apart and the barbell racked onto your front.  Engage your core and lower yourself into a squat, by bending the knees to 90 degrees, keeping the back straight and the core engaged. At the bottom of the movement push through your feet driving your hips up, and reversing the movement. As you do this drive your hands upwards above your head to shoulder press the barbell over the top of your head before lowering it back to your chest and dropping back into the next squat and repeat…

Sets: 3   Reps: 20-30

 

3. Mountain climbers to Push up

Equipment: None

Method: Start in a high plank position, placing your hands as wide as is comfortable. The narrower your hands the more tricep is involved and the wider apart your hands the harder you will work out your chest.  Engage your core and drive the right knee towards your chest before return it and driving left knee toward the chest and returning it to start then lower your chest towards the floor, bending at the elbow and keeping your abs engaged, just before you touch your chest to the floor, push through your hands and return to the start position this counts as one rep. 

Sets: 3   Reps: 20

 

4. Dumbell Bicep curl into a shoulder press

Equipment: Dumbbells

Method: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding the dumbbells at your thigh, bend the knees slightly so they are soft but keep them stationary. Curl the barbell up to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides and not rocking at the hip. Once the dumbbells are at your chest, rotate your hands and drive your arms up and above your head, squeezing your shoulders and traps together pause at the top of the movement before lowering the dumbbells back to your shoulder and then back to your thighs.

Sets: 3   Reps: 15-20

 

5. Lying Leg Raises

Equipment: None

Method: Lay flat on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you, arms are by your side, palms flat on the floor or placed just under the side of you glutes (Hands should never be placed under the lower back). Engage your core pulling your belly button to your spine and with your lower back firmly pressed into the floor slowly raise your feet off the floor keeping your legs straight. Lift your legs to a 90-degree angle to the hip and then slowly lower your legs back down with control ensuring they do not touch the floor. 

Sets: 4   Reps: 15 reps

 

30-Minute Stay-At-Home Workout

1. Squats/ Squat Jumps

Equipment: None

Method: Stand with feet hip/shoulder distance apart and the barbell racked onto your front.  Engage your core and lower yourself into a squat, by bending the knees to 90 degrees, keeping the back straight and the core engaged. At the bottom of the movement push through your feet driving your hips up, and jumping up off the ground, land with soft knees back in the squat position and repeat.  

Sets: 3   Reps: 25

 

2. Alternative Lunge/ Lunge Jumps

Equipment: None

Method: Stand with your feet staggered and your left foot slightly in front of your right foot, with your hands on your hips or your arms out in front of you. Engage your core pulling your belly button to your spine, bend at the knee like in a normal lunge driving your back knee towards the floor at the bottom of the movement push through both of your feet spring up and switching the positions of your feet in midair and landing back into a lunge position and repeat.  

Sets: 3   Reps: 20

 

3. Tricep Dips

Equipment: None

Method: On a bench or chair, start by placing it behind you gripping the edge with your back to it. Slowly lower your body by bending at the elbows until you lower yourself far enough to where there is an angle slightly smaller than 90 degrees. Keeping your elbows tucked to your side as much as possible. At the bottom of the movement pushing through your hand and driving yourself back up and squeezing the triceps and returning to start position. 

Sets: 3   Reps: 15

 

4. Commandos

Equipment: None

Method: Begin in a plank position on your forearms. Push up on your left side so your arms are straight, and then follow with your right arm so you’re now in a high plank and then lower down onto your left forearm and then your right. Ensuring your core is engaged the entire time and your back is straight. This is one rep.  

Sets: 3   Reps: 20

 

5. Plank Rotations 

Equipment: None

Method: Start in the high plank position with your core engaged. Making sure your hands are shoulder-width apart, shift your weight to the right side and twist your chest raising your left arm to point your arm towards the ceiling. Pause at the top of the moment and then rotate back down ensuring to control the movement, once back in starting position repeat on rotating weight to the left and raising the right arm. Keep repeating until you have completed all the reps. 

Sets: 4   Reps: 16 reps

 

Your Questions Answered

1. Are 30-minute workouts effective?

The guideline in the UK and US is to do 150 mins each week (5 lots of 30 mins), which makes 30-minute workouts perfect and shorter and intense exercise can be very efficient and effective. It is all dependent on how you train in a smaller time window to get the most out of it. Good work is better than a long one, so as long as you are using the 30 minutes in a smart way then they can be very effective.

 

2. What is the best 30-minute workout?

There isn’t necessarily one best way to work for 30 minutes and it’s important to ensure your workouts are helping you work towards your goals as an individual. Any way we look at it as a 30-minute workout a day is good for you no matter what. You will need to be smart with your training so the best 30-minute workouts will ensure you get enough working sets in and lower rest to maximise your work rate, and normally focus around a larger group of muscles using HiiT, Circuits, or Tri-sets. 

 

3. How many calories do I burn in a 30-minute workout?

As with any workout, the number of calories burnt is very individual to the person working out and what they are doing in their workout. In general, the more intense the workout is the more calories that will be burnt, but again this will vary person to person based on their fitness, their weight, and body composition. 

 

4. Can I lose weight by working out 30 minutes a day?

If you’re exercising at the right level and intensity for 30 minutes in conjunction with the correct calorie deficit there is no reason that working out for 30 minutes a day won’t help you to lose weight. The type of exercise you are doing is will depend on your goal. For example, HIIT is a great way to get fit, lose body fat, preserve muscle mass and get the best fat loss results in a short period of time.

5. Is a 30-minute workout enough to build muscle?

Spending all day in the gym isn’t the only way to build muscle. Weight training for 30 minutes,3-4  times should be enough to see results. You should try to target all your major muscle groups at least twice throughout your weekly workouts. With a smaller time frame, try in-corporating supersets and tri-sets to make the most of your time. 

 



Amy Golby

Amy Golby

Writer and expert


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