Fit-20 Workout 08-04-15

If I could choose only one 20-minute workout to do, this would be it.

(Although that would be a horrible proposition, because I get bored with workouts pretty quickly, and I love trying new things - but all things considered, this is a great workout that can grow with you as you get faster-stronger-bigger (or smaller - whichever you're going for.))

20-Minute Workout
  • Running - 12 minutes
  • Rest - 1 minute
  • Push-ups - 3 minutes
  • Rest - 1 minute
  • Pull-ups - 3 minutes

  • Set a timer for 6 minutes and go! When the timer beeps, turn around and head home.
  • I use RunKeeper as my timer, with audio cues set for every 3 minutes. I try to make negative splits, where each 3-minute section is faster than the previous one - 'warm up', 'get into the groove', 'pick up the pace', and 'push hard for the final section' - as a way to break out each 3-minute cue.
  • If you can't run for 12 minutes, start out by walking, then by walking with some jogging mixed in, then jogging slowly, before eventually you can run at a faster pace.
  • Jogging slowly should get you about a mile; running with blazing speed could get you two miles. I consider anything in the 1.5 mile (8-minute mile pace) range as pretty fast. 

  • Do as many as you can in three minutes, taking short breaks as necessary.
  • If you can only do a couple push-ups at a time, that's ok. Do a couple, take a short rest, and try to do a couple more. If you still have time left but can't do any more, try doing negatives - start in the up position and lower yourself down as slowly as possible.
  • When you can pump out push-ups with ease, up and down like a piston, doing 90 push-ups over the 180 allotted seconds, you'll be in great shape! Even then you can always add from the Advanced, Core, and Combination section of the Push-ups page.
  • You don't have to be able to do 90 push-ups before mixing in the core work or combination work, but I'd recommend being able to do 30 in a row - slow and steady with great form, before adding in additional difficulty.

  • Do as many as you can in three minutes, taking short breaks as necessary.
  • I currently do three quick sets - pull-ups, chin-ups, and neutral grip pull-ups - with a short break in between each set. (The sets don't take long when you can't even do 10 in a row!)
  • Pull-ups are very difficult when starting out. You can stand on a stool or chair and do negatives (start at the top and lower yourself slowly), or you can use your legs to help lift/spot yourself. Try to use your legs less and less over time, until you can do a pull-up by yourself.
    • Once you can do one pull-up, it's just a matter of time and practice until you'll be able to do two, and from there the sky's the limit!
  • If you can do pull-ups for three minutes straight - you're like Superman, and there probably isn't anything I can teach you about fitness..

Final Thoughts

This is one of those workouts that's very simple, yet can grow with you over time. If you think it's too hard today, keep at it and watch yourself make great progress in a relatively short amount of time. When you think it's getting easier, simply turn up the intensity, just a little bit, and it'll knock you on your butt again!

I've been doing this workout a couple times a week since the weather heated up, and I'm both happy with my progress and frustrated by how much better I want to do. That's a good love-hate relationship to have with your workout..

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

- Chris Butterworth