Strengthen your whole body in just 20 minutes with this no-jumping full-body workout

This short routine is easy on your joints, but still builds full-body muscle without weights

Woman holding a squat position outdoors
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Burpees and running on the spot can be a great way to raise your heart rate, but they're also hard on your joints and can make a lot of noise. This low-impact workout skips these jumping-style movements but still works your whole body in just 20 minutes. 

You don't need any equipment to get started, although it's worth rolling out one of the best yoga mats if you have space. The routine, developed by online trainer Maddie Lymburner (known by her handle MadFit) is ideal if you have sore joints or don't want to disturb your neighbors downstairs. 

Lymburner has arranged the workout into supersets — two exercises performed back to back without rest — to train your muscles and raise your heart rate at the same time. 

To get the most from your training and avoid injury, it's crucial to do each exercise with perfect form. You can follow along with Lymburner's demonstrations to practice your technique as you go, or pause the video to give the moves a try before you start. 

Watch MadFit's 20-minute full-body workout

Part of the reason you can work your whole body with such a short routine is the type of exercise involved. This session is an example of high-intensity resistance training (HIRT) where the aim is to train and strengthen the body in a short period of time with minimal rest. 

So, you will perform a strength-training exercise for 40 seconds, take a 20-second break, then start on the next move. This increases your heart rate and burns more energy than a steady-paced routine, and sustaining this elevated rate boosts your metabolism (the amount of energy you burn throughout the day). 

As it avoids high-impact jumping movements, Lymburner's routine is a great option if you struggle with knee or leg pain. You could also add some low-impact exercises into your regular workouts to strengthen your lower body without adding stress to your joints. 

But you won't always be in the mood for a dynamic workout like this, which its why its also worth learning how to do yoga with bad knees, to stretch your muscles, strengthen your core, calm your mind and get the benefits of yoga without causing additional pain. 

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.