This trainer’s bodyweight workout will strengthen your upper and lower body in just 20 minutes

Strengthen muscles across your upper and lower body and improve your stability with this trainer's quick workout

A woman performing a push-up outside
(Image credit: GETTY / Drazen Lovric)

It's always worth having a good bodyweight workout in your back pocket. You can perform them at home or when you're on vacation and don't have access to a gym. 

This routine from certified personal trainer and The Wellness Primer founder Ciana Glynn challenges muscles across your upper and lower body in just 20 minutes without any equipment. 

"As a beginner, you can start with bodyweight exercises. Then, as you progress, feel free to add weights or a resistance band to some of the moves to make them more challenging," says Glynn.

A yoga mat is handy for making floor-based exercises more comfortable, but this is optional. If you don't own one, take a look at our tried and tested guide to the best yoga mats to find the best fit for you.

How to do Ciana Glynn's home workout

  • Squat: 2x10-12
  • Alternating lunge: 2x15 each side
  • Push-up: 2x10 (or as many as you can if lower than 10)
  • Triceps dip: 2x10-15
  • Sit-up: 2x10
  • Bicycle crunch: 2x15 each side
  • Russian twist: 2x30-60 seconds
  • Plank: 2x30-60 seconds
  • Wall sit: 2x30-60 seconds

Perform the exercises listed above as a circuit, resting for 30 seconds between each one. Repeat this circuit for two total rounds to complete the workout. This should take you about 20 minutes.

1. Squat

Woman doing squat exercise

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sets: 2 Reps: 10-12 Rest: 30 seconds

  • Stand with your feet roughly hip-width apart and your toes pointed outwards slightly play. 
  • Brace your core then push your hips backwards and bend your knees, as if you were sitting down on a chair behind you. Keep your chest up, back straight and eyes looking straight ahead.
  • Lower your hips as close to the ground as you comfortably can, then drive through your heels to return to the starting position. 

Trainer tips

"If you're a beginner, start with a comfortable range of motion and gradually progress to deeper squats as you become more comfortable with this exercise.

"Try not to lock your knees or lift your heels off the ground at any point, and remember to breathe throughout the movement—inhale on the way down, exhale on the way back up."

2. Alternating lunge

Woman doing a lunge in a living room.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sets: 2 Reps: 15 each side Rest: 30 seconds

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips or clasped in front of you. Take a step forward with one foot.
  • Keeping your front knee directly above your ankle, lower your back knee until it's hovering just above the ground.
  • Push back off the front foot to return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite leg. 

Trainer tips

"Don’t rush the movement. Engage your core muscles to stabilize your spine throughout the exercise, and push through your front leg on the way back up to avoid losing balance."

3. Push-up

Sets: 2 Reps: 10 (or as many as you can if less than 10) Rest: 30 seconds

  • Start in a high plank position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your toes throughout this exercise.
  • Keeping your elbows tight to your body, bend them to lower your chest until it's just above the ground.
  • Push through your hands to return to the starting position. Keep your core tight to maintain a flat back as you do this. 
  • If this feels too difficult, try doing this move with your knees on the floor or your hands on an elevated surface. 

Trainer tips

"Try not to arch your back or stick your bum up too high in the air while doing this movement—using a mirror can be helpful to check your form."

4. Triceps dip

Woman doing triceps dips in a park

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sets: 2 Reps: 10-15 Rest: 30 seconds

  • Sit on the edge of a sturdy surface like a table, couch or bench. Place your hands over the edge with your fingers facing forwards, and plant your feet on the floor so your knees form a rough right angle, or keep your legs straight out in front. 
  • Place your weight in your hands and hover your hips off the edge of the sturdy surface,  then bend your elbows to lower your hips towards the ground until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. 
  • Push through your hands to return to the starting position. 

Trainer tips

"Perform this exercise in a slow and controlled manner to really engage your triceps effectively. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears to prevent unnecessary strain."

5. Sit-up

A woman performing a sit-up

(Image credit: GETTY / Matthew Leete)

Sets: 2 Reps: 10 Rest: 30 seconds

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and facing the ceiling, and your feet planted on the floor hip-width apart. Place your fingertips on the sides of your head.
  • Engage your core muscles as you sit up, bringing your head towards your knees.
  • Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. 

Trainer tips

"Don't rush this exercise. Instead, keep your movements slow and controlled to activate your core muscles and maximize their time under tension."

6. Bicycle crunch

Woman doing a bicycle crunch outdoors.

(Image credit: Getty)

Sets: 2 Reps: 15 each side Rest: 30 seconds

  • Lie on your back and place your fingertips on either side of your head so your elbows are flared out to the side. Extend your legs straight out in front of you so they're hovering a couple of inches above the ground.
  • Bring the knee of one leg towards your chest, and at the same time bring the opposite elbow towards that knee until they touch.
  • Return to the starting position then repeat on the other side. 

Trainer tips

"Ensure you're using a full range of motion here, touching your elbow to the opposite knee at the top of each repetitions and fully extending your legs at the bottom. You can slow this exercise down for more effective core activation."

7. Russian twist

Man doing Russian twists in living room

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sets: 2 Reps: 30-60 seconds Rest: 30 seconds

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground hip-width apart. Lean back slightly, keeping your back straight, until you feel your core engage. Clasp your hands in front of you.
  • Lift your feet slightly off the ground and twist to one side so your hands tap the ground by the side of your hips. Return to the center then repeat on the other side.

Trainer tips

"Focus on your breathing, exhaling as you twist and inhaling as you return to center

"If you find this move too challenging, you can keep your feet on the ground for extra stability. Or, if you want to increase the intensity, you can try it while holding a weight or medicine ball."

8. Plank

woman doing the plank during a home workout

(Image credit: Getty Images/DRAKULA IMAGES)

Sets: 2 Reps: 30-60 seconds Rest: 30 seconds

  • Assume a low plank position, with your weight spread between your toes and forearms. 
  • Brace your core, making sure your spine is neutral and your body forms a straight line from your head to your toes. Take deep breaths in and out through your nose as you hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Trainer tips

"Even when this exercise starts to burn, avoid letting your hips drop towards the ground or having them up too high. Instead, try squeezing your glutes to help stabilize your body.

"You should also focus on form rather than duration. If you're new to planking, start with shorter durations and gradually increase the time you hold this exercise for.

"As you grow stronger, you can try different plank variations such as side planks and planks with leg lifts to challenge yourself."

9.Wall sit

Man performs a wall sit using a wall outside

(Image credit: Getty)

Sets: 2 Reps: 30-60 seconds Rest: 30 seconds

  • Stand with your back against a wall. Slide your back down the wall by squatting down until your knees form a right angle. 
  • Hold this position for 30-60 seconds—if done correctly, you should feel this working the muscles in your thighs. 

Trainer tips

This is the last exercise in this circuit. "After you've finished, make sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated or, better yet, take a post-workout drink with electrolytes," says Glynne.

"My personal favourite is coconut water—a total hydration booster."

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.

Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.