How to Create Your Own 20 Minute Full Body Workouts, with 3 Examples

By Don

December 1, 2022


Reading Time: 3 minutes

You Can Learn this Skill


Creating your own workouts is a skill that you can learn. It’s like the skill of writing; it requires familiarity with mechanics, technique, form, edits, and lots of practice.

This article will teach you how to write a 20-minute, full-body interval workout. Interval training is a technique that cycles through work and rest over a defined period of time. The type of interval training this article covers creates a workout that will help you feel energized instead of completely depleted at the end of your sessions. This is perfect for the busy parent who is strapped for time. 


3 Steps to Creating a 20-Minute Workout


1. Pick 2-4 compound exercises

I recommend picking compound exercises that work most if not all of your muscle groups. You can cycle in movements that isolate specific muscle groups, but with compound movements you will get the biggest bang for your time buck. 

Example: Kettlebell Swings, Goblet Squats, Burpees, Mountain Climbers, Pull-Ups, Push-Ups, Plank-Ups, Kettlebell Cleans, Squats, Presses, Get-Ups, etc… Pick 2-4 of these compound exercises. 


2. Budget 20-30 seconds of work

Give yourself 20-30 seconds of work in each interval. This means that you will need to do a low rep count for each exercise (1-5 reps each). 

Example: 2 Goblet Squats, 1 Clean/Squats (each side), 2 Burpees


3. Budget 30-90 seconds of rest

This step is critical. Once you finish your 20-30 seconds of work, take 30-90 seconds to rest. The general rule of thumb is you are ready to start the next interval of work when you caught your breath and can talk again. At this pace, you should feel like you can do this for longer than 20 minutes.

Repeat this cycle for 20 minutes, and at the end, this should leave you feeling energized instead of depleted. This type of interval training applies some really interesting science on energy pathways. 

Example: 20 Minutes


Repeat this process 3-4 times to create 3-4 workouts. Complete each of those workouts once a week, for four weeks. At the end of the month, write a new set of workouts. Rinse, repeat, and have some fun with it. 


3 Example Workouts


Here are 3 workouts that use this type of interval training. All three videos have been posted to the Layman’s Fitness YouTube channel. 

  1. 20-Minute Workout #1
    • 2 Goblet Squats
    • 1 Clean/Squat (each side)
    • 2 Burpees
  2. 20-Minute Workout #2
    • 5 Kettlebell Swings
    • 3 Push-Ups (slow)
    • 5 Mountain Climbers (each side)
  3. 20-Minute Workout #3
    • 1 Goblet Squat + Curl
    • 1 Push-Up (very slow)
    • 1 Arm KB Thruster (each side)

4 Principles & Tips


Now that you know the structure for writing these types of workouts, here are some of the key principles and tips behind executing this type of interval training. 


1. Practice perfecting your form

Think about each repetition as an opportunity to practice perfecting your form. Maintain your form with each movement. The better your technique is, the more intensity you will be able to add in the future. 


2. Maintain your breathing

Remember to breathe, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathing this way, especially during your rest periods, will help you recover. 


3. Utilize all muscle groups each week

With your 3-4 workouts, make sure at the end of the week you have hit all the major muscle groups in your body (upper body, lower body, core, etc…). With compound movements you will hit most if not all of your muscle groups, including your core. 


  • Day #1, Lower Body Compound Movements, Day #2, Upper Body Compound Movements, Day#3/4, Full Body Compound Movements
  • Day #1/2/3/4: Full Body Compound Movements 


4. Diligence is your goal. 

I’ll say it again. Diligence is your goal. Aim for consistency, build the habits, and the results will come. Practically, this looks like completing 3-4 sessions, each week, for one month. 

When you are finished with one month, write 3-4 more workouts, and start again. Pick some new movements. During the second month do one workout a week that goes to 30 minutes. Have fun with it. Use this as a tool to apply stewardship, learn skills, and build strength to the glory of God. 


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