Short Workout Plan Ideas – 30 to 40 Minute Training Sessions When Time Is Limited

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A couple of years ago, a friend asked if I would put together a plan with some short workouts for him. There were a couple of caveats and these were:

  1. He had very little access to gym equipment.
  2. He had a high pressure sales job and also commitments as a father and husband, so time was in short supply.

It is quite a challenge to keep up with your workout routine when you are away from home. Additionally, sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that if we are not doing a ton of volume training then it’s really not worth training. Not true in my experience. It might be necessary to increase the volume of training at times. It is also possible to at least maintain fitness with just one short workout session a day.

Being A Little Selfish To Get Your Exercise Is Not A Bad Thing

The reality is that life happens. If we don’t take responsibility for our own health regardless of our commitments to others, we are not in the best possible situation to support those that depend upon us.

I set about creating a workout plan that would work without the availability of much time and equipment. What follows are fifteen suggestions for 30-40 minute short workouts. It would be easy to do each of these training sessions at home or if you are traveling. Most hotels have simple gyms with a small amount of equipment. I have attempted to keep the need for equipment to a minimum.

I provide the following to help add value to your training regime and if you have any feedback, I would love to hear from you. I am also going to provide a link to a pdf document at the bottom, so you can download these training plans and save it for later use.

Short Workout Plan

Standard Warm Up (Do this before doing each workout to warm up), it is also worth doing some stretching following each training session.

Warm Up
20 Arm swings
20 Hip Openers
20 Glute Bridges
400m run

Workout #1

2 Rounds

So, 21 burpees, 21 sit ups, 21 squat jumps, then 15 of each and then 9 of each. Rest 3 minutes and then repeat.

Rep scheme: 21-15- 9

Burpees, Sit Ups and Squat Jumps

(you can do another round if two rounds is not enough)

Workout #2

10 minutes AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)  x 2, rest three minutes in between.

10 squat jumps, 30 second plank,  30 second wall sit, 7 push ups.

Workout #3

30 min run/cals broken into

5 min run followed by 20 pushups, 15 crunches, 10 squats repeat

Workout #4

Each successive piece run faster. 

4 minute run, rest one minute

3 minute run, rest one minute

2 minute run, rest one minute

1 minute run

Rest 2 minutes and repeat.

Workout #5

10 lunges each leg

20 Sit ups

10 Burpees

3 minute run

(3 rounds for time) x 2

Workout #6

Cycle or run workout

3 minutes hard, 1 min light, 2 minutes hard, 1 minute light, 1 minute hard, 1 minute light, 2 minutes hard, 1 minute light, 3 minutes hard, rest 5 minutes and repeat.

Workout #7

Hill Sprints

Find a hill that is steep. 

12 x hill springs (ideally each one would be 30 – 45 seconds of effort) Fast up, slow down. 90 seconds of slow down before the next effort)

Workout #8

60 double unders or 100 single unders (use a skipping rope)

15 Push ups

Run 400m 

5 rounds for time

Workout #9

For 20 minutes as many times as possible

200m run with something heavy.

3 pull ups

12 sit ups

6 push ups


Workout #10

Cycle or run

2 x 10 minutes hard AT cycle, with 5 minutes rest in between. (you could do three reps if you had time or shorten the rest to save time).

Workout #11

10 mountain climbers (each leg)

20 Sit ups

10 Burpees

400m run 

Repeat x 4

Workout #12

Cycle or Run

8 x 2 minutes on, 2 minutes light cycle jog. Max effort!

Workout #13

(each piece done at steady state intensity about 70-75% of max heart rate) – Cycle or run

7’, 1’ light

6’, 1’ light

5’, 1’ light

4’, 1’ light

3’, 1’ light

2’, 1’ light

1’ – rest

Workout #14

Death by burpees.

EMOM (every minute on the minute)

First minute, 1 burpee

Second minute, 2 burpees

Third minute, 3 burpees.

You start at the top of each minute. When you are done with the reps for that minute the rest of the minute is rest. You add a rep each time. You go until you can’t keep up with the workout.

Workout #15

2 x 20 minutes steady state with 5 minutes rest in between (cycle or run)

>> Download PDF Containing All 15 Workouts <<


These are just fifteen different ideas that use functional training such as circuit training. Movement is medicine, so I encourage you to keep moving to keep yourself well both mentally and physically. In this way, you will be in a better place to serve the others in your life.

I hope that the above has provided value. It would mean a great deal to me if you could provide some feedback. Or, share this with those who you think would benefit.

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