The Best Full-Body Strength Workout For When You Only Have 30 Minutes

When it comes to building strength, a lot of people think you need to spend hours in the gym every day. And while it does take long-term commitment and dedication to sculpt the perfect physique—we’re talking months and years here—it can still be done when you’re crunched for time. So skipping a workout just because you only have a half-hour to sweat isn’t an excuse.

In fact, you don’t even need to haul yourself to the gym most of the time. “Your body is the only tool you need,” says fitness and wellness coach Gideon Akande, C.P.T., who coaches entire strength-building bootcamp classes that use nothing but bodyweight.

We know what you’re thinking: Are bodyweight moves really going to get the job done? The bottom line: yes. “No one is too strong to build more muscle during a bodyweight workout,” Akande says. You can dial up the intensity of any exercise by simply shifting something about the movement—like changing your hand position during a pushup, or adding an explosive element to a squat.

The next time you need to cram in a workout—or just don’t feel like going to the gym—try Akande’s 30-minute strength-building bodyweight workout for yourself, and you’ll become a believer.

Let’s get to work:

There are five total exercises. You’ll perform each exercise for 45 seconds and then rest for 15 seconds. You’ll repeat that pattern for each of the following four exercises. After you’ve finished all five exercises (five minutes), rest for a full minute. That’s one set. Repeat for five sets total (30 minutes). If you’re super short on time, you can stick to just two or three sets.

Related: 6 Ways Building Muscle Benefits Your Health And Well-Being

You’ve got three variation options for each of the five exercises so you can scale the workout to your abilities and turn up the heat for an extra challenge. Check out Akande’s demonstration videos, below, to choose which variation to use in your workout.

Exercise 1: Upper Body

To keep things simple, perform: Pushups

To turn up the heat, perform: Alligator Pushups

To make your workout insane, perform: Plyo Alligator Pushups

 

Exercise 2: Lower Body

To keep things simple, perform: Bodyweight Squats

To turn up the heat, perform: Drop Squats

To make your workout insane, perform: Jump Squats

 

Exercise 3: Core

To keep things simple, perform: Bear Crawl Holds

To turn up the heat, perform: Bear Crawls (forward and backward)

To make your workout insane, perform: Lateral Bear Crawls (side to side)

 Exercise 4: Total Body

To keep things simple, perform: Caterpillar Crawls

To turn up the heat, perform: Caterpillars + Pushups

To make your workout insane, perform: Caterpillars + Pushups and Jumps

Exercise 5: Conditioning

Trust us, these will be hard enough as is: Shuffle Sprints

Related: Shop muscle-building supplements to get the most gain out of your workout.