Five 30 minute workouts you’ll love

Kate Stinchcombe-Gillies
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30 minute workout ideas


Mar 21

Time is precious and unless exercise is your downtime then finding time to workout can often fall to the bottom of the list, we understand that too. Our team member Emily loves being active and you can read about how she makes time for exercise every day. She’s also a huge advocate of 30 minute workouts (and shorter ones too). 

HIIT workouts

The concept of HIIT might sound a tad intense but for anyone who’s slightly put off by the sound of it, start with Joe Wicks. He has humanised this form of exercising and made it accessible to all. The idea of a HIIT workout is short sharp bursts of exercise followed by a brief rest period before moving on to another short sharp burst of an alternative movement. 

In 20-30 minutes you can achieve a full body workout or you can choose a workout that focuses on a particular part of the body, e.g. arms and shoulders, or legs and glutes, or abs.


Tabata workouts originate from Japan and are possibly the first form of HIIT training. A tabata workout lasts just 4 minutes. Yes, you read that right, four minutes. So why is it included here? Because they make an awesome (read: intense) end to any workout, whether you’ve been for a run, lifted some weights or jumped off the cross trainer.

  • 20 seconds workout
  • 10 seconds rest
  • Repeat 8 times

The key is to push yourself as hard as you possibly can for those 20 second bursts. Science has proven that this type of exercising supports both cardiovascular (aerobic) and muscle (anaerobic) development.

Caroline of @carolinescircuits on Instagram has a 30 minute HIIT IGTV workout that ends with a 4-exercise Tabata. We can vouch for the burn!

AMRAP workouts

In contrast to high intensity interval training (HIIT), AMRAP workouts focus on continuous movement for a set period of time and how many repetitions of each exercise you can achieve within that time. AMRAP stands for ‘as many reps as possible’.

While there’s an inherent leaning towards speed of workout, there is also a focus on finessing the movement, so that you’re performing the exercise correctly (for maximum benefit while protecting yourself from injury). Invariably, moving correctly feels more intense – if it doesn’t burn you’re probably not doing the exercise effectively!

AMRAP exercises can also focus on a specific area of the body (arms or legs), or type of exercise benefit (e.g. strength or cardio focused), or offer a full body workout.

Start by setting the timer for 6 minutes and exercising at a consistent pace. Count the reps of each exercise and monitor your progress over time, whether you complete this workout once a week or twice. As you get stronger and fitter, increase the timer to 8 minutes and so on. 

When you’re new to AMRAP, it’s another great example of something you can add on to the end of another workout if you’re set on keeping your heart rate for at least 30 minutes. 

An example AMRAP workout

You can create an AMRAP workout with any combination of exercises, but by way of example:

  • Jumping jacks, 10 reps
  • Push-ups, 5 reps
  • Squats, 10 reps
  • Mountain climbers, 10 reps
  • Bicycle crunches, 10 reps

EMOM workouts

Another time based exercise idea is EMOM workouts. EMOM stands for ‘every minute on the minute’ and is closely related to interval training. The idea is to pick a handful of exercises and how many reps of each you’re going to complete. You have one minute to complete them and any time left within that minute is rest time. At the start of each minute you move onto the next exercise.

Example EMOM workout

If you’ve got 30 minutes to exercise, perhaps pick 5 exercises to repeat six times. For example:

  • Jump squats, 20 reps
  • Burpees, 5 reps
  • High knees, 20 reps
  • Tricep dips, 10 reps
  • Seal jacks, 20 reps

Keep an eye on the timer to gauge how much rest time you gain over time and increase reps accordingly. Aim to be working out for 40 seconds of every minute for a high intensity workout.

Achieve your 30-minute workout goals 

These exercises can all form part of a 30-minute workout – combine some for maximum benefit or do them at the end of a warm-up run for a wider range of workout. Just have fun giving them a go!

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