30-Minute Workout Ideas

Have 30 minutes (or less) to work out? A common exercise mistake is to only work out when you feel like you have the time to do a “good job” – to really get something out of it. But this thinking can really hold you back, because the truth is that shorter workouts can be incredibly impactful. Doing 4-5 30-minute workouts per week is far more effective than waiting to do a 60-90 minute workout, and only doing it once a week or so.

Here are 3 30-minute workout ideas (for gym or home) that can get you unstuck if you’re having issues with time for exercise:

Heavy Gym Equipment Workout

Warmup: 10 bodyweight squats, 10 squat jumps, 45 sec plank

  • 1A: Barbell Back Squat OR Leg Press – 3 sets x 5 reps @ working weight (you can barely finish 5 reps with good form)
  • 1B: Single Arm Dumbbell Row – 3 sets x 8 reps/side @ working weight, rest 90-120 sec before restarting back squat or leg press
  • 2A: Barbell or Smith Machine Split Squat – 3 sets x 8 reps/side @ working weight ( you can barely finish 8 reps with good form)
  • 2B: Push-ups (incline or strict) – 8, rest 90 sec before restarting split squats
  • 3: Kettlebell Swings – 5 sets of 20 @ working weight, rest 45 sec before restarting swings

Dumbbell Circuit Workout

Warmup: 10 bodyweight squats, 10 squat jumps, 45 sec plank

Repeat the following circuit 4 times with 60 sec rest between each round.

  • Dumbbell Thrusters – 10
  • Elevated Renegade Rows – 10/side
  • Single Leg Deadlifts – 10/side
  • Chest Presses from Bridge – 10
  • Dumbbell Deadbugs – 10/side

Bodyweight Circuit Workout

Repeat the following circuit 4 times with no rest.

  • Incline push-ups – 10
  • Skater jumps – 10/side
  • Short angle side plank with leg lifts – 10/side
  • Inchworm walkout with jump – 10
  • Single leg wall sit – 30 sec/side

Did you enjoy these 30-minute workout ideas? Be sure to check out my other articles about strength training, like, “Can Short Workouts Be Effective?” and follow me on Instagram for almost-daily stories that detail my strength training and meals!


Rachel Trotta

I am a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Physique and Bodybuilding Specialist, and Women's Fitness Specialist. I live in New Jersey in the NYC metro area, and I coach clients online all over the world. As a trainer and health writer, my mission is to make healthy living sustainable for the average person. I’m also a wife, mom, nature lover, runner, avid cook, weightlifting aficionado, history nerd, travel addict, and obsessive podcast listener. Get in touch!

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