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The best 30-minute workouts

The best 30-minute workouts
(Image credit: Ryan J Lane/Getty)

Do the best 30-minute workouts offer the perfect workout length? It's hard to say, because your ideal workout varies based on the type of exercise, the intensity, and a number of other factors. But when it comes to pure logistics, 30 minutes is an excellent workout length — it's long enough that you'll feel like it was worth the sweat, but short enough that you can do it on your lunch break without skipping a meal.

Thirty minutes is also great for workout variety, because all the hottest, trendiest high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength workouts seem to fall in the 20 to 40 minute range. But if you're looking for the best 30-minute workouts to do at home, there might be too much variety — there are thousands of classes on YouTube. Most of them are the same six or seven exercises repeated in different orders, which isn't necessarily a bad thing (it's not like these exercises won't get you fit). It can be hard to stay interested in working out when you're just doing the same thing over and over again, though.

We went through just about every popular home workout on YouTube and found the 10 best 30-minute workouts that are interesting, easy to follow, and accessible to a range of fitness levels. Most of these classes don't require any equipment, but one of the best yoga mats will make things more comfortable.

Best 30-minute workouts

1. 30-minute fat burning home workout for beginners

Equipment: Light dumbbells (optional)

This full-length, low-impact workout is designed for total beginners and is very accessible. It's a great introductory workout for anyone who's just getting started (or who's getting back into shape.) It also makes a good warm-up before something more intense, such as strength training. The video is fully narrated and designed to be followed pretty closely. You'll want to make sure your setup allows you to actually watch the instructor on screen throughout the class.

2. Gentle yoga flow: 30-minute all levels yoga class

Equipment: Yoga mat

Yoga workouts can be tricky to follow in real life, let alone on YouTube. It's not always easy to see what an instructor is doing while you're contorting your body into various positions. This full-length yoga workout is one of the best 30 minute workouts because it’s extremely well-narrated — you shouldn't have too much trouble figuring out what to do based on the instructor's voice alone, even if this is your very first time doing yoga.

3. 30-minute cardio Latin dance workout

Equipment: None

Dance workouts are my favorite type of cardio workout, because I'm a terrible dancer but love a good challenge. Latin dance makes for especially effective cardio because there's so much movement. You’ll get your sweat on, even if you have no sense of rhythm. This full-length workout includes a warm-up and a cooldown, too. It’s also narrated, but you'll want to be able to see what's happening on the screen as you follow along.

4. 30-min full body fat burn HIIT: Abs, arms, thighs & legs

Equipment: None

No space? No excuses.This 30-minute interval workout features all standing exercises, so you don't need an exercise mat or enough room to stretch out fully. That said, there's a lot of arm-swinging, so you will want some space. It's also one of the best tabata workouts to do outdoors, since there's no sitting or lying down. The video is fully narrated and features visual/audio cues (timer, countdown beeps, exercise names) so it's easy to follow no matter what your workout setup looks like.

5. 30-minute full body workout (no equipment)

Equipment: Yoga mat

It's hard to keep cardio interesting. HIIT is a great way to mix up the monotony of traditional cardio, but intervals can get repetitive, too. This isn’t a true interval workout — instead, it goes through a variety of exercises and has regular rest breaks. You can do this without any equipment, but there are enough floor movements that it's a good idea to grab an exercise mat. This full-body workout isn’t narrated; there are visual cues (timer, exercise names) and audio cues (countdown). You'll need to be able to see the screen so you know what's coming up, especially since it's not a classic interval workout.

6. Strong Nation 30-minute class

Equipment: None

Strong Nation is a Zumba-branded workout that syncs HIIT movements perfectly with background music. The result is an intense, futuristic workout that matches the beat so well you'll feel like you're part of a video game. Needless to say, it's pretty motivating, even if you're rhythmically-challenged. This is a HIIT workout, but it features mainly strength and plyometric (jumping) exercises, so it's a nice change of pace from the usual endless stream of at-home cardio. You won't need any equipment for this workout, but there's a lot of jumping and movement in general. I recommend doing this on a surface that isn't extremely hard to protect your joints, if possible.

7. 30-minute full body dumbbell workout

Equipment: Dumbbells, yoga mat

The best adjustable dumbells are a staple of any home gym setup, but they're not going to help you get in shape if you don't use them. This full body dumbbell workout is one of the best 30-minute workouts for people who are looking to incorporate dumbbells into a cardio-heavy routine. You only need one pair of weights for this workout (and if you don't have dumbbells, you can definitely substitute some homemade weights). It’s not intimidating — it's still mostly a cardio workout, just with weights.

8. 30-minute home dumbbell workout

Equipment: Dumbbells, yoga mat

Let's go ahead and move fully into strength training with this intense full body dumbbell workout. This workout features 30 different exercises, performed in intervals of 40 seconds, with 20 seconds of rest. It doesn't include a warm-up or cooldown, but it’s a great workout for all levels. It's a dumbbell workout, so most of the exercises are supplementary and relatively safe/easy to learn on your own.  This creative routine features a variety of combination exercises, so even seasoned strength trainers will find some new moves to keep things interesting. For this workout you'll need at least one pair of dumbbells (though you may want multiple weights for different exercises), as well as a workout mat/surface and enough room to move around.

9. 30-min home arm workout (dumbbells only)

Equipment: Dumbbells, incline bench

Arm work is often done with dumbbells anyway, so you're not necessarily sacrificing anything by working out at home instead of a "real" gym. This workout consists of six exercises arranged into three supersets and can be done at home or at the gym. You'll need a pair of moderately heavy dumbbells (though it's better if you have a set so you can increase weight with each set) and an incline bench. If you don't have an incline bench you can get a similar incline using a swiss ball. Unlike most of the other best 30-minute workouts on this list, this isn't a full-length workout video. The instructor explains and demonstrates each exercise and goes through the first set, but you'll need to pause the video and perform additional sets before moving on.

10. 30-minute plyo workout

Equipment: 18-inch box

Plyometric workouts don't get enough love — possibly because jumping destroys your knees and/or is impossible if you already have bad knees.  Still, they are a great way to build strength in both your muscles and bones. This plyo workout consists of seven exercises, several of which use an 18-inch box; if you don't have a box at home, you can jump on basically anything as long as it's stable. It’s also  a great workout to do outside, since— park benches are great for jumping on. You'll want to make sure you do this on a jump-friendly surface, such as grass or anything that's not concrete.

Get healthy and in shape with our other fitness guides:

Best treadmills | Best exercise bikes | Best adjustable dumbbells | Best home gym equipment | Best yoga mats | Best workout apps | Best running apps | Best sports watches | Best smartwatches | Best smart scales  |  Best Peloton alternatives

How to lose belly fat | Best arm workouts with dumbbells | Best resistance band workouts | Use this 3-day lifting routine to get jacked | The best 10-minute ab workout to get that six-pack

  • DavidGraves992
    For a long time, I wanted to find workouts for home, I usually do my own program, but it was interesting to try new ones too. Interesting to see about yoga, never tried it before. Thank you.
    Reply