Try these 8 best 30-minute workouts to build muscle and strength and burn calories

a photo of a woman working out at home using the best 30-minute workouts
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whatever your fitness goals are for 2024, knowing where to start can often be daunting. The good news is, whether you're hoping to sculpt strong abs or lose weight, you don't have to spend hours in the gym to make it happen. In fact, you can get great results in just 30 minutes.

Logistically, 30 minutes is a great workout length. It's long enough that you can work up a sweat but short enough to slot discreetly into your lunch break without anyone noticing you've gone.

The hottest high-intensity interval training (HIIT) training and strength workouts (like CrossFit or other gym classes) can be knocked out in 20 to 40 minutes, and many online classes are now tailored to under an hour, too.

But, if you've found yourself going down a YouTube rabbit hole hunting for 30-minute workouts at home, we're here to mix things up a bit. We went through just about every popular home workout on YouTube and found the 8 best 30-minute workouts that are interesting, easy to follow, and accessible to all fitness levels.

The best 30-minute workouts on YouTube 

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 Pilates workout 

Equipment: None

Not into HIIT? We've got you. This 30-minute Pilates workout will give you a serious core workout, without any jumping (your neighbors can thank us later). Pilates is similar to yoga in that you focus on your breathing during class, making you think about when you breathe in, and when you breathe out. This is a brilliant one for your mental health, as well as your physical. Read what happened when our fitness editor tested this workout here

5. 30-minute HIIT 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. In this workout, you work hard for 50 seconds and rest for 10 seconds to keep your heart rate elevated. 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.

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. 35-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 35-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 — Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, is fantastic at guiding you through the session, and if you only have 30-minutes, you can always skip the ab workout at the end. Here's what happened when our fitness editor put this workout to the test

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 includes a four-minute activation, to get your body prepped for lifting weights, followed by a superset which is repeated three times, and a circuit, again repeated three times. It's a dumbbell workout, so most of the exercises are supplementary and relatively safe/easy to learn on your own. The workout is led by Sweat app trainer, Kelsey Wells, whose high energy is motivating,  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.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

Sarah is a hardware enthusiast and geeky dilettante who has been building computers since she discovered it was easier to move them across the world — she grew up in Tokyo — if they were in pieces. She's currently senior editor at our sister site Tom's Hardware and is best-known for trying to justify ridiculous multi-monitor setups, dramatically lowering the temperature of her entire apartment to cool overheating components, typing just to hear the sound of her keyboard, and playing video games all day "for work." She's written about everything from tech to fitness to sex and relationships, and you can find more of her work in PCWorld, Macworld, TechHive, CNET, Gizmodo, PC Gamer, Men's Health, Men's Fitness, SHAPE, Cosmopolitan, and just about everywhere else. In addition to hardware, she also loves working out, public libraries, marine biology, word games, and salads. Her favorite Star Wars character is a toss-up between the Sarlacc and Jabba the Hutt.

With contributions from
  • 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.