16 moves, 8 minutes, and no equipment: strengthen your whole body and boost metabolism with this workout

Woman exercising on a yoga mat at home in a brightly lit room
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s not always easy to fit in an effective workout when you’re short on time, especially if you’re used to doing extended gym sessions. Fortunately, this short, 8-minute routine is designed to work muscles all across your body and boost your metabolism without a weight in sight.

All you’ll need is a bit of space and a yoga mat to improve your grip as you move between exercises. This makes it an ideal option when you have a packed schedule since you don’t need any equipment or gym machines to fit in some heart-rate-raising physical activity.

The routine, developed by fitness duo Tiff x Dan, is arranged as a high-intensity Tabata-style workout. You’ll train for 20 seconds, take a 10-second rest, then start the next exercise. Because of this, you can pack 16 exercises into just an 8-minute workout.

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There are several multi-muscle compound exercises, like burpees, squats, and mountain climbers in the routine too, which will work multiple muscle groups at the same time for improved efficiency compared to single-muscle isolation moves like biceps curls.

But to get the most from your training, it’s vital you do each exercise with proper form. Fortunately, whether you’re new to these moves or could use a refresher, Dan demonstrates each exercise, so you can practice your technique as you follow along.

Watch Tiff x Dan’s 8-minute Tabata workout

It’s an effective routine if you’re looking for a way to target your whole body. But, of course, it takes more than 8 minutes to build muscle and boost your metabolism. So, if you do have the time to extend your session, it’s worth repeating four times to turn it into a 24-minute workout.

Part of the reason you’re able to get results in a short amount of time is the style of exercise. Tabata is a variation of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), where the aim is to train intensely in short bursts with minimal rest to work your muscles hard and raise your heart rate.

This burns more energy than during an equivalent steady-paced routine, but sustaining this high heart rate for an extended period also helps boost your metabolism — the amount of energy you burn throughout the day — making it a good option if you’re looking to burn fat.

Although Tiff x Dan’s routine doesn’t specifically target your core, there are several midsection-focused exercises like planks, crunches, and push-ups that utilize these muscles. Plus, the use of compound exercises means that your core is engaged throughout the routine.

However, if you did want to build muscle around your midsection, it’s worth adding a dedicated core workout to your routine as well. This will keep your training varied, efficient, fun, and effective, so you’ll be able to hit your goals, even when you’re short on time.

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James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is Tom's Guide's Fitness Editor, covering strength training workouts, cardio exercise, and accessible ways to improve your health and wellbeing.

His interest in fitness started after being diagnosed with a chronic illness, and he began focusing on strengthening his core, taking regular walks around the city, and practicing meditation to manage the symptoms. He also invested in fitness trackers, home workout equipment, and yoga mats to find accessible ways to train without the gym.

Before joining the team at Tom’s Guide, James was the Fitness Editor at Fit&Well, where he covered beginner-friendly exercise routines, affordable ways to boost your wellbeing, and reviewed weights, rowing machines, and workout headphones.

He believes that exercise should be something you enjoy doing, so appreciates the challenge of finding ways to incorporate it into everyday life through short muscle-building sessions, regular meditation, and early morning walks.