Forget the gym — all you need is 10 moves and 20 minutes to build muscle all over

a photo of a man doing a push up
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

One of the best things about resistance training is that you don't need weights to start building muscle. Of course, having one of the best kettlebells can dial up the intensity, especially if you're a fan of swings and snatches. But if you don't have a weight to hand, you can still get results with your body weight alone.

But then you still need to decide what you want to target. Do you want to give your arms a blast? Want to increase lower body strength? Or are you aiming to boost your metabolism? If you’re nodding your head to all of the above, you’re in luck.

We’ve found a no-equipment full-body workout pulled together by Viv Addo, from Mr and Mrs Muscle, that will help you work muscles all over your body without a weight in sight and in just 10 moves. All you need is a bit of space and a yoga mat for some underfoot support.

This 20-minute session is packaged up into a handy high-intensity resistance training (HIRT) style workout. This is a lot like a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout but with a focus on strength-based exercises that will help you build muscle and burn fat at the same time.

How to do Mr and Mrs Muscle’s 20-minute full-body workout

There are 10 moves in the circuit and you’ll complete each exercise for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest, before starting on the next move. The aim is to complete this circuit twice. The moves you'll need are:

  • Lateral squat jump-punch
  • Reverse lunge - squat
  • Calf raises - arm circle
  • Push up - pike
  • Plank - hand row
  • Squat thrusters
  • Bird dog
  • Glute bridge
  • Double elbow crunch
  • Heel tap

To pack it all into a 20-minute session, several moves combine two exercises, so you work more muscles in a single repetition. For example, Addo tasks you to do a lateral squat jump followed immediately by air punches. Or, on the low-impact modifications, you'll do a bodyweight squat followed by punches.

Plus, many of these are compound exercises, so target multiple muscle groups, bones, and joints simultaneously. An example of a compound exercise is a plank which engages your glutes, quads, and abs, along with your shoulders and lower back.

These are ideal for when you're short on time or motivation, as they help strengthen more muscles in less time. And although this specific routine is generally more focused on resistance training, Addo includes a cardio element to raise your heart rate by jumping from side to side.

However, jumping is a high-impact exercise, so you'll want to avoid this if you have joint issues. Thankfully, Addo showcases some low-impact workout modifications. So if you struggle with joint pain, listen to your body and follow those exercise variations instead.

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Becks Shepherd

Becks is a lifestyle journalist who specializes in writing about wellness and home products, from mattresses to weighted blankets and cooling comforters. She has tested a number of mattresses for Tom's Guide, putting them through their paces to see if they stand up to the brand's claims, and offering recommendations as to the type of sleeper they will (and won't) suit.