Forget weights — this 20-minute bodyweight workout strengthens your muscles and boosts your metabolism

Toya workout video on YouTube
(Image credit: Juice & Toya / YouTube)

Whether you’re at home or training at the gym, weights can be a great way to challenge your muscles and get stronger. However, it’s not the only way. This short session works your whole body and raises your heart rate in just 20 minutes, and you don’t need any equipment to get started.

It can help to roll out one of the best yoga mats for under-foot support and a bit of comfort during floor-based exercises, but it’s not essential. This makes it an ideal routine if you’re away from home, traveling, or even just tight on time and can’t make it to the gym.

This session was designed by personal training duo Juice & Toya, and they each guide you through the workout, so you can follow their lead, practice your technique, and perfect your form to get the most from each move and avoid any injuries.

The routine is split into three groups of four exercises, and you’ll do each group three times. That’s a lot to pack into just 20 minutes, so to get it all done, you’ll each move for 20 seconds, take a 10-second rest, and then dive straight into the next exercise.

Each group is themed, so the first covers strength exercises, the second focuses on high-intensity training, and the final group is designed to give you a quick cardio blast before you finish. In between groups, you’ll get a 30-second rest to catch your breath.

Watch Juice & Toya’s 20-minute bodyweight workout

It’s a challenging session, and the aim is to keep the intensity up throughout. If you need to modify any of the exercises, you can follow along with Toya’s demonstrations, as she offers several variations to make the session a bit more accessible.

You get through a lot in the time, and that’s part of the reason it's so effective. You train intensely for short bursts and take only a few seconds to rest. This is a style known as Tabata, a variation of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), where the exercise and rest periods are a little shorter.

Generally, you don’t need any equipment to take on a Tabata workout like this, although if you want to up the intensity, you could add a kettlebell into several of the exercises like lunges and squats. This works your muscles harder but is also a great way to raise your heart rate further.

However, this routine already increases your heart rate, which is one of the reasons it's so efficient. You’ll burn more energy than during an equivalent steady-paced session, and sustaining the high heart rate also boosts your metabolism, the amount of energy you burn throughout the day.

Typically, Tabata and HIIT focus on cardio exercise, but Juice & Toya have added in a strength training group, designed to work muscles all over too. This makes it a great full-body session that can strengthen your muscles, burn fat, and improve your cardiovascular health.

If you enjoy this style of training, or you’re looking for options when you’re short on time, you can get similar results with a high-intensity resistance training workout (HIRT), like this 8-move HIRT routine, but with more of a focus on muscle-building exercise than cardio-based exercises.

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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.