I tried Jennifer Lopez’s 5-move home workout — here’s what happened to my body in just 20 minutes

Jennifer Lopez performing a kettlebell swing outdoors
(Image credit: Alex Rodriguez/YouTube)

I’ve been rather neglecting my fitness recently, largely to do with some post-op recovery, but right now, the thought of the gym feels a bit scary. Learning to adjust my body to heavy weights again and using pieces of large equipment feels like a daunting task.

Perhaps that’s why, when I saw this Jennifer Lopez workout on YouTube, I was intrigued. Of course, I don’t expect I’ll be getting a body like the Queen of Dance anytime soon. But, when a workout only needs a few light dumbbells and one of the best kettlebells and takes less than half an hour, it still sounds like a win to me.

The actress-singer’s routine is led by Alex Rodriguez, Lopez's then-partner and former Major League Baseball Star, and was filmed in May 2020 at the height of the pandemic and stay-at-home restrictions. So, the duo make the best use of what they have at home.

Rodriguez and Lopez demonstrate the circuit in just two minutes, so you can familiarize yourself with the moves before getting started. It seemed ideal for a brief period of short, intense exercise with minimal equipment, so I gave it a go. Here's what happened.

How to do Jennifer Lopez's five-move workout

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I spoke with fitness and nutrition expert Penny Weston to hear her thoughts on J-Lo’s routine. Penny says “This workout consists of 5 workouts in the space of 20 minutes, beginning with a 400-meter run to get your heart rate up and moving on to high-intensity functional and strength training exercises.”

Weston recommends a bit of caution if you're just starting a regular workout program, returning after a break, or if you're not able to do strength training sessions. If you do take it on, you can modify or switch out a move or two to make it right for your body.

Plus, according to Weston, it's a good idea to keep a water bottle nearby so you can keep hydrated, set a timer on your phone so you stick to the 20-minute target, and if you live with others, try and encourage them to get involved, as it can be easier to stay motivated around other people.

The workout:

  • 400-metre run
  • 15 kettlebell swings
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 over shoulders
  • 15 bent-over dumbbell rows

It’s ideal if you're bored of indoor workouts

To keep training exciting, it’s a given that we need to shake things up and make our routines fresh every so often. The last few routines I’ve gotten into have all been indoors, so this was a welcome change. With summer on the horizon, picking a sunny day made exercise much more appealing.

Although my yard is nowhere near as large or as pretty as J-Lo’s, it’s still suitable for this five-move workout — length-wise, it’s got quite a bit of space, but this may be a problem for those who don’t have much outdoor space.

However, if you're tight on space or don't want to do several rounds of running, you could switch this for a more static cardio exercise, like running on the spot. Or, to work your whole body and raise your heart rate, add in several burpees instead.

I did more than I thought I could, but it was tough

I quite like routines like this, where you’re presented with just a few exercises, but are encouraged to do as many sets as you can in a short time frame with a specific end goal (in this case, 20 minutes).

It felt like a little bit more of a challenge, and as the overall workout time wasn’t too long, I felt motivated to make sure I could keep up a good speed and squeeze in as many sets as possible.

The duo suggests it's a beginner-friendly routine, with the whole family joining in, but it's a high-intensity workout from the start, so can be pretty tough. If you're worried you'll burn out quickly, take each circuit as it comes and end the routine if your form falters.

Even if you get through it once, that’s a great achievement.

You can involve your family and friends

As demonstrated in the video, this routine is a great one for inviting your family and friends to join in. As it's just 20 minutes long, and only involves a few steps, it should be quite easy to get others involved, especially children, who often have a lot more energy!

My boyfriend has been running several marathons and halves, and my mum is looking to get back in the gym for the summer. This is the perfect routine to get us all together on a nice day and is short enough that it’s not too daunting after work. Just prepare anybody joining in that there are weights involved.

With regards to the weights, make sure to keep an eye on your form, especially when swinging kettlebells back and forth — too much lifting of your feet can put unwanted strain on your back. So, it's worth learning how to do kettlebell swings before you take on the routine.

It's not called a HIIT workout, but it is one

If you're tight on time and want to work your whole body and raise your heart rate, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are a great choice. You exercise in short bursts with minimal rest to pack a lot of movement into a short amount of time, say, around 20 minutes.

And that's the technique Lopez and Rodriguez utilize, even if they don't call it that. It's not quite the same as they don't suggest breaks, but I would suggest taking some when you need to — that’s what I did.

Taking a few seconds to breathe between sets can help prevent exhaustion and lightheadedness that can often creep in during high-intensity workouts. You could even use the box breathing technique to calm your heart rate and get oxygen to your muscles.

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Mollie Davies
Mollie is a UK based, Welsh, lifestyle journalist. She writes frequently on all things involving women, health and fitness, and beauty - amongst other topics. Her work can be found in Cosmopolitan, Insider, the Independent, Women’s Health and more. In her spare time, you’ll find her at the pottery wheel or walking her basset hound.