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Get the Most Out Of 30 Minutes at the Gym

Are you ever short on time and needing to squeeze in a quick trip to the gym? With a little planning, you can still get in a good workout. If your workout goals are overall strength and fitness, you’ll want to do a workout that strengthens major muscle groups while burning lots of calories.

Warm Up

Do a short warm up that will get your muscles ready for strength training while burning calories at the same time. Run, ride a bike, or use another machine like an elliptical trainer for 5-10 minutes. Another option is to do a warm up of dynamic exercises, like marching, bear crawls, and lunges. Do these exercises forwards, backwards, and even sideways. They will warm up the muscles through many different ranges of motion and increase flexibility at the same time.

Choose Multi-Joint Exercises

Multi-joint exercises, also called compound exercises, are a good time-efficient way to exercise. Instead of doing several single-joint exercises, like bicep curls or leg extensions, you can do one multi-joint exercise that targets many muscles at once. Multi-joint exercises are also a good choice because they’re functional, meaning they’re more similar to the way our bodies move in day to day life.

Complete Multi-Joint Exercises (15-20 minutes):

  • Dumbbell deadlifts: They work 75% of the muscles in your body! You’ll work your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core.
  • Wallballs: This is a high intensity Crossfit exercise that works your quads, glutes, calves, hamstrings, core, lower back, chest, biceps and triceps. Hold a medicine ball and squat down. As you stand back up, throw the ball against the wall and catch it.
  • Kettlebell swings: Another crossfit exercise, kettlebell swings work your legs, hips, shoulders, and core.
  • Pushups: Good old-fashioned push-ups work your chest, shoulders, and core. Keep your knees on the floor if you need to, and keep your back straight.
  • Front and side planks: Planks work your core, lower back, and glutes. Make it harder by lining up against the wall for your side planks – your elbow, head, butt and heels should all be touching the wall.

You can also work on balance and strength at the same time to add another fitness component and get more out of your workout. Try completing exercises like cross-over dumbbell rows while standing on one foot. You’ll work more muscles and improve your balance as well.

Try a Circuit

Another good way to fit lots of exercise into a short amount of time is to complete a circuit. Some gyms have circuit workouts posted that you can complete. You’ll do a series of strength exercises with an aerobic activity like running or rowing between each exercise. This is a good way to burn more calories during your workout.

Cool Down

Take about five minutes to stretch, targeting the muscles you used in your workout and anything else that feels tight. Then you’re done – a complete workout in 30 minutes!

Rack of Kettle bells

Contact Our Expert!


Extension Educator:
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

University of Wyoming Extension

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Extension Educator:
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University of Wyoming Extension

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Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

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