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The Best Living Room Workouts – Get Fit in 20 Minutes!

These days, your options for working out may feel limited. Depending on where you live, the gyms may or may not be open and there may or may not be 3 feet of snow on the ground outside. 

And so many of us need to turn to our living rooms as our new exercise space. 

The good news is you can totally get a killer workout in the comfort of your own home, even with minimal space and equipment. 

Today, we’re going to take a look at one of the best living room workouts for getting muscles pumped and fat running for the hills. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or a more seasoned athlete, you’ll get a good sweat on!

The best part? It only takes 20 minutes!

Why 20-minute living room workouts?

And is 20 minutes even enough? 

Well, the simple answer is, Yes, 20 minutes, three or four times a week, is enough to start seeing results

When those 20 minutes are used wisely. In fact, I would argue that a 20 minute living room workout can be even more effective than an hour at the gym or on a treadmill. 

Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about how long you workout as how you do your workouts.

When you’re in a time crunch, it’s all about resistance HIIT, which gets your heart rate into optimal fat burning mode while strengthening your muscles in the process.

Plus, everyone has time for 20 minutes!

Full-Body Living Room Workout Overview

You will notice you don’t need any equipment for this workout – just what you likely already have in your living room! An exercise mat is ideal for protecting your floors and joints, but you can get by without in a pinch. 

As you will see in the video, I’m using a coffee table for some of the exercises. But you can just as easily use the end of your couch or a sturdy chair if you need to.  

At a glance, this is what the circuit looks like:

Alternating Forward Lunge with Pulse x 15

Incline pushup x 20

Sumo Ankle-Touches x 30

Plank Rotations x 20 

Russian Twists x 25

Tricep Dips x 20 

Curtsy Lunge x 30

How it Works

Set your timer for 6 minutes, then run through each exercise, moving from one exercise to the next as soon as you complete your reps, without stopping.

If you make it to the end of the circuit before the timer is up, start again from the top.

When the timer is up, take a 1 minute break.

Repeat the set two more times ast 6 minutes each with a 1 minute break in between.

Trust me, you’ll be sweating buckets by the end!

This is something of an intermediate workout but it can be tailored to beginners relatively easily. Let’s take a deep dive into each of the moves:

Alternating Forward Lunge with Pulse

pulse lunges

How to do it:

Start standing with your hands on your hips and your feet hip-width apart. 

Take one big step forward with your right leg, and bend your knees at 90 degree angles so that your left knee is an inch from the ground and your right knee is directly over your right ankle. Your back should be straight and perpendicular to the ground, not leaning forward. 

Pulse three times by moving just a couple inches above and below your static lunge position. Then push firmly back with your right foot back into standing position.  

Repeat with the left leg. 

Why we do them:

Lunges are great for your quads, but also target your abs, calves, and glutes. The pulsing effect helps maximize muscle fatigue which facilitates muscle growth. 

Modifications: 

If you can’t quite get your knee an inch from the ground, it’s totally okay to stop higher. Just go down as far as you can go while still managing the pulse. 

If the lunges feel a bit too easy, you can try adding some weight with dumbbells, if you have them, or a couple cans of soup!

Incline Pushup

incline pushups on a coffee table

How to do it: 

Using a coffee table (or couch, or sturdy chair) place your palms on the end of the table and step your feet back into a kind of high plank on your toes. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. 

Keeping your elbows at a 45-degree angle, bend your arms and lower yourself down until your chest almost touches the table. Then push yourself back up to the starting position.

Why we do them:

If you struggle with full pushups, incline pushups are the next best thing. They are better than pushups on your knees because they still require you to engage your legs and glutes while performing the exercise, while pushups on your knees are only strengthening your upper body. 

Modifications:

If the incline pushup is too hard, you can try them on a higher surface, like a countertop. Another alternative is to do them against a wall.

If you are finding them too easy, then by all means, do full push ups on the ground!

Sumo Ankle Touches

sumo ankle tap

How to do it:

Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, and toes facing out away from you, and touch your hands lightly to the backs of your ears. Keeping your back upright, sink your tailbone towards the floor until your thighs are parallel with the ground. 

Staying in your stati sumo squat, extend one arm straight out to the side and bend at your waist until your outreached hand touches the back of your ankle. Using your core, pull yourself back upright, then repeat with the other arm.

Why we do them:

This is one of my favorite exercises; not only do these set your quads on fire, but your core will be crying for mercy also – particularly your obliques! This can be a tricky area to target but I always feel these the next day along my sides and you will too!

Modifications:

If you’re having trouble staying in your sumo squat or keeping your balance during the ankle tap, try taking a wider stance. You also don’t have to come down all the way if you can’t hold it, just come down as far as you can.

Likewise, you don’t have to come all the way to your ankle if you can’t reach. Aim for mid-calf to start and work your way down as you build up your strength!

Plank Rotations

plank rotations in living room

How to do it:

Start on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Step each foot back into plank, keep your body in a straight line. Always think about keeping your tailbone tucked and tummy tucked in, which helps keep your hips from sagging or having your bum too high into the air.

From here, lift your left hand off the ground and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot, reaching your hand straight up. Your hips and bode should be perpendicular to the ground.

Roll onto your toes back into plank, and repeat with the other arm. 

Why we do them:

When it comes to living room workouts, you’re pretty much always going to end up doing a plank or two! That’s because few exercises activate as many muscle groups as a plank. Your arms, shoulders, and abs, in particular, will really feel these. The rotations also address any muscle imbalances and develop your stability. 

Modifications:

I really want you to try and do as many full plank rotations as you can before modifying, okay? Once your arms and/or abs give out, you can make it less intense by dropping your plank to your knees. 

Russian Twists 

Seated Russian twists

How to do it:

Sit on the ground with your knees bent out in front of you. Simultaneously lean back while bringing our feet off the ground until you are in half-boat pose. From there clasp your hands together and pivot at the waist to bring your hands down to one side of your body. Then turn the other way and bring them to the other side of your body.

Make sure you are turning your whole upper body here, not just rotating your shoulders. 

Why we do them:

Russian twists are all about firing up those abs and obliques! It’s also great for building your stability and improving your posture. 

Modifications:

If you can’t keep your feet raised the whole time, you can rest your heels on the ground – but I would encourage you to keep them raised as much as possible.

Need more of a challenge? Try them while holding a dumbbell or heavy book. 

Tricep Dips 

Tricep dips on coffee table

How to do it:

Sit on the end of the coffee table with your palms resting on the table on shoulder-width apart on either side of you. Straighten your arms and step your feet out onto your heels, in a kind of reverse plank. 

Keeping your elbows back, bend your arms to lower yourself towards the ground until your bent arm is at a 90-degree angle. Then push yourself back to the starting position .

Why we do them:

Tricep dips are great for toning your arms. Although the star of the show here is your triceps, dips will also work your shoulders and core.  

Modifications:

If you’re finding the dips too difficult to perform, you can bend your knees and bring your feet in to lessen the resistance. (Just make sure you are still pushing with your arms and not your legs!)

You can also lessen the range of motion so that you don’t come down so far. 

Another options is to do your tricep dips on the ground. Start in reverse tabletop, with your feet under your knees and your hands palm down on the ground directly under your shoulders, fingers pointing towards your feet. 

From here you perform your tricep dip, stopping before your butt hits the ground. 

Curtsy Lunge

curtsy lunge

How to do it:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands clasped in front of you. With your right leg, take a big step behind you past your left leg, then lower straight down into your curtsy lunge, until your right knee is about an inch from the ground. 

Push yourself back up into the starting position and repeat with your left leg.  

Why we do them:

This is one of my favorite glute exercises! It’s also great for your quads and hip abductors. I find I don’t feel these all that much while I’m doing them, but the next day I am rewarded with those beautiful, body-changing sore muscles!

Modifications:

Like with other lunges and squats, you can reduce the difficulty of curtsy lunges by reducing your range of motion. 

On the other hand, if you need to make them more difficult, you can try pulsing at the bottom or holding onto a dumbbell. 

Want more living room workouts?

It’s important to follow a structured workout routine that mixes things up and challenges you as you grow. 

If you need more living room workouts that are tailored to beginners, you will love my 28-day program, Serial Starter Fix. Many of the workouts are even shorter than 20 minutes and are designed to keep you motivated and challenging yourself. 

serial starter fix package

The best part is you can print off the workout guide and calendar at home so you can exercise anytime and anywhere, sans phone internet connection. 

And right now you can save 15% if you use the code NEWYEAR21 at checkout. 

Ready to get sweating?

Best living room workouts for beginners

Corrie Alexander is an ISSA certified personal trainer, home fitness advocate, and founder of The Fit Careerist. A proponent of personal growth and a self-proclaimed fitness app-junkie, Corrie shares tips and product reviews with the goal of helping others on their own fitness journey.

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