Skip to main content

The 10 Best 20-Minute At-Home Workouts to Build Muscle Fast

Nick Carrier / Sam Carbi

Nick Carrier cracked the code to achieving our fitness goals. It wasn’t about specific meals for his clients or crafting the perfect series of exercises (although the 25-year-old lifestyle entrepreneur, Orangetheory trainer, and host of the Nick Carrier’s Best You Podcast has plenty of theories about it). No, when it comes to the success of the men and women he trains to lose weight, build muscle, and develop healthy lifestyle habits, it always depends on the goals they set first.

“The moment someone feels like they’re falling behind, and they’re not making the progress on a pace that they need to be, they quit,” Carrier said. “Being able to make a goal that is both worthy and winnable is huge.”

Related Videos

Those two words, worthy and winnable, are the crux, he explains, defining the former as a goal that is meaningful to you and the latter, something that you know you can accomplish. It’s moving away from the “get in shape” and “lose weight”-type ambiguity and toward tangible, measurable benchmarks, like 35 push-ups in a minute, running a seven-minute mile, or dropping a specific amount of weight over a specific amount of time. “It’s very much about them having a clear goal,” Carrier explained. “Engagement comes from progress.”

Carrier’s “Best You 10 Week Fitness Goal-Setting Program,” which was launched to clients last Jan. 1, begins with these goals before it ever assigns a workout. And so should you. While his best 20-minute at-home workouts require little or no at-home gym equipment, they’re still the second step. Grab a notebook and pen, take down notes and some numbers that make sense, and begin your fitness journey with these lessons this summer. Seeing your progress is a surefire way to keep you on the right track when distractions loom and any little thing can potentially knock you off the wagon.

Related Guides

“20-Minute Bodyweight Workout with Nick”

20-minute Bodyweight Workout with Nick

Carrier already has this one filmed and ready to go for when it’s workout-o’clock. Requiring no equipment (although a high-quality yoga mat can make it more comfortable), it’s a great first session when you’re still waiting for your gear to arrive from Amazon Prime.

First, start with an easy warmup:

  1. 30-second hamstring stretch
  2. 30-second alternating lateral stretch
  3. One-minute alternating plank birddogs
  4. 30-second bear plank shoulder taps
  5. 30-second plank-to-pike

Give yourself 30 seconds to rest, then 45-second intervals of:

  1. Alternating reverse lunges (add jump for difficulty)
  2. Jumping jacks
  3. Body-weight squats (add jump for difficulty)

Repeat the above for three rounds, then 30-second intervals of:

  1. Kneeling pushups
  2. Mountain climbers
  3. 30-second rest

Into 30-second intervals of:

  1. Straight-leg scissors
  2. Straight-leg raises
  3. 30 second rest

Repeat the pushup and abs sections for three rounds.

“Push-up Destroyer”


Developing strength and endurance in your core, chest, and triceps (along with a host of other stabilizer muscles), they’ll see you coming after a few weeks of this.

With a partner:

  • You do one pushup, then your partner does one pushup
  • You do two pushups, then your partner does two pushups
  • Ascending to 10, repeating 10 twice
  • Descend to one
  • If no partner, rest the equivalent amount of time between reps

Then, four rounds of:

  • Plank walkups of 15, 12, 10, and 8 reps
  • Plank shoulder taps of 30, 24, 20, and 16 reps

Finally, repeat the first half of the workout, but peak at five reps twice before descending.

“Leg Shredder”


Your legs may feel like jelly after this lower body destroyer, but they’ll end up looking like they’re carved out of wood. Start with a five-minute easy run for warmup, then five descending rounds of:

  • Body-weight squats (100/80/60/40/20)
  • Pulsing squats
  • Walking lunges
  • 45-second wall-sit

Finish with a five-minute run for distance. Treadmills, tracks, or just around the block all work well.

Read more: Leg Workouts for Sculpted Calves

“Ab Creator”


And on the eighth day, Carrier created your abs thanks to this core-centric banger. For four rounds:

  • One minute, burpees
  • One minute, plank hold
  • One minute, bicycle crunches
  • One minute, straight leg raises
  • One minute, rest

Read more: Core-Strengthening Ab Workouts

“Full Body”

This full-body grinder will wear you down to a nub. Cut down a rep for each of the 10 rounds, starting with:

  • Dumbbell full thrusters (10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Jump squats (10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • V-ups (10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)

Followed by five rounds of:

  • Dumbbell triceps kickbacks, 10 reps
  • Body-weight pulsing squats, 30 reps
  • Mountain climbers, 50 total

“Calorie Burner”


In case your guilt is at an all-time high after too many feasts, then hammer out this punishing sequence. After a five-minute warmup run, launch into:

  • Pulsing squats, 100 reps
  • Walking lunges, 40 reps
  • Body-weight squats, 100 reps
  • Wall-sit, 30 seconds
  • Plank jacks, 50 reps
  • Jump lunges, 20 total reps
  • Mountain climbers, 50 total reps
  • Plank shoulder taps,  50 total reps
  • Wall-sit, 30 seconds

“Cardio Tester”


Fire up those lungs with this breath-buster. Repeat for two rounds with two minutes of rest between. Start with:

  • Jump squats, 10 reps
  • Bench hop-overs, 20 total reps
  • Pushups, 30 reps
  • Plank jacks, 40 reps
  • Mountain climbers, 50 reps total
  • Plank jacks, 40 reps
  • Pushups, 30 reps
  • Bench hop-overs, 20 reps total
  • Jump squats, 10 reps



Invite your friends and family to the gun show with this extremity builder. Complete three rounds of:

  • Pushups, 30 seconds
  • Rest 15 seconds
  • Dumbbell bicep curls, 30 seconds
  • Rest 15 seconds
  • Plank hold, 30 seconds
  • Rest 15 seconds
  • Jumping Jacks, 30 seconds
  • Dumbbell overhead triceps extension, 30 seconds
  • Rest 15 seconds
  • Dumbbell hammer curls,  30 seconds
  • Rest 15 seconds
  • Mountain climbers, 30 seconds
  • Rest 15 seconds

Read more: Powerful Arm Workouts for Men

“Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop”


Blending into a pleasant hum of constant movement, this burpee-centered workout flies by quickly thanks to cut-down reps and a mere two minutes of rest. Perform two rounds of this 10-minute EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute):

  • Nine burpees to five V-ups
  • Eight burpees to 10 straight-leg raise
  • Seven burpees to 15 plank jacks
  • Six burpees to 20 total bicycle crunches
  • Five burpees to 25 bench hop-overs
  • Four burpees to 30 total scissors
  • Three burpees to 35 body-weight squats
  • Two burpees to 45 mountain climbers
  • One burpee to plank hold until time
  • Rest one minute

“Return of the 20-Minute Body-Weight Workout With Nick”

20-Minute Bodyweight Workout with Nick #4

A great full-body workout that builds plenty of strength while burning plenty of calories.

First, start with an easy warmup:

  • 30-second hamstring stretch
  • 30-second alternating lateral stretch
  • One-minute alternating plank birddogs
  • 30-second bear plank shoulder taps
  • 30-second plank-to-pike

Next, you’ll start the workout, with 40 seconds of the exercise and 20 seconds rest over three rounds of:

  • Two leg raises into six-leg scissors
  • Four shoulder taps into two pushups
  • Six high-knees into two body-weight squats

For the second half of the workout, you’ll be moving for 30 seconds, with a 15-second rest, for three rounds of:

  • Russian twists
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Mountain climbers

Editors' Recommendations

Want to build muscle? A doctor says you should eat these foods
If you're looking to bulk up those biceps, these are the foods you should be eating
Fish fillets, chicken meat, and red meat on top of distressed white cutting boards along with nuts, cheese, dairy, and eggs.

The world of nutrition and muscle growth can be a terribly confusing one. Between the madness of the latest trends in health, fad diets, the newest "must have" workout gear, and toxic weight-loss culture, it's easy to want to throw in the towel and reach for a box of Twinkies. But tucked in, hidden in all of this confusion, there are some things about fitness and muscle growth that are just always true. The biggest truth of them all is that abs really are made in the kitchen. You can work yourself into a frenzy with a fancy gym membership, but without proper nutrition, your body is just running on toxic fumes.

Muscle building requires a good balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Dr. Noel Abood, owner and director of Solon Spine & Wellness Center in Ohio, shared with us his expert advice on the top foods one should be eating for ultimate muscle growth. So if you've been frustrated with the results of your workout routine, or are looking to bulge those biceps a bit more, here are some of the foods you'll want to add these items to your grocery list.

Read more
The 10 best men’s workout shirts to help you get fit in 2023

There are multiple things to consider when purchasing new workout apparel. You want to make sure you do your due diligence beforehand. When looking for the optimal workout shirt, functionality often takes precedence over style, for most men. After all, a minimalist cotton t-shirt is ideal, but it won't look (or smell) so great after an hour-long workout, especially if your working out, outdoors. That's why, in the past decade, some of our favorite activewear brands like Lululemon, Vuori, and Under Armour have developed breathable fabrics with moisture-wicking and odor-fighting technology that are now practically must-haves for any exercise gear, especially when it comes to making high-quality shirts.

That being said, not all workout tops are created equal. When it comes to finding the right workout fit, make sure it doesn't feel too tight or baggy around your underarms, your shoulders, or across your chest, i.e., the areas you exercise most. We sifted through some of the most popular brands to select the best workout shirts that are as practical as they are fashionable. Here are our top picks for the best men's workout shirts of 2023.

Read more
The best Peloton instructors to match your workout vibe
If you're new to Peloton, here's our guide to help you choose the best trainer to suit your needs and style
Peloton bike at home.

Peloton has become one of the most famous brands in the world of fitness since it was founded back in January 2012. The first Peloton bike was sold in February 2012, and since then, Peloton has become a multi-million dollar business. The main reason for this success is that it offers gym-style workouts without the need for customers to leave the comfort of their own homes.

It's not just the Peloton bikes that have become famous; even the Peloton instructors have become celebrities because of the large international customer base that Peloton has attracted.

Read more