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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2019

Short and sweet, but effective! The 20-minute hotel (or home) workout

Ever find yourself with restricted space at home or away, and in need of a workout? Sarah Cremen has you covered.

HAVE YOU EVER found yourself stuck somewhere with limited space, but you need to work out?

shutterstock_186719861 Source: Shutterstock/Syda Productions

You could just be at home, or you could be elsewhere.

For example, you find yourself in a hotel with no desire to investigate their gym facilities. Below is a simple workout that will have you warmed up, worked out and cooled down in twenty minutes, using nothing but your body and some furniture.

You can get a lot done in a little amount of time with exercises that utilize multiple muscle groups and get your heart rate going and this workout is suitable for any able-bodied, injury-free person with two square meters to spare (if you are not the above person…proceed at your own risk!)

It’s basic, yes, but the basics work. So set aside 20 minutes (preferably in the morning, it’s less likely to actually get done as the day goes on), focus on your form and tempo and I defy you to not break a sweat.

The exercises

1. Squat X 20 reps

shutterstock_306013061 Source: Shutterstock/studioloco

Start in standing position with feet hip distance apart. Flex at your hips and knees, and sit back into the chair slowly. Reverse the motion to return to standing, driving through your heels and squeezing your glutes at the top of the position. As you squat, keep your chest up, gaze forward and knees driving outwards.

2. Push ups X 10 reps

shutterstock_296586320 Source: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia

Start with your hands shoulder-width distance, arms locked out and core braced. Lower yourself until your chest is just shy of the edge of the chair. Keep your elbows tight to the body, squeezing through your shoulder blades and maintaining a plank position as you move. Press your body back to the start position, finishing with arms fully straightened out and repeat.

3. Reverse lunges X 20 reps

shutterstock_296915534 Source: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

Start in standing with arms on hips or down by your side, feet shoulder width distance apart, chest up and eyes forward. Step back allowing your hips and knees to flex as you lower yourself until your back knee is just shy of the ground. Drive through the front heel to return to start position, alternate legs and repeat.

4. Plank with knee drive X 10 reps

shutterstock_363958007 Source: Shutterstock/Veles Studio

Start in a push up position; hands directly under shoulders and shoulder-width distance, arms locked out. Maintain core engagement and a neutral spine with ankles, knees, hips and shoulders aligned throughout. Without rotating the torso or dropping the hip, bring one knee towards the chest in a slow, controlled movement. Return to start position, alternate and repeat.


AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of 15 minutes.

Set your timer for 15 minutes and get moving…

20 squats, straight into 10 push ups, 20 lunges, 10 knee drives…straight back to squats again. Keep note of the amount of rounds you get through. Rest if you need to, keep moving if you don’t.


  • Do a warm up (need inspiration? Click here). If you are totally strapped for time, cut short your workout but never sacrifice the warm up.
  • Perform on non-consecutive days.
  • It’s better to stop and rest when fatigued than to carry on with bad form.
  • Take the time to make each rep count…it is quality, not quantity of movement that’s important.
  • Adapt as necessary; if it’s too hard – use upper limb support for squats and lunges, hold a plank on your elbows instead of adding knee drives etc. If it’s too easy – do a full depth squat, do your press ups to the floor, make the lunges jump lunges.
  • Find a way to push yourself a little more each time; squat a little deeper, try to beat your previous score on rounds, rest a little less…
  • Stay active on non-training days too; walk, run, hike, play with your kids, whatever it is, just make sure you move.

Sarah Cremen is a personal trainer and physiotherapist based in David Lloyd Riverview in Dublin. For more health and fitness advice and tips, you can follow her on FacebookInstagram or Twitter. Alternatively, you can visit her website.

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