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This Do-Anywhere Workout Builds Muscle and Torches Fat, Says Top Trainer

This rapid-fire circuit requires zero equipment and only 20 minutes of your time.

According to a meta-analysis of nearly 800 exercise studies that was published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, the single most effective way to burn fat and lose more weight is to engage in interval training, which combines rapid-fire bursts of intense exercise and short periods of rest. "Interval training and [moderate-intensity continuous training (MOD)] both reduce body fat percentage," conclude the researchers. "Interval training provided 28.5% greater reductions in total absolute fat mass than MOD."

Consider it an added bonus that you can perform interval circuits pretty much anywhere, using only your body, the force of gravity, and sometimes a sofa or chair—all of which makes interval training the perfect pandemic-era exercise for those who want to burn more calories in the shortest amount of time. If you're ready to get a terrific, full-body interval workout from the comforts of your home (or anywhere, really), try the grueling, 20-minute routine that follows, which was helpfully provided by trainer B.J. Gaddour, C.S.C.S., author of Your Body Is Your Barbell.

To perform this circuit correctly, do each of the moves for 60 seconds and continue to the next without stopping. At the end, rest for 60 seconds, then repeat for four circuits total in 20 minutes. For more ways to get fit, check out these 25 Easy Exercises Guaranteed to Make You Feel So Much Better.

Primal Pushup

Woman doing pushups at home

Assume a pushup position. Without rounding your lower back, push your hips back toward your heels until your knees are bent 90 degrees and your head is behind your hands. Pause, and explosively pull your chest forward as your left hand leaves the floor and your left foot takes its place. Your right leg should be extended straight out behind you. Return to the pushup position. On your next repetition, switch sides—that is, bring your right foot forward to replace your right hand on the floor. For more great workouts you can try practically anywhere, don't miss This Incredible Four-Second Workout That Actually Works, Says New Study

Lunge and sprint

forward lunge

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and hands by your sides. Keeping your torso upright, step backward with one foot and lower your body until your front knee is bent at least 90 degrees and your back knee almost touches the floor. Holding this position, pump your arms (as if sprinting) for 5 seconds. Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat. Do this for 30 seconds; then switch legs and repeat for the remaining 30 seconds.

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Hollow hold

hollow hold

Lie on your back with your legs straight and hands in fists in front of your face, as if you're a boxer protecting yourself. Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Keep your mouth closed as you brace your core, point your toes, and squeeze your quads, knees, and ankles together. Lift your head, shoulders, and legs about 2 inches off the floor. Hold this position, resting only when you need to. Too easy? Extend your arms overhead. Too hard? Bring your arms down to your sides.

Squat and skate

woman doing squats outside

Stand with your arms extended forward; then squat. Pause and rise, standing on your left foot with your left knee slightly bent and right foot off the floor. Lower your body and bound to the right, jumping off your left leg and landing on your right foot. (Keep your left leg bent and close to your body.) Reverse the movement, landing on your left foot. Return to the starting position. And for more great workouts to try, see how This Super-Quick Workout Is Scientifically Proven to Work, According to the Mayo Clinic.

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William Mayle
William Mayle is a UK-based writer who specializes in science, health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics. Read more about William