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15-Minute Workout for When You’re Short on Time

Karla Tafra / LifeSavvy

Sometimes all you have is 15 minutes of your time to get a quick workout in. Instead of choosing to skip it, here are some great exercises that combine to create a killer routine.

This 15-minute workout consists of 15 exercises, performed back to back, with minimal rest time. Aim for at least 45-50 seconds of hard, intense work, and 10-15 seconds of rest which you’ll basically use to switch from exercise to exercise.

15-Minute HIIT Workout

Jumping Jacks

Starting with an exercise that immediately elevates your heartbeat and gets your blood pumping, jumping jacks are amazing for warming up your entire body. They’re easy and fun to perform, making you feel more like a kid in a playground than someone about to perform a workout.

Start in a standing position, feet together and hands by your sides. Inhale and jump, opening your stance and lifting your extended arms up in the air. Exhale and bring your arms down while jumping your feet back together. Repeat for 45-50 seconds. Don’t forget to breathe throughout the entire exercise.

Squats

After jumping jacks, you’re going straight into squats and firing up your hamstrings and glutes. Start in a standing position, feet separated hip-width distance. Inhale and bend your knees, tighten your core, and lower down like you’re trying to sit in an imaginary chair behind you. Exhale and extend your legs, squeezing your glutes at the top of your exhale. Repeat for 45-50 seconds.

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Squat Jumps

Squats are the perfect preparation for squat jumps. Straight after your last squat, stay in the same standing position and take a 10-15 second rest. On your next inhale, drop down to a squat, and on your exhale, jump explosively into the air. Make sure your core is tight to prevent creating a curve in your lower back. Be careful and softly land straight into your deepest squat. Repeat for 45-50 seconds.

Mountain Climbers

Heading into the ab section of the workout and starting with mountain climbers, get into plank position and find a good foundation. Palms right under shoulders and hips in a neutral position. Activate your core muscles and your quadriceps and start bringing your knees into your chest, alternating left and right, and increasing speed.

Make sure your form stays proper and focus on your hips. Try to prevent them from lifting up or dropping low. Keep mountain climbing for 45-50 seconds.

Dead Bug

Lie on your back and bend your knees. Lift your legs off the floor and bring your shins to parallel. Inhale your right arm above your head and exhale, lifting your torso and bringing your arm toward your right leg. At the same time, extend your right leg down, and push down with your arm toward your leg, maximizing the squeeze in your abs and right obliques.

On your next inhale, bring your arm back up to meet your left and repeat on the left side. Every time you lift your torso, use your arm to create a sweeping motion that ends up as a pushdown, squeezing your muscles with strength. Repeat for 45-50 seconds.

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Toe Taps

Take a short rest and bring your upper back to the floor. Extend your legs vertical in the air and lift your arms up as well. On your inhale, prepare, and use your exhale to touch your left foot with your right hand. Alternate your hands, touching opposite feet, and squeeze your abs as you do so. Try to keep your shoulder blades off the floor throughout the entire exercise. Keep at it for 45-50 seconds.

Supermans with Elbow Squeeze

Come onto your belly and bring your feet to hip-width distance. Keep them on the floor as you lift your upper body. Try to relax your glutes as much as possible to avoid creating too much tension in your lower back. Inhale your arms in front of you and exhale, squeezing your elbows back, like they want to touch one another. Inhale forward, exhale squeeze. Repeat for 45-50 seconds.

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Burpees

One of the hardest and yet most effective high-intensity exercises are burpees. They are a combination of four different moves: a vertical jump, a horizontal jump, a push-up, and a tuck-in jump.

Start in a standing position, feet separated hip-width distance. Take a big inhale and jump vertically into the air. On your descent, bend your knees and lower all the way down to a squat, placing your palms flat on the floor. Jump and straighten your legs straight behind you, coming into a plank. Lower down into a push-up, lift up, and jump with your feet toward your palms, tucking them into your chest. Extend your legs to a standing position and finish off with a vertical jump, getting into the whole sequence all over again. Repeat for 45-50 seconds.

There are a few different modifications you can try if the full version doesn’t feel good. You can omit the vertical jump and go straight into your squat and jump into a plank, you can lower your knees and do a modified push-up, and you can also walk your feet back in instead of jumping and tucking.

Plank

After you’re done with your burpees, take a short break and prepare for a plank hold. Come to a plank position, palms right under shoulders and heels high. Activate your core muscles and your quadriceps and squeeze them tight. Every time holding a plank becomes too hard, remember to squeeze your muscles a little bit more. Stay for 45-50 seconds.

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Side Plank

Shift over to your right side and stack your feet on top of one another. Alternatively, if your balance is off, cross your extended upper leg over your lower and bring it to the floor. Place your hand on your hip or extend it vertically into the air. Keep pushing the ground away from you so that your hips stay in a neutral position and stay here for 25 seconds. Turn around and hold a side plank on your other side for another 25 seconds.

Downward Dog to Low Lunge

Start in a plank and push your hips up and back, like you’re trying to make an inverted V shape with your body. Extend your legs and let your heels reach toward the floor, and use the power in your upper body to stretch out your hips and legs.

Inhale and lift your right leg up, exhale and bring your right foot to the outside of your right palm, dropping your hips low into a lunge. Inhale the leg back up. You can choose to do one side for 25 seconds and then repeat it all with your left or alternate your legs and go for 45-50 seconds.

Tuck-in Jumps

Come back to a plank position. Inhale and prepare, exhale and bend your knees, jumping to the outsides of your palms, and lift your torso up while staying in a deep sumo squat. Bring your palms back to the floor and jump into your plank. Repeat for 45-50 seconds.

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Side Shuffle

Start in a standing position, feet separated hip-width distance. Place your hands on your hips or bring them in front of your chest. Bend your knees and come into a half-squat. Start shuffling to the right for three to four steps, and back to the left. Keep your hips low, and try not to hunch your back. Focus on maintaining a straight spine and just moving your feet. Shuffle for 45-50 seconds.

Commandoes

Get back into a plank position, palms right under shoulders. Replace your left palm with your left elbow, right palm with your right elbow, and then come back up to the right palm, and then your left palm. Keep at it for 45-50 seconds. You can alternate every time or focus on always starting with the right for 25 seconds and then always starting with the left for 25 seconds.

Curtsy Lunges

Finish off your 15-minute workout with curtsy lunges. Come to a standing position, feet separated hip-width distance. Inhale and step your left leg diagonally back into a lunge. Exhale to center, inhale and step your right leg diagonally back into a lunge. Keep at it for 45-50 seconds.

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After this exercise, you’ll definitely appreciate what you can achieve in as little as 15 minutes. And if you have 30 minutes to spare, try out this 30-minute HIIT workout you can do anyplace, anytime.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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