This 25-Minute Cardio Workout Video Proves Strength Training Doesn't Have to Be Slow

This 25-minute total-body circuit will leave your lungs and muscles equally burned.

A common misconception with exercise-and lifting weights, specifically-is that you need to do spend a lot of time in the gym to score results. That's simply not true. You could spend one to two hours at the gym slowly lifting weights and, sure, see some muscle growth (just like, say, The Rock). Or you could cut the rest time and pack more intensity into every second to get sweaty and get out in 25 minutes flat.

This dumbbell circuit training workout from all-star trainer Jen Widerstrom is the perfect example: It's a five-minute circuit that you repeat five times for a 25-minute workout that doubles as strength and cardio in one. (FYI here's the difference between circuit training and interval training.) If you're reallllly crunched for time, just do one round. Guaranteed, these moves are enough to make that five-minute workout feel like a whole lot more (and, hey, any workout is better than no workout).

Jen's genius name for this circuit style? A "Shorty Square." You do five moves for five rounds, which are each five minutes. It doesn't get simpler than that. (If you're into this, you'll love Jen's 40-Day Crush Your Goals Challenge too.)

How it works: Do each move for 1 minute, separating the time as indicated. Do 5 rounds total, resting minimally between each round.

You'll need: A set of light dumbbells, and one medium- to heavy-weight dumbbell


A. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, hands in ready position in front of chest.

B. In one swift motion, squat down to sweep right hand along the floor to the left and up, as if picking something off the ground.

C. As right hand comes up to meet the left hand, stand and hop to cross the left foot in front of the right.

D. Immediately hop feet apart to return to starting position, then repeat on the other side: sweep the left hand along the floor and hop the right foot in front.

Repeat for 1 minute.

Pec Deck to Press

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell (5 to 10 pound) in each hand. Rack dumbbells up to shoulders and open arms to form a goal post position to start: triceps are extended out to the sides and parallel to the floor, elbows are bent at 90-degree angles, and palms are facing forward. Engage core throughout the movement so ribs don't flare forward.

B. Engage chest to squeeze elbows together in front of chest, pausing when elbows are directly in front of shoulders.

C. Open arms to return to goal post position, then press dumbbells overhead, keeping hands above shoulders.

D. Slowly lower arms back to goal post position to return to starting position.

Repeat 30 seconds at a slow, controlled pace, then speed up for the final 30 seconds.

Single-Arm Front Squat to Press

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and one dumbbell (10 to 25 pounds) in the left hand racked in front of chest, palm facing to the right and elbow tucked in. Extend right arm out to the side for balance.

B. Inhale and hinge at the hips and knees to lower into a squat, keeping core engaged.

C. Press through the mid-foot to stand, driving hips forward and using the momentum to press the dumbbell overhead.

D. Slowly lower dumbbell back to starting position.

Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

Side Bend Pull

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart and one dumbbell (10 to 25 pounds) in the left hand on the outside of the left hip and right hand behind head, elbow pointing to the side.

B. Inhale and engage core to prevent ribs from flaring forward, then bend torso to the left side to lower the dumbbell along the side of the left leg.

C. Exhale to raise torso back to center and slightly to the right to pull the dumbbell up toward the left armpit.

D. Lower dumbbell and straighten torso to return to starting position.

Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

Single-Arm Burpee Deadlifts

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, with a heavy dumbbell (25 to 35 pounds) on the floor between legs, parallel to feet.

B. Squat down to plant the left palm on the floor and grab the dumbbell with the right hand. Jump feet back to a high plank position with feet wide.

C. Jump feet forward outside of hands to land in a squat. Stand, extending through knees and hips to lift the dumbbell off the ground.

D. Reverse the movement to lower dumbbell to the ground, careful to keep back straight and core engaged throughout.

Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

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