Shape Studio: 20-Minute Cross-Training Strength Routine

These do-it-all compound moves are guaranteed to sculpt every muscle.

Whether you love to pair power walking with weightlifting, are a virtual boot camp junkie, or are all about soothing yoga stretches post-run, mixing and matching exercise disciplines is often the key to getting the most out of your fitness routine. This approach is known as cross-training, defined by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as an exercise regimen that uses several types of training to improve overall health and fitness.

The workout modality's benefits are aplenty. In addition to staving off boredom because you're always mixing it up, cross-training, particularly when paired with low-impact aerobic exercise, can also reduce the risk of injuring or overusing one specific muscle or joint, according to the Mayo Clinic.

And taking your burn outdoors has its perks, too. One review in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives listed more than a dozen benefits associated with being outside, both for your mind (reduced stress, better sleep, improved mental health, greater happiness) and your body (reduced obesity, reduced diabetes, improved pain control — even better vision). It's really because all your senses are immersed at once in a feel-good mode.

One way to bring all these elements together? Following along with this quick, kick-butt 20-minute outdoor cross-training workout from Mary Onyango, an Equinox instructor and a top trainer in New York. (

A quick note on outdoor workout safety before you start: With warmer temperatures, hydration is crucial. Be sure to also wear lightweight, breathable fabrics that will allow your sweat to evaporate. Even on an overcast winter day, add SPF to any exposed body parts, as sun protection is necessary year-round, no matter the weather.

And make sure you throw on sneakers that protect, support, cushion, and stabilize your foot when it makes contact with the ground.

What's About to Go Down in Your 20-Minute Shape Studio Cross-Training Strength Routine

For the workout above, you'll need plenty of space to move and a bench or similar sturdy structure raised a few feet off of the ground. Otherwise, you can still tackle the routine's bodyweight exercises on the ground.

Expect to dive into do-it-all compound moves that will fire up all your major muscle groups at once. A few of the sculpting, sweat-fueling exercises you'll tackle: push-ups with a knee tap, lateral step-ups, jackknife holds, and triceps dips. (

If any of this sounds daunting, take heart: You'll get plenty of breathing room. Onyango presents nine exercises total, all of which you'll only do for 45 seconds before you get 15 seconds to recoup before heading into the next move. Then, at the end of the exercise circuit, you'll get a whole minute to rest before you repeat the circuit once more through for a total of two rounds.

As Onyango notes, the total-body workout is quick — and it's awesome.

What's more, breaking free of any specific equipment or stationary gear (sorry, spin bikes — we still love you!) allows you to work the different planes of motion — twisting and moving front to back and side to side, explains Onyango. This ensures that not only your strength and stamina will improve, but your body's balance, too.

By requiring nothing more than a clutter-free, open-air space and your body, the routine is a wonderful lesson on a major takeaway from the Onyango: "You can do everything with just about anything." (

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