How Long Should a Workout Last? (3 Tips You Need to Know)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: November 29, 2023
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One of the questions I often get from clients who want to do some extra training at home is how long those sessions should last.

It’s a tough question, and to find the ideal answer, I got a few of the best personal trainers that I know onto a Zoom call to see if we could come up with a general guideline.

We also did some research into scientific evidence of timing and intensity, as these two things can have a big impact on weight loss and toning.

Quick Summary

  • Spending the right amount of time each week on physical exercise is extremely important to ensure cardiovascular and muscle fitness levels.
  • While there might not be a one-size-fits-all workout time, there is evidence that a certain minimum amount is required for your overall health.
  • You should also add diversity into your training times, as different intensities and intervals can help to overcome plateaus.

How Long Should Your Home Workout Last?

A man doing workouts at home

A home workout should last between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on your fitness levels and overall workout goals.

See, if you’re trying to lose 30 pounds of excess weight over the next four months, then you’ll need to push your body a lot harder than if you’re just looking to build up some cardiovascular and muscle fitness to run a 5-mile race.

In the personal fitness industry, there are some generally accepted guidelines that we give to clients with different goals.

For effective and consistent weight loss, you would need to aim at getting about 250 minutes of training a week, ideally spread over five training sessions of 50 minutes [1].

And for weekly cardio, the American Heart Association recommends that you do five 30-minute workouts to improve your heart health [2].

Also Read: 30 Min Shoulder Workout

How Does Intensity Impact Your Timing?

You will burn a lot more calories at higher intensity levels, which will impact your timing [3]. And people can take advantage of that by shortening their exercise time and working their bodies harder.

Alternatively, if you haven’t built up enough fitness and strength to push yourself to the limit for 20 minutes, then train for 40-60 minutes at a lower intensity. 

It’s also generally a good idea to switch your intensity levels multiple times a week.

“You'll also want to switch up which types of workouts you do on those five days. If you can, aim for two or three days of cardio and spend the other two or three days on strength training.” - Mallory Creveling, ACE-CPT at

3 Tips for Maximizing Workout Time

A woman working out at home

The workout duration should be specific to each strength training session, and it's not necessary to follow the exact same workout to effectively lose weight and target different muscle groups.

Here are some simple tips to consider for your workout timing.

1. Change The Intensity

If you do the same treadmill speed and distance every day, then your body can get used to it, and that’s when you might hit fitness plateaus [4].

Instead, set different goals for each training session. Let one be a low-intensity jog, and then the next one a full-power HIIT session. You could even start a session at a low pace and then speed things up for the last third.

2. Switch Around Your Sets

Similar to doing the same intensity and timing for every workout session, switch around the sets you do. There is no shortage of simple changes to your setup for a bench press or even your approach to pull-ups.

Swap out sets so that your muscles don’t get used to doing the same thing every time.

Related: Best Pull-Up Bar Exercises

3. Train At Different Times of the Day

This is a tip I often give clients who want to add a few workouts at home. If you normally head to the gym after work, then try to do a home workout first thing in the morning or on your lunch break.


Is A 20-Minute Home Workout Enough?

Yes, a 20-minute home workout is enough if you dial up the intensity level enough, but it does depend on the type of workout and your goals.

If you push yourself in a high-intensity interval training routine, you could be pretty burned out after just 20 minutes.

The ideal workout routine should include cardio workouts with appropriate rest periods to effectively lose weight and promote muscle growth.

How Many Calories Does A 20-Minute Home Workout Burn?

At high-intensity levels, a 20-minute home workout can burn about 260 calories or 13 calories per minute [5].

This would need to involve things like jumping jacks, pull-ups, push-ups, and squats.


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