A 20-Minute Body Weight Routine Everyone Has Time For

Share it:
A 20-Minute Body Weight Routine Everyone Has Time For

Brett Hoebel has trained models (Doutzen Kroes and Karolína Kurková) and busy professionals who don’t always have hours for the gym. So he draws on his martial-arts background to create quick, high-intensity workouts that can be done anywhere, anytime.

Your trainer: Hoebel, creator of the 20-Minute Body DVD series and upcoming book, developed these capoeira-inspired moves.

Your workout: Warm up with 2 minutes of light cardio. Begin each move in its designated start position and flow through the steps, in one smooth motion, for 30 seconds. Each move is challenging, so try it slowly before you start. Rest 30 seconds between each. Do 3 sets.

Starting Positions

start position A
Position A (crouched position): knees bent, back flat, hands and feet aligned in a square.






start position B
Position B (supported sitting position): knees bent, feet on floor, hands by hips, hips and butt raised.





start position C
Position C (squat position): knees over toes, back flat, hands in front of chest.






Capoeira Hop

capoeira hop
Start in position A. Hop forward as you rise into a low squat, hands in front of chest (as shown). Reverse move to return to start. Repeat.

Works butt, thighs



Rio Swivel

rio swivel

Start in position A. Bring right knee to chest. In one swift motion, lift left arm and pivot on left foot and right hand to flip into a supported sitting position. Extend right leg and bring left arm to chest (as shown). Lift hips to flip back over and return to start. Continue, alternating sides.

Works core, triceps, shoulders

Duck and Escape

duck and escape
Start in position C. Step left foot across body, pivoting 90 degrees to the right, holding squat, feet parallel, chest close to thighs. In the same motion, bring right arm in front of chest as left arm reaches back (as shown). Return to start. Continue, alternating sides.

Works legs, back


Carnaval Kick

carnaval kick
Start in position B. Lift left arm and leg off floor. Flip over by leaning to the right and pivoting on right hand and foot, landing with hands parallel and left knee at chest. Extend left leg straight up with heel toward ceiling (as shown). Pull knee into chest and flip back over. Continue, alternating sides.

Works core, butt


São Paolo Sweep

sao paolo sweep
Start in position B. Slide hips toward heels. Bring left arm across body and place hand on floor by right hip while extending right leg parall
el to floor, foot flexed (as shown). Return to start. Continue, alternating sides.

Works abs, inner thighs


Brazil Booty Lunge

Start in

brazil booty lunge
position C. Step back with left leg into a low lunge, chest close to thigh. At the same time, place right hand on floor outside right foot and bring left hand in front of chest (as shown). Return to start. Continue, alternating sides.

Works legs, butt



Images courtesy of SELF


About the Author


SELF.com is the ultimate wellness resource and community. We recognize that wellness is as much about self-expression and self-esteem as it is about exercise and nutrition; that it’s not an all-or-nothing lifestyle; and that every person’s individual goals for healthy living are different, and that’s OK. We’re here to celebrate, motivate, support, inform and entertain you—and make you laugh, too. Join the conversation and catch the latest SELF news, recipes, advice, laughs and more on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


Shop Under Armour

chevron_left chevron_right


56 responses to “A 20-Minute Body Weight Routine Everyone Has Time For”

  1. Avatar Nicki says:

    Would anyone like to see modified e xcercises presented for those who are obese and need incentives to start without getting on floor?

    • Avatar nikki says:

      Yes deffo would

    • Avatar Pidgerooo says:

      I certainly would Nicki, do you recommend anything?
      This workout is not helpful to larger, less mobile people and is also possibly deadly for people in small apartments with tall heavy light fixtures nearby!! Who has the room to swing their legs around like that without knocking something over? Someone who can afford to train outside their home in a large soacious gym, that’s who!

      • Avatar Jo says:

        Maybe you could look for some workouts that suit you, then? Not every workout is suitable for every person but there are plenty others on this site that are at a beginner level.

        I am glad that some of them are more difficult as it means we all get something appropriate to our level.

      • Avatar Jo says:

        Oh, and there are such things as parks where you can be somewhere very spacious for free!

    • Avatar Bailey says:

      why do you need incentives to start exercising if you’re obese? that should be incentive enough

    • Avatar Wanda M Donovan says:

      I found some good exercise routines on You Tube when I first started working on losing weight. Jessica Smith is a good person to work out to. Even though she is young she stays upright through her routines so you don’t have to worry about hurting your back and neck. Also Leslie Sansone is another one that is good and she is also on you tube. Good for you for getting started. And ignor all the negative people. I have lost 60 pounds and I feel great. I hope you can do the same. Sending encouragement to you from here in Minnesota.

    • Avatar keepyourpower says:

      Yes Obese and disabled! Got anything for me?

    • Avatar Hippychickee says:

      Yes please! That would be awesome!

    • Avatar Inferna says:

      Hi Nicki:
      Have u tried any of Leslie Sansone’s walking DVDs…I am hooked on them…hope this helps… 🙂

  2. Avatar Sarah says:

    This was very confusing.

  3. Avatar smaugan says:

    Videos would be easier to follow.

    • Avatar Christine Kominiak says:

      Agree, videos would make it much easier to understand and know that we’re using the correct technique. 🙂

      • Avatar rew says:

        It would also be beneficial to see someone in the video that isn’t on the super fit side – maybe someone average to overweight. It’s okay to see them having trouble – makes it easier to not judge ourselves as much.

  4. Avatar R says:

    Agree with Nicki, would. And yes very confusing!

  5. Avatar Heather says:

    And those with limited flexibility, Exercises are great for lithe 20 &30 year old not so much for 50+

  6. Avatar Lou says:

    Ok if you’re young and fit! I might have time for this but i couldn’t do it if i wanted to!

    • Avatar Wise Woman says:

      For many these moves will be challenging if you do not have an active lifestyle – age has nothing to do with it. Start slow with modified moves and in 6 or 8 weeks you will be amazed how much your body we will adapt. Your body is truly an amazing machine – give fitness a chance and you will see!

  7. Avatar Kelly says:

    Should the Rio swivel actually start with position B?

    • Avatar Mike says:

      No, when you start from position A (the bear crawl position), then you can kick the right foot through below your body and pull your left shoulder back over your body, which flips you to the belly-up position pictured. The problem is that she is rotated 90 degrees to her right — to demonstrate it properly from the starting position she demonstrated, she should be pictured with her leg pointing toward that back wall that the sun is hitting.

  8. Avatar Megan says:

    I’ve always found magazines like Self, Shape, Women’s Health etc always print some random, difficult to follow workout routines. I guess they can’t sell magazines with just the tried and true pushup, pull up, body squat routine…I’m all for the motivation though…

  9. Avatar Angie says:

    Yes I definitely need some easier to start with exercises. Please help.

  10. Avatar Nick says:

    If you ever think that you don’t have time, then ask yourself, “How much TV do I watch?” If you don’t watch any TV and you really are that busy, well then you might have more of an excuse.

    • Avatar Pidgerooo says:

      I don’t think people are complaining about the lack of time to follow these exercises, it’s the unrealisticness of following them if you are overweight or less mobile.

  11. Avatar Adam Trainor says:

    Fun. I have to say, I found this combination of exercises a moderately advanced, but manageable for anyone who’s agile. As a lens for comparison my 69-year old mother, who works out, would probably struggle to get into some of these positions. What I really like about this is the heart of the philosophy. Healthy living is about lifestyle management. This does that without all the pretense, and production of a formal gym environment. Bravo.

  12. Avatar Willis says:

    This reminds me of INSANITY with Shawn Tee!! Looks interesting but not sure about how many reps you do?? I like this…as I am always on the go….40 minutes in the gym is a LOT not to mention I swim 30 minutes x2 a week!!

  13. Avatar Pidgerooo says:

    Hi, did they delete your recommendation?

  14. Avatar Mandy Pruett Borgelt says:

    I would LOVE LOVE to see videos of these exercises being performed. I want to Try this for sure but just hard to follow with just pictures.

  15. Avatar keepyourpower says:

    I am a 64 year old female. I truly need to lose weight. Lots of weight! But I have a very painful right knee (bone to bone) and bad complete spine, and I never see a work out, that I can do. I am tired of looking like a pregnant elephant. I used to be an athlete, a long time ago…and I sure miss being fit!

    I eat well. So it is not about stuffing my face. It is the pain endured, everytime I try to walk, etc. I cannot even vacuum the floor for over 3 minutes, and I am in dire pain! Cannot be in the sun either. Pool time…guess who is afraid of water? Yep…Glad they did not make us go to the deep end, when I was in the academy!

    Is there anyone out there, who can help a disabled former police officer, get rid of this weight and get fit? If so…please answer this comment!

    • Avatar rrouth says:

      You can try intermittent fasting and chair exercises using strength training, but always talk to your doctor first. Intermittent fasting is eating between certain hours of the day and limiting carb intake. Your can read up on it on the web. There are lots of chair exercises that you can locate on You Tube as well to get your heart rate up and help you burn calories. Hope this helps! Happy trails.

    • Avatar SunnyD222 says:

      Since you were a police officer, you clearly have the guts and motivation to be able to do what you set your mind to. I have two devices to recommend (“calories out”) along with the usual advice of fewer calories “in.” Both are available cheap on Craig’s list. One is the CardioFit Plus healthrider and the other is Tony Little’s Gazelle SprintMaster. They are both low impact, non-electric,weight bearing, and silent, so you can watch TV or such. The healthrider has the added advantage that you don’t need both legs to use it, so you could avoid the right knee pain. Best of luck to you!

      • Avatar keepyourpower says:

        I eat very healthy food..try to be gluten free, organic, take many supplements, and anti-oxidants, such as un-denatured whey protein. I have a Gazelle. Getting dust on it. Problem is..you have to have LOTS of room to swing the legs. I permanently damaged a very large, and very expensive piece of furniture with it, in the past. Is the Healthrider a bike of some sort? I have recumbent bike..not electric..but even after an hour on it, do not seem to burn enough calories to keep me motivated. I like the first person’s response, and may try that.

        Thank you all for your suggestions.

        • Avatar Jess says:

          Loosing fat does not happen immediately. Hop on your stationary bike for 30mins each day, gradually your strength will increase to burn more calories. Even if the scale doesn’t change keep going! You are likely loosing fat & increasing your muscle mass (which means a faster metabolism to burn calories quicker even when you sleep.) Loosing weight isn’t just the numbers on the scale. Don’t loose hope, stick to something & the weight won’t stick to you.

    • Avatar Anza says:

      Have you considered deep water Aqua, no impact and for sure great to strengthen core and over all muscle tone?

      Check with your local YMCA if they have a program.

  16. Avatar Catherine Freedman Myers says:

    Can anyone follow these directions without a video??

  17. Avatar Ben says:

    This is stupid. I’m sorry but this is near impossible not just for obese or disabled people but anyone over 25 that isn’t super flexible.

    Unrealistic and ridiculous. Elitist garbage like this is why people cant stand gym junkies.

  18. Avatar Ben says:

    This is stupid. I’m sorry but this is near impossible not just for obese or disabled people but anyone over 25 that isn’t super flexible.

    Unrealistic and ridiculous. Elitist garbage like this is why people cant stand gym junkies.

  19. Avatar Lynda Robles says:

    Is there a way to join this 20-Minute Body Weight challenge on MyFitnessPal or MapMyFitness? It would be great to be able to join in and just click each day to enter to tracker.

  20. Avatar Shan Gernon says:

    Really needs a video!

  21. Avatar jeangenie says:

    Agree with everyone saying videos would be awesome. I’m trying to understand these exercises based on the written descriptions and…nope.

  22. Avatar Jess says:

    These sound like fun new moves to try but they are a little complicated to follow. Video tutorial please!!!

  23. Avatar Hippychickee says:

    Yes please! 🙂 That would be awesome!

  24. Avatar Rich says:

    As a former “capoeirista” I can understand how these movements may seem daunting and hard to understand. But they are pretty hard even when “fit”. Be persistent because capoeira helps with flexibility and balance A LOT.

    Mfp user: richkud

  25. Avatar rew says:

    It’s not just about being obese – I work out 6x week and have a belly, need more weight baring exercises and have old injuries from college sports – bad knee, back, and hamstring. And these exercises are too difficult to get done. I walked yesterday for 30 minutes and was huffing and puffing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Never Miss a Post!

Turn on MyFitnessPal desktop notifications and stay up to date on the latest health and fitness advice.


Click the 'Allow' Button Above


You're all set.