30-Minute Workout Routines For Your Lunch Break

By Ashley Henshaw. May 7th 2016

Getting to the gym before or after work can be really difficult for many men and women these days. It’s hard enough to find enough time in the day, so why not use your lunch break as an opportunity to squeeze in a workout? One of the best things about making this your time to exercise is that it’s already built into your day, five days a week, creating a healthy and consistent routine that will improve your fitness and strength in no time.

Quick Workouts You Can Do At The Office

There are plenty of great workouts that you can fit into a 30-minute period without ever leaving your office (or going very far from it). Remember that you can switch up your routine in order to get a total body workout over the course of the week. For example, you could do cardio on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and strength training on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

(For ideas on how to exercise right in your cubicle, read How To Stay Slim At Your Cubicle.)


One of the most important things for being healthy is regular cardio exercise. Fortunately, you can get a great cardio workout in 30 minutes without having to go far from your office. Take your lunch break to go for a brisk walk around the parking lot or around the block. If the weather isn’t great, take your cardio inside by going up and down the stairs for 30 minutes.

After you’ve been doing this for a few weeks, try challenging yourself more and more. For example, you can try to get around the blocks four times instead of three within the 30-minute period. You could also try taking the stairs two at a time on every other flight to give yourself more of a challenge. In addition to getting your cardiovascular system working, you’ll also get a great workout for your lower body.

(For some tips on your cardio training, see Choosing The Best Time To Do Cardio Training.)

Upper Body

You don’t even have to leave your office to get some great strength training on your lunch break. Clear a space on your office floor specifically for your workout. Start with a few stretches to make sure your muscles are warmed up. Then, do pushups to work the chest, triceps and deltoids. Start with three sets of 5-to-10 pushups and increase as you get stronger. You can also challenge yourself by doing pushups with your hands closer together or farther apart than the traditional pushup.

Then, use relatively heavy books or binders in your office for some basic lifting. Start with the books down at your sides then lift them straight out in either direction for a few repetitions. Then, do curls where you bring the books from your sides up towards your shoulders. Create a routine where you do a few sets of different upper body workouts, being sure to leave room for 30 seconds to 1 minute of rest in between each exercise.

Lower Body

In addition to the upper body, you may want to mix some lower body exercises into your 30-minute workout routine. Fortunately, you can stay in your office for these as well. Tone your thighs and glutes with some wall sits. Stand with your back to the wall and feet shoulder-width apart, then slide your back down until your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute then rest and repeat.

You can also do toe raises by standing up straight and lifting your body up on your toes for a second or two then returning to the starting position. Lunges are also a great way to work out your lower body without leaving the office. Combine sets of these exercises to create an efficient, calorie-blasting workout right in your office.


The abs are another easy thing to work on from the comfort of your office. Lie on the floor and do a variety of abdominal workouts, from crunches to sit-ups to planking. Make sure you change it up to work out the entire abdominal area. For example, try twisting from side to side during crunches to work the obliques on the sides of your abdomen.

Take A Class

If it’s an option for you, you can head to a local gym to take a quick class on your lunch break. If that’s not an option, you can still take a class right in your office. Look up some free videos online, or bring a workout DVD that you can play on your TV or computer in your office. Then, clear some space on the floor and try something fun and exciting during your 30-minute break. Yoga, Zumba and belly dancing are all fun workouts that can usually be done in your office if you have a little space. Best of all, you don’t have to pay nearly as much as a gym membership fee to get this workout in.

Tips For In-Office Workouts

  • If you routinely work out at the office, consider investing in a few workout items to make your routine more comfortable. For example, you could buy a yoga mat to provide a comfortable and clean surface on which to work out on the floor. Additionally, you could keep a few small hand weights in your office instead of looking for objects to lift for strength training.
  • Consider whether you’ll need a change of clothes. Many of the workouts described here won’t force you to break a sweat. However, you could always keep a change of clothes in your office just in case you do happen to get a little sweaty during a workout one afternoon.
  • Don’t forget about your shoes. Most people can’t workout in the nice shoes that they wear to work, so bring some gym shoes with you or keep a spare pair at the office.
  • If you don’t have an office or yours is too small to work out in, consider asking your boss if you can use a break room or conference room when it’s empty. Maybe some of your fellow employees would even want to join you for your lunchtime workouts.
  • Remember to keep your energy up with healthy snacks before and after working out. Try eating a small snack of about 200 calories an hour before your workout. Some healthy options include yogurt mixed with fruit, low-fat cheese with some crackers or a banana with a few pretzels. Save your lunch until after your workout, and bring something light and lean, such as a salad with grilled chicken or a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread.

(If there’s ever a time when you can’t get your 30-minute workout in, read Five Minute Workout Routines For Everyday Fitness for a shorter and more intense workout).

Now that you have some great ideas for different, 30-minute workout routines you can easily use on your lunch break, all that is left is to find a routine that works for you and that helps you feel like you are improving your overall health and fitness. The great thing about these routines is that if you’re on the usual hour lunch break, it gives you some time to change in and out of your workout clothes, and a little bit of time to get a quick bite to eat.


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