How to Work Out Your Whole Body in 20 Minutes

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Whether you have caftan-body ambitions or are regularly hitting the gym, one thing is clear: Workouts need to be efficient. You have people to see, places to go, episodes of Mad Men to catch up on before Sunday. To create a workout that targets almost every muscle in your body, the Cut turned to Annie Mulgrew, program director of CityRow. She created a workout that, if performed correctly, will make you feel like you are dying very slowly (but very efficiently) in fewer than 20 minutes.

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Step 1: The sadomasochistic workout begins with a modified burpee, a move that efficiently works multiple muscle groups at once. Start the burpee by stepping back into a plank, moving into a push-up and a squat. When squatting, make sure your knees don’t extend over your feet. Unlike your high-school math teacher, Mulgrew believes that “failure equals change!” The last rep you can feasibly do should be near impossible to complete. She recommends 10 to 12 reps of each of the exercises in this workout, with one minute of rest between rounds for three to four rounds.

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Step 2: You can also incorporate weights into the exercise. But ignore your 2-pound and 5-pound weights, and go for 8 to 15 pounds. When I took Mulgrew’s class, she quickly shooed the 5-pound weights out of my hands. “The goal is to work to failure, so use heavy weights!” she says.

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Step 3: The next moves are bent over rows. Make sure to keep your back flat, not curved, and your legs straight. Lean forward at the hips until you reach 90 degrees and “row” your elbows. Don’t wuss out here on weights, either.

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Step 4: Above, Mulgrew demonstrates the next move, the alternating curtsy-lunge with shoulder press. When “curtsying,” be careful to keep your hips square as you sink into the lunge.

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Step 5: Mulgrew shows off the last move, a variation on planks. Hold the right-side plank, left-side plank, and face-forward plank for 30 seconds each. Definitely keep your abs tight. You can do this on your forearms (but be careful not to sink into your side), or on your hands for an added challenge.

Mulgrew is wearing the Nike Air Zoom Structure 18 Flash Sneakers ($135), Nike Epic Lux Printed Legging (pattern to be available, $120), and the PureLime Seamless Tank Top ($36).