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While you can carve a tantalizingly toned body in less than a half hour, we’re here to tell you what you already know: To reap the rewards—increased calorie burn, strength, power, blissful endorphin high—truncated workouts must be insanely intense. So we asked a team of Equinox trainers and group fitness instructors what they would do if they were given just 20 minutes to have at it.

The Workout: This 20-minute barre series will tone your arms  without lifting a single weight. The key: Working big then small. “These exercises first heat up the larger muscles of your core—the abdominals, shoulders, back and supporting pelvic muscles—to warm up the body and prepare for the more acute toning of your biceps, triceps,” says Ilisije. Optimal alignment is essential to the effectiveness of these exercises, so pay close attention to those cues as you flow from one exercise to the next.

How it works

Do this arms-building workout twice a week for a month, for a total of eight times over the next four weeks. Leave at least three days between sessions.

The moves are paired into three supersets: the first exercise of each superset all work the biceps, while the second move of each superset targets the triceps.

Do all the stated reps of 1A, rest for 30-40 seconds, then do all the reps of 1B and rest for another 30-40 seconds. Repeat this pattern for the stated number of sets, then move on to the second superset and so on.

The number of sets per superset decreases as the workout advances while the number of reps increases, an approach that will recruit and fatigue more muscle fibres, resulting in greater growth.

Maintain perfect form for each lift, moving your muscles through a full range of motion and keeping the reps controlled to maximise muscle activation.

1A Chin-up  Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 3010 Rest 30sec
1B Triceps dip  Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 3010 Rest 30sec
2A Cable rope curl  Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2011 Rest 40sec
2B Rope press-down  Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2011 Rest 40sec
3A EZ-bar biceps curl  Sets 3 Reps 15 Tempo 2011 Rest 30sec
3B EZ-bar triceps extension  Sets 3 Reps 15 Tempo 2011 Rest 30sec