20-minute workout to raise the heart rate

Raise your heart rate in 20 minutes from This NZ Life on Vimeo.

Fitness coach Mat Lewisham shares his 20-minute workout designed to elevate the heart rate using body weight resistance training.

Words and fitness programme by Mat Lewisham, in partnership with TomTom fitness.


Walk or jog for five minutes then familiarise yourself with the exercises from the workout below to prepare your muscles.

THE WORK OUT – 20 minutes
Perform each exercise continuously for 45 seconds and then rest for 15 seconds before moving onto the next one. After all five exercises are completed, rest for one minute. Complete three full circuits.

Exercise 1 – The Inchworm


The Inchworm, part 1.

Hinge forward from the hips and walk your hands out in front of you to form a press-up position, hold for 3-5 seconds and walk the hands back.

The Inchworm, part 2.

The Inchworm, part 2.

Return to standing. Try and keep legs straight throughout.

(Alternative exercise: The plank)

Exercise 2 – Squats


Squats, part 1.

Standing with feet hip-width apart and chest proud, sit down into a squat.


Squats, part 2.

Breathe out and returning to standing.

(Alternative exercise: Wall sit)

Exercise 3 – Mountain climbers

Begin in a press-up position, shoulders over wrists and stomach braced. Commence by taking one foot off the ground and bringing the knee forward. Return the foot and switch legs. Try to get a nice rhythm going.

(Alternative exercise: Slow the movement down)

Exercise 4 – Get-ups



From standing position get your body down to the ground, lie flat on your stomach and clap your hands behind you. Then stand up.
(Alternative exercise: Press-ups)

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Exercise 5 – Reverse lunges


Reverse lunge

Standing with feet hip-width apart, step your right foot back and bend the right knee to lower yourself (avoid the right knee touching the ground). Push through your left foot to return to the starting position then perform on the other side.


For an advanced move on the reverse lunge, raise your arms over your head.

(Alternative exercise: Step-ups)

When each of the five exercises is completed three times the workout is finished! Cool down by going for a short walk and stretching out your chest, shoulders, back, quads, hamstrings and calves.

Remember: Do seek medical advice before starting any new exercise programmes. In particular, if you have any of the following conditions: heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and musculoskeletal disorders that reduce your ability to perform exercise.


Kate coughlan, Mat Lewisham, Cheree Morrison and Emma Rawson.

Kate Coughlan, Mat Lewisham, Cheree Morrison and Emma Rawson.

Burpee is my least favourite word in the English language, and a burpee by any other name is still a burpee – though I give Mat credit for trying to disguise it as a ‘get-up’. This 20-minute workout had me knackered, but feeling great (after a half-hour rest). It worked my body from top-to-toe and woke-up long-slumbering muscles.


My TomTom fitness tracker, monitoring my heart rate over the 20 minutes, showed a high og 163bpm at the peak, and burnt 138 calories (exactly one can of sugary soft drink or approximately a glass and a half of white wine) – not too bad! I’ll be aiming to complete this a couple of times a week over summer. Hopefully, the TomTom and the thought of a guilt-free glass of wine will keep me on track.

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-Cheree Morrison
Boy, did this get me puffed. The workout was only 20 minutes long but it felt like a full hour of exercise, and my heart rate was way up into the cardio zone. A really good routine if time is in short supply. I’m calling for a name change for ‘The Inchworm’ though. Here are two suggestions: ‘The tapeworm’ – because I found this exercise as horrific as swallowing a parasite, and ‘The snail’ an indication of how long it took me to get from the press-up position to standing.
-Emma Rawson
Serves me right for heading into the exercise field with the fittest and youngest members of our company. And, once there, I should have known better than try and keep up with them. It was true that I could not walk downstairs frontwards for four days after Mat’s 20-minute workout. Nor could I stand or sit without a groan and a grimace. Mat’s wake-up call was not just to sleeping muscles but it helped me form a New Year’s Resolution – regular functional strength training.
-Kate Coughlan

Mat Lewisham  is an endurance coach and trainer. He coaches and competes in distance running events from half marathons to ultra-distance events and triathlons. 

Mat Lewisham Performance Coaching

For more info on TomTom fitness devices, visit 

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