We tried a bunch of at-home YouTube workouts: Here are 7 we loved especially

Short on time? These are all fairly quick, and seemingly effective

A woman working out. (Pexels/stock image)

Perhaps you’re taking a break from the gym lately. Or maybe you just enjoy at-home workouts, regardless of what’s going on around you. Some people are always be looking for ways to stay active and in shape.

It’s fairly easy to find popular YouTube workouts, and these days, you can even get on TikTok for some fitness inspiration around the house.

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We thought we’d try a handful of workouts ourselves, then pass along some favorites. Here goes!

I’ll bring you the first few suggestions: I’m Michelle and I’ve always been fairly athletic, although the past decade or so has been filled with spurts of activity and then other periods in which I’m not in the groove of things at all (or I’m chasing my kids instead -- I had two of them in four years). When I work out, I like to make it quick: a LOT of bang for my buck, so lately, I’m super into HIIT (high intensity interval training). I also swear by hot yoga, so now you know I’m a sucker for pain and making myself uncomfortable. Yes, those are 90-minute sessions in 105-degree heat.

OK, now I’ll tell you what I’ve been loving!

1. This 20-minute HIIT class

I lovvvve that this high-energy class is only 20 minutes. It’s four rounds of five exercises, and you don’t need any equipment -- just your body and some open space! Seriously, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to do rounds one and two and be all, “What’s the big deal here?” and then start sweating profusely during round three and you’ll be spent by four. The instructor says if you’re just getting into HIIT, you don’t need to do all of them, for what it’s worth. That felt like a dare to me, so you better believe I finished! And on the flip side, if you’re up for a challenge, add in an extra round or two if you’re really looking to kick your own butt.

(But the YouTube-led workout is only 20 minutes. You can handle 20 minutes of anything, right?)

My kids like to join in on this one, and run into me in that final exercise that’s called “lateral bears + kneel-to-squat.” You’ll learn which one I’m talking about if you give it a shot!

My tip: Truly play dead during rest periods. Focus on your breathing. The timer is a cool feature too, so you can listen for audio cues if you don’t want to watch the screen the entire time.

2. This full-body kettlebell workout

First things first, yes, as the title of this workout video indicates, you do need a kettlebell in order to get the maximum benefit from this class. I forgot how much fun a kettlebell could be, so I dug mine out of the basement and was eager to see what kind of “get in, get out” HIIT-style kettlebell workout I could find.

This is set up kind of like the first video -- this time, we go 40 seconds “on” with 20 seconds of rest in each exercise. It gets hard quickly, and well, that’s likely based on the fact that you’ve got some equipment in hand this time around. Take it easy here, because even though you’d assume it’s your arms that’ll take the brunt of the work (holding said kettlebell), I found my thighs burning up and extremely sore in the days that followed. Regardless, I’ll definitely be making this class a regular!

My tip: Use a properly sized kettlebell, or you might have to make some adjustments and modifications. (Like me!) And if you don’t own a kettlebell, perhaps there’s a free weight you could use or something similar -- I do that during virtual barre class all the time. If you want to buy a KB, Amazon has quite a few options. I just spotted one as cheap as $15, although most quality-looking bells seem to be in the $50 range.

3. Core Fusion

When I was “shredding for the wedding,” as they say, wayyyy back in 2011, I owned one or two of these Core Fusion workout DVDs -- and I’d actually use them again, if I had any idea where my DVD player was. I’ve thought back on my Core Fusion days as of late, and realized I’ve really always wanted the same thing from a workout: it should be fairly quick, effective and make me sweat profusely.

You can only imagine, I was elated to find some of the segments on YouTube.

Admittedly, the instructors can sound a little too chirpy at times and get on your nerves, but the classes are still great. The arms and abs work brought me back to my tiny California apartment, and all these years later, the exercises seem to work just as well. You do need free weights (light ones, whatever that means for you), and a resistance band for some classes, but like I said: improvise, or find your own ways to make it a challenge, if you’re without those items.

Dawn here! 👋The suggestions above are fantastic, but if they still don’t hit the nail on the head of what you’re looking for, stay with me.

I like to think I’m a well-rounded athlete, and aside from a year of pregnancy and postpartum chaos, I’ve kept a pretty steady regiment of workouts. I’ve done half-marathons, have a love affair with martial arts-style workouts and am a huge fan of lifting heavy, but I also love to throw in some spin. Having said that, I wanted to find a variety of workouts to offer up.

I tried many on YouTube, but here were four of my favorites.

4. Athletic speed workout

This workout lasts every second of the 60 minutes it claims. Sydney Cummings has a great attitude, and she pushes you with the most positive of vibes.

The workout has full-body movements -- and all with no weights. One thing I love about watching Cummings is, it feels like you’re actually working out with her. She works hard through the entire video, and at times even has to pull back for one move, but she keeps going, and encourages you to do the same.

5. Les Mills Body Combat

Full transparency, this is my absolute favorite online workout. It can take a few times to master some of the moves, but if you have a lot on your mind, need a getaway, or just need to get some feelings out, this is the way to do it.

The trainers talk you through every move -- and the whole workout.

Inspired by martial arts, it works every single muscle in your body, but CONSTANTLY your core. You punch, kick, jump, squat, lunge, and more. I should mention that you are provided with options that don’t create so much impact, so you can come at it from different fitness levels.

As someone who works out anywhere from five to six days a week, this one still gives me a fantastic workout and burns the calories.

6. Killer 40-minute HIIT workout

This was my first introduction to a Heather Robertson workout. I started it around 5:30 a.m., and honestly, it was a nice pace at that hour. Don’t get me wrong, it was a phenomenal workout, but it wasn’t crazy loud, thumping music -- and there really wasn’t much impact.

Robertson’s moves are intentional, and while she’s doing one move, there’s a smaller screen with a preview of what’s coming. It’s straight forward, with 45 seconds of work and then a 15-second break. There are no surprises.

7. 10-minute booty-shaping workout

Sometimes I like to tack on a short glutes or abs workout after a run or ride. This did not disappoint.

Admittedly, I started the workout like, “No big deal, it’s 10 minutes.” Um, I was wrong. I had to take a couple of breaks because THIS WORKOUT IS HARD.

If you’re looking to add on a little something, or if you really just have 10 minutes to work some muscles, try this. You will be glad you did.

What are you loving? PLEASE tell us in the comments!

This story was first published in 2021. It has since been updated.

About the Authors

Dawn Jorgenson, Graham Media Group Branded Content Managing Editor, began working with the group in April 2013. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in electronic media.

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