Strength, fat loss, endurance and mobility in 15 minutes

Can you get strong, lose fat, gain endurance and improve your mobility in under 15min? Abso-fuckin-lutely! But stop being greedy and stupid ‘cos these 15 minutes are not a walk in the park or on the treadmill. These 15 minutes will be the most grueling 15 minutes of your day and will require you to stay motivated, focused and push (almost) till you drop. In short, this isn’t for the slackers. This is for fighters!

If you’re ready to work, let’s get this show on the road.

Why will this work?

Let make make this clear. This is not a scam. This is not the ‘Look and feel awesome in just 3 minutes a day’ bullshit. This is not ‘Why choose hard when easy works’ nonsense. This is legit. This involves progression. This involves hard work. And this works only if, brace yourself, you actually do it!

– In order to get strong you need to strength train. I’ve spoken about this in detail multiple times earlier, but I’ll summarize again. Getting strong(er) is achieved only by linear progression i.e. starting off with a load you are comfortable with and very gradually increasing that load in as small increments as possible. So irrespective of what the exercise or workout is, be sure to start off light ‘cos if you stick to the progression for even a couple of months, you will find yourself working with much more weight than when you started. Starting off too heavy will only result in ugly reps and plateaus too soon into the game.

– To lose fat, it isn’t enough that you momentarily burn some calories. To lose fat effectively and consistently, you need to rev up your basal metabolic rate. Traditional cardio doesn’t quite help with this (wrt efficiency and sustainability) and short duration high intensity conditioning work is the best way to achieve this. Read more about this here.

– To gain endurance you need to challenge your anaerobic (and aerobic) threshold and this is best done by improving work capacity which directly relates to improving endurance. In other words, by increasing the amount of work you can do in a given period of time, you increase your endurance, power generation capability, coordination, fatigue threshold etc. In some other words, endurance also known as sufferance is your ability to fight through stress (exercise) over a given period of time and the more sufferance you are capable of, the fitter you can be.

– And finally, to improve your mobility, you need to consistently move through the full range of motion during every rep of every set of every workout.

So can all this be done in a 15 minute workout? Definitely. But only if all aspects of strength, conditioning and mobility are taken into account when designing the workout.

Here is one way to do it.

Raj’s full body strength & conditioning sequence

Perform a standard 5 minute warm-up with squats, lunges, pushups, leg swings, arm circles etc. and then do as many rounds as possible of the following in 10 minutes ensuring each move is done flawlessly and each rep is solid and strong. No ugly reps. No grinding out reps.

  • Clean two kettlebells.
  • Do a thruster.
  • Drop weights down and bear walk for 5-10 meters (preferably to a pullup bar).
  • While still on all fours, do a pushup.
  • Jump to a squat position.
  • Do a jump squat and (if you are at a pullup bar) grab the bar and do a chest-to-bar pullup.
  • Bear walk back to the kettlebells.

Here is the video.


  • Each round took me about 30 seconds but as I got tired it took me much longer and I ended up with about 15 rounds in 10 minutes.
  • I used 20kg KBs but feel free to use lighter/heavier ones based on your capability.
  • Cleans, thrusters, squats and pullups are all awesome multi-joint compound moves that demand plenty of muscle usage thereby making the sequence extremely energy hungry.
  • Technique is paramount irrespective of what the exercise is. So dedicate some time to learn technique if you aren’t familiar with these exercise.
  • I’ll post more workouts which have a similar output i.e. strength and conditioning in under 15-20 min in the future. Be sure to mix and match.
  • We workout at Bamboola Play School after coaching The Quad’s BootCamp. This was filmed at the end of my workout today and had to be done ASAP before the kids start pouring in. So pardon the lack of solidity at the start.

But I can’t do this because…

When you can come up with excuses to not walk on a daily basis, I’m sure you can come up with a bunch of excuses to not do this. So here are some modifications –

  • If you don’t have kettlebells, use dumbbells or barbells. If you don’t have kettlebells or dumbbells or barbells, use sandbags. If you don’t have kettlebells or dumbbells or sandbags or barbells, use a backpack/school bag. The point is to lift a weight from the floor to your chest and then squat thrust is overhead. No equipment isn’t an excuse.
  • If you don’t have a place to do pullups or can’t do pullups, well, don’t do them. Finish with a max height squat jump.
  • If you don’t have enough space to do bear walks, do 20 mountain climbers instead.
  • If you’re not ready to suffer through it, then get back to your treadmill and stay weak.

Peace out.

15 responses to “Strength, fat loss, endurance and mobility in 15 minutes

  1. nmaha January 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    This is awesome. It can be done practically anywhere and at anytime.

  2. Soundarya January 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Awesome post as always raj. Looks lk one hell of 15 mins 🙂

  3. Mitchell - Home Fitness Manual January 24, 2012 at 11:45 am


    I remember the very first time I saw the bear walk. I didn’t know if I should laugh or be in awe. I was hanging out with a few friends at the beach quite a few years back when, off to the side, this really fit-looking guy was working out in the sand. I was so curious about this specific exercise that I waited until he was done with his routine to run over. And even though I was a complete stranger, he kindly explained the purpose of bear walks in his routine, and totally suggested I give them a try. Such a simple, yet serious, exercise. Glad to see you included it here. This exercise is great at strengthening multiple muscle groups at a single time. Great for a workout like this one.


  4. Lavanya January 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    You had me in mind when you said “use bleddy schoolbags”, didn’t ya? 😉

  5. Sandy January 26, 2012 at 9:48 am


    Great combination. I did about 8 rounds with a pair of 10kg dumbbells. But I may have counted wrong. When I was doing my 8th rep, i saw a couple of little green men chatting near the pull up bar.

  6. Cameron January 27, 2012 at 7:31 am

    You state: “In other words, by increasing the amount of work you can do in a given period of time, you increase your endurance”…

    So by extension, if one were simply to work at getting faster at running 400m, they would improve their ability to run a 20K. If this is the case, why don’t athletes do this?

    • RG January 30, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Hey Cameron – Nice to hear from you after a while.

      Firstly, athletes do this. A lot of kenyan marathoners run 30-400m sprints as their only training for marathons. Crossfit Endurance is another place where this happens a lot.

      Secondly, we are talking about the general population here. The endurance most people aim for can be achieved by working on work capacity. Dedicated long distance running and/or long medium intensity steady state cardio/training isn’t optimal (time consuming, joint issues etc.) and hence working on improving work capacity (by means of working on strength, speed, endurance and mobility) gives the general fitness enthusiast more bang for his buck.

  7. argan February 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Great Post Raj ! What do you think of Double KB complexes with uneven weights ?

    • RG February 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      Risk vs benefit is skewed towards risk as lot. Why uneven weights? Have you progressed enough to have exhausted all regular progressions?

  8. viji February 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    can a person with ACl /PCL tear do the excercises at Quad??

  9. viji March 6, 2012 at 11:50 am

    hi raj,

    your advice/discussions on eating rice confuses me. is eating rice (fermented/otherwise- of course in small quantities allright to loose weight. or should rice and rice items be totally avoided (to loose weight)

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