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Tony Horton’s New Workout Program Proves You Only Need 20 Minutes to Build Serious Strength

If you liked Coach Tony’s debut program 20-in-20: Ignite, you’ll love 20-in-20: Pump Up the Volume.

Image of Tony Horton's new workout program on Tonal.

The best workout program is the one you’ll actually stick with long-term. For many of us, spending hours in the gym is not only unrealistic, but it’s also unnecessary, as research shows that you only need 13 minutes to start gaining strength. That’s why Tonal’s 20-in-20: Ignite program led by Tony Horton, fitness expert of P90X fame, has been so wildly popular. 

Now, Coach Tony is back with a sequel program, 20-in-20: Pump Up the Volume. Like Ignite, this new program consists of 20 total workouts that are 20 minutes, designed to be completed over 20 days (five days a week for four weeks) to allow for proper recovery. While the Ignite program worked two muscle groups per day and focused on 8 to 12 reps of each exercise, Pump Up the Volume focuses on one muscle group per workout—chest, back, shoulders, arms, and legs—and increases reps to 12 to 20 per exercise.

Close-up of Tony Horton using Tonal for his new workout program.

“Higher rep counts mean more time under tension, so that’s a longer timeframe in which you can build muscle without having to add a whole bunch of extra weight or resistance,” explains Coach Tony, who classifies himself as a “lower-weight, higher-rep kind of guy.”

As with the Ignite program, each workout consists of 20 action-packed minutes, making it easy for even those with the busiest schedules to fit strength training into their days and see real change. “The evidence, the testimonials, the stats, and the results are all there,” Coach Tony says. “Twenty minutes can make a difference.”

Coach Tony collaborated with certified personal trainer and Tonal coach Jackson Bloore to design each workout for the Pump Up the Volume series. Here, they share their tips for getting the most out of the 20-in-20: Pump Up the Volume program.

Find Your Motivation

People who are fit stay that way because their purpose is clear, and their plan is their priority. Thrivers have a reason why, and it’s a bigger reason than exercising for ego or aesthetics. 

“Find a reason that is really about your quality of life, about bringing energy and enthusiasm to other aspects of your life, about being able to go on long mountain bike rides, or on ski trips with your family,” says Coach Tony. “Look at working out on Tonal as a way of opening up other opportunities that will make your life more interesting and help you create your story.”

Tony Horton working out with Tonal for his new workout program.

Start Where You Are

Pump Up the Volume is programmed to advance those who progressed with Ignite and saw a positive change in their strength and body composition. If you haven’t completed Ignite yet, start there before moving on to Pump Up the Volume. Coach Tony says adding repetitions and changing the sequencing will make the new series “just a little bit harder.”

While the idea of pushing through a larger set of reps might be intimidating to some, Coach Tony adds that real muscular change comes at the end of those longer sets and that Tonal’s adaptive digital weight was made for this kind of work.

“The Tonal will recognize if someone is struggling and will help you finish the rep count so you don’t stop when things get difficult,” he says. “The idea is to be working hard while maintaining a nice, smooth series of repetitions and rolling with the pace, and the Tonal will ensure your form is good from start to finish.”

Tony Horton doing lower body exercises on Tonal for his new workout program.

When You’re Ready, Double Up

Each day hits one muscle group and the intensity and volume of each workout increases as the series progresses. “We’ll be upping the number of reps and increasing the intensity with more difficult moves, like advancing from a regular push-up to a foot-elevated push-up,” Coach Jackson explains. You’ll also get to try new moves that were recently added to the movement library in December.

Coach Jackson points out that advanced movers who are already accustomed to doing 40- or 50-minute workouts on Tonal or who simply have the time and want an extra challenge can double-up the workouts. He suggests doing chest and back together on one day, then shoulders and arms on day two, with legs on the third.

Stick to the Timeline

This program is 20 workouts done in 20 minutes over the course of 20 days, ideally at a five-time-per-week cadence. “You don’t want to spread the 20 workouts out over 40 or 50 or 60 days,” says Coach Tony. “To see results, you need to adhere to this very specific philosophy.”

Tony Horton doing tricep exercises on Tonal for his new workout program.

Commit to Each Movement

Don’t just go through the motions. Work hard enough to make sure those last 2 to 5 reps are sticky enough to mean something while maintaining proper form. “Remember, Tonal helps you maintain good form and eliminates a lot of the body English you get with barbells, dumbbells, or free weights,” Coach Tony says. “So you can work hard and get the most out of your workout while knowing you are safe.”  

Find Your Sweet Spot

Recognize the difference between overtraining (feeling so sore you can’t move) and undertraining (seeing no change), and between muscle soreness and joint pain. “If you’re feeling soreness and tightness in your muscles, that means there is muscle breakdown, which means there will be muscle growth,” coach Tony explains. “That soreness is accelerated calorie burn, and it’s an awesome feeling. But, if your soreness or pain is directly in the joints of your ankles, knees, or shoulders, or in your back, you need to listen to your body and scale back the intensity. Understand the difference so you can push the envelope a bit.” 

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