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Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Featured Content, Training Articles
By Todd Bumgardner, MS, CSCS | Nov 21, 2012



30 Minute Workouts for Busy Lifters


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This might surprise you, but during college I loved finals week. While other students were stressed, sleep deprived and teetering the fine line between learning and insanity, I was having a great time. Well, not a great time by most college student standards; I wasn't hammering my gullet with mixed drinks and dancing to Usher. Instead I spent two or three hours per day in the weight room, read and studied at my leisure and ate mass quantities of eggs and oatmeal. I sat like a king poised upon an iron throne.

Although nostalgia's pull is strong, those days are long gone. Every once in a great while, though; I'll indulge in a two-hour iron fest. But for the most part I'm like you--short on time.

Recently I've found myself scampering about to find thirty solid minutes of training time. The karma attached to me from my lax college finals weeks has finally caught up with me--I'm finally feeling the stress. But through planning and a concerted rescheduling effort, I've managed to sling together a slew of great thirty minute training sessions. Here's how.

Strategies

Planning saves time; with only thirty minutes to spare, we can't waste a precious second. Here are a few time-crunching strategies that will keep your workout brief but powerful.

Aggressive Soft-Tissue Work: Sure, we only have thirty minutes to train, but we aren't going to skimp on the important stuff. Caring for soft-tissue promotes lifting longevity--especially in a high-stress, short on time environment. Take two minutes and quickly foam roll your entire body. This will wake up your nervous system, get some blood pumping and prepare your soft-tissue for training.

Build Warm-up into Your Main Lift: We don't have time for a full warm-up so we are going to combine our general warm-up exercises with the warm-up sets of our main lift. Hit a quick run through of your first warm-up movement--make it as specific to your main lift as possible--then load your first warm-up weight on the bar and get cranking. Continue in this way until you hit your first working weight. This shouldn't take more than three to four minutes.

Cut the Fluff: In thirty minutes of solid lifting time, there's no room for single joint exercises or unnecessary trips to the water fountain. As you'll see in the template section below, we'll keep the exercises big and compound. To save yourself from small talk, put your ear buds in and fill your water bottle and keep it by your side.

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Templates

"Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime."

I could knock out a few easy, done for you lifting sessions that you could use when you're short on time--but, in that case, I would only feed you for a day. For most of us life isn't going to slow down during our lifting careers, so instead we'll construct a template that feeds your lifting soul for the rest of your lifting lifetime.

A Quick Aside

Since were working with short clock, most of the templates below are designed to elicit hypertrophy gains--short rest periods and all. If you're after strength, pick one big lift and hammer it. Don't play around with variety--grab the bar, build tension and rip it around for twenty minutes. Keep the reps between three and five.

Upper Body

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

A1) Upper-body Push (bench press variation or overhead press variation) 3 8-10 Go directly to A2)
A2) Loaded Carry (farmer’s walk variation) 3 :20-:30 45 – 60 seconds
B1) Upper-body Pull (row variation or vertical pull variation) 3 10-12 Go directly to B2)
B2) Assistance Push Exercise (push-ups, dumbbell bench, etc.) 2 12-15 45 – 60 seconds


Lower Body

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

A1) Squat or Deadlift Variation 3 8-10 Go directly to A2)
A2) Anti-Rotation Core Exercise From ½ kneeling position (chop lifts, holds, etc.) 3 :20-:30 45 – 60 seconds
B1) Squat or Deadlift Variation 3 10-12 Go directly to B2)
B2) Single Leg Exercise (lunge, step-up, single leg deadlift, etc.) 2 12-15 45 – 60 seconds


Full Body

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

A1) Squat or Deadlift Variation 3 8-10 Go directly to A2)
A2) Upper-Body Push 3 8-10 45 – 60 seconds
B1) Squat or Deadlift Variation 3 10-12 Go directly to B2)
B2) Upper-Body Pull 2 12-15 45 – 60 seconds

Conclusion

As great as it would be, we can't live life like it's a perpetual finals week; and life is going to get in the way of gym time. However, the inevitable time crunch doesn't have to ruin your weight room progress. Focus up, strip training to the essentials and cut the fluff. Use the templates above and get to work.

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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.





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