Not everyone has hours to spend in the gym every day, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for skipping a workout. The truth is, you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to get results. If you are choosing the right exercises and techniques, you can get in a great workout in under 30 minutes!
When you’re short on time, it’s all about increasing the intensity and getting more work done in less time. Here are six ways to help you achieve that:
1. Focus on compound lifts: To get the most bang for your buck, choose exercises that work your largest muscle groups – such as squats, deadlifts, presses and rows – rather than isolation exercises. That way you’ll be working multiple muscle groups at a time, which is ideal when you need to get in and out of the gym in a hurry.
2. Tri-set circuits: For a full-body workout, choose three exercises for non-opposing muscle groups and perform them back-to-back with no rest until you’ve completed all three exercises. By choosing one “push” exercise, one “pull” exercise and one compound, lower-body exercise, you’ll end up working every muscle group in your body.
3. Supersets: A superset is two exercises paired together with minimal rest between sets. For an upper-body superset, choose two exercises for opposing muscle groups, such as a dumbbell bench press and pull-ups. Perform the two exercises back-to-back, resting only when needed. For lower body, you could choose a hamstring exercise paired with a quad exercise, such as step-ups and Romanian deadlifts.
4. Dumbbell or barbell complexes: These are a great way to get in an intense, full-body workout in a short amount of time. Pick four to six exercises that can be done in circuit fashion, but don’t put down the weight until you have gone through the entire circuit.
Here is a sample complex, using either dumbbells or barbells:
Push press x8
Front squat x8
Bentover row x8
Rest for 1 minute, then repeat for 3 to 5 sets.
5. Active rests: Rather than always doing your cardio and weights separately, combine them by adding cardio in as “active rest.” For example, do 20 to 30 seconds of jump squats, mountain climbers or jump rope between sets.
6. Bodyweight finishers: Instead of doing 30 minutes of steady-state cardio at the end of your workout, do a 5 to 10 minute metabolic circuit after hitting the weights. Choose three to five exercises – such as push-ups, squat jumps, lunges, mountain climbers, burpees, high knees or jumping jacks – and do each one for 30 seconds, for 3 to 5 rounds.
Try incorporating some of these tips the next time you think you “don’t have time” to work-out. If you have 15 minutes to spare, you can get a workout in! If you’re still skeptical, just keep in mind, a 15 minute workout is better than NO workout. And sometimes, the shorter workouts are the most intense!