A friend recently decided to get back into weight lifting after facing the major time crunch of having a toddler, a teenager, and a job. She wanted very much to get back into weights and regain that cut look, but time seemed like an insurmountable obstacle.
Lack of time has got to be the number one reason many people get out of the weight lifting groove or never venture in despite the many benefits.
My friend drives past the gym every day to pick up her son from child care, but she couldn’t make herself stop and work out (Mom Guilt is a killer!). I told her all it would take is a half hour – even 20 minutes – to see results. The next time I saw her, she had stopped at the gym and did so several times that week. She is determined to do it and she is doing it. All she had to do was make that stop.
She started off just getting used to lifting again and focused on the large muscle groups. But she realized she’d forgotten the correct form on many exercises and also needed ideas for quick workouts.
Here’s my contribution for anyone who doesn’t have 1-1/2 hour blocks of time to hit one or two muscle groups at a time. You can do these workouts in less than 30 minutes. Lift weights three times a week to see the best results.
The key to quick workouts is (1) using compound movements that focus on one primary muscle but also involve other muscle groups and (2) circuit training (allowing no rest between exercises). For example, compound back exercises hit biceps as well, so you won’t have to spend time doing bicep curls. And if you do your routine in a circuit, you’ll also get a good cardio workout. You’ll get fantastic muscle fatigue and calorie burn if you follow this formula.
Pick a weight you can do for 8-10 repetitions. When you’re done, go right into the next exercise (rest for 30 seconds if needed but the less you rest, the more calories you’ll burn). Do one or two exercises from each muscle group, depending on how much time you have. Remember to change the exercises every four weeks while gradually increasing the weight. Never use the same weight over and over again unless you’re only interested in endurance and not muscle growth and definition.
Here are some examples of compound exercises**:
Legs and Glutes
- Barbell Squat
- Barbell Straight-leg Deadlift
- Weighted Lunges
- Barbell Deadlift
- Power Clean
- Leg Press
- Lat Pulldown
- Barbell Deadlift
- One-Arm Dumbbell Row
- Cable or Band Row
- Bent-over Rows
- Pull ups and chin ups
- Bench Press – all variations
- Pushups – all variations
- Shoulder Press – all variations
- Upright Row
- Plank – all variations
- Medicine Ball Throw
- Barbell Rollouts
Shaking it up
You can also try doing step ups or jumping rope in between sets instead of doing exercises consecutively without rest.
When used judiciously, a variety of weight lifting techniques can be used instead circuit training. With super sets, you do two exercises back to back without rest, such as a chest exercises and a back exercises. Choose two exercises that compliment each other but work in opposite motions. Other techniques that get your muscles burning faster include drop sets, pyramids, forced reps, and partials.
Another idea to save time is to combine exercises like shoulder presses and squats or do calf raises in between exercises. Your options are endless! Isn’t it nice to know you can lift weights in just 30 minutes?
Got any other exercises or ideas to add to this list? Feel free to share!
Password Letter: W. Now go find your next letter from Leanne at Radiant, balanced and fit.