Life happens. There will come days when you don’t have much time to devote to training. And there will also be days where you just don’t want to do your entire workout; you’ll want to do the bare minimum and be done with it.
Whenever those days happen, that is when I like to use time crunch workouts.
When performing time crunch workouts (or get-in-the-gym, get-done-as-soon-as possible-and-leave workouts) I keep a few basic principles in mind.
1) Training economy. This is definitely the time to use the best bang for your buck exercises. In case you forgot, that means squats, deadlifts, lunges, push-ups, chin-ups, presses, parallel bar dips, and inverted rows. If you only have a small time slot available for training, you better . . .
2) Work as many muscle groups as possible. This ties into the first point, but I make sure I perform a total body workout, or as close to one as I can get. If I only have 15 minutes to train, I want to train ever muscle possible.
3) Work hard. This may seem obvious, but I mean work hard. If you only have 10-20 minutes to devote to training, make them a tough 20 minutes. You might be surprised, but they could be some of the most effective workouts you’ve ever done. Some of my toughest and most productive workouts were done with only a narrow training window of 20 minutes.
Here are some of my personal favorite time crunch workout combinations.
Deadlifts and parallel bar dips – deadlifts on their own work damn near every muscle in the body. While you could do them on their own and get in a great training session, I like to pair them with parallel bar dips.
Why? Because you can get in some chest, shoulder, and triceps work and both exercises work non competing muscle groups. But also, I like the fact that my spine gets to decompress after pulling a heavy deadlift. It just feels good. Try this combination and you’ll know what I mean.
This two-lift training session will definitely work every muscle in your body.
Squats and chin-ups – squats need no explanation because they are such an obvious choice. However, I especially like to pair them with chin-ups because (just like the deadlift-dip combo) your spine gets a chance to decompress after being loaded. Again, it just feels good and is a great training combination.
This is another two-lift training session that will work almost every muscle in your body. Highly recommended.
Single leg deadlift, suspended push-ups, and suspended inverted rows – this is a triple-lift bodyweight time crunch workout, and happens to be one of my favorites right now. This can be done at home, outside, or anywhere you happen to be. All you need is a Jungle Gym and you’re all set.
Here is a video of a single leg deadlift.
My favorite ways to perform this workout are to set a timer for 10-20 minutes and perform as many circuits as possible, or perform ladders. For a ladder I start at 10 reps for each exercise, then do nine, and go all the way down to one rep for each exercise. The possibilities are endless, but those are my two favorite ways to perform that bodyweight circuit.
Kettlebell swings – these are a tremendous single-lift time crunch workout. I have been doing a lot of swings lately, and I’m enjoying them more and more.
Not only do they blast your backside, but it’s a great way to improve your conditioning levels as well. There are so many different ways to organize a kettlebell swing workout, and I’ll share that in the near future.
Set a timer and start swinging.
Hill sprints – I’m sure you knew this was coming. Get thoroughly warmed up and then sprint up the hill.
Again, you can set up this workout in numerous ways. Perform as many hill sprints as possible in a set period of time, or sprint up the hill, rest a set period of time, and complete a specified number of sprints. I don’t care how you do it; just get it done.
Advanced burpess – we’ll round out this list with a final single-lift exercise. Technically it’s three exercises in one (burpee, push-up, and pull-up), but you get the idea.
My two favorite ways to set up an advanced burpee workout are to perform as many as possible in a set period of time, or perform 5-10 burpees, rest 30-60 seconds, and complete a total of 5-10 rounds.
So there you have it – some great time crunch workouts that you can do at home, outside, or in the gym.
Now that you know you can perform a quick and effective training session in a matter of minutes, you have absolutely no excuse for not training consistently and building the body you want.
Remember that whenever you find yourself muttering, “I don’t have the time to workout”.