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2-move Workouts That’ll Maximize Your Time and Muscle

Turn a tight schedule into tight abs.

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  • 35 min.

  • 2

  • Yes

man performing barbell front squat exercise
MoMo Productions / Getty
man performing barbell front squat exercise
MoMo Productions / Getty

When you’re busy, there isn’t always time for a workout. One or two exercises maybe, but not a whole routine. Most of the time you skip it altogether; after all, what good is just a half-hour session? But that’s a mistake. A short workout forces you to perform only the most essential exercises—the ones responsible for most of your gains—with an increased focus and intensity that revs your metabolism harder and keeps your heart rate elevated. In short: It forces you to train smarter and harder. As a bonus, you’ll end up with a whole lot more free time. Sounds good to us.

Short Circuit Training

Short Circuit Training

Got 20 minutes? These workouts build total-body strength, increase muscle endurance, and rev up your...

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How It Works

You’ll perform only two lifts per session: a main exercise that works multiple muscles, and one that enhances your ability to perform that lift. For example, the front squat works the lower body thoroughly, and the good morning directly strengthens the lower back and hamstrings, allowing you to use more weight on the squat.

The only catch when doing shorter workouts is that you need to compensate with volume—more sets—to ensure that you get the most work out of your muscles in the little time you have.

Directions

Perform each workout (Days I, II, III, and IV) once a week, resting a day between sessions. Choose a load that allows you to perform two more reps than prescribed, and use that weight on each set. The workouts should take 35 minutes.

 

Routine

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Day I

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 2

Barbell Front Squat

Equipment
Barbell, Squat Rack
Sets
8
Reps
5
Rest
--
Exercise 2 of 2

Barbell Good Morning

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
8
Reps
10
Rest
--

Day II

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 3 of 2

Dumbbell Bench Press

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
8
Reps
15
Rest
--
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
8
Reps
8
Rest
--

Day III

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 5 of 2

Barbell Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
9
Reps
3 waves of 8, 5, 2
Rest
--
Perform 8 reps the first set, 5 the second, and 2 the third; repeat this pattern for Sets 4 to 9.
Exercise 6 of 2

General Pullup

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
9
Reps
AMRAP
Rest
--

Day IV

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 7 of 2

Behind-the-Neck Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
10
Reps
10
Rest
--
Try to keep your head upright and use a conservative load to ensure proper form.
Exercise 8 of 2

Barbell Curl

Equipment
Sets
10
Reps
8
Rest
--
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