Workout Routines

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

Turn a tight schedule into tight abs.

man performing barbell front squat exercise
MoMo Productions / Getty
MoMo Productions / Getty
Duration 35 min.
Exercises 2
Equipment Yes

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.

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.

 

Day I

Exercise 1

Barbell Front Squat You'll need: Barbell, Squat Rack How to
Barbell Front Squat thumbnail
8 sets
5 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

Barbell Good Morning You'll need: Barbell How to
Good Morning thumbnail
8 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Day II

Exercise 1

Dumbbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Bench Press thumbnail
8 sets
15 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Barbell, Bench How to
Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press thumbnail
8 sets
8 reps
-- rest

Day III

Exercise 1

Barbell Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
Barbell Deadlift thumbnail
9 sets
3 waves of 8, 5, 2 reps
-- rest
Perform 8 reps the first set, 5 the second, and 2 the third; repeat this pattern for Sets 4 to 9.

Exercise 2

General Pullup You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Pullup thumbnail
9 sets
AMRAP reps
-- rest

Day IV

Exercise 1

Behind-the-Neck Press You'll need: Barbell How to
Behind-the-Neck Press thumbnail
10 sets
10 reps
-- rest
Try to keep your head upright and use a conservative load to ensure proper form.

Exercise 2

Barbell Curl How to
Barbell Curl thumbnail
10 sets
8 reps
-- rest
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