Workout Routines

Gone in 30 Minutes

Strapped for time? Make big gains in a half-hour with these ultra-efficient muscle-building workouts.

Gone in 30 Minutes

I just don't have time to go to the gym right now.

We've heard that excuse from friends, overheard others talking about it, even said it ourselves many times. That means any of our eight 30-minute weight workouts will be right up your alley at some point in, say, the next month.

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need 90 minutes of gym time to build or maintain solid muscle or to get a vein-blasting pump. Some of these routines are full-body workouts while others are for just upper or lower body, but all of them hit the major areas necessary to ensure you train as efficiently as possible when time is short.

A few things to keep in mind: Do each move bilaterally—not unilaterally, or one arm or leg at a time—unless you want to end up doubling your time in the gym. Also, weight selection is tough enough without having to watch the clock. So on our timed workouts, if you end up going too light or too heavy, don't bother repeating a set, which could extend your gym time. Just make a note for your next go-round.

Another good rule of thumb is to perform 1 to 2 warm-up sets on each bodypart, with certain exceptions, such as when you feel your triceps are sufficiently warmed up after training chest. Same goes for biceps after back and hamstrings after squats or lunging exercises. If doing a few extra warm-up sets means you're in the gym for 32, even 35 minutes, well—that's close enough for us.

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