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How to Get a Solid Strength Workout Without Spending Hours In the Gym

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Photo: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Consulting Shape Fitness Director Jen Widerstrom is your get-fit motivator, a fitness pro, a life coach, and the author of Diet Right for Your Personality Type.

How do you target different body parts with weight lifting and get out of the gym in good time?

—@iron_mind_set via Instagram

When my schedule has me on the road a lot and I have less time to train, I do four or five 25-minute workouts each week, focusing on just one body part per session, so there are four rest days for each part built in. For instance, I’ll do three rounds each of three supersets for my legs. (Confused? Here's everything you need to know about supersets.)

  • Superset 1: Alternate 25 leg extensions with 25 hamstring curls
  • Superset 2: Alternate 15 box jumps with 15 barbell squats
  • Superset 3: Alternate a 30-second wall squat with 10 to 12 split lunges (rear foot on bench) per leg

The next day, I do chest, then my back the day after that, and finally core. I’d suggest a rest day here, then restart. (Here's more on how to create a perfectly balanced week of workouts.)

If I’m able to commit to a longer time in the gym, I do a full-body lift session for about 90 minutes every third day. For those, I focus on compound movements—dumbbell snatches, burpee box jumps, clean and jerks—and do tri-sets, three different exercises back to back without pausing. It may sound long, but you net ancillary core training as you do these lifts, and your heart rate stays up, so you can check cardio off your list.

But whatever lifting system you use, the rest days in between are key for muscle to rebuild and come back stronger. (Still crunched for time? Here's the perfect 25-minute cardio weights workout that proves strength training doesn't have to be slow.)

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