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Client's Question: Can I build muscle and get in great shape using short workouts?

We’re all working from home right now. 

And with the family (all of them) around and work still competing for your limited attention, it’s not easy to get in a full, hour-long workout.  

Here’s the good news: You don’t need marathon sessions in the garage (or the living room if you can clear the dog out of the way) to build muscle and get in great shape during this pandemic. 

Building muscle (and to a lesser degree, strength) requires a minimum amount of volume each week. 

This number will differ for each person based on your training experience. 

Still, science suggests that as little as 8-10 sets per body part per week can be enough to see results. 

But, just like your diet, it’s helpful to look at the bigger picture (what you accomplish in a week) rather than the minor details (what you accomplish in just one workout). 

If you want to see your body change, make sure you’re doing enough total work (volume or sets x reps) over that training week, and stress less about the length of your workouts. 

If your workouts are short, you’ll need to do more of them. Higher frequency training (more workouts per week) can help increase your total volume (sets x reps) each week. 

As far as laying out your workouts, there are many ways to do it. The simplest way to start (IMO) is either a full-body or push, pull, legs set up. 

Let’s say you’d like to do a full-body workout. Keep it simple. Make sure you include an upper-body push, upper-body pull, squat (or lunge), hinge, and some core work. 

Run through each exercise once or twice and call it a day. Keep your reps in the 5-12 range depending on the movement and what weight you have available. Repeat 4-5x a week. 

Another strategy that has worked well for some of our clients during this health crisis is to break up an hour-long workout into 2-4 different “mini-workouts” during the day.  

Outside of the first workout each day, you won’t have to warm-up much. Just get in, do a quick warm-up set, and get after it. 

This will help you perform enough total work each day and keep you sane by providing a mental break throughout the day. 

I put together a total body bodyweight training session that you can do at home. Do one round for a quick workout or 3 rounds for a full 60 min session. 

We’re in a time now that Bodyweight Workouts are more popular than ever - and not by choice. You have searched the hashtag “bodyweight workouts”, or something along those lines, and found social media influencers going crazy with glute and ab workouts.

That’s not a bad thing necessarily, but understand that your training should go much deeper than that. Staying within a 15-20 rep range for all of your workouts is one dimensional so consider mixing it up to get the gains you’re looking for.

Exercising multiple different planes of movement will also allow you to thrive physically. Not only will you develop necessary motor control but you can also stop doing side bends till your back hurts. You’ll see some rotational movements in this workout that will have your abs/obliques shredded forever.

I know, the last thing you probably want to think about and spend energy on is researching how to formulate a solid training program. Sets, reps, tempo, periodization, movement patterns, etc.

When looking for workouts on social media, take time to research the person a little bit. I’m a firm believer that every workout, every exercise should have a “Why”…a method to the madness.

Plugging in exercises that just look cool and sexy but can’t really be explained is cornball shit and you’ll most likely see a sponsorship for some nasty dandelion tea that makes you skinny.

Knowledge is power. Invest in it!

We want to do our part helping you stay healthy during this difficult and stressful time. Our virtual online program is might be exactly what you need. Our tribe has been loving the live stream workouts! They’ve been talking non-stop about how they are helping them to feel connected, lower stress levels, improve their mental health, stay active, and help them to feel GOOD right now.

It has also been INCREDIBLE to see how our clients have not been using this pandemic as an excuse NOT to exercise and veg out in front of the TV...

but rather as an OPPORTUNITY to focus on their goals and to take better care of themselves!

Have an amazing weekend, 

Coach Kosta 
www.chicagofitperformance.com









 

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