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.