Short Workouts

In modern life, we’re often limited by time. The daily schedule can be full of obligations and tasks that need to be done before you can even thing about free time activities. This of course includes working on your body. But you won’t let that happen, right?

By short workouts, I mean training duration of 20 minutes (or less). It has to be enough time to hit target muscle groups with several exercises. That kind of training is intensive and rest periods between sets should be minimal (max 45 seconds). Just because it doesn’t last long, it doesn’t mean it won’t bring good results. If you manage to complete proper training in this period, trust me, your body will be thankful.


To make most of your short workouts, you have to choose your activities wisely. Make sure you hit every region of the body and muscle group. For example, the deltoid has 3 different primary fiber regions or heads (anterior, posterior, and lateral heads). Barbell shoulder press is great for strength and size of the anterior portion. Dumbell laterals handle growth of the lateral head while lying rear delt raise will take care of the posteirior development. Make four sets of each and you have complete shoulder training.



Your limitation of time affects your rest between sets. As rest period must be as short as possible avoid lifting extra heavy weights beacause you won’t have enough time to recover. For your short workouts use weights which allow you to perform 8-12 reps. That’s optimal because it’s challenging for your body while you’ll be able to complete training using minimal pause between sets. Do 3 or 4 sets of every exercise, depending on how many exercises you do and how you feel. If you planned to do three sets, but you feel like you’re able to do 4, listen to your body and make most of the training.



Performing two different exercises without rest between sets is the ideal option for your short workout. Besides saving your precious time, it takes your training to another level. Using supersets will definitively increase your muscle growth. You can combine strength exercise and isolation exercise(bench press and cable crossover), two heavy mass building exercises(bench press and incline bench press) or even two isolation exercise(cable crossover and cable flyes) to get that pump. In addition to using supersets for the same muscle group, you can use them to train two different areas of the body. In that case, most often the opposing muscles are trained with supersets that allow one muscle to recover while other is working(chest – back, biceps-triceps). Which two exercises you want to mix is up to you, just use your imagination.



If 20 minutes is your limited time, then work on one big muscle group or combine two small. One 20 minute training program could look like this:

  • Monday: back
  • Tuesday: chest
  • Wednesday: shoulders
  • Thursday: legs
  • Friday: biceps and triceps
  • Saturday: calves and abs

I would recommend using day when you have more time to train your legs because they are major muscle group, they make half of your body. For better progress, they require more attention and more exercises.
It is not anymore how much time you spend in the gym, what matters is how you spend it. Lack of time is no longer excuse.