So you can make it to the gym almost every day…but you just don’t have the time when you’re there. To really get optimum fat-burning and lean-muscle-building results, you have to devote at least an hour every time you show up, right? Not necessarily – with the following program, you can achieve great results with just a half-hour workout. This program is perfectly designed for the individual who can easily devote 30 minutes a day to exercise – no more, no less. The goal of this workout program is a lean body with impressive muscular tone.
The workout is based on a recovery concept. Your body actually responds to a workout during the rest and recovery period following exercise. It is during this time that the muscle rebuilding and repairing response takes place, as well as the cardiovascular adaptations that boost the metabolism and allow your body to more efficiently use oxygen and maintain fitness. By using a push-pull cycle combined with a light-heavy pattern, this workout allows for optimal recovery and maximum results.
Each lifting day is completed as a circuit, moving from one exercise to the next with minimal rest. Every circuit is completed a total of five times. Five sets, which may seem high for volume, will fatigue the muscle to a much greater extent than fewer sets, which is one of the reasons this routine achieves results with a relatively small number of exercises. To allow for good lifting form, a 45-60 second rest is recommended after each circuit. Your heart rate will stay very high during this routine.
For the cardio on lifting days, attempt to maintain as difficult an effort as possible for 10 minutes. Several examples would be a hard run on the treadmill, sprint or hill climb on the bike, or fast feet combined with high resistance on the elliptical trainer. On the days that incorporate 30 minutes of high intensity cardio intervals, use a 1:2 work/rest ratio, which means you push at a very hard effort for a certain period of time, then recover at an easier effort for half the time of the hard effort. For instance, perform a treadmill sprint for 2 minutes, and slow to a jog for 1 minute. As long as you go for 30 minutes, you may adjust the length of your cardio intervals as desired. Typically, the longest interval you should complete is 5 minutes long (which would be paired with a 2.5 minute recovery effort). Warm-up/cool-down is recommended, but not completely necessary.
For the purposes of this workout, the core abdominal routine is treated as an entirely different movement, since it is difficult to classify torso work as pushing or pulling. Instead, abdominal work is divided into upper, lower, and rotational torso routines, retained the 5 set theme and spaced with optimal 48 hour recovery periods between each workout.
The entire program is completely outlined here – remember to complete 5x circuits for each lifting day:
Day 1 – Heavy Pull + Upper Abs: (begin with 10 minutes high intensity cardio)
Barbell Clean or Bent Row – 8 reps heavy weight
Pull-Up – 8 reps heavy weight
Barbell Deadlift – 8 reps heavy weight
Upper Abs – 5 sets incline crunch with medicine ball
Day 2 – Light Push: (begin with 10 minutes high intensity cardio)
Dumbbell Chest Press – 10 reps medium weight
Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 10 reps medium weight
Barbell Back Squat – 10 reps medium weight
Day 3 – 30 High Intensity Cardio Intervals with 1:2 work/rest ratio
Lower Abs – 5 sets hanging leg raises
Day 4 – Heavy Push: (begin with 10 minutes high intensity cardio)
Incline Chest Press – 8 reps heavy weight
Barbell Push Press – 8 reps heavy weight
Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 8 reps each leg heavy weight
Day 5 – Light Pull: (begin with 10 minutes high intensity cardio)
Lat Pulldowns or Light Pull-ups – 10 reps medium weight
Seated Row or Standing Narrow Grip Row – 10 reps medium weight
Low Back Extensions or Leg Curls – 10 reps medium weight
Rotational Abs – 5 sets cable torso twist to each side
Day 6 – 30 High Intensity Cardio Intervals with 1:2 work/rest ratio
Day 7 – Rest or 30 Cardio with 1:2 work/rest ratio
Like any new exercise routine, your body will adapt to a different workout within 4-8 weeks, so make sure to continually change your choice of exercises, and do not simply rely on the exercises provided in this article. If you enjoy this routine, you may be interested in similar workouts that a personal trainer can provide. If you enjoy this routine, you may be interested in similar workouts that a personal trainer can provide. Be sure to check out the online personal training website Greenfield Fitness Systems at www.pacificfit.net. Remember – the fastest, most easily maintained results occur with an exercise program that is tailored to your personal health and exercise history. Working with a personal trainer is the best way to get fit, and scheduling is flexible, inexpensive, and easy with online personal training solutions, so try it out!
Until next time, train smart,
M.S. PE, NSCA-CPT, CSCS