A repost from an earlier blog:
A friend of mine asked me for an article, hopefully he prints it, as he is way more popular then I am. If you find it on his site, let me know, I'll find a treat for you.
"How about a quote from you about the most efficient use of time in the gym or best training advice, when you have no time to train," he asks.
Most of us have busy lifestyles, we don't always have enough time to do the things we want, when we want, and how we want to do them. But as the saying goes, you either make time for your health now, or be forced to deal with your illness later. So for you busy guys out there who understand how important your health and fitness are, here is a quick way to get in and out of the gym in a very efficient manner, without half-assing or skipping important aspects of your training.
Firstly, if you don't have time to warm up and prepare yourself, you simply don't have time to train. You don't have to get carried away, but you need to mobilize your body to optimize the effectiveness of your exercises. This occurs by warming your body, lubricating your joints, and activating your nervous and muscular system to enhance body positions during training.
Tons of different movements can be performed as a warmup, but for simplicity sake, we will warm the entire body by doing 3-5 rounds of a few different movements that most anybody could do almost anywhere. Start with 25 jumping jacks, go old school and keep it real. Next do 12 alternating reverse lunges, control your body and move methodically throughout the movement, this shouldn't be a circus tight rope act. Next we will do 12 pushups, to get a little extra mobilization and activation out of the movement we will squeeze our shoulder blades together hard at the bottom for a 1 count, then push up and open our shoulders wide at the top for a 1 count. This scapular retraction and protraction will help your upper back, neck and shoulders feel better. Finally we are going to roll over on our back on the floor and perform hollow rocks for about 30 seconds. This is a basic gymnastic movement that will stimulate your abs and prepare you to brace your core for the more intense exercise to follow. Find your "hollow" position by laying on the floor and grab your knees with your hands. Round your back and push your lower back hard into the floor, you will now rock back and forth on the floor from upper shoulders to lower back like a rocking chair. If your core strength permits, you will release your hands and without losing any tension in the abs, nor losing the rounded low back position, straighten your arms out over your head so your biceps are next to your ears and your hands are about a foot from the floor. Do the same with your legs, straighten them out and point your toes hard, keeping feet about a foot from the floor. Now continue rocking but do not let your body lose position, you will only be moving a few inches or so, but every inch is a major contraction in your gut. Think a banana or the foot of a rocking chair rocking on the floor.
That round should have taken about a minute and a half. Get up and repeat it a few more times and mentally prepare your self for greater intensity the entire time. Like a machine you roll through jumping jacks, lunges, push ups and hollow rocks. While everyone else is gabbing about their weekend and swinging their arms back and forth across their chest as a "warm up", you are preparing yourself for success and literally feeling like a dominant athlete. Breath deep, in and out, the entire time, cleansing your lungs with fresh air. Don't breath quick and shallow, you want long, deep deliberate breaths.
Now you are ready, after five or six minutes of preparation, you're ready to roll. Let's go. We don't have much time, so we aren't changing station to station. We grab a single training tool, in this case, a barbell. We are going to perform a few different movements to smash the entire body, building muscle and burning fat like a super efficient space machine.
Start with an unloaded barbell and practice the movements with very light weight. We will perform 5 exercises for 6 reps each. Don't get too picky here, these numbers aren't magic, do what works for you. First pick the bar up and hold it at the waist, thats called a deadlift. Now bend over a few inches allowing the bar to slide down your thigh and aggressively rip the weight up to your shoulders with the force of your hips. "Catch" the weight at your shoulders with your elbows up high and stand tall. Thats basically called a clean. The finer points of these exercises are beyond the scope of this article. You will perform six cleans then move to the next exercise, which is a push press. From the catch position of the clean, you will grab the bar tight and dip your hips as if you were about to jump and aggressively push the weight up over your head with fully extended arms and pause for a second, fixating the weight overhead. Bring the weight down under control and catch it with soft hips and knees. Perform 6 reps of the push press. After you press the last rep, instead of returning it to the front, you will bring it down behind your neck and rest it across the top of your back. Adjust your hands and feet if necessary. You will now perform 6 squats. Your feet are under your shoulders, toes pointing slightly out, sit back and down, forcing your knees out wide and track your knees over your toes. Keep your chest up and look forward. Squat as low as possible while maintaining feet flat on floor, knees out, chest up and back flat. This will vary individually depending on flexibility and anatomy. After your six squats you will push press the weight from your shoulders up over your head and bring it down to your shoulders and then to your hips. Next we have 6 bent over rows. You begin by pushing your hips back and keeping the majority of your weight towards the back of your feet. Bend over allowing the bar to slide down your legs and maintain a flat back. Again, this position will vary between individuals, but the bar will be close to your knees and you will pull the bar up into your abs by driving your elbows up towards the ceiling. Squeeze the top and retract your shoulder blades. Complete six reps and stand up tall. Back to the deadlift. The deadlift is probably your strongest lift, or will be with regular practice, so we do it last when we are most fatigued. Return the weight down the legs by pushing your hips back, barely bending the knees and sliding the weight towards the floor, once the bar passes the knees you will bend the knees more and bring it down to the bottom. Once you have plates on the bar, you will know where the bottom is, as they will be touching the floor. Brace your core very intensely and complete 6 reps.
There you have it. Five major exercises, thirty total reps, hitting basically every major muscle in the body. Rest a minute and repeat the entire process, adding some weight to the bar, little by little. Keep in mind that ten pounds isn't just ten pounds here. We are doing 30 reps, every rep moves about two feet. Thats sixty feet multiplied by ten pounds. It now becomes 600 foot pounds of extra work just by adding ten pounds to the bar. That equates to a lot of calories being burned and a lot of muscle being used in a very short period of time. A lot for a little means efficient. This is a money maker barbell complex for busy people who demand big results. It is simple, yet deadly effective if you work hard and kick your game up a notch every time. Start slow and progress slow, and you will make big gains. Practice perfect positions, sloppy positions and sloppy reps will only provide sloppy results.
1a. hang power clean x 6
1b. push press x 6
1c. squat x 6
1d. bent over row x 6
1e. deadlift x 6
Add weight and repeat for 5-7 rounds. If you can perform this complex with your over bodyweight on the bar, you are a monster walking among children, and learned nothing reading this. But for now, practice perfect movements and this could be a very time efficient way to train for enhanced athletics and aesthetics. Each round will take about a minute and you will rest about a minute or two as necessary and repeat. Make it a challenge to see how great you can be without wasting any time with things that provide no results.
The entire workout will take approximately 20 minutes with the warm up, and if you have a sandbag, kettlebells, or dumbells you can choose to use those as well. Different tools elicit a different response, and they can easily be stored at home or even in your trunk if you don't have time to hit the gym. No excuses.