Best Minimal Work for Strength Retention?

After almost 17 years of weight training I have come to a point in my life where training with weights is so low a priority I spend most days not training at all. I have to do runs, pushups, situps pull ups for work but I’d rather spend time with my kids at their sports or playing sports or reading to them than chasing some strength goal. I already have decent strength but dont want to lose all of it and I find general work to be easier when I’m stronger. I’m looking for half an hour of total work but keep taking myself down the road of you need to suck it up and do more work. Any help/ideas?

I’m not Jim, but a template like this could work in your scenario. 30 minutes each of those days and you can at least maintain.

Deadlift (ss: Chin-Ups, Abs)

Bench Press (ss: Rows, Curls)

Back Squat (ss: Chin-Ups, Abs)

OH Press (ss: Rows, Curls)

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I had a similar idea. Doing 531+ widowmaker with

Squat, pushups, situps

Bench, Pullups, Leg lifts

Deadlift, pushups, situps

OHP, Chinups, Leg Lifts

I’ve been thinking about this way to shorten my warmup time that I call the widowmaker warmup. 20% less than your first set so 45, 50, 55 for 20 reps instead of a bunch of 5 rep sets.

I’ve had success with full body full boring, with PR sets taken out. I had a home gym so I could knock it out in 30mins 3x a week, 20mins at a push. I managed to maintain strength (~400lb do, 300lb sq, 250lb bench) for several months like that. No reason to believe I couldn’t have gone longer if I’d made the time.


Gotta appreciate the people on the JW thread not throwing some nonsense of Instagram #Getitdone. Oh you woke up at 430am to train. Congratulations because half the world just woke up to go to work at that time. What about after work. Well I guess installing a floor in my basement/building a fence/keeping up the general maintenance of my house isnt #chasingthemgoals, but it has to be done. Sorry for the rant.

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I ran 1000% Awesome a while back. Those workouts tended to last 35-40 minutes the way I structured them, on a few occasions when I needed to I got through everything in 25-30 minutes.

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This works well:

531 5’s PRO with BBB @ FSL. Superset the BBB sets with a single well-chosen assistance move.


BP 5’s PRO, BBB. Assistance: 5x10 pull ups
Squat 5’s PRO BBB. Assistance 5x10 ab wheel rolls
OHP: 5’s PRO, BBB. Assistance: 5x10 rows
DL: 5’s PRO, BBB. Assistance: 5x10 hanging leg raise



How many days a week can you train?

If its the typical 4 days a week for 531, I like what you have written concerning the main lift and some body weight work. 15-20 min or so to do the main work and 10-15 min to do the assistance stuff. Perfect idea you have there to retain strength.

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Maintenance really doesn’t take much work…you could probably train everything once every ten days or so & still maintain…just depends how many things you want to maintain that would dictate how much said maintenance would take.


I say just do good 'ole Original 5/3/1. So simple, yet so effective. Whether you decide to train 2,3, or 4 days a week doesn’t matter. Just show up, and hit the PR set, and your pretty much done for the day. If your feeling off just do minimum reps or cap the set at 5. If your feeling hot and have a few more minutes, hit a couple Joker sets. Just make sure assistance is balancing out your main work and your BW stuff from your job and you’re set.

Many a time I have walked into the gym, hit the PR set walked out. I believe that template is call I Ain’t Doing Jack.

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As mentioned above, maintaining takes barely any work or programming. Especially if you have established everyday maxes. Just go do what you want to, and go home to be with your family. Programming really doesn’t matter to maintain in my opinion as long as you’re doing compound movements and staying active.