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Efficient Training for the Time Constricted Parent

With a 2.5 year old and 5 week old I was considering the following set up:

  • upper pressing: alternate 3 mini (10 minute) heavy pressing or higher rep push-ups/dips (8-15 rep range)
  • pulling: pull ups at the park 1-2x/week for 25-50 reps; superset pressing with bodyweight rows and band pull aparts
  • lower body: deadlifts and front squats at the gym or if not possible trap bar deadlift at home (3x5).
  • weighted vest walking 30 minutes during lunch break 2x/week

Current stats reference: 31 years old, 190 lbs,~22% body fat, 5’10",
My main limitation is not being able to go to the gym regularly and having to make use of home equipment

If I can remember the times I had a 5 week old clearly enough, your main focus should be collecting a few moments of real sleep. Ha!

If going to the park for chins will be difficult to do regularly, a home doorway bar would be pretty cheap. I used to have my kids sit down Indian style on my upper back and do sets of pushups that way. Trying to balance them is a workout in itself. That might be fun with your older child. :slight_smile:

It’s tough with kids in tow, do your best when they’re asleep or whenever the wife is there too. I used to have my son in the garage with me in his bouncy chair thing while I lifted, until he got old enough to be moving around

My 2.5 year old likes to get on my back when I do push-ups. What I’m going to have to do is do short workouts after the kids go to sleep and focus my strength work on kb press, push-ups, pull-ups, swings and pistol squats. With a low deadlift max of 280 lbs, I wouldn’t be surprised if it went up just focusing a few months on the above.


Due to time constraints I’ve built up a home gym over the years. I don’t like going to the gym and don’t want to waste the time. I’ve a 5, 3, and 1 year old at home so I like to maximize my time. If you don’t mind spending a little money you could pick up a kettlebell to add more variety at home.

I feel ya buddy, I got a 3 year old and a 7 month old. Sleep is RARE as most of the time the younger one is up most of the night. But I get up at 4 am mon-Friday to train. I got a power rack with built in cables and some adjustable dumbbells in the garage. If it’s something your interested in you can find a decent used rack for decent price and used plates for about 50 cents a lb. getting up early let’s me spend the amount of time I want/ need to lift while everyone is sleeping. Good luck!

I know a home gym setup is the best option and I’ll work on building that over the next couple years. I Have kettlebell sand dumbbells at home, it’s just a matter of figuring out a logical progression

I’d recommend looking into Dan John’s The Hard Style Kettlebell Challenge and Pavel’s Simple and Sinister. Both can readily done at home and can be integrated with other workouts.

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Use your home equipment to do something similar. My friend just had a baby and he lifts at his home for 30 min a day using this template. He said to me “I’m just in survival mode right now, but I know I can sneak in 20-30 minutes a day”.

He has a squat stand, so he literally just squats, deadlifts, rows, chinups, push ups, and overhead press as his staples. No program, just going heavy and hard for 30 min. He’ll superset so he’ll jump rope or do abs between squats or deadlifts. For upper body he does the typical superset push and pull.


If your schedule is sporadic, pare it down to the most basic basics and don’t try sticking to a very detailed concrete split. The OLAD plan Nutty posted is a great choice since sessions will be brief.

Dan John’s 10,000 swing routine is another way to get some good solid work done in minimal time. Or focus on increasing reps and weight on the DB clean and press. That’s another big move that hits a whole bunch of muscle.

Something like this is a way to approach it differently, minimalist with just two sessions per week. Stuff like pull-ups at the park and lunchtime walks, I’d treat like NEPA and throw them in whenever you can.


I’ve learned this myself with no kids lol.

I think the whole message is just put in work however, whenever you can. That will at least maintain anything you’ve built and who knows maybe add some more lbs to your lifts!

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That’s the name of the game. It’s literally survival mode. If you can squeeze out 30-45 min 3x week that’s solid. I have an 18 mo and another on the way. I’ve tried to do the 4:30am workout but it’s not realistic given my daughters sleep habits and schedule. The only thing I’d say is realize survival mode may last a couple of years. Kids are unpredictable. Good luck!

Some good suggestions in this thread. Today during lunch I did Kroc rows (1x10, 1x26) and 50 reps of kb swings with 55 lbs… these quick mini workouts are how most of my workouts will be, focusing on a few key movements (clean and press, goblet/pistol squats, push-ups, swings, rows). I’m also going to look into a closer gym that would allow me time to go during lunch.