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Quick Alternative on Long Work Days?


Hey guys, just looking for some decent advice on short workout days when I’m otherwise too busy. I recently started a new job, and am getting more hours than I know what to do with.

I typically run Back/Bi, Chest/Tri, Leg/Shoulder, and sometimes a Core/Auxiliary day; in that order.

I train for size and strength, switching it up every couple of weeks. And am relatively advanced, short of (slowly) healing shoulders and long time lower back pain (Also seeming to get better)

Basically on my long days at work, what’s your advice on a 30-40 min workout that is worth a damn, just something I can hit hard and quick and actually make progress.

Sorry for the paragraph, trying to get all the BS preliminary questions out of the way. Thank you!


PS. I’m not so much looking for a step by step, more of a minimal number of workouts and overall rep range to shoot for. Always stayed in the gym roughly an hour, and that time frame is hard to pull recently


You and I have a very different view on what pressed for time is. This is what I substitute in:

Pick a movement,
Pick a weight you can lift 15 times
Do 3 max rep sets

If there’s still time, chins.
If there’s time, 1 set of curls, band pulldown or 3 way lat raise

That’s when we’re dealing with 15 minutes or less. In 30 minutes, I’d do a 5/3/1 variant.


I’d go for Dan Johns one lift a day program. Make one day front squats.

I know you won’t follow this advice though, so the next best option is to plan 20mins of “essential” work, and then if you have more time, you can add a load of other stuff safe in the knowledge you’ve made some progress.


What I do during times like this is that I spend 20-30 minutes doing the most important work at the gym. Lets be honest here, the first 1 or 2 exercises are probably the ones bringing 80% of the gains.

Then when I’m at home, I try to squeeze in whatever assistance I can get.

Gotta let that pot simmer for 5 minutes?
3 sets of chins!

Gotta “drop the kids off at the pool”?
Sneak in some push ups!

Passing by the door way where you rigged up a band to press downs?
Its band pressdown time!

With just your own bodyweight, some bands, and a relatively light set of dumbells, you can work in a lot of assistance work at home and feel like you haven’t even lost any time. The key is to pick things that don’t need much or any warmup. So it’ll have to be on the lighter side and low stress exercises. But I’ve found it still works pretty well.


As long as you bring it on top sets can get solid results with 40 mins 2x week…


@chaoshander, If you’re pressed for the workout time but still can workout four times a week or more if you wish then CT’s 20 Minute Muscle Builder Workout is unbeatable.
CT even presented a version of it for those who prefer low reps.