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Routine if You Can Lift Many Days/Wk, but for Short Periods of Time?

As of now, I have access to a gym at work (power rack, bench, pylo box, chin up bar, cardio machines, cable machines and DBs going up to 75) it’s not perfect, but it can do the job.

The issue is (well not really an issue, but you get it), I get to work 1 hour, then I’m on break for 1 hour (8 hours days). During my 1 hour break, by the time I change and warm up, I have about 50 mins left and after I have to shower and get dressed, so that’s another 10 mins, which leaves me with approx 40 mins of solid work out time.

I also have a gym 5 mins from home (parents home) with a trap bar, dip station, GHR, boxes, power rack, weight vest, 600+lbs in weights, bands of all colors in pairs etc. So on my off days, that’s always an option.

I’ve been stuck on a few lifts for a while, the job training I’m doing is very demanding so I’ve kinda maintained my lifts for the last 2-3 years. Now, I’d like to smash some PRs and reach my strength potential, I don’t wanna look back at 50 and regret not going at it hard enough in my younger years.

A bit of background infos on me to help those with more experience asses the situation better: I’m 28, 6’0 215lbs 14.6% BF (might +/- 2% as it was caliper tested, but I have visible abs when relaxed). I’ve suffered a recurring lower back injury a few years back and ever since then conventional deadlifts have been a no go for me, I just can’t get a neutral lower back when pulling off the floor. I’ve switch to trap bar deadlifts, GHR, did band back extensions and my lower back feels great now.

My main issue regarding the routine, is that I haven’t been able to stick to a detailed program, both because sometimes I get unlimited time to workout at home, while others I only get 40mins and because some mornings I’m up at 430AM and got to bed at 11PM, so the next day I’m not exactly up for a puke inducing workout. Would a routine with a ‘‘minimum’’ of X exercises, with the option of adding more be something viable? I could also accumulate volume over the day, with multiple breaks (ex: 2-3 sets of facepull during a 1 hour break after doing back before).

This is a list of exercises that I love and that I feel great doing (no joint pain):
Trap Bar Deadlift (HH)
Box Squats (15’’ - slightly below parallel or 18’’ - slightly above parallel)
Hill Sprints
Back Extensions

Chin Ups (Weighted)
Seal Rows
DB Rows
Inverted Rows
Face Pulls

Bench Press
Incline DB Press
Lateral Raises
Weighted Push Ups / Dips

Reverse Planks
AB Roller
Farmer’s Walk

I’m not really looking to gain size, I’m more concerned about strength at this point. I feel like my pulling strength is decent, legs are ok and pushing is really bad.

Bench: 11 x 225 (touch n go)
Press: 9 x 135 (bar down to upper chest)
Chin Ups: 5 x BW(210)+82.5 (pulling to mid neck)
Trap Deadlift: 8 x 495 (straps, touch n go)
Box Squat (18’’): 6 x 405

I was thinking of something like this:

Monday - PUSH
Press 5 x 5

Tuesday - LOWER
Box Squat 5 x 5

Wedesday - PULL
Weighted Chin Ups 5 x 5

Thursday - PUSH
Bench 5 x 5 (paused)

Friday - LOWER
Trap Deadlift 5 x 5

Saturday - PULL
Weighted Inverted Rows 5 x 5

Sunday - OFF / CARDIO

And I would add assistance work to each workout as time permits (for example if I have 20 mins left after my bench, I would do some Tricep Extensions, Lateral raises etc and during the same day on future breaks I would try to accumulate 50 BW Dips, something along those lines.)

Sorry for the long thread, if anyone reads it, any insight would be appreciated!

I’ve been in this position before. Your plan looks good.

But I think to get the best bang for your buck you are going to have to superset or giant set. 40 minutes of “training time” is plenty of time to get some quality work done. Any template from upper/lower, push/pull, full body will work.

You could easily do something like:

Bench Press 5x5 (ss: DB Rows 5x10)
Incline DB Press 4x8 (ss: Inverted Rows 4x15)
Push Ups 5xF (ss: Face Pulls 4x20)

Box Squat 5x5 (ss: Ab Wheel)
Trap Bar Deadlift 4x8 (ss: Back Ext 4x12)
Farmers Walk

OH Press 5x5 (ss: Weighted Chin-Ups 5x5)
Dips 5x10-20 (ss: Seal Rows 5x10)
Lateral Raises 3x20 (ss: Face Pulls 4x20)

Trap Bar Deadlift 5x5 (ss: GHR 4x10)
Box Squat 4x8 (ss: Ab Roller 5x10)
Hill Sprints

You can EASILY finish these workouts within 40 minutes. Just gotta push the pace a bit. Then after like 8 weeks you can swap out the 5x5 for like 4x8 for 4-6 weeks and repeat again or something.

EDIT: Changed the layout so you understand what i mean by the supersets.

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Thanks for the reply.

I didn’t really think of doing super sets with the antagonist muscles. The Trap DL / Squats super sets will be really rough. I might have to start with fairly light weights as my work capacity will be bad initially.

I liked the way you split it up, with Farmer’s Walks and Hill Sprints for both lower days as assistance. Combines cardio and assistance nicely I think.

Yep, supersetting as much as possible is a perfect way to shave off training time without skimping on work.

In terms of overall plans, you could also consider EDT, since it’s very strictly time-based, or Dan John’s “easy strength” approach with daily sessions but low volume (so, quicker workouts).

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Do not super set the lower body movements! I edited it my post above to more accurately reflect what i mean.

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I definitely like the approach of Dan John in easy strength…

Something like

Bench Press
Chin Ups
Trap Deadlift
Box Squat
Farmer’s Walk

I’d rather Press instead of Bench, but I feel like solely Pressing would neglect the chest quite a bit. Do you think there’s any way around that? Like using the Press, but doing 2-3 sets of push ups / dips daily just to maintain horizontal pushing power.

@JZT, I was reading through Dan John’s stuff again, and there is an article where he talks about olympic wrestler Dan Gable who said that if it’s important, do it every day, and if it’s not important, don’t do it. Then, either there, or somewhere else, Dan John talks about how he went through a time getting buried in the catch position of his snatches, so he loaded up his barbell with 165#, and every morning did two sets of five front squats, and that little bit of extra work seemed to fix the problem.

Putting those together along with easy strength, and this is what I’m doing and it seems to be working well. Note that my weights are very light and unimpressive. Over the years, I’ve lifted much heavier, but as I’ve gotten older, and at 50, I don’t feel old, but my body complains if I try and do what I did in my 30s. Also, I’m finding that getting everything back in balance, leads to less pain.

Every day I do pull-ups, overhead press, front squats, deadlifts, bench press, and ab work. However, each day is also a focus day for one of the major lifts.

Here’s the base routine:
PU - BW x 8 varying grips
Press - 45x20, 95x5x2
Front Squats - 45x10, 95x10, 135x5x2 it’s about time to move up on these
Deadlift - 225x5x2 one set conventional, one set sumo
Bench press - 45x20x2, 95x10, 135x5x2
Ab wheels - 5x2

Monday and Thursday are days I work bench press, and on those days, I also do dumbbell flys for sets of 20 with a stretch. This has really helped my shoulder pain. Right now, I’m doing a double progression reps, then more weight. When I can nail 3 sets of 12 reps with 135, then I’ll add weight and drop back down to sets of 8.

Tuesday is front squats, and I’m doing sets of 5.
Wednesday is back where I do t-bar rows, and dumbbell rows.
Friday is deadlift day, where I work up to some moderately heavy triples.

Here’s the thing, and I don’t know how to really explain it, but while I’ve lifted heavier weights, the weights I’m lifting now weren’t as easy then as they are now. For example, I’ve done more pullups, but then, it was like I had to yank myself up over the bar whereas now, I can pull myself up in a controlled manner because my strength endurance is up for the first time in my life.

Or, when I do deadlifts with 225#, that’s not really an impressive weight, but it feels incredibly easy, like I straight up own the weight, where previously, it was light, but not easy if that makes any sense at all.

In either case, I hope getting another perspective might spark a thought or two. Usually, this takes me right around an hour start to finish.

Monday: Squat
Tuesday: Bench
Wednesday: Squat
Thursday: Bench
Friday: Deadlift
Saturday: Bench
Sunday: Rest

Work up to a few heavy sets followed by a few light sets. Try to make consistent increases on the heavy sets. If you feel like it, or have time, do one or two assistant or complimentary lifts for a few lighter sets. If you aren’t feeling up to going heavy on a particular day, just go light or do a variation. I lifted like this for a few years when I had a gym across the street. Most sessions were under an hour. I was always recovered because I never did very much in one session. Most importantly, you get more frequency on lifts. I think you have a perfect scenario to make this work.

why don’t you try the 5/3/1 original program by Jim wendler ? 4 times a week, last no more than 45 mins. Gain in strenght and size are crazy



That seems like an awesome routine if you’re solely into powerlifting. Probably what I would do personally if I was only trying to improve those 3 lifts. However, I’d really like to increase my Press and Weighted Chins as well.


Thanks for the insight, seems like you have a well put routine that works great for you.

@isdatnutty and @Chris_Colucci

I decided to do something very similar to the easy strength article from Dan John, not exactly the same for practical purposes.

At my work gym the box starts at 20’’, which is too high for box squats and there’s no trap bar. At home, I can do pretty much anything, except strict standing press, I have to either kneel, go outside (which adds a lot of time to the workout + winter is a pain) or attach the weights suspended to the bar from bands.

I’ve decided to do something like this (left exercise = home, right exercise = work):

SQUAT (Box Squat 15-18’’ or Front Squat)
PUSH (Bench or Press)
HINGE (Trap Deadlift or Power Clean)
PULL (Chin Ups or Pull Ups)
ASSISTANCE (GHR, Back Ext, Split Squats, Dips, Push Ups, Incline DB Press, Tricep Ext, Seal Rows, Face Pulls, Curls, AB Roller)

Alternating with 2 sets of 5 for 3 lifts and 6 singles (ramping up for the remaining lift).

Which would look something like this:

Day 1 - Monday - HOME GYM

SQUAT - Box Squat 18’’ - 5 x 2
PUSH - Bench (2s pause) - 5 x 2
HINGE - Trap Deadlift - 5 x 2
PULL - Weighted Chin Ups - 6 x 1
ASSIST: Back Extensions 2 x 20

Day 2 - Tuesday - WORK GYM

PUSH - Press - 5 x 2
HINGE - Power Clean - 5 x 2
PULL - Weighted Pull Ups - 5 x 2
SQUAT - Front Squat - 6 x 1
ASSIST: Face Pulls 2 x 20

Day 3 - Wednesday - WORK GYM

HINGE - Power Clean- 5 x 2
PULL - Weighted Pull Ups - 5 x 2
SQUAT - Front Squat - 5 x 2
PUSH - Press - 6 x 1
ASSIST: AB Roller 2 x 20

Day 4 - Thursday - WORK GYM

PULL - Weighted Pull Ups - 5 x 2
SQUAT - Front Squat - 5 x 2
PUSH - Press - 5 x 2
HINGE - Power Clean - 5 x 2
ASSIST: Farmer’s Walk 3 x 50m

Day 5 - Friday - HOME GYM

SQUAT - Box Squat 15’’ - 5 x 2
PUSH - Bench (2s pause) - 5 x 2
HINGE - Trap Deadlifts - 5 x 2
PULL - Weighted Chin Ups - 6 x 1
ASSIST: GHR 3 x 10

Day 6 - Saturday

Yoga/Stretching, Light Cardio, Core Work, Lateral Raises/Face Pulls

Day 7 - Sunday

Yoga/Stretching, Light Cardio, Core Work, Back Extensions/AB Roller

I understand it’s not the exact same routine as the one suggested, but I find that it covers the very high frequency / very short workouts, as well as using a limited range of exercises to improve on them.

I’ll definitely keep you guys updated, very excited to try this.

Order the wheelchair now