T Nation

Short, Daily Workouts?


I just bought a squat rack, bench and free weights for the basement and am going to start working out at home for a change. I'm hoping it helps to keep life a little simpler with the kids and all. I was thinking of lifting 5 days a week, for about 45 minutes each session, and I don't know how to best plan it out. I've only lifted 3-4 days a week in the past so I'm not sure how to best break up movements/body parts/rep ranges/etc. I will throw in a few cardio sessions throughout the week or on the weekend.

My goals are pretty much to maintain right now, and focus on strength. (and be consistent with my diet!) I was reading that maybe OLAD would be good, can anyone suggest a good way to set it up? Any other ideas? I like to keep things as simple as possible and have it all laid out ahead of time so I just follow my written routine. Thanks a bunch!


Hi Jill, Ijust read your post and I think 5 days a week training is a good way to train to maintain stregth, and even to gain some. However, I think doing 45 minutes per day is a bit much, it always depends upon intensity I guess but I have had a lot of success keeping my workouts under 30 minutes when doing 5-6 sessions a week, with one or 2 lifts per day. Of course, if you split itupper lower I guess 45 could work, I just think it gets kinda long, I would rather just do it and get out quickly. Anyway just a thought.


That's good to know. I could do 30 minutes and maybe add on 10 minutes of cardio (or not). Any sample workouts you can share? Thanks!


I think it is a good idea. Especially if you are fired up about it. I would use a basic template to set up your schedule.

  1. Back
  2. Chest
  3. Legs
  4. OFF
  5. Arms
  6. Shoulder & Trap
  7. OFF

In 45 minutes by yourself you would have plenty of time to get a great workout in.

Any other ideas let me know, the idea is appealing to me as well.



I was thinking of doing something similar. Lately I've been a little unfocused regarding my training (working more hours than I care to), but I still want to do something, so this is what I'm thinking of doing :

Monday : bench press / row
Tuesday : squat
Wednesday : mil press / chins
Thursday : deadlift or front squat
Friday : incline press / Rows or chins

Not sure of the rep ranges though, but I want to keep them low, so something like 8x3 or 4x6 seems possible.


I've read that it's not such a good idea to focus on body part splits, but rather planes of movement. I was thinking maybe

M - horizontal push (bench)
T - quad dominant (squat)
W - vertical pull (chin)
R - horizontal pull (row)
F - hip dominant (deadlift)
S - vertical push (military press)
S - off

Personally, I enjoy lifting 5x5 and I usually keep the weight the same with roughly 1-1.5 min rest periods. I just feel unsure about setting a routine up myself. How many exercises per day? ie. just flat bench or should I do a few variations? I'll probably throw some abs, arms and calves in there, too. Hey, I can curl in my own squat rack!


I currently work out at my home gym and I love it! I use the blond bomber's schedule 3 on 1 off 3 on 2 off and this seems to let me work out alot while still getting plenty of rest. I use an antagonistic plane of movement split shown here:

(4x8 Cycle)
Day 1 Vertical Push/Pull/Accessory
Rear Delt Row
Band Chinups
Barbell Decline Situps
Farmer's Walk

Day 2 Horizontal Push/Pull/Accessory
Close Grip Bench Press
(Drop Set) Seated Cable Rows w/stirrup handle
Barbell Good Mornings
(5x5) Crush Grip Plate Loaded

Day 3 Legs Push/Pull/Accessory
Trap Bar Deadlifts
Barbell Calf Raises
Sled Drag

Day 4 off

(5x5 Cycle)
Day 5 Vertical Push/Pull/Accessory
Standing Barbell Military Press
Trap Bar Shrugs
Barbell Reverse Curl
(Drop Set) Side Bends

Day 6 Horizontal Push/Pull/Accessory
Thick Bar Bench Press
T-Bar Rows
Wrist Roller Strap (2 Sets of 5 each way)
(Drop Set) Rotator Work

Day 7 Legs Push/Pull/Accessory
Barbell Full Squats
Barbell Stiff Legged Deadlifts
Barbell Curls

Day 8 off
Day 9 off


blue9steel, that's good stuff - thanks! How long do those workouts take you?


I think a really good workout routine for you would be a 3-5x3-5 routine.

-3 to 5 exercises a day
-3 to 5 days a week
-3 to 5 sets
-3 to 5 reps per set
-3 to 5 minutes rest between sets

And include bodyweight moves. I'm on a routine based off of this, only rests periods aren't really following anything but my instinct.


squat day
dl day
OH press day
Bench day
chins day
BO row day.

Cant beat it IMO. do those and really do them and hell you can do what the hell else you feel like and rest assured youve done your work for the week.

Congrats on the home gym


CW's high frequency articles proposed a weekly progression of adding workouts. Naturally starting at 3. So you could allways follow that advice until you geto 5 workouts a week and hold it at that. Not to mention there is allways the option of adding in specific workouts for GPP, some health based stuff (eric and mike), cardio, etc....

Ive been doing TBT for 3 days then renegade rope training with some extra work for the lifts i suck at (Lunges + pull ups) on off days.


Thanks for all the input! Phill, that sounds like what I was thinking about, so I'll give that a try to start. I also like the 3-5x3-5 suggestion. I'll be trying to fit these in while the baby naps and my older boy is playing in the cellar near me. If that fails, I'll try before they wake up in the morning.


If you're trying to simplify your life I don't think lifting 5 days a week is a move in the right direction. That's just my opinion.

However, along that line, if you just wanted to maintain and keep things simple, you could do two full body workouts a week. Provided you maintained intensity, that's more than enough to maintain strength and lbm levels. Combine it with 2-3 cardio sessions and your golden.


45 minutes 5 days a week was the program that got me to really start making progress again.

Days 1 and 2 were upper and lower body done lighter and for reps (gunning for 15-20 reps)

Days 3 and 4 I placed more emphasis on continuous tension. Again day 3 was upper and day 4 was lower. Gunning for 8-12 reps

5 was off

6 was power moves-squat, bench, dead, overhead, heavy rows or chins-jut pick 3-4 and a weight that you can't get more than about 5-6 reps on. 3 x 3 works well, or start with 3 x 2 and try to build up to 3 x 3 or 3 x 4

Day 7 off

I set a 45 minute time limit from the start of my first work set.

I also cut back to no more than 2 hard sets

Week 1 was 3 sets of 4 exercises each day
Week 2 was 4 sets
Week 3 was 5 sets

Then weeks 4-6 I cut back to just 1-2 sets but tried to push just a little harder. That's when I really improved.

Then repeat the 6 week cycle-but feel free to change the exercises.



I am not going to suggest any routines or that sort of thing....there is a ton of info (as you know) here and you will get some good advice from your devoted clan of followers....

What I will suggest is whatever program you use it has to fit into your life as it is now or you will drop it. Get yourself two timers: one for timing the rest cycle between reps/sets and the other for the entire workout. When that one dings or dongs or beeps you stop. Think of it as a modified EDT. If you did not get your whole workout in, that is your next target. Reduce rest times or whatever.

But what ever routine or amount of time you pick, it needs to fit into your life or you will resent it and drop it.....and post here to let us know how you are doing to keep yourself motivated. Better yet, if there is a blog section here, do a blog and keep the world posted of your progress....


More good suggestions, thanks guys! I just finished my first official home workout and it was great. My son was behaving and having fun playing down there so I wound up going for about 45 min. 5x5 squats with a few curls, dips and pullups thrown in.

In the time I would have spent packing the sippy cups and snacks, driving to/from the gym, dropping off and picking up the kids from the daycare my workout is done!

I noticed that I grunted more in the privacy of my own home on the squats :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks again for the suggestions, now I have several different ideas to vary between.