T Nation

Working Out Only 1 - 3 Times Per Week


Due to severe time constraints, I can only hit the gym maybe 1 or 2 or 3 times per week. I'd say 3 would be pushing it and two would probably be closer to what I can do (for now least). Sometimes, these two or 3 days are consecutive while other weeks they are split apart.

What kind of routine do you guys think I should follow? I was thinking maybe just doing an upper and lower body split for two days...

For example
Wk 1 D1 Upper Body (3-4 sets x6-8 reps)
Barbell Bench
Military Press
Seated Row
Lat Pulldown or Pullups
Hammer Curls
Tri Extensions

Wk1 D 2 (3-4 sets x6-8 reps)
Front Squat
Leg Curls or another exercise for the hams
Calf Raises

What do you guys think if I just keep alternating between these two every time I workout?

Any exercises you guys think I should add or switch?


How many hours are you working per week?
Sleep per night?
What are your favorite TV Shows


What are "severe time constraints?"


I'm a believer in hitting a bodypart more than once per week. I just happen to make better progress that way. You could do maybe two whole-body routines or a split routine with considerable overlap.

Maybe shift emphasis from upper to lower with a whole-body routine. Perhaps on day one you'd do all upper-body exercises for one set each, but do 3-4 (or whatever) sets for all lower-body exercises. Then, on day two, you'd reverse it and do the lower-body exercises for only one set each and do the upper-body for more volume. That way you're not in the gym forever trying to get thru a whole-body routine.

If doing a split routine, maybe have chest on one day and shoulders and triceps on the next, to provide some overlap. And maybe lats and squats on one day and deadlifts on the next, again to provide some overlap.

Anyways, hope that helps.


Everyone can sacrifice 1 hour a day to exercise. Don't give us that bs excuse.


Some feel three day splits are better, especially for natural trainees with more limited recovery.


Not even, takes me about 30 mins to hit the weights.

3-4 exercises
3-4 sets per exercise


Thanks for the only useful response so far!

The idea about shifting emphasis does sound good. So something like the following:

Upper Body Day (3-4 sets x6-8 reps)
Barbell Bench
Military Press
Seated Row
Lat Pulldown or Pullups
Hammer Curls
Tri Extensions

THEN the following for 1 set x10-12 reps
Front Squat
Leg Curls or another exercise for the hams
Calf Raises

Lower Body: just reverse the order and do lower body first

The only thing I see with this is that it will take forever! Definitely over an hour and even pushing twoâ?¦unless I supersetâ?¦.


Yeah, because the other replies weren't useful. Instead of actually taking responsibility for you life, you'd rather just cop out. Unless of course there is justified reasons, but you have to remember the time excuse is the #1 reason people list as an excuse, when it's usually just an excuse.

If you were to get paid $1million dollars each day you workout (but you can't quit your job), how many days would you work out then?


LOL if you have time to post and then respond to someone's post you have time to go to the gym...


Training 2-3 times per week:


Honestly I'm going on a small vacation this week to go white water rafting in Pennsylvania.

With that being said I had to cram my workout in.

I was able to train my entire body in 3 days and got in very intense workouts going all out and setting pr's.


Chest and Tris Mon afternoon, Delts at night

Back Tues afternoon, Biceps at night

Legs and Claves Wednesday

8-20 sets for each bodypart, ramping all the way. Sore as fuck right now and I love it.


I dont know you, but you sound like mr.excuses..... You ask for advice on training twice a week, and then complain about the lenght of a session. Of course it will take longer than normal sessions! I like the upper and lower spilt as mentioned though.

And i doubt you have time issues, if you watch tv, you dont have time issues. if you do in fact have time issues, get up an hour earlier than you do now and you can train 7 days a week if you wish.



Perhaps row or pulldowns but not both on the same day? And maybe, instead of squats and deads and leg curls, do only squats and leg curls on one day and deads with a second thigh exercise on the other.

And yes, I think a superset approach might save some time. See what pieces of equipment are relatively close together at the gym. Can you do a set of calf raises during the rest period for bench presses? Or a set of leg curls while you're resting between sets of pulldowns? You couldn't this for everything, obviously. But maybe you can stagger sets of lower body here and there, so that by the time you're done with upper body, you'd maybe only have squats left to do.

So, maybe it would look like this:

bench press, 3 sets (do set of leg curl during one of the rests)
overhead press, 3 sets (do set of calf raise during one of the rests)
tri extensions, 3 sets
rows, 3 sets
curls, 3 sets
forearms, 1 set (take advantage of the forearms being worked already with curls by going straight into the forearm exercise)
squat, 1 set

Then, on the other day, maybe something like:

bench press, 1 set
overhead press, 1 set
deadlifts, 4 sets (do set of pulldowns during one of the rests)
calf raises, 3 sets (do 1 set of curls during one of the rests)
leg press, 3 sets
forearms, 3 sets (do set of triceps during one of the rests)

Anyways, just some suggestions you can play around with. Deadlifts would even fit as a back exercise more than a leg exercise. If you put deads on upper-body-emphasis day, you wouldn't have to do much else for legs on that day. Or maybe come up with a split that has enough overlap to work everything twice per week.


Due to severe time constraints, I can only hit the gym maybe 1 or 2 or 3 times per week.

I used to be just like you Gup..... . . . . . . . .

Then I got tired of being a fatass, so I got up an hour earlier.


What is up with these Mr. Get-your-life-straight douchebags on this website? I asked for a simple question but instead of answering the question I get a gang of "I-know-it-alls" chiming in. Thanks but no thanks....

dowintucson - sounds good. I was kinda worried about doing front squats and deads on the same day. I see you totally took out squats altogether for extended sets...you just overlooked it or purposely didn't include them? The other way to squeeze in exercises is unique. Never thought of it that way...


I love you all T-Nation brothers and sisters, but sometimes you guys are real assholes, lol. Anyway, GUP, that routine is perfectly fine. But if you have even less time, this routine, similar to what you did, but a few tweaks, will get you out in 40 minutes, tops.

Upper Body Day (3-4 sets x6-8 reps) (60-90 seconds rest between sets)
A1. Dumb-bell flat bench
A2. Pull-ups

B1. Standing Push-Press
B2. Bent-over barbell rows

C1. Dips (keep body upright to emphasize tri-ceps)
C2. Standing bar-bell curls


Lowerbody- same rep scheme and rest intervals

A1. Front squat
A2. Barbell good mornings

B1. Deadlifts
B2. Barbell lunges

C1. Calve raises
C2. Abs


Because its a bodybuilding forum, the serious about training people here dont train 1-3 times a week, and 3 times is pushing it..... We dont understand a person missing training if they are serious about it. We dont wanna hear about not being able to train etc, because most of us dont miss training.

If you gave a reason for not being able to train, then i might be able to see the context of your situation and might be able to understand.

Anyway as i said i like the upper/lower spilt. Hope everything works out for you.



This looks nice. Good job :)....
Gup if i were you, i would create time to train like a bodybuilder or follow this.

(if it sounds like im being a cunt im not, tough love id say)


Paul496 it's all good man. I don't take anything personally but still give a guy a break lol...

Appreciate the workout routines guys! dratner thanks man! That does like a good routine...if you didn't have to cut it under 40, what else would you add? I don't have time everyday to go but, when I do go, I can dedicate upwards of two hours in the gym. I just want to do something thorough...I was also thinking of implementing some OLY lifts into my workouts but just haven't figured out what and where exactly. Before, when I did oly style lifts I would usually dedicate one or two exercises per week and would just switch 'em around.