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Economy Schedules

By David Gentle  No Bull Collection

Multi marathon workouts, splitting the split routines and giant sets are all very well for professional bodybuilders, fanatics or people who don't have to earn a living...

But many other people wish to train with weights and expect to make progress but are naturally apprehensive to say the least over the thought of having to endure long schedules. And more, realistically, are seeking shorter or even abbreviated routines which still bring results. Not everyone wishes to become a gym bum - there is life after the gym. So for shift workers, business people, or those who have to be more economical with their time, and thus require short and more PRODUCTIVE workouts. Here follows some ideas to save time and yet still bring about results.

David Gentle and Joe Abbenda,
former Mr America and Mr Universe 1962/63

Photo Courtesy - David Gentle

The routines are graded from brief to medium length workouts. Please note that SHORT does not imply EASY. For example, the first suggestion of ONE exercise routines can be very strenuous when applied correctly and with zeal. Remember the prime requisite for a short exercise routine is that the exercises practiced must involve as many large muscle groups as possible and call into play the bodies vital organs, ie., lungs and heart with strenuous exercise. For example it would be useless to make up a workout with small isolated exercises such as concentrated curls, dumbbell laterals, wrist exercises etc.

Suggestions for those with only FIVE MINUTES a day to spare.
Just three sessions a week and lets face it this is possible for EVERYONE. Hardly time to clean your teeth? We suggest training Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Certainly if you can not find time for health, then you will HAVE to take time off for illness. But we appreciate there are genuine cases of people who do have a hectic work load and heavy social schedules to meet, so leaving little time. So for those people, we suggest working hard on just ONE EXERCISE! So choose from ONE of the following:

FREE SQUATS, or deep knee bends.
Note you don’t even have to possess a barbell or weights. The weight of your own body is enough to give you a tough workout. Progress by working up repetitions. At first it may be just ten or twenty you can make, then increase the reps gradually up to thirty or forty - even going into the hundreds. All good exercise, will make you call upon your lungs to gasp for breath, pump your legs and help you add muscle ALL OVER. Progress by also doing squat jumps, or gradually working into SINGLE LEG SQUAT, holding onto a chair or similar support for balance.

Mainly to cut down the repetitions. Progress naturally by working up to 25 reps with a light weight then gradually add extra discs as your strength grows. Use squat racks, and if possible, have someone standing close by as a spotter.

Other version of SQUATS i.e. HACK LIFTS
Where the bar is lifted to hip height from behind the legs, arms straight or STRADDLE LIFTS, wherein you, as it suggests, straddle the barbell, with hand grasping it either side and stand upright, making sure that your legs and not your back, does most of the work.

FRONT SQUATS .i.e. bar held in front of chest, elbows pointing forwards. This style ensures you keep an upright stance and is probably safer than the older type of squat if you train alone. To make life easier, whenever possible, take weights from squat racks.

Olympic style snatches with barbell
Either squat style or fore and aft method with normal progression by adding poundage. Aim for fairly high reps of 15 to 20 in all of these ONE EXERCISE routines.

Dead Lifts with barbell
The only difference from the normal power lifting program, is that you only handle medium weights and go for higher reps rather than trying low reps and maximum weights. So aim for higher than usual reps as the exercise must leave you breathless.

Can you spend TEN MINUTES a day training for just three times a week? If you do have more time, choose one of the previous major exercises i.e. SQUATS, do your first one set, which should leave you seeking extra air, and then immediately follow on with one set of light DUMBBELL PULLOVERS to aid and assist chest expansion, lat and pectoral growth.

Further ideas for other two exercise systems are:
3. Combination exercise of BARBELL CLEANS and OVERHEAD JERKS. (Ed’s Note: I know a few of them mate!)
5. Any SQUAT variation and any ROWING exercise, barbell or dumbbells

For a program which should take less than twenty minutes, but still bring about fabulous results, often better than any overlong routine, try this:

1. SQUATS, BENCH PRESS and ROWING. Try I x I5 of each. If you get more time, add extra sets and lower reps to 10.
The three basics which cover most muscle groups. Add poundage, sets and reps when time and energy allow, but at least stick to one set of each.
So you get the idea? Do your prime exercise, followed by one, two or even three important multi muscle mass moves. Only later when you have the time or inclination, do you need to add lesser shaping or isolated concentrated exercises.

Finally what else can you do, when time is limited to aid health and gain more muscle? Well many exercises can be carried out almost imperceptibly at various odd moments during the day. You can always pay attention to POSTURE. You can suck in your abdomen, performing isolations as the yoga exercise. Try also isometric type exercises at your desk or office. Rocket grip exercises can be used if you wish to strengthen your hand power. Self resistance moves work and you can also consider the use of chest expanders; cheap to buy and yet really result producing. Light to carry and useful when you go off on holiday. They must be good as most bodybuilders use them to pre pump their muscles when entering contests.

And further ideas will follow. You too may have some good ideas, like performing calf raises when waiting for the bus on the curb side or even helping the wife carry in the washing - the scope is enormous and the time spent will be worth while. Happy training.

David Gentle

From Mick Hart's "No Bull Collection"