30 Minutes to Train? Get After It!

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Recently, someone asked me, what can I do if I only have 30 minutes to train?  At first I wasn't quite sure how to tackle this.  As a strength coach, I plan things out months in advance for my athletes.  I lay out the dynamic warm-ups, power work, strength training, and conditioning weeks or even months in advance. All sets, reps, and rest periods are accounted for in a 60-minute period.  I hadn't considered a 30-minute time constraint, but what a great challenge and question. After giving it some thought here's what I came up with!

Eliminate Excess in your warm-up

Although the warm-up is a crucial part of any training session, when it comes to warranting a training effect it's lowest on the totem pole.  It may be fun to foam roll for 10 minutes, stretch with a band for 5 more, and perform 10 different corrective exercises, but it isn’t practical for a 30-minute session.  When crunched for time eliminate the excess and pick 2-3 corrective exercises you need and something to get your heart rate up!  Then you will be ready to rock your training session!

Prioritize The Most Important Exercises

This may sound obvious, but often people confuse their favorite exercise for the most important.  Although you may love hitting 3 different variations of a bicep curl, this has no place in your 30-minute training session.  Prioritize compound multi-joint exercises (squats, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups) that build strength and burn lots of calories. 

Include Supersets

You no longer have time to sit and rest for 2-3 minutes between sets of your main exercise.  Substitute active rest correctives and non-competing movements.  This allows the main muscle groups rest while working on mobility and keeping your heart rate up. An example of this could be:

·      A1. Trap Bar Deadlift X5 Reps

·      A2. 90/90 Hip Stretch X3 ea.

·      A3. TRX Row X10

Utilize High Intensity Conditioning

With a time constraint you no longer have time for 20 minutes on the elliptical or HIT 3 500m rows.  You have to push the intensity for a short time!  A great example of this would be Tabata Bike Sprints. Here you alternate between 20s of work and 10s of rest.  In 4 minutes you can get 8 rounds of this and feel totally gassed. 

Time Everything!

If you want to ensure you get all the work in, you have to be on it!  Get out that stopwatch or timer (there's no time for texting). This will keep your heart rate high and ensure you don’t waste valuable time! Set the timer and get as much done in the allotted time. 

·      Warm-up- 5 minutes

·      Strength Training A Block- 10 minutes

·      Strength Training B Block- 10 minutes

·      Conditioning- 5 minutes


The next time you are short on time, come in with a plan and Get After It! We are all busy, but I know that you can make room for 30 minutes of training in your day to get moving!  Now, a time constraint can't be a reason to skip training. Here is a sample 30-minute workout. 

Warm-up- 5 minutes

·      Glute Bridge w/ Reach X5 ea.

·      Alternating Spiderman w/ Reach X5 ea.

·      Squat to Stand w/ OH Squat X10

·      500m Row

Strength Training A Block- 10 minute AMRAP

·      A1. Trap Bar Deadlift X5 Reps

·      A2. 90/90 Hip Stretch X3 ea.

·      A3. TRX Row X10

Strength Training B Block- 10 minute AMRAP

·      B1. DB Reverse Lunge X5 ea.

·      B2. Push-ups X10

·      B3. Prone DB Drag X5 ea.

Conditioning- 5 minutes

·      Tabata Bike Sprints - 8 rounds of 20s on/10s Off


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