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Training Programs for a Busy Schedule

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Even if you don’t have several hours 5-6 days of the week to train you can still make some serious progress towards your strength and physique goals. Paired with solid nutrition, training smarter not harder can save you time AND give you some rockin’ gains.

We compiled a few programs that fit the bill of being effective and efficient to show you just how easy it can be to regularly fit in training. One of the most important elements of finding the perfect program is finding one that works for your lifestyle!

Ice Cream Fitness 5x5 Novice Workout

Time commitment: 3 days per week, approximately 90 minutes each session

  • Fundamental full body strength and power program
  • Bodybuilding accessory work

P.H.U.L Workout

Time commitment: 4 days per week, approximately 45-60 minutes each session

  • Intermediate power and hypertrophy program
  • For athletes new to hypertrophy or high volume training, be flexible with how many sets you perform for the first few weeks

Strong by Bret

Time commitment: 3-4 days per week, approximately 60 minutes each session

  • Full body workouts designed for athletes of all ages, with a glute-building focus.
  • 3-4 Full body training days per week
  • Optional strength/power programing and glue burnout circuit
  • Circuits have 3 options, bodyweight, dumbbells, bands

Lyle McDonald’s Generic Bulking Routine

Time commitment: 4 days per week, but can be adapted to 3 days, 60-90 minutes each session

  • Intermediate strength and hypertrophy training program
  • Fantastic for adding lean mass while maintaining strength
  • Flexible programming that allows exercise substitution based on preferences and equipment availability

So, if you already have a program that you love, or are a bit short on time, how can you make it a little more efficient without sacrificing your training quality?


Supersets, when used correctly can be a lifesaver. This means that instead of taking a normal rest between sets, you perform an exercise that targets a separate muscle group instead. For example, bicep curls and abs. This should be reserved for accessory movements, rather than compound lifts.

Timed Rest

Okay, we can all get a little carried away with flipping through the ’gram, or finding the perfect song for our next set, but that time adds up! Rest times should be about 45-60 seconds for hypertrophy movements and 90-120 seconds for strength or power movements. Run a timer on your phone or watch to make sure you’re not wasting time.

Avoid Peak Times at the Gym

If you can help it, train at times where the gym is quieter. If you need to wait 5 minutes for a squat rack or machine, it can feel like you’re stuck in traffic. Choosing a time where you won’t need to wait for equipment or work in with someone else will get you back in the fast lane.

With a few edits to how you train and by following a thoughtfully written program, it can be easy to get in and out of the gym while still getting after your goals.

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Posted by Kate Hart

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