The Best Shorter Workouts & How to Cut Workout Time
Finding the time to exercise can easily be one of the hardest parts of living a healthy lifestyle. There just aren't enough hours in the day sometimes, and you need to find a way to fit it in that works. The thing people don't often think about, however, is that these workouts don't have to be marathon sessions. In fact, some shorter workouts out there can be just the thing you need (and you could even be wasting time in your usual workouts!).
You're spoiled for choice too. There are tonnes of different workout styles out there to help you do it. Sticking to just one style is never a good idea anyway. It usually ends up stifling your progress if you do.
To help fix all of these problems at once, we've put together this useful guide on not only what the best shorter workouts are out there, but also, how to make your favourite workouts you do already even quicker. The more time you have outside of your exercising to enjoy life, the more likely you are to stick to it long term. It's all vital stuff.
Want to move fast? Jump to the right section below.
- Quick Weight Loss Workouts
- Making Shorter Strength Training Workouts
- What To Do Outside of Your Workouts
Quick Weight Loss Workouts
Since it's one of the biggest fitness goals out there, we'll start by looking at some quick weight loss workouts. Most people jump straight into long periods of cardio for the highest calorie burn, but if you want to really speed things up or you're in a hurry, you have options.
Workout techniques like high-intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.) are extremely effective in helping you reach your goals in the fastest amount of time. By raising your heart rate higher than cardio usually would, even with rest, you save time. This has proven to be the most effective way to burn calories in the least time, but it's seriously hard work.
The idea behind HIIT is to perform your exercise with as much effort as physically possible for short durations. An example could be 60 seconds of sprinting, before then resting for 60 seconds and then repeating for around 20 minutes. This would burn more calories than say jogging for 30-45 minutes, and in far less time. On top of all of that, as if it couldn’t get any better, it also helps you dramatically increase your stamina in the long run too!
HIIT doesn't stop there either. You can actually dilute it even more, such as Tabata training. That follows the same time-based system of using 30 seconds of exercise, 30 seconds of rest, and then repeating this for 8 rounds. This then leads you to do the same again with another exercise, totalling to 4 different exercises. Your workout will last 16 minutes in total and can give you massive results!
You can use it with pretty much any exercise imaginable, and with it only lasting around 4 minutes, it really couldn't be much shorter of a workout. For more info and a few examples to, check out the article we have on it here.
On top of all of the various cardiovascular exercises that you can do to help you lose weight, it’s also an amazing idea to start utilising weight training where you can to help you lose the weight. Cardio burns a lot of calories in one quick blast, no one can deny, but weight training takes that a little bit further.
If you use a low weight with a higher rep range, you can easily help yourself to burn a huge amount of extra calories. To an even better effect, you continue to burn calories even after you’ve finished training by doing this as your body is building muscle.
The Best Equipment for Shorter Weight Loss Workouts
Making the most of your exercise time doesn't stop there either. To really make it the best that you possibly can do, you need to look at the gear you want to use in your workouts too.
Whether you’re going for long-duration cardio, or HIIT type methods, the best thing you can do for yourself is to use very high involvement machines. The best examples of this would be to use assault bikes, cross trainers or rowing machines (although anything is going to be effective). These all incorporate more muscles being used at once, allowing you to burn the most calories in the least time.
Making Shorter Strength Training Workouts
Another of the most common training goals for your fitness is strength and muscle building. This usually involves lifting weights for sets at a time, hitting different areas of the same muscle group, or even hitting a full-body workout.
Like with exercising for weight loss again though, more often than not, these workouts can take a huge chunk out of your day. To hit your muscles well, a lot of people jump straight into thinking they need to be hitting the gym 6 times a week to hit every muscle as hard as they can, that's not always the case.
To fight this as best we can, we need to look at some shortcuts here.
One of the best ways to make sure you're hitting your muscles hard enough and in the least time are compound exercises, and they can be perfect even for shorter workouts. They hit the most muscle groups at once and help you to build real and practical strength that you can utilise outside of the gym, rather than just improving how much you can lift in one exercise. There are tonnes of benefits.
What we mean by this is instead of focusing on your bicep curls to get bigger arms, it’s better to do a hard-hitting upper body exercise like pull-ups first, as this still hits the biceps hard, but also will do most of your upper body in the process! Some exercises can even be used at the same time, like a muscle up which involves hitting all of your back as well as all of your chest, shoulders and arms, allowing you to really make the most of what you’re doing.
Set Variations & Minimal Resting
Set styles can have a massive impact on the time of your workouts. A good example of this would be changing your set styles to something like supersets. That is where you perform one exercise, before immediately proceeding to another different muscle group and doing the same with that. This means you are not wasting time resting unnecessarily whilst still really hitting different muscle groups. (There are tonnes of others out there too).
You can take this even further by reducing your rest times in general anyway. A lot of people find they are taking more than they need and actually just waste time as a result. One of the worst ways this happens is when people are distracted during their rests like using phones or talking to other people, rather than keeping their head in the game and focusing on their technique and form. Keep your focus. It makes all the difference!
What To Do Outside of Your Workouts
Factors outside of your training routines do also have a big impact on your training as well, as shouldn't be forgotten about. The amount of rest days you are allowing yourself, for example, has huge impacts on how successful the results of your workouts will be, as you only perform at your best when your body is ready to. (This applies to sleep as well, so be careful!)
Nutrition is essential as well, without the right kind of foods in your diet, you may find it hard to keep energised whilst you are working out. Worse still, you could even be cancelling out the results of your workout, which will make the whole thing pointless in the first place.
Variation is key, so no matter what your goal is, we advise mixing things up so that you are keeping your body on its toes and ready for whatever you have to throw at it, rather than strengthening some areas and not others without even realising.
Do what you can, where you can, and always train smart.
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.