Crunched for Time?
By Khristine Clark Hammond, MS CSCS
If you’re the kind of person who thinks that a long exercise session is like a bad first date (they drag on and on and are a big waste of time), then here’s good news! You can squeeze in a great full body workout in less time than you think.
When it comes to strength training, using multi-jointed exercises will help you get the most out of your limited time. You are probably wondering "what the heck is a multi-jointed exercise?" Well, a multi-jointed exercise is one that uses movement across two or more joints, such as the squat. The squat involves the ankles, knees, hips, and spine. As a result, it incorporates all of the muscles in the lower body. An example of a single jointed exercise would be the knee extension. In this case, the knee is the only joint involved and the quads are the only targeted muscle group. Multi-jointed exercises are functional because they closely simulate the way the body actually moves. Think about it. When you move your body, you don’t move one muscle or one joint at a time. When you use multi-jointed exercises you get more results for your time investment because you are working multiple muscle groups together.
Next time you find yourself crunched for time, use this short and effective full body strength training workout. Before beginning any exercise program, it is recommended that you consult with your healthcare provider. It includes three exercises. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. Make sure that you use a challenging amount of weight with each exercise but remember form is the key. Don’t waste your precious time just going through the motions.
Squat with a Shoulder Press This exercise works the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and shoulders.
- Standing with the feet hip width apart, hold medium to heavy dumbbells at your side. Remember to keep your knees and toes pointed forward.
- Leading with your hips, inhale as you sit back into a squat. Be sure that your knees stay behind your toes.
- Exhale and press through the heels as you extend the knees and hips. As the knees and hips are being extended, push the arms overhead with your palms facing forward.
Bent Over Barbell Row This exercise works the lats, upper back, rear delts, and biceps.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width or slightly wider. Bend down and grasp the bar with an overhand grip. Your hands should be positioned a little wider than shoulder width and your arms should be straight.
- Bend your knees at an angle between 90 and 180 degrees. Contract your core and stabilize your spine in a straight or flat back position. Keep your shoulders away from the ears.
- Inhale and then as you exhale, pull the barbell toward your body. Remember to lead with your elbows. You should feel your shoulder blades squeezing together. Aim to touch the barbell just below your rib cage.
- Inhale and return to the starting position.
Barbell Bench Press This exercise works the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
- Lie down on a bench. Contract your deep core muscles to stabilize your torso. Try to maintain a neutral spine and pelvis. Do not arch your back during this exercise.
- Begin with the barbell hovering just over the chest at the nipple line. The elbows are bent and the hands should be placed on the bar a little wider than shoulder width. Inhale.
- Exhale and contract the chest and push the bar straight up over the chest. Do not lock the elbows out at the top of the exercise.
- Inhale. Bend your elbows and lower the bar back to the starting position.
It is recommended that you begin a strength training routine with a professional first to be sure that you are using proper form, appropriate weight and that you modify based on any prior conditions such as back or knee problems. The time you spend will become visible.