Less is More: Simple, Efficient Exercises for When You Are Crunched for Time

“If I only had more time!” An expression, I often hear, and one I am doing my best to get away from. Why…because the expression became an excuse as to why I was not getting in all the stretching and strengthening I knew I needed to prevent pain and promote wellness. So, I started to end a cardio session with 10-20 minutes of strengthening a few times a week. Research in high intensity training show is as effective for metabolic and strength gains. The key is to make sure you keep the INTENSITY.

Below is one of my go to Total Gym workouts when I have as little as 10 minutes. Because I want to focus on my form and not be learning new and complex movements, I use exercises commonly performed on the Total Gym and give it my all. The variation in this routine will be based on your intentions.

Do you want to focus on strength, endurance, power, or combination of all three? Set your timer for 45 -60 seconds, with an optional 20 second rest between exercises.

For strength, your focus will be on slowing down the movement and performing 8-12 reps within a 45 second time period.

For endurance, your tempo will increase to complete 15-20 reps in a 45 second period or perform as many reps as you can with good technique in a 45-60 second time period.

If the focus is power, then add a plyometric, like burpees or jump squats. The number of reps will be based on your fitness level, you may start at 5 reps for beginners or 30 reps for more advance participants.

There are 3 circuits each with 3 exercises, providing a 10-30-minute routine depending on how many sets you perform. Typically, I mix up my routine, with one day picking which exercises I will perform slower than the next time, I will do the slower paced movement faster or with power. I have yet to get bored, I continue to be sore in a good way, and I no longer let time be my barrier!

Elizabeth Leeds, DPT

Elizabeth Leeds, owner of Seaside Fitness and Wellness, combines her background in physical therapy, personal training, and Pilates in her practice and teaching. As a pelvic floor physical therapist working at Comprehensive Therapy Services in San Diego, her passion for pregnancy and postpartum is seen in her mission to empower women with knowledge and understanding of their physical changes, and how to address them to prevent future issues. Additionally, Elizabeth is a Master Trainer and developer for Total Gym’s GRAVITY education.

Leave a Reply