We’ve all had the kind of week where we are desperately searching for time to get in the gym and get our work out done.
Sometimes kids, work, family emergencies, appointments – well, life - just gets in the way and the best you’ve got is an hour to get in all of your lifting and cardio.
For those kinds of weeks, this three-day split that works the full body will be very beneficial.
It combines a cardio-like aspect to lifting to make you sweat and burn off the stress.
Not only that, these workouts can be fun!
They challenge you to work out for time rather than lifting as heavy as possible. Work hard, get sweaty & enjoy!
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The first day of this weekly split is meant to target the triceps, shoulders and legs. Some of these exercises will target two muscle groups simultaneous, like the sumo deadlift high pull.
The pace of this workout will cause you to lift lighter than normal bodybuilding single exercise sets and keep a faster pace with less rest that will elevate the heartrate higher than normal. This is not to build muscle or gain strength, but rather to keep active and relieve stress during a time crunched week.
|A. Walk the Floor to Pushup||3||10|
|A. Sumo Deadlift to High Pull||3||10|
|A. Barbell Thrusters||3||10|
|B. Box Jumps||3||20|
|B. Mountain Climbers||3||20|
|C. Cable Face Pulls||3||12|
|C. Cable Triceps Pushdown||3||12|
|C. Cable Hamstring Pull Through||3||12|
|D. Inverted Push Ups||3||20|
|D. Kettlebell Swings||3||20|
|D. Frog Hops||3||16|
|E. Dumbbell Walking Lunges||3||16|
|E. Dumbbell Lateral Raises||3||12|
|E. Dumbbell Bench Squats||3||15|
|F. Battle Ropes||8||30 Secs|
|F. Burpees||8||30 Secs|
Method: The groupings of A, B, C, D, E & F are meant to be run through each exercise of a group once to be considered one set or round. For example, one full set of group A will be walk the floor to pushup, sumo deadlift to high pull and barbell thrusters, then repeat that order of exercises two more times to make three full sets/rounds.
Maximize the Workout:
- Walk the floor to pushup will stretch the hamstrings and get the triceps warmed up. Be sure to stand with your feet shoulder width apart, then place your hands on the floor directly in front of your feet. Walk your hands along the floor in front of you until you have your body in the pushup position parallel to the floor, pushup, then reverse the movement.
- Group B is for time! Challenge yourself. Do not stop to rest, keep charging through each round. The crunches are meant to be the time to catch your breath while the box jumps and mountain climbers are meant to keep the heart pumping fast.
- Although the lifting portion of the exercises are meant to be done quickly, take care while doing the hamstring pull through. Use proper form with a wide stance and lean slightly forward as to not lose balance and fall backwards.
- In group D, inverted pushups can be challenging and not everyone can do them in a full handstand against the wall. It’s taken me a lot of practice just to get them done with my head on the ground against the wall. If you’re just beginning to learn this exercise, the beginner stage to progress from has your knees resting on a bench. Then, lean over and place your hands on the ground. Keep your ears even with your arms and go through the pushup motion.
- Get low while doing walking lunges – tap the back knee to the ground and don’t pause at the top of the transition. Walk through the lunges without pausing and get low into the next legs lunge.
- To finish off this work out, the last group F is meant to be a short session of HIIT to compliment the two rounds of cardio exercises between lifting sets already completed and exhaust the targeted muscles. There is 30 seconds of rest to be able to barely catch your breath from going so hard on the battle ropes and burpees. Dig deep and go hard!
On day 2, we’ll target the pectoral and bicep muscles while allowing the legs muscles to recover and slightly work the triceps again as a secondary muscle.
Be sure to rest a day or two between the first day of exercises to adequately recover and have the ability to keep the quick pace through day two of the three-day work out split. Similar to the first day, this work out will combine a cardiovascular aspect to lifting with a HIIT finisher to stay active and work muscles with little time to be in the gym.
|A. Barbell Bench Press||3||10|
|A. Barbell Curl||3||10|
|B. Fast Run||3||1 Min|
|B. Incline Push Ups||3||20|
|B. Hanging Leg Raises||3||20|
|C. Dumbbell Incline Bench Press||3||10|
|C. Decline Push Ups||3||20|
|C. Dumbbell Wide Curls||3||10|
|D. Fast Run (3% Incline)||3||1 Min|
|D. Wide Banded Bicep Curl||3||20|
|D. Jump Squats||3||20|
|E. Machine Chest Fly||3||10|
|E. Med Ball Russian Twists||3||20|
|E. Decline Med Ball Crunch||3||20|
|F. Fast Run (3% Incline)||5||1 Min|
|F. Med Ball Slam||5||30 Secs|
|F. Push Ups||5||20|
Method: Same as day 1, each group is meant to be run through one exercise once to be considered a set or a round. Groups B and D are meant to be small sessions of HIIT, while A, C, and E are the lifting aspects of the work out that will still keep a quicker pace than normal. A full single round or set of group A would be barbell bench press, then barbell bi curl, followed by barbell skull crushers – repeat two more times.
Maximize the Workout:
- Be sure to keep the weight moderate on the bench press and skull crushers on group A. It’s easy to add more weight in the beginning of a workout when you’re fresh and haven’t exhausted any muscles, but that will leave you utterly gassed about half way through these exercises.
- Consider the first run on the treadmill to be the warmup run. Keep the treadmill level with the ground and you might even want to walk for a minute or two before getting into the run. During this grouping of mini HIIT, keep your heart rate high and progress through each exercise with as little rest as possible.
- Pushups directly after a chest exercise can really burn and exhaust the pectoral muscles. I love the challenge, but I also don’t want to break my face when my arms give out during a decline pushup. When you reach the point of muscle exhaustion during the pushups, drop to the level ground and use your knees to finish out the reps.
- When raising the treadmill to a 3% incline grade, it brings a new level of difficulty to the fast run. It’s ok to drop the pace of the run slightly to preserve some energy for the rest of the workout. Remember quick pace but complete the workout.
- Sometimes gym layouts are not the most conducive to keep a quick pace. Do not be afraid to slightly deviate to keep pace and go through each set quickly and conveniently.
- The last portion of this workout is meant to be a killer HIIT that will finish off the muscles you have been lifting. Run and slam the med ball hard enough that you are barely able to catch your breath at the end of the 30 seconds of rest – there’s only 5 sets to complete, don’t think, just do.
On Day 3, we’re going to sufficiently work the leg muscles for the second time in a week and create a pump for the back muscles with compound exercises. This is the one day of the weekly split with slightly heavier lifting and a bit of a slower pace. The leg exercises are aimed to work the glutes as well as the hip flexors. Because this is the second time in the same week lifting legs, make sure to do this workout at least three to four days after day 1.
|A. Cable Squat to Underhand Row||3||15|
|A. Glute Bridge||3||20|
|A. Inverted Row||3||15|
|B. Sprint||3||30 Secs|
|C. Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift||3||10|
|C. Cable Straight Arm Pull Down||3||10|
|C. Bench Step Up||3||10 Each|
|D. Sprint||3||30 Secs|
|D. Leg Raises||3||30 Secs|
|D. Ankle Banded Lateral Squat Walk||3||30 Secs|
|E. Seated Narrow Grip Row||3||10|
|E. Barbell Deadlift||3||10|
|F. Left Arm Dumbbell Snatch||8||30 Secs|
|F. Right Arm Dumbbell Snatch||8||30 Secs|
|F. Sprint||8||30 Secs|
Method: Keep the rest to a minimum, just long enough to be able to lift moderate to heavy weight again for the full number of reps – about 75-80% of your full strength. Again, one full set consists of each exercise from the group performed once. When the group has less exercises and lower reps, be sure to keep the pace slightly slower and focus on form.
Maximize the Workout:
- In group A, the squat to row is a quicker paced exercise. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart in front of a cable with the pully at the bottom of the column and a strait bar attached. Start by holding the bar with an underhand grip and squat low, below the parallel. As you’re standing up perform and underhand row – that’s one rep.
- To make your life more convenient, it might be easiest to do both the incline pullups and the glute bridges on the smith machine. Don’t forget to place a pad or towel on the bar before resting it on your hips!
- The first set of HIIT is pretty difficult, try to keep the rest below 30 seconds between the rounds of burpees and sprints to elevate your heart rate.
- Do not rush through doing deadlifts, even with dumbbells, focus on form and protect your back from injury.
- If you find that group D HIIT is not challenging enough, add an ankle band to the lateral squat walk and pick the pace up to keep the heart rate elevated. Keeping the rest to a minimum will help as well.
- One armed dumbbell snatches are meant to be the last HIIT set, keep the weight in a range that will allow you to move quickly through the allotted times while still challenging yourself. This is usually around the 65% rage paired with a sprint that really makes you out of breath!
Limited time does not mean that your workouts have to be boring or parts of your body get forgotten about.
Make the most of what time you have and keep the gym a priority in life – even if only three days per week.
Sweat is a great stress relief and helps keep the sanity during difficult times.
Enjoy some “me time” for the hour it takes in the gym to complete these workouts and have fun!