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Building Strength On A Time Crunch

Life is busy. In today's society, the most valuable thing anyone possesses is their time. Taking the time to do something for others, or even yourself, often means some kind of sacrifice. And while many people also spend hours a day looking at social media and scrolling through the internet (exactly like you are now), those same people will cite lack of time as a reason for not making progress or not exercising at all. I understand it. I'm busy myself, and creating the time to train is difficult sometimes.

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A common misconception in fitness is that you need long, hard workouts to make progress. However, dedicating a 2 hour training session everyday isn't feasible for a majority of individuals, unless your job is to train full time. So here's a few tips for building strength and muscle when time isn't on your side.

1. Focus On A Movement or Movement Pattern

With short time, picking one movement to work on and emphasize is an easy way to get the repetitions in and up the intensity levels. Pick one movement, or even a movement pattern, and focus on that for your training session. Personally, I have 5 exercises or movement patterns that I work on:


-Clean and Jerk




After picking the movement for the day, choose a few exercises that reinforce that movement pattern to do as accessory work. For example, if your movement is a back squat, you would maybe do some form of lunge, step up, or even a different form of squat.

2. Utilize EMOMS

EMOM stands for Every Minute On The Minute. This is a great way to increase the overall work that you do and also save time. Essentially, pick a challenging weight, and a number of reps (1-3 is probably best). At the beginning of the minute, start the set. Once you are done, rest the remainder of the minute, repeating that process for the duration of the time that you set. This allows you to increase the overall volume you have, without taking tons of time. Instead of 6 sets of 3 reps taking 15 minutes, you can end of getting 10 sets 2 reps done in 10 minutes, all the while squeezing a few more reps in. Another bonus is that can also serve as small form of cardio,

3. Create And Execute A Plan

Don't mindlessly walk around the gym for the first bit of your workout deciding which exercises to do. Know which movement you are coming in to do, and which accessory exercises you are going to do. If you by chance choose the Big 3 (squat, deadlift, press) as your movement patterns, plan out your sets and reps of the main movement, and pick some accessory movements to aid that lift. If you're really aiming to get results, pick the same variation of major movement for 3-6 weeks, and then alternate your accessory exercises every 2 weeks.

If you're crunched for time, try these few tips out, and watch the progress start to happen, even with your busy schedule. And who knows, maybe you'll end up finding more time to for other things as well.

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