4 Ways to Shorten Your Workouts Without Sacrificing Results

Shannon Clark
by Shannon Clark
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4 Ways to Shorten Your Workouts Without Sacrificing Results

Life is busy, and that means we don’t want to be in the gym longer than necessary (and might skip a workout here and there). Performing workouts that are quick and effective will help you get a workout in when time is tight.

Here are four ways that you can shorten your workout session while improving your progress.

1. Superset Upper And Lower Body Moves

One great way to shorten your session while also boosting your fat burning potential is to stack an upper body with a lower body movement. This allows one part of the body to rest while the other’s working, reducing the total rest time you require in the session.

Try a set of push-ups and then move directly into your squats or do a set of lunges followed by a set of shoulder presses. Once both of these are completed, take 30-60 seconds to rest before doing a second round.

If you structure your session this way, you can almost cut the total workout time in half.

2. Add Cardio Intervals Between Sets

Cardio versus strength training—do you feel like it’s an either-or situation when you finally do hit the gym? Don’t settle for one the other.

Combine them! Perform your standard weight lifting set and instead of resting, break into a cardio movement. Burpees, mountain climbers, running knee highs, or jumping jacks all work perfectly here. Perform a 30-45 second interval, rest for the remainder of the minute to catch your breath and then proceed into your next strength set.

3. Use The Drop Set Technique

Drop setting can push your body farther than you normal go while also increasing the intensity of the workout session. This technique is very intense! Try it on just one or two exercises to save time and get past any strength plateau.

Perform your first set. Drop the weight by 5-10 pounds and immediately perform a second set. Once that’s finished, drop the weight one more time. Perform as many reps as you can in that third set using good form. Once that set is over—you’re done for that exercise.

Rather than taking the usual 7-8 minutes to complete three sets, you’ve just completed it in around 2 minutes.

4. Do Compound Movements

Sticking to movements that target more than one muscle group will save you time and help you gain strength. Push ups, lunges, squats and pull ups are all great examples of compound movements. Bonus: They are all body-weight exercises, making them easy to do just about anywhere.

About the Author

Shannon Clark
Shannon Clark

Shannon is an AFLCA certified personal trainer with a degree in exercise science. She has written on the topics of health, fitness, and nutrition for nearly a decade, and her thoughts and advice are regularly published on Bodybuilding.com, shannonclarkfitness.com, and FitRated.com, a leading fitness equipment review site offering fitness insights on equipment, workout plans, and weight loss strategies.


13 responses to “4 Ways to Shorten Your Workouts Without Sacrificing Results”

  1. Avatar Bronwyn Giblin says:

    I’m at a loss how do I follow this program seems very confusing

  2. Avatar just a reader says:

    This needed to be proofread! A few errors in the sentence structure. Missing words, but good advice.

  3. Avatar Scradley says:

    I pooed my pants

  4. Avatar Marie says:

    I injured my knees earlier this year doing squats and lunges with weights. Do you have any other time saving exercises for the lower body that are safe on the knees?

  5. Avatar Stephanie Taylor says:

    Tabatta and Hiit have been awesome time saving routines for me. I do feel like they’re both pretty high impact however, so I’m starting to loose my motivation. These suggestions are great to mix it up.

  6. Avatar Kerrie says:

    I have severe osteoarthritis in my hands, hips, feet and knees….most of the “normal” ways to exercise are out for me. However I can water walk and deep water walk for a couple of hours at a time. If I tried to do any of these I would seriously hurt myself…. How about expanding your scope to fit in people like me?

  7. Avatar likes2sing says:

    I think the idea of compound sets is great, but I wonder how that saves time overall. Don’t you still have to have a 20-30 minute workout?

  8. Avatar sherpeace says:

    I do this on the elliptical. I switch between working the legs hard and working the arms hard. This has helped me gain muscle & lose fat!

  9. Avatar Dade Dyana says:

    Shannon – Great advice, but are you going to incorporate actual workout routines that put these tips into practice? I think that a lot of people need to see how exactly it would fit into their workout routines. And I would love to see what compound exercises you suggest! Thanks!

  10. Avatar the elephant in the room says:

    Hm, since I’ve _ever_ done any at-home circuit training, I’ve never trained any differently, and I do 30-40 minutes.

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