Training Log

Starting Strength in the Real World

What To Do If Workouts Need To Be Shorter

by Mark Rippetoe | October 13, 2020

limited time workouts

Not everybody has unlimited time for training. Here at the Headquarters of The Aasgaard Company in Beautiful Downtown Wichita Falls, we are mindful of the need to save time in the gym under circumstances that demand you be elsewhere. Work, family, or sports practice often dictates a more succinct approach to your training schedule.

My recommendation has always been to do the lifts in order, separately – do all your squats, then do all your presses, then do all your pulls. This is optimum in terms of preparation for the heavy sets required of a strength program. But if you're in a jam for time, it's possible to arrange the sets like this:

  1. Warm up your squats, then do your first work set.
  2. Do half of your pressing warmups.
  3. Do your second squat work set, then finish your pressing warmups.
  4. Do your last squat work set, rest 5 minutes/unload the squat bar.
  5. Do your first pressing work set, then do half of your pulling warmups.
  6. Do your second pressing work set, then finish your pulling warmups.
  7. Do your last pressing work set, rest 5 minutes/unload the bar.
  8. Do your pulling work set(s).

It is possible using this approach to keep even heavier late-novice workouts below 75 minutes, even while making sure you take the very important sufficient time between work sets to ensure the completion of the last rep of the last work set. You can hurry between the lighter warmups all you want, but do not hurry between work sets – this is the best way to get stuck that we know of.

The downside of this approach is the equipment necessary: it will take two training spaces – two racks, and then a rack and a platform – to make this flow quickly. This means that your home gym must accommodate this space utilization, or your commercial gym's floor traffic permits this hogging of the racks and bars. Training with partners makes this equipment usage more palatable to Management.

If you need to hurry through the workout, do it like this instead of dropping an exercise and screwing up the program. You will adapt to the faster pace fairly quickly and still get your PRs done.  

Discuss in Forums

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.