Gym inspo: A selection of short resistance workouts that I’ve been doing

Heading to the gym and in need of inspiration? I’ve been there! Pin this one for later, because I’m sharing a selection of short resistance workouts that I’ve been doing in the gym lately.

Truth be told, my favorite way to get my weights in is through teaching or taking a full-hour BODYPUMP group fitness class, but the class times haven’t been lining up well for Brady’s nap schedule, so I have been forced to do mostly solo sessions over the last month or so. Yes, technically I could do BODYPUMP at home alone, because I have the equipment, but I need my daily gym time baby free, so we’ve been going around noon most weekdays and taking advantage of the kidcare.

Lately, I’ve been coming up with my workout for the day in my head before leaving for the gym, but I really prefer to work from a plan, so I may put one together for myself soon, and of course, you guys will be the first to know when I do that.

How much resistance training should you do each week?

Now here’s the deal, for most people, it’s best to do resistance or weights workouts 2-3 times a week for general fitness, function and health of your bones and joints. And those sessions should last about 30 minutes or more. Of course, if you have some major aesthetic goals, you may choose to target individual body parts each day, in which case you’d do more like 5-6 longer and specific workouts. Or, if you’re a performance athlete, you may need to do longer full-body sessions as well. But for you and for me, just your average fit person who wants to feel good and build a little functional strength, a short weights session a couple times a week is all you need, as long as you hit each major muscle group once throughout the week between the two sessions and move in every plane of motion (front to back, side to side and rotation).

Ideas for short resistance workouts

Today, I wanted to share some of my short workouts with you.

Gym Inspo- A Selection of Short Resistance Workouts That I've Been Doing by A Lady Goes West

I don’t use a lot of machines, I do circuit training, in which I move from one move to the next without a break, so my heart-rate usually gets pumping, and I keep the moves simple, because I don’t like a lot of set-up.

Make sure you warm up

Also, I always foam roll and warm up before picking up any weights. My warm-ups include leg swings, leg kicks to the front, plank walk-outs, arm circles and then five minutes walking on incline on the treadmill while swinging my arms or using the indoor rower for 2-3 minutes. Then, I get to business with the weights.

Here we go …

These are all screenshots that I’ve shared on Instagram in real time after finishing my workout, so they’re a little rough — but you’ll hopefully get the gist. And make sure you’re following me on Instagram, because these workouts and corresponding videos demoing the moves show up a couple times a week on my IG stories.

Kettlebell, dumbbell and bodyweight full-body weights workout

This is my most recent solo workout, and I loved it. I haven’t done walking lunges holding dumbbells in far too long, and they are a great move. Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your side (keep those dumbbells still while you walk), and take big lunging steps forward, with your front and back knee coming to 90 degrees at the bottom of the move. Try not to let your front knee go too far forward over your front foot.

Short kettlebell and bodyweight workout by A Lady Goes West

Full-body dumbbell workout with a squat finisher

One of the things that we all need to work on is single-leg motions to practice balance and neural control. The single-leg deadlifts in this workout are hard without any weight at all, and boy do they work. Try to keep your back leg straight-ish and your shoulders square to the ground as you tip from the hip.

Full-body resistance workout by A Lady Goes West
Full-body barbell and dumbbell workout

I love doing moves that force you to open up your chest and work the shoulders too, so the snow angels are great for that. Imagine you are laying in the snow with light dumbbells by your sides, take them up and around in a big circle surrounding your body, while keeping your shoulders back and down. Feels good!

Short full-body resistance workout by A Lady Goes West

Upper-body dumbbell and bodyweight workout

Whenever I do the lying-on-the-bench pullover with one dumbbell, my upper back is sore for days. I think that’s because this position allows you to use a slightly heavier dumbbell than you would for overhead tricep extensions. It’s a good one.

Short upper-body weights workout by A Lady Goes West

Lower-body strength and plyo jumping workout

This particular workout was one of my favorites that I’ve done in a while. It had me super sore, because I did much heavier weight on the squats than normal. I also love adding the jumping element, because it really gets your heart-rate up.

Short lower-body weights workout by A Lady Goes West

Full-body barbell and dumbbell workout

Good mornings are one of my favorite lower-body and core exercises, although you have to be careful not to use too much weight. Good mornings are sort’ve like a deadlift, with a hip hinge (tipping at the hip), except the weight is on the upper back instead of in front of your body. Keep your back straight and neck in line.

Short full-body weights workout by A Lady Goes West

Full-body stability ball and barbell workout

The stability ball is one of the most under-appreciated pieces of equipment in the gym. I like to use it as my “bench” when doing chest presses, with my upper back on the ball and feet on the floor. That forces the glutes to kick in to hold your body in a bridge position. That’s why, the single-arm chest press off the stability ball is a staple in my workout routines — it’s basically a full-body move.

Short weights workout by A Lady Goes West

A few things to note:

  • Focus on a braced core and shoulders back and down in nearly all of these moves.
  • Use only as much weight as you can to keep good form all the way through your final repetition, with the last couple reps being a bit of a struggle.
  • Take breaks as needed. Make sure you stretch afterward too.
  • Try to hit each muscle group once per week and do side to side, front to back and rotational moves — because these workouts are short they don’t feature all planes at once, so I make sure that however my week ends up, I’ve done all three. Also, pushing and pulling are important in your workouts. For instance, a deadrow is a pulling motion while a shoulder press is a pushing motion.

Proceed with caution with these short resistance workouts and make sure you ask your doctor or your own personal trainer before trying anything new, but let me know if you try any of these. And also, let me know if you want to see more workout ideas! Hope you have a great start to your week, my peeps.

Gym inspo! Here are some short resistance workout ideas on A Lady Goes West ... Click To Tweet

Questions of the day

How often do you lift weights?

Are you currently following a fitness plan?

Where do you find inspiration for your workouts?



    1. Hi Christine! That’s awesome that you have a coach to put together your program for you — it helps to have another person making the plan, then all you have to do is put in the work and get it done! 🙂 What kind or program? Training for anything specific?

  1. Hey Ashley, good blog for a variety of different things to work on . I don’t use the small weights a lot so got lot of good ideas. Thursday a trainer is having class on using a roller correctly. I plan to attend it as this is the biggest weakness of my working out at the gym. I know I neglect stretching as throughly as I should.

    1. Hi Richard! How cool you’re going to a foam rolling class! That should be very helpful. Let me know if you learn anything major! Have a great day! 🙂

  2. These workouts are right up my alley since I’ve been pregnant! I’ve cut back most of my workouts to about a half hour besides group classes because I just don’t always have the energy to do more, and I’ve been working out on my own more so I can go at my own pace and take breaks when I need to. I’ve definitely taken some ideas from these workouts you’ve been posting on instagram! Also, not to ramble on too much, but I’m kind of bad at thinking of workouts on my own so I always try to get some ideas ahead of time, but I’m also really picky about the workouts I find online because I don’t like to switch between different pieces of equipment/weights much especially during a single circuit, but your workouts have been perfect!

    1. Hi Julie! EXACTLY! I don’t like to switch between equipment or use a lot of machines either — I like to get what I need and stay in the same spot to execute hehehe — that way I’m not wasting energy on moving from one thing to the other — and that way I have a reserved spot in my busy gym. And I also only do full hour workouts during classes too, so shorter is better for these circuits. Hope you’ve been feeling great during your pregnancy, lady. How far along are you?? 🙂

      1. I’m 23 weeks! I can’t even tell you how many tines I’ve gone back to read your pregnancy posts – they’ve been extremely helpful

  3. Ashley, thanks for posting these on the blog. Keep ’em coming. I find it so encouraging that you keep things efficient and under an hour too. I was wondering what your warm-up looked like and you answered that, so thanks! I was taking screenshots of what you would post on IG, but deleted the app from my phone and knew I’d miss out. I’m pregnant (like Julie) and need all the gym inspiration I can get right now. It’s been hard knowing what to do when many of my “go to” things are off limits right now –hello third trimester!

    1. Hi India! Totally — working out while pregnant can definitely be challenging, but I’m so happy to hear you’re still moving into the 3rd trimester — it won’t be easy to keep it up, but do whatever you can. And YES for short and efficient workouts. Thanks, lady! 🙂

  4. Amazing post! Circuit training for the win! Definitely my favorite right now…

    I don’t follow a fitness plan currently. I don’t like the strictness, my favorite part is simply picking what sounds fun to do on any specific day. I utilize Instagram, blogs, YouTube, DVD’s and BBG as my workout inspiration.

    I usually end up lifting 2-3 times weekly. I workout at home, so I’m limited but I’m working on building up my home gym 🙂

    1. Hi Kelly! While planning is good, it’s also good to do what your body is feeling that day — because we don’t always wake up with the right mindset or energy level for a tough workout. So cool you’re building up your home gym!

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