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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?