Sanctus Nutrition

Short, Great Strength Routines That Won't Consume Your Life

Short, Great Strength Routines That Won't Consume Your Life

Weightlifting doesn’t have to consume your life.

Ignore the gospel spread by magazines, internet articles, and broscience. You don’t need to lift weights every day to look good naked.

People think that lifting weights takes up a lot of time. This is a dangerous misconception that keeps people from ever lifting weights in the first place. The health benefits of weightlifting are too numerous to let this misconception stand.

The reality is there are plenty of weightlifting routines that can be completed in under 40 minutes, and that only consist of lifting weights two or three days per week.

These “shortened” routines have big benefits. They keep you from overtraining, so you feel fresh for each workout, and your body is able to recover. Using a two or three-day routine allows busy professionals to lift weights, even with a hectic work and personal schedule.

To help get you started, I’ve put together three weightlifting routines that require minimal time commitment. These are great routines for anyone:

Male or female. Doesn’t matter.

Lifting newbie, or former high school athlete getting back into shape. Doesn’t matter.

Lawyer, physician, pharmacist, engineer, programmer, CEO. Doesn’t matter.

These routines are short, simple, and, most importantly, they work.


1. The first exercise is your main lift.

The first exercise listed in the routine is your main lift.

This gets your full focus. This lift is what you come to the gym for. No matter what else happens, you do this lift, and you bust ass doing it. Your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd goal is to get stronger at this lift. You do NOT skip this exercise.

If you only do one thing at the gym, it’s this lift.

Rest 2 minutes between sets on your main lift.

2. The other exercises are accessory lifts.

Accessory lifts are important. They’re just not your main lift. They aren’t your primary focus. If you get paged to come in to work, or your partner needs you home NOW, these are the lifts you skip.

Your goal is still to increase the weight used on accessory lift. But, your energy and focus should be directed at the main lift. If you’re increasing the weight used on accessory lifts every week, you either aren’t using enough weight, or you’re not pushing yourself hard enough at your main lift.

Rest 30 – 45 seconds between sets on your accessory lifts.

Routine #1 – Two days per week

Full body Day 1

  • Squats 2×5
  • Leg curls 3×12
  • BB Bench Press 2×6
  • DB shoulder press 2×12
  • Chin-ups 2x failure
  • Weighted decline sit-ups 2×15

Full body Day 2

  • Deadlifts 2×4
  • Leg Press 1×20
  • Weighted dips 2×8
  • Pull-ups 2x failure
  • BB Curls 2×15
  • Ab machine 3×20

Don’t have a gym? Here’s a routine that only uses bodyweight exercises.

Routine #2 – Two days per week, bodyweight exercises only

Full body Day 1

Full body Day 2

  • Split-leg squats 2×15
  • Squat jumps 3×20
  • Dips 3xfailure
  • Handstand push-ups 3×15
  • Plank 2xfailure

Routine #3 – Three days per week

Day 1 – Legs

  • Squats 2×5
  • Leg press 1×20
  • Leg curls 3×15
  • Hip abductor/adductor (alternate each week) 3×20
  • Calf raises 3×20
  • Weighted decline crunches 3×10

Day 2 – Chest/Shoulders

  • BB Bench 2×6
  • BB Bench 1xfailure (increase weight once you get to 20 reps; start low!)
  • Close grip BB bench 3×10
  • Tricep pushdowns 3×20
  • DB seated shoulder press 2×15
  • Ab pulley crunches 3×15

Day 3 – Back/Arms

  • Deadlifts 2×4
  • Lat pulldowns 3×10
  • Machine rows 2×20
  • BB Curls 2×15
  • DB Hammer Curls 3×10
  • Hanging leg raises 3xfailure

Wrapping Up

Contrary to popular belief, weightlifting doesn’t have to consume your life. In fact, less can be more. Utilize lifts that work multiple major muscle groups – squats, deadlifts, bench press, dips, rows, pull-ups, chin-ups – and add in accessory work. You can knock these routines out in 30-40 minutes, and only go to the gym two or three times per week.

You’ll get stronger, leaner, and sexier in the process.

Do you have good two or three-day weightlifting routines? Share them in the comments below!

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