3 Rules For Short, Effective Workouts



Workouts don't have to be long to be effective. Trust me, I KNOW.

I used to spend 90 - 120 minutes in the gym each and every workout.

Back in high school, it wasn't odd for me to be there longer than 2 hours every training session. That long and endless style of training doesn't work, especially when you actually have half a life.

Here are 3 ways you can get more results from your workouts in at least Half the time

Once again, these are simple tips, NOT easy tips. Results take WORK. Don't ever try to shy away from hard work and expect to get bigger or stronger.

If I call these workout "tips", I fear you will NOT follow them or take them seriously enough.

So, for the sake of commitment to the cause of getting jacked, let us call them RULES.

Rule # 1 is.....

NO sitting down.

NOT when you train and NOT in between sets. If you are on a time crunch you gotta stray from exercises that allow you to sit down and take the easy road.

Focus on ground based lifts, carries, full body movements, etc. Think of strongman training, olympic lifting, power lifting and jumping.

Rule # 2

Perform Couplets / Supersets (or whatever you call them)

These can be brutal, as you'll see in the video below. This method is inspired to me by Coach Ethan Reeve when he told me about his college wrestling workouts. His stories always run shivers down my spine.

[youtube width="640" height="360"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wS4zbiDvYQ[/youtube]

In the beginning, these couplets kick your ass worst than Bruce Lee, but, slowly and surely, you reduce rest periods between exercises and eventually between rounds. This type of training promotes a very thick, dense type of muscle and also develops strength endurance.

Rule # 3

Keep It Basic, Keep It Simple

It's a shame, as some people become too smart and / or too arrogant to stick to the basics. They become more book smart and scientific and forget what works in the real world.

They stop realizing that the real lab is IN the gym (or where ever you train).

The basics have been working for centuries. They are proven to be deadly, stop denying this as fact. Decide what is REALLY important: Being strong or being able to write a 12 week training program with percentages, rep tempo, perfect rest periods and bla bla bla

Time to get your hands dirty and train.

Drop a comment if you've got added tips and rules for shorter, more effective workouts. This was just the tip of the iceberg.

Lead From the Front


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17 Responses

  1. Bro,

    You have seriously been hitting RIGHT where I am right now with training, business and life.

    keep it to the simple stuff. and SIMPLE DOESN’T MEAN EASY.


    It’s ridiculous how much we complicate our S#*% to feel like we’re actually doing something. Instead we’re just going in circle.

    BASIC IS BIG. and its not for panzies.

    Rock On Brotha!

  2. Thats right don’t skip the basics! A lot of fancy work going on out there with the new craziest strength move. Eat, lift, sprint, sleep is all you need to do. Only get better doing it every week. Damn we need more truth telling out here in this fitness industry!

  3. Hahaha… I bark at peeps if they’re slowing down, and too much talking gets them pushups or Burpees! But in my own training I find having an amazing training partner who’s as focused and committed to “BEAST” mode as you call it is an undeniable edge over training alone. If I have to train alone I like to think that I push myself more than the next guy, but there’s a pretty unmatchable raw energy I feel when I train with my Acadian brother… Chris!

    1. @Shane Miller: A great training partner is like mining for gold and hitting the gold rush!

  4. Kevin Salisbury says:

    My new motto is ” minimum equipment with maximum effort”, try the less is more approach. You wanna talk meet for coffe but leave the gym for serious work..

  5. Dustin W. says:

    Back in the day it was about volume. Training every machine in the gym plus free weights, take every supplement in the magazines, and become Mr.O. Well, that didn’t happen, not even close. Then it was complicated training formulas, and calculations with complex exercise programs. That didn’t do anything for me, but really confuse me over what I knew with training. It actually caused me to walk away from training because it wasn’t working, and I felt if it didn’t work then I couldn’t do anything to make myself stronger than what I was at that moment. I gave in to “This is all I will get.” And became very depressed over all the work and money I put into equipment and supplements.
    One day I took a metal saw to everything I had in my basement except for my two squat racks. Loaded it up, and took it to the dump. Started reading the oldtime books and was reborn. I was amazed at what they had achieved with bare minimal. Many times a bar and plates.
    Back to the basics, and getting stronger daily. No fancy supplement blends or products. Whole, clean foods.
    Great stuff Zach!

  6. Suppose you would have vacation/weekend and you would have no special events you have to attend to that day.

    What time of day would you train at? And what would you eat/drink before and after the workout?

  7. Torsten Brück says:

    For me, workout has to be max 80 min, normally 50 minutes.

    But i train the brutal way, most of the time i work with supersets and do bodyweightexercises, combinated with kettlebells or deadlifts and squats.

    I don’t like long rest periods, everything over 90 – 120 seconds is wasted time for me!

    if you train this way, you don’t need some scientific-special stuff, it works!

  8. Right this minute I can’t afford two dumbbells or kettlebells that are each 100lb (half my weight), does anyone have a suggestion for some way to alternatively farmer carry something as heavy?

    1. Kevin Salisbury says:

      @Pete: Pete, dumbells are rediculously expensive. What I use is a 80lb tree my neighbor cut for me, then I put a couple of chains attached to some old cement weights I picked up from goodwill and put weights on both ends then use that for my farmer’s walk. Not sure if this helps but be resourceful..

  9. Love the rules Zac, Rule # 1 is my fav. I pace around the gym in between sets, I never sit down. When I sit down it feels like I’m winding down the intensity level.

  10. I have a question for you. All of a sudden this week When I benched if I had a grip any wider than pointer finger on smooth part of bar, I would hear my shoulder pop.What can I do to fix this problem? Thanks

  11. Adrian Daisy Day says:

    Hitting the nail right on the head again big guy.3 simple rules and its amazing how many people still whinge and whine about it being too hard. BTW love Disturbed playing in the background.

  12. Pete! Most $5 gallon water jugs have handles now. Go to the grocery store and buy a couple. Drink the water, then fill it with whatever you want, gravel, sand, water, lead shot..anything. Tape the hell out of the caps and you’re good to go!

  13. All good tips. One I use a lot with myself and clients is simply doing things by the clock. I first came up with this because my workouts were too long, I was wasting too much time between sets. And training a guy recently, I looked at the logs and realised he was doing 1/2 to 2/3 the work of other clients in the same time, he stalled too much, I needed to keep him moving.

    I’ve never been keen on resting for 30 seconds for endurance, 60-120 seconds for hypertrophy, and all that nonsense. I’d rather just say, “you have one minute to do each set and change the weights.” Let’s say you’re squatting up to 60kg for 5 sets of 5, you hit the stopwatch and do your first warmup set of 20kg, when it hits 1’00” you do your second warmup set of 30kg, 2’00” 40kg, 3’00” 50kg, then 4’00”, 5’00” and so on you’re knocking out 60kg for 5 reps a time.

    A light day will be 1’00” per set, medium 2’00” and heavy 3’00”. Really heavy you’d need more, but I work in a mainstream community gym, nobody lifts really heavy.

    Obviously you can combine this with supersetting and so on, and I’ve done it with good results.

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