It occurs to me that there could be many reasons, none of which would indicate a lack of appreciation for the value of physical exercise. For example, I am dealing with a rotator cuff issue right now and must work around it. This means less stress need be applied to that shoulder and arm.

Here are reasons for quick home workouts that come to mind:

  • Other time obligations have increased and we have less time to allocate to physical exercise
  • As cited above, an injury has forced us to cut back
  • We may be experiencing “burnout” from overtraining and need a break
  • We are already in excellent shape and only want a brief maintenance program
  • We have come to the conclusion that short, high intensity workouts provide the best results.

To elaborate further on the final point above – we always have had to choose between long and slow workouts vs. short programs of high intensity. We can’t do both (correctly) at the same time. Arthur Jones, founder of Nautilus, was not an advocate of multiple sets. He felt that someone who finished 10 repetitions of a set when he / she might have done 12 was wasting time. Nautilus machines were designed to exhaust the working muscle at one sitting. Mr. Jones preferred a targeted “rifle shot” approach to that of a “shotgun”.

Dr. John Jaquish has designed a workout system and philosophy that advises us to only do one set, but to continually do reps until failure, i.e. until we are physically incapable of any more. This is tough, so he recommends only 4-5 total sets per day.


I am not ready to go for total exhaustion on every set, though I am sold on the idea. Here is my brief workout for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays:

  • 2 sets of what is sometimes called a “butterfly crunch”. See the image below. The upper body and legs are raised at the same time and move toward each other. A couple of differences – I do this at home, on the floor, also with my hands behind my head. I do 40 reps per set. It is the most productive abdominal exercise that I have tried, especially for the lower abdominals.

  • 25 minutes on my treadmill. I raise the speed every minute until the end. I keep track of the calories burned and the miles covered. My treadmill is shown below, with a link to the updated version.

Here is the link.

Continuing with what I currently do, here is my Tuesday,Thursday and Saturday brief workout.

  • The same 2 sets of “butterfly crunches”. To give an exact description of this, please see the workout below. This is a 6 minute abdominal program. The Butterfly Crunch is the third movement in the cycle and this shows exactly how I do it. I have also done the full 6-minute cycle and find it an excellent program.


  • 2 sets of a chest exercise with resistance cords. The cords are anchored at my door as I face the opposite direction. I pull the handles to the front of my chest to engage the pectoral muscles. I do 20 reps per set. The image below shows how this is done.

  • 1 set of resistance cord pulls to my side. I face the door where the cords are anchored and pull the handles to each side. This is great for the back (latissimus dorsi) muscles.
  • 1 set of Bullworker lat pushdowns. Seated on the floor with the Bow Classic in front of me and vertical, I push down from the top handle as far as I can go. I do 30 reps and hold isometrically at the end. The Bullworker website will be shown below so that this will make more sense to those new to Bullworker.
  • 2 sets of triceps “kickbacks” with resistance cords. I do 30 reps per set. The arms are straightened from the elbow against resistance. See the illustration below, though she is doing one arm at a time (I use both handles at the same time).

  • 2 sets of dumbbell curls per arm. I do 20 reps with a lighter dumbbell (15 or 20 lbs). Thus, 4 total sets for the biceps and 12 total sets. This concludes the Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday workout that I currently do. Sometimes I will do the triceps kickback and then go directly to the curls for each arm. This is a triset or 3 sets without stopping, followed by another triset after rest. Also, I will occasionally get on the treadmill after this workout for maybe 20 minutes, but more often do not.

Here are some equipment options for this workout:

Resistance cords

Very light dumbbells

Adjustable dumbbells

Bullworker products – note: use coupon code hat5 for a 5% discount on any Bullworker purchases.


(Start with once a day with the above program, since 5 times per day may exceed the time for a quick workout)

Don’t forget the 6 minute abdominal routine shown earlier. Here is the link again. This is strictly a bodyweight routine. There is nothing to buy, unless you would like a yoga mat. If so, check out this one.


My hour – long workouts have recently become 30 minute routines and I take Sundays off. Actually, my primary reason for emphasizing home workouts is to cut back on time. If I did a 30 minute program at a gym, my total time would be at least one hour. I would then be tempted to use all the facilities – steam bath, sauna, etc. Also, I would most likely do more than 30 minutes of exercise to justify the trip. Total time was usually 2 hours when I did this in the past.

My quick workout schedule is probably temporary, though 30 minutes 6 days per week may be a permanent feature. It depends on my rotator cuff problem.

Bodybuilding workouts were at one time long and arduous, with 10-20 sets per body part. The fitness magazines would speak of 3 hour workouts. I would see this when I worked out and almost became a participant. Contemporary advice makes a lot more sense to me – brief but intense exertion.

Having said that, it is also my opinion that the haste to always dispel what has worked well in the past is just as unwise. I see many inventions that will “change the way you work out” or will eliminate the need for basic and time – honored movements. Be careful and study the research.

My bottom line – just about any workout is better than none. If nothing else, walk around your neighborhood. Lift some light weights. Keep moving. Make your body happy.

Please leave any questions or comments in the “Comments” section below. Or e-mail me – richard@myworkoutathome.com. Be well!


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