Quick Workout for the Micro-Managed

For many people, the lunchtime workout is very short due to the constraints at their job.  For example, the job may have an unwritten rule that lunch hour should be strictly 1 hour.  Is this really enough time for a workout?  Consider that it may take you 10 minutes to walk back and from to your gym;  it may take 5 minutes each to dress and undress from your gym clothes; and it may take 10 more minutes for you to take a shower.  This leaves you with 20 minutes for your workout.

Below is a recommendation workout for those who are “on the clock” and in a rush to get back to their micro-managing bosses.  The goal is to use as many compound-movement exercises as possible.  This way, with one exercise, you can work out as many associated muscles as possible.

Day 1:

The first 3 exercises below can be done on the same weight bench so that you don’t have to waste time walking around the gym to find different machines.  Bring two dumbbells you can comfortably do bent-over rows with.  Perform each exercise for 10 repetitions and 3 sets.

  • Bench Press
    1. Lie on your back on the bench with your feet flat on the floor.  As you lie down, the barbell should be about your eye-level so you can cleanly lift it off the rack.  Roll your shoulders back so that your chest protrudes out but not have too much pressure on your lower back.  Your hands should be placed on the bar at slightly-wider than shoulder-width apart.
    2. Lift off the barbell.  The barbell should be over your nipples.  Lower the barbell down toward your nipples.  The barbell should not bounce off your chest.  Rather, you should lower the bar until about 2 inches above your chest.
    3. Push the bar back toward to the starting position.
    4. Repeat 9 more times.
  • Bent over row
    1. Place your right hand and right knee on the bench with your left foot on the floor and a dumbbell in your left hand.  Make sure that your right hand is under the shoulder.  Make sure your back is flat like a table and parallel to the floor.
    2. Raise the dumbbell with your left hand to the point where the dumbbell barely touches your chest.  As you lift, focus on the flexion of your back.  When you’ve raised your arm, the upper arm should be parallel with your torso.
    3. Lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
    4. Repeat 9 more times.
  • Close-grip bench press
    1. Lie on your back on the bench with your feet flat on the floor.  As you lie down, the barbell should be about your eye-level so you can cleanly lift it off the rack.  Roll your shoulders back so that your chest protrudes out but not have too much pressure on your lower back.  Your hands should be placed on the bar above your nipples in a close-grip.
    2. Lift off the barbell.  The barbell should be over your nipples.  Lower the barbell down toward your nipples.  The barbell should not bounce off your chest.  Rather, you should lower the bar until about 2 inches above your chest.  Your elbows should protrude out to the sides as your do this maneuver.
    3. Push the bar back toward to the starting position.
    4. Repeat 9 more times.
  • Reverse-grip pulldowns/pullups
    1. At the lat pulldown machine, sit with your back aligned and your shoulders rolled back so that your chest sticks out (however, don’t exaggerate it).
    2. Grab the bar with a reverse grip with your palms facing you.  Make sure that your hands are about shoulder-width apart.
    3. Pull down the bar keeping your back in alignment without slouching.  Bring the bar down to your upper chest.  Feel the flexion in your biceps and upper back.
    4. Return the bar to the starting position maintaining an aligned back.
    5. Repeat 9 more times.

Day 2:

The first 3 exercises below can be done on the same squat rack so that you don’t have to waste time walking around the gym to find different machines.  Perform each exercise for 10 repetitions and 3 sets.

  • Standing Military Press
    1. Lift off the barbell from the rack and hold it in front of you at the top of your chest.  Make sure your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.  Push the barbell upward toward the ceiling without hyperextending your elbows.
    2. Return the barbell to the starting position and repeat 9 more times.
  • Squats
    1. Lift off the barbell behind your neck and place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.  Your arms can be as wide as comfortable.  Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and with the feet rotated slightly outward by 2-3 inches.  Do not stand with your toes directly pointing straight-ahead.
    2. Bend at the knees and bring your butt down toward the floor as if you’re going to sit in a chair.  Keep your upper body aligned at the spine and avoid slouching.
    3. Come down until the top portion of your leg (above the knee) is almost parallel to the floor.  Your knees should not be too far forward of your toes.  The ideal form is to have the knees not pass the toes but this may not be possible for taller people.
    4. Push off with the middle and heel portion of your feet (not the toes!) and come back to the starting position.  Repeat 9 more times.  You don’t want to push off with your toes because this will put pressure on your knee joints.
  • Calf Raises
    1. Place your right hand on the squat rack while you hold a dumbbell or weight plate with your left hand.  Wrap your left foot behind your right ankle.
    2. Rise up on your right toes like a tippy-toe.  Feel the contraction in your calf.  Lower your right heel back to the floor.
    3. Repeat 9 more times.
    4. Repeat steps 1 thru 3 with your left foot making sure that your left hand is resting on the squat rack.
  • Abdominals
    1. Lie on your back on a padded gym mat.  It is not advisable to do crunches on a hard floor because it may cause discomfort in your vertebrae.
    2. Put your feet flat on the floor with your knees raised off the mat.  Your legs should be forming an upside-down “v.”  You are in this position so that there is no unnecessary strain on your lower back.
    3. Raise your shoulders and head off the mat about 5 inches and hold.  Fell the flexion in your abs.
    4. Lower your upper body back down to the mat.
    5. Repeat 9 more times.
  • Low Back
    1. Lie on your stomach on a padded gym mat with your arms along the sides of your body.
    2. Raise your shoulders and head off the mat about 5 inches and hold.  Feel the flexion in your lower back.
    3. Lower your upper body back down to the mat.
    4. Repeat 9 more times.