3 express sessions to play sports when you don't have time

Here's a question to ask yourself: How to do sports when you don't have time?

Yes, you've noticed that it's all too easy to leave your session on the back burner when you're a little tight on time.

But I can't leave you with this lame excuse without doing anything.

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Why not give up your workout?

I have to admit that I sometimes let a workout because my program has been changed. However, this is a problem I want to avoid at all costs.

You know why ?

Because, from my little experience of the last 30 years, I have noticed that a day without training :

  1. disrupts the rest of my sports program and my training rhythm;
  2. often demotivates me for the rest of the week. You know, the "my program is screwed up for the week anyway. I might as well wait until next week to do it right;
  3. makes my next sessions more difficult because I'm trying to compensate. Which is not the most productive thing really.

Well, I say NO! I'm not going to let it happen to me.

It is possible to do an express fitness session in 10 minutes max. However, I must warn you first...

Doing sports when you don't have time is not ideal

The best techniques for working out at home don't take much time, that's true.

Have you noticed that the bodybuilding sessions and fitness workouts that I recommend are mainly HIIT sessions. These are high intensity workouts that rarely exceed 30-45 minutes.

Honestly, 30 minutes is not very long. But, it is more than enough time for a full session.

However, there are times when you don't even have half an hour to spare. And in that case, it is better to spend 10 minutes on an express session, rather than doing nothing.

But if you really want to have results, this kind of session should not become a habit.

Why ?

Because it is undeniable that the volume and training frequency play a key role in your results.

In other words, if your workout lacks intensity, is too short or too irregular, you will make little progress. You will have a hard time lose your excess fat or to gain muscle volume.

However, by changing a few things, a very short session will ensure that you don't lose your hard-earned money.

Do you follow me?

What I mean by that is that this kind of session will not transcend your results, but it will allow you to stay on track rather than regress.

Exercises to focus on for a quick workout

The 6 movements of his sessions are proven and require little or no equipment.

I will give you some variations with equipment such as hanging straps, the resistance bands or a pull-up bar.

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The exercises are organized in the form of mini challenges in order to work with the highest possible intensity.

I'll first introduce you to each movement (with some variations), and then I'll tell you how to organize them in a quick session.

Adjustable dumbbells 40kg

1. Board

Muscles worked: rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, transversus abdominis, pectorals, deltoids (shoulders), quadriceps and the deep back muscles.

Doing sports when you don't have time - RKC board
The plank solicits many muscles

The plank is an isometric exercise. That is, it is static. BUT WHAT AN EXERCISE!

As you probably know if you have been reading my articles for some time, I consider the plank to be the best exercise for the abdominal muscles. And I am far from being the only one to think so.

I'd be tempted to say that if there were only one exercise left in the world, this would be it. At least the choice would be quickly made 😉

To do it right, you need to bring your shoulders forward as if you were trying to push off the ground. For the RKC plank, you must also contract your abs, buttocks and quadriceps while clenching your fists together. This increases the difficulty, but also the number of muscles involved.

This ab exercise solicits 4 times more the lower abs, 3 times more the external obliques and 2 times more the internal obliques than a classic gainage exercise.

You will find a complete article on the subject on the site sport-equipements.fr

Exercise when you don't have time - RKC Board

2. Squats with elastic bands or lunges

Muscles worked: quadriceps, hamstrings (back of thighs), buttocks and abdominals.
Squats and lunges are basic movements for the legs. They are particularly effective for the quadriceps (front of the thighs).

Forward and backward bodyweight lunges:

  1. Starting position: standing, hands on hips.
  2. Take a big step forward and lower yourself until the knee at the back almost touches the ground.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Take a big step backwards (always the same leg) and go down until you touch the knee on the ground.

Repeat this movement for 30 seconds, then change your support leg.
Keep your back straight throughout the exercise.

Squats with resistance bands:

Squats are great for the quadriceps. The problem is that they are less effective without resistance.

You can therefore use the resistance bands Bodylastics like I do in the pictures. Try to make an explosive ascent, while the descent should be controlled and slower.

If you don't have elastic bands, make jumping squats (jumping squats) to increase the difficulty.


3. Wide and narrow pumps

Muscles worked: pectorals, triceps, deltoids (shoulders), abdominals.

Who hasn't heard of pumps? I think almost everyone has tried them at some point. Even your grandmother...

And for good reason, it is the basis of the movements for the pectoral and triceps. Without forgetting that the abdominal muscles and the shoulders are also solicited.

If this move is too difficult for you, you can always put your knees on the ground to perform it.

Conversely, you can make it more difficult by using resistance bands (as shown in the pictures below). Another solution consists in putting the feet on a slightly higher support. The weak point of this 2nd solution is that the muscular effort will be localized higher (top of the pectoral and shoulders).

Hands-off push-ups:

A wider hand position will focus the effort on the outer part of the pectoralis major. This is more like what you would do in a bench press.

For me, the correct spacing is hands placed beyond shoulder width.

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Keep your abs tight during the exercise and your back straight. Don't let your lower back dig in during the exercise or your upper back round out.

This advice is valid for all push-ups (including knees on the ground).

Push-ups with clasped hands (shoulder width):

This time, you will keep your hands at shoulder width and your elbows at your side to focus the effort on the triceps and the central part of the pectorals.

Strive for the strongest possible momentum during the push to gain explosiveness.

Exercise when you don't have time - Narrow Pumps with Bodylastics
Source: bodylastics.com

You can even place your hands side by side to pound the triceps (diamond push-ups).

4. Side plank

Muscles worked: external and internal oblique, deltoids (shoulder), gluteus medius, vastus lateralis muscle (part of the quadriceps), long fibular muscle, tibialis anterior muscle.

I'm sure you didn't even know you had these muscles. This exercise will make you discover them 😉

All you need for this move is a floor mat. I recommend a puzzle mat If you train in the same place often (which is far from my case 😀 )

Doing sports when you don't have time - Side board

Keep your head and body as straight as possible while holding the position on each side. Your abdominal muscles should remain contracted.

Remember to breathe well throughout the exercise. 

5. Jumping lunge or one-legged squats

Muscles worked: quadriceps, hamstrings (back of thighs), buttocks and abdominals.

Jumping lunges are very effective for the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings because of the explosiveness of the movement.

I recommend them if you don't have back problems or are overweight.

You will find an example in this video. It is not of good quality, but it shows well the way to execute this exercise.

However, this is an exercise I avoid because of my weak lower back. I prefer single leg squats instead.

Single leg squats:

For this exercise, I like to use the hanging straps. Of course, some people do pistol squats, that is to say squats balanced on one leg. But it is very difficult!

With TRX straps, you keep the intensity of the exercise without struggling with balance.

6. Supine pull-ups (chin up) or Rowing

Muscles worked: biceps, forearms, lats, round and abdominals.

A real session must necessarily work the biceps and the big back. This is exactly the objective of the movement I propose here.

Supine chin-ups with a barbell:

To do pull-ups, you must have at least one drawbar of this type or something equivalent.

As you can see in the picture below, an elastic band will be able to make it easier for you at first. Simply put the ankle bands around your thighs to hang the band on. Another solution is to rest your feet on a chair to take the weight off your arms.

Exercising when you don't have time - Assisted pull-ups
Source: bodylastics.com

You should grip the bar with your hands in supination, that is, palms facing your body. Your hands are about shoulder width apart.

Contract your abs so you don't put tension on your lower back. Pull your chest up to the bar. You should feel the effort of the biceps, but also of the big back.

Supine Rowing with elastic bands:

When I'm on the go, this is the move I use to replace pull-ups. It's really great for the big back.

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A simple door is enough to fix the anchor supplied with the kit.

Doing sports when you have no time - Rowing
Source: bodylastics.com

Now you have the exercises. All that's left to do is to make them into sessions for those days when you're in a hurry. I call them the " express sessions ".

Express sessions to work out when you don't have time

Using only the exercises I just presented, you could train for a lifetime and create crazy programs.

But they are also sufficient for quick sessions when you don't have enough time for your regular program.

So I'm going to introduce you to 3 different circuits to use in an emergency (even without breaking the ice).

The first one is intended to replace a full-body session. The other 2 will allow you to not rush your program if you work in half-body (upper body or lower body).

Complete circuit (10 minutes)

You should use this circuit if your entire workout week is compromised due to your schedule. In this case, you should do this circuit 3 to 4 times a week.

If possible, you should not take any time off between exercises. Just enough time to get into position, and off you go!

If it's helpful to you, download the Tabata Timer app to show you the exercise changes.

To warm up, do 1 minute of Jumping Jacks.

Board (1 minute)

Squats (1 minute) or Lunges (30 seconds per leg)

Push-ups (30 seconds hands apart and 30 seconds hands together)

Side plank (30 seconds per side)

Single leg squats (30 seconds per side) or jumping lunges (1 minute)

Pull-ups or Rowing (1 minute)

Squats (1 minute) or Lunges (30 seconds per leg)

Push-ups (30 seconds hands apart and 30 seconds hands together)

Single leg squats (30 seconds per side) or jumping lunges (1 minute)

Pull-ups or Rowing (1 minute)

If you don't even have 10 minutes, you can stop at the end of the 6th exercise. Under 6 minutes, I can't do anything for you 😀

Upper body express session (6 minutes)

To warm up, do 1 minute of Jumping Jacks.

Push-ups (30 seconds hands apart and 30 seconds hands together)

Pull-ups or Rowing (1 minute)

Push-ups (30 seconds hands apart and 30 seconds hands together)

Pull-ups or Rowing (1 minute)

Push-ups (30 seconds hands apart and 30 seconds hands together)

Pull-ups or Rowing (1 minute)

Express lower body session (8 minutes)

To warm up, do 1 minute of Jumping Jacks.

Board (1 minute)

Squats (1 minute) or Lunges (30 seconds per leg)

Side plank (30 seconds per side)

Single leg squats (30 seconds per side) or jumping lunges (1 minute)

Board (1 minute)

Squats (1 minute) or Lunges (30 seconds per leg)

Side plank (30 seconds per side)

Single leg squats (30 seconds per side) or jumping lunges (1 minute)


As I said before, doing an express session is not ideal. But, play sports when you don't have time, it's always better than not doing sports at all.

Most importantly, it keeps you on track with your training. It's all too easy to give up after skipping several sessions.

Did you notice it too?

So don't let the lack of time get in the way of your health.

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