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Get In Shape Fast With This 20 Minute Workout

Get In Shape Fast With This 20 Minute Workout

Do you find that when you’re pressed for time it becomes easier to skip a workout? Is it a hassle for you to drive to the gym before or after work? After reading this article you won’t feel this way again, no matter how busy your schedule. That’s because I will show you a great muscle building, calorie burning workout that only takes 15-20 minutes to complete. You can do it anywhere too, even your office or backyard.

The workouts are referred to as complexes by strength coaches. Despite the name, they are anything but complex with regard to the equipment, space, skill, or time they require to complete. Keep reading to learn what complexes are along with why and how to do them any time or place.

Complexes – 20 Minute Muscle Building Workouts

Basically speaking, complexes are 3 or more exercises done using the same barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell with no rest between each movement. The exercises you use typically alternate between upper and lower body in focus. They’re most often done while standing. When performed properly you will move fluidly from one exercise to the other.

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Complexes are the brainchild of strength coach Istvan Javorek. He uses them to help athletes quickly build muscle and improve their overall fitness in the off-season. The results Coach Javorek reports speak for themselves. After 3-6 months of training this way men and women he coaches often gain more than 30 pounds and more than doubled their strength. People I train achieve similar results and often lose as much weight and body fat in as little time too.

You don’t have to be an elite athlete to do them or achieve similar results. Anyone can do complexes. If you’re willing to put forth maximum effort and make sure you eat enough protein to build muscle you too can achieve similar results.

The list below details the several benefits of complexes.

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  • Complexes are convenient. You don’t have to deal with the hassle of changing weights or moving from one piece of equipment to another.
  • Complexes save you time. Since you rest so little and don’t have to change equipment or machines each workout only takes 15-20 minutes.
  • Complexes don’t require much equipment. All you need to perform this workout is a dumbbell or kettlebell.
  • Complexes don’t require a lot of room. You can do this workout in a spare room of your house or backyard.
  • Complexes improve your overall fitness. This workout won’t simply make you bigger or stronger. Doing them regularly will help you build muscle, increase your strength, and even increase your flexibility.

The 20 Minute Workout Explained

The exercises in this complex workout are: 1 arm snatches, squats, and shoulder press. Performing a complex with these exercises trains practically every muscle in your body. Your legs, core (abs/lower back), upper back, and shoulders get an especially good workout. You’ll even feel it in your biceps and triceps. My arms got significantly bigger after doing this complex 2-3 times a week for a month. I wasn’t doing any exercises for my arms like curls or triceps push downs either.

Below are descriptions for each exercise. I recommend learning how to do each exercise by itself first. Once you have the movement mastered you can do them as a complex.

1 Arm Snatch

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand with your palm facing away from you. The weight should be between your legs.
  2. Bend your knees and waist as if you are performing a kettlebell swing. The weight should swing back and between your legs.
  3. Once the weight has swung between your legs, pull it forward explosively. Push from your heels onto your toes. Keep your arm straight and extended throughout the movement. You should be on your toes as the weight approaches chest height.
  4. Driving with your hips, pull the weight up until your arm is fully extended and you’re holding the weight above your head.
  5. Lower the weight to shoulder height and prepare to perform the squat segment of the complex.

Kettlebell Squat

  1. Stand holding a dumbbell or kettlebell at shoulder height. Your feet should still be apart at shoulder width.
  2. Perform a squat by bending your knees and moving your but back. Your weight should be over your heels.
  3. Continue to squat down until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Your heels should never come off the ground.
  4. Return to the standing position. Push up from your heels.
  5. You’ll finish in the same position from which you started this portion of the exercise. You’re now ready to perform the 1 arm shoulder press.

1 Arm Shoulder Press

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart holding a dumbbell or kettlebell at shoulder height. If you’re using a kettlebell it will rest against the back of your hand.
  2. Tighten your abs, breath in and press the weight overhead until your arm is completely extended.
  3. Lower the weight back to the starting position of the exercise.
  4. Return the weight to the starting position of the 1 arm snatch.

Sets, Reps and Rest Periods

Begin with 5 sets of 3 repetitions per arm for each exercise. Add 1 repetition per set every other workout until you can do 5 sets of 8 reps. Once you have achieved this goal you can decrease the amount of rest you take between complexes to make them more challenging and further improve your fitness.

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When you can easily do 5 sets of 8 reps with 60 seconds or less rest between each complex it’s time to move only more challenging variations. This can include performing reverse lunges instead of squats and holding the weight overhead as you perform the squatting segment of the exercise. You can also add an additional movement such as the kettlebell swing to the complex.

When You Should Do This 20 Minute Workout

You can do this workout about as often as you like. Doing it 3-5 days a week is most effective.

Another way to add it to your overall workout routine is to perform it on your days off from the gym. This is a great way to consistently train and improve your overall fitness. When doing it with this goal in mind, perform 3-5 sets of 5 reps with a weight you can actually perform 10 reps with so you don’t train too heavy and compromise your ability to recover before your next workout.

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On days I have a little more time to train, I like to do this complex as the first exercise of my workout. Then, all I have to do is perform 3-5 sets of plyometric push ups, pull ups, and farmer’s walks and I’m done. I’ll have trained every major muscle group in my body in about 30 minutes tops.

Conclusion

You now have a great workout that enables you to get in a great total body workout in very little time. Since it only requires 1 piece of equipment it’s super convenient too. Even if you are stuck in your office all day long, take a dumbbell or kettlebell to work with you and perform a couple of sets on during a break. Before you know it you’ll find you’re getting results faster than you ever thought possible.

(Photo credit: Workout Time via Shutterstock)

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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