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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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Curt Pedersen

Curt is the founder of Stayfitcentral.com, a blog that helps you build the body you deserve.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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