Lack of time is one of the most common reasons that hold people back from working out. Whether this is truly the case or just an excuse, I won’t delve into this time. In this post, instead of my usual motivation and mentoring, I want to focus on providing a practical solution. I present to you a full-body training plan that you can complete in 30 minutes.
The title of the post suggests that my plan is “for men” but of course I don’t discriminate and anyone can benefit from it. Simply put, women tend to train their arms and chest much less frequently, and the main goal of the plan I propose is to provide a highly comprehensive full-body workout (FBW).
Both complete beginners and moderately advanced individuals can benefit from my suggestion. All they need to do is choose weights that are suitable for their abilities. Advanced individuals usually have their own established habits and systems, but if someone in that category is reading this, perhaps they might want to try the challenge of “completing a 30-minute workout”.
Why my plan?
Let’s be honest here, 30 minutes is actually quite short for a solid workout. However, on the other hand, any completed workout, even a short one, is still a good workout. Therefore, you can make the most out of any amount of time you have in terms of quality.
Importantly, even though I am quite advanced, I have tried the 30-minute workout I propose myself and it can indeed be completed within that time frame.
- Activates all the major muscle groups, nothing is left out.
- Has no unnecessary fillers or complexities.
- Emphasizes simplicity and intensity, the latter being a key training factor.
30-minute full-body workout
I want to emphasize that the exercises I propose should not necessarily be considered the best. I’m not even sure if such absolutes exist, considering the element of individualism in fitness. That doesn’t mean they are bad exercises, though. I do them myself and enjoy them. However, I want to address this before any know-it-all starts saying, “But X is better for your back…”
One of the main criteria for selecting exercises for my 30-minute workout plan is that you can do them at any gym. They don’t require rare machines like hack squats, specific rowing equipment, or really good preacher stations.
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s get started!
- Walking lunges
You don’t even need any equipment for these. You can do them anywhere and activate both the quadriceps and hamstrings. You’ll also feel them in your glutes the next day if you don’t regularly perform this exercise. If you feel up to it, you can drop a Bulgarian bag on your shoulders or grab dumbbells. Personally, I prefer the former option.
2 x 20 / in 4 minutes
- Leg extensions
The leg extension machine is available in every gym. This is probably my favorite isolation exercise for the quadriceps.
3 x 12 / in 6 minutes
- Single-arm bent-over rows
Set the bench backrest to about 30-40 degrees, lean on it with one hand, and pull the dumbbell towards your hip, then lower it steadily to fully stretch the lat muscle.
4 x 12 / in 6 minutes
- Barbell bench press
The classic bench press. Grip the barbell firmly, elbows closer to the body rather than pointing outward, lower it steadily to your chest, and push it up strongly.
4 x 10 / in 4 minutes
Biceps and triceps
- Seated incline dumbbell curls
A very effective bicep exercise that allows for a proper stretch of the muscle. Remember not to swing the dumbbells, as that takes the focus away from the biceps. If you’re unable to perform the movement correctly, use lighter dumbbells. There’s no shame in that.
4 x 12 / in 5 minutes
- French press
Also known as the skull crusher, it combines the benefits of cable pulldowns and overhead press. You can choose between a straight or an EZ-bar, the choice is yours. See which one works better for you. Personally, I prefer the EZ-bar.
4 x 12 / in 5 minutes
Other muscle groups
As you can see, the above 30-minute workout doesn’t specifically target the very important shoulders. However, they will be activated during the barbell bench press and bicep curls. Your forearms are also activated whenever you grip something, especially during lifting exercises.
If you’d like, you can include calf raises between sets or during breaks between other exercises, as it won’t require too much energy or tire you out.
If you’ll have any time for abs or traps exercises left, that’s great. However, if you only have 30 minutes for your workout, there’s no need to worry about them. You can do them another time.
If, for any reason, you only have 30 minutes for a weight training session and still want to make it happen, or if it’s part of a larger block that includes other activities, the plan outlined in this post will help you activate all the major muscle groups and complete a full-body workout.
In fact, it can also serve as a solid foundation for beginners who don’t need to fit within the 30-minute timeframe but are unsure where to start. Over time, such individuals can simply increase the weight, reps, and sets to progress until they’re ready to start a more structured training program.
If you enjoyed this content, please consider supporting my work by sending a donation using a regular debit card or PayPal.