This content is from the experts at Men's Fitness magazine.
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If your workout time is limited to a frantic gym session during lunch hour, an elaborate free-weight circuit is out of the question. Even if you can grab yourself a gym ball, a medicine ball and some dumbbells, chances are you’ll piss a lot of people off with the amount of floor space you’ll be taking up by laying all this kit out.
What you need to do is a barbell complex – an efficient routine made up of five barbell exercises done one after the other, without putting your barbell down.
Originally developed by Eastern European weightlifters to help them stay lean, this type of circuit is now popular with UFC fighters such as Randy Couture, who use them to combine strength and cardio in one short workout – with killer grip strength as an added bonus. Research has also shown that training with free-weights registers a higher level of muscle activity than when performing the same exercises on a Smith machine, for example, thus increasing strength far more effectively.
Try the barbell complex on the left on two non-consecutive days a week, but go easy on the weight to start with. Don’t rest between exercises and do each one at a high tempo without sacrificing form. Try to complete four circuits with a one-minute rest before starting a new one. You’ll be done in 20 minutes, but rest assured you would be unlikely to get a better workout even if you had all day to train.
Before you start the workout, be sure to read up on these weightlifting tips – they'll help you make bigger gains and avoid injury.