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A Simple Workout Plan For Busy People That Covers The Fundamentals

Workout
(Image credit: Unknown)

Squeezing in any workout can be a challenge, and for many people the type of four-session-a-week plan where you train different body parts each time is utterly impractical. If you’re in that position, it’s smart to choose sessions that cover the fundamentals – which also has the happy result of building the kind of useful, functional strength that can make life a little easier.

And that’s what you’ll get with this workout from Steven Virtue from gym chain Total Fitness (opens in new tab). “Here are six fundamental movement patterns which will set you in good stead,” says Virtue.

“The newfound strength from training using these movements, with or without load, can have an extremely positive effect on strength and work capacity. All these movements require us to stabilise while producing force, making them exercises that contribute to core strength.

“Fundamental movements are typically compound, meaning you use multiple joints and muscle groups, and using compound movement patterns instead of isolation exercises gives you greater increases in strength and help you to develop a functionally strong body. However, isolation exercises have a place in a programme to help correct imbalances or to put the focus on muscle groups that need more attention.”

If you have no idea if you have an imbalance or what muscle groups need attention, talking to a PT at a gym is a smart move. 

How To Do This Workout

You don’t need a gym to perform this workout, although you will need a pull-up bar – if you don’t have a home one, see if an outdoor gym near you has one. Virtue advises doing this workout three times a week for three to four weeks for maximal results, but don’t be put off if you can’t make that kind of time commitment: “Moving more than you have been is a step in the right direction,” says Virtue. “All these exercises are scalable to suit your level of ability, and there are plenty of variations of the below movements to help adapt and progress your session.” Click the title of each exercise for a list of variations in our exercise guides.

For each exercise you work for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, then move on to the next exercise. Complete five rounds of the six-exercise sequence for a 30-minute workout.

Squat with isometric hold

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

Place your feet shoulder-width apart and squat to knee level. Hold for three seconds and return to the starting position.

Walking plank

Plank

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Time 45sec Rest 15sec

Get yourself in the forearm plank position. Push up onto your hands one arm at a time, then reverse slowly to the starting position.

Glute bridge

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor close to your glutes. Press your heels into the floor to lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Return slowly to the starting position.

Press-up

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart in a high plank position. Bend at your elbows to lower your body slowly to the floor, pause, and then push yourself up.

Reverse lunge

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

Step backwards with your right leg and bend at both knees to lower your body until your right knee is just above the floor. Push back up, then repeat on the alternate side. Alternate sides with each rep.

Pull-up

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

Hold the bar in an overhand grip, palms facing forwards, with your hands shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up, maintaining a tight back throughout, until your chin goes above the bar. Lower slowly.

Jonathan Shannon has been the editor of the Coach website since 2016, developing a wide-ranging experience of health and fitness. Jonathan took up running while editing Coach and has run a sub-40min 10K and 1hr 28min half marathon. His next ambition is to complete a marathon. He’s an advocate of cycling to work and is Coach’s e-bike reviewer, and not just because he lives up a bit of a hill. He also reviews fitness trackers and other workout gear.