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The Minimalist Training Home Workout for Strength & Fitness

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Minimalist Training – Introduction

The Minimalist Training Home Workout for Strength & Fitness

Training for strength, fitness and fat loss often seems like very time-consuming affairs.

According to the most popular workouts, in addition to hitting the gym five times a week for an hour or more, you also need access to a very well-equipped training facility, and that invariably means a lengthy commute.

That all adds up to more time than a lot of people can or want to spend on exercise.

As such, many believe that they don’t have time to get fit, lose weight, and build muscle.

Of course, for some people exercise is their main hobby, and they’re happy to dedicate two or more hours a day to working out.

The gym is their social hub, and they have very few additional commitments.

But, with age comes responsibility, and many adults simply do not have hours of free time to spend at the gym.

The good news is that you can still build muscle, strength, and fitness with short, condensed workouts.

This is called minimalist or abbreviated training.

This article explains what minimalist training is and provides you with some example workouts to try.

What is Minimalist Strength Training?

In simple terms, minimalist training involves cutting away the flab from your workouts, so you’re left with nothing but the bare bones.

For example, instead of doing several exercises per muscle group, you just do one, and rather than using isolation exercises, you just do compound movements.

This results in shorter workouts and, in some cases, fewer workouts per week.

Using the minimalist approach, you can also simplify your equipment choices and work out with less.

For example, you could just use dumbbells, a barbell, or even bodyweight exercises.

The idea of minimalist training is to try and do more with less: less time, less equipment, fewer exercises, and even fewer workouts.

This is a stark contrast to the “kitchen sink” approach that many trainers use.

They literally throw every conceivable exercise into their workouts, hitting each muscle from multiple angles.

While this all-in approach does work, it’s not always practical for home exercisers and anyone who doesn’t want to spend all their free time training.

Who is Minimalist Weight Training For?

Minimalist training is not for everyone, and you may not even need to follow a stripped-down program if you have plenty of time and energy for longer, more frequent workouts.

But, if you are struggling to stick to your current workout plan, minimalist training could be the solution you’ve been waiting for.

Minimalist training is perfect for exercisers who are:

Short on time

Only got 30 minutes a day to work out?

No problem!

You can still get a tremendous minimalist workout in that time.

Low in energy

With just a couple of exercises per workout, you should find minimalist training sessions much less draining and easier to recover from.

Short on equipment

Do you train at home?

Is your home gym sparsely equipped?

Don’t worry; you can still get a great workout with a minimalist program.

Beginners

Minimalist training workouts are ideal for anyone just starting out on their fitness journey.

They’re manageable, convenient, and focus on the main compound exercises you need to master before moving on to more complex training methods.

Athletes

If you play sports, as well as hitting the weights, you need to find time for practice and sports-specific conditioning.

You don’t want to spend all your time in the weights room.

Minimalist training means you should have all the time and energy you need to pursue your sporting dreams.

Overtrained

If you have been doing a lot of high-volume training lately and are struggling to recover between workouts, you could be overtrained.

Shorter workouts are much easier to recover from and, as such, could help you maintain strength and muscle mass as you get back on track.

Regardless of your training goal, your current fitness, and how experienced you are, minimalist training can be very helpful.

However, while it’s good for building strength and fitness, it’s not so useful for hypertrophy or bodybuilding.

That’s because minimalist workouts are very low volume, and volume plays an essential part in bodybuilding.

With the minimalist approach, you’ll only have time for one exercise per major muscle group per workout.

That may not be sufficient to trigger maximal hypertrophy.

But, train hard enough, and minimalist training can help build muscle.

Example Minimalist Training Workouts

There is no one-size-fits-all minimalist workout.

Instead, minimalism is a training style or philosophy.

So, to that end, here are a few different minimalist workouts to try.

Choose the one that best fits your schedule.

Note: Feel free to change the exercises based on your personal preferences and available equipment.

For example, you could do dumbbell goblet squats instead of barbell back squats.

However, stay true to the programs and use similar exercises.

Leg presses instead of squats is an acceptable substitution, while calf raises instead of deadlifts is not!

Minimalist program 1 – two workouts per week

This minimalist training program involves two abbreviated full-body workouts per week.

The workouts are a little longer than some of the others we’ve provided, but you should still be in and out of the gym in under an hour, with a total training time of no more than two hours per week.

Do each workout once per week, preferably several days apart, for example, Monday and Thursday.

Abbreviated Strength Training 2x a week – Fit Apprentice Workouts A & B

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Minimalist program 2 – three workouts per week

You’ll be hitting the gym three times a week for this program, such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

However, while you’ll be training more often than program 1, each workout is a little shorter.

Abbreviated Weight Training – work out 3x a week – Fit Apprentice Workouts ABC

Abbreviated Weight Training - 3x a week - Fit Apprentice Workouts A B C-min
Minimalist Weight Training – 3x a week – Fit Apprentice Workouts ABC

Minimalist program 3 – four workouts per week

Four workouts per week might not sound very minimalist, but you’ll only be doing three exercises per workout.

Even with your warm-up, you should be in and out of the gym in 30 minutes or less.


Minimalist Strength Training Plan 3 – 4x a week – Fit Apprentice Workouts ABCD

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Minimalist program 4 – five workouts per week

If you have easy access to a gym, this program could be a great way to make the most of your facilities while keeping your workouts to around 20-30 minutes.

Abbreviated weight training program 4 – Fit Apprentice workouts ABCDE

Minimalist Weight Training 4 - 5x a week - Fit Apprentice Workouts ABCDE
Minimalist Weight Training 4 – 5x a week – Fit Apprentice Workouts ABCDE

Minimalist program 5 – six workouts per week

For your final minimalist training program, you’ll just be doing one exercise per day.

Just do 4-6 sets of 6-12 reps to be in and out of the gym in less than 15 minutes.

  • Sunday – squat
  • Monday – bench press
  • Tuesday – chin-up
  • Wednesday – deadlift
  • Thursday – overhead press
  • Friday – bent-over row
  • Saturday – rest

or

  • Monday – squat
  • Tuesday – bench press
  • Wednesday – chin-up
  • Thursday – deadlift
  • Friday – overhead press
  • Saturday – bent-over row
  • Sunday – rest

An ascending pyramid with a back-off set at the end works well with this type of program, for example with deadlifts or squats:

  • 12 reps (e.g., 40kg/90lbs)
  • 10 reps (e.g., 50kg/110lbs)
  • 8 reps (e.g., 60kg/130lbs)
  • 6 reps (e.g., 70kg/155lbs)
  • 12 reps (e.g., 40kg/90lbs)

What About Cardio?

Cardio doesn’t really fit into the minimalist training framework.

By its very nature, cardio tends to be quite time-consuming.

As such, you may not have time to do cardio as well as strength training.

That said, there are a couple of things you could do to improve your cardiovascular fitness and, by default, your cardiovascular health.

#1. Tabatas

Tabatas are an ultra-short interval workout that takes less than five minutes to complete.

Try tacking a Tabata workout onto the end of your chosen abbreviated strength program.

Tabatas involve doing eight 20-second intervals with 10-seconds rest between each one to total four minutes.

You can use any type of cardio for Tabatas, including:

#2. Walk 10,000 steps per day

Walking is one of the most convenient types of cardio you can do.

Simply walk more and drive less to clock up 10,000 steps.

Walk briskly, so you are slightly out of breath.

You don’t have to do all 10,000 steps in one shot.

In fact, this strategy works best if you spread your steps throughout your day.

Just chip away at the 10,000-step target until you’ve done them all.

Minimalist Training – Wrapping Up

Lack of time is a legitimate barrier to exercise.

No one plans on missing workouts, but life has a way of derailing even the best intentions.

But, while you may not be able to commit to two hours a day, most people should be able to find 20-30 minutes several times a week for a minimalist workout.

While such an approach means some muscles are trained indirectly (biceps and triceps), and others are all but ignored (calves), you can still work virtually your whole body using the minimalist approach, usually in just a couple of hours per week.

Longer, more comprehensive workouts invariably produce better results, but the benefits of any extra training are actually pretty minimal.

So, given a choice between minimalist training and no training, the minimalist approach is the clear winner!

So, don’t let lack of time stop you from getting stronger and fitter.

Instead, use the minimalist workout method to achieve your training goals.

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