How To Train On A Busy Schedule

In the modern-day world where being sedentary has become the new normal, the lack of proper movement is globally acknowledged. For this reason, many types of activities have become increasingly popular, with one being predominant. That is namely weight training, which has now become the most common type of training that people engage in.

Nevertheless, training in a gym may be time consuming if not optimized, which is why you often hear people say that they simply “don’t have time” to train. In this article, we’ll give you tips and tricks on how to create an effective workout routine that fits your schedule (even if it’s a busy one).

Why Even Train?

If you are not sure about whether or not you should start training in the first place, let us tell you this – A moving body is a healthy body. Being sedentary is one of the MAIN reasons why people are exhausted, depressed and in bad shape. The benefits of training and especially weight training are literally COUNTLESS.

But when you think about it, it makes sense – The body has a complex muscular and nervous system because it was BUILT FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE. Certainly, the body is NOT a vessel for sensory pleasure – There is much more to existence. Movement stimulates all bodily systems and improves overall health in the long-term, if done correctly. In simple words, the question should not be “Should I train or not?” but rather “What can I do for my body to favor all my internal processes?”


What Should I Know About Training?

Though highly effective, weight training is very misunderstood, especially considering the oceans of information on the internet. However, we have piled up the MOST IMPORTANT things you should know about weight training. Here’s a list.

  1. Training intensity

All your working sets should be at a moderately high/high intensity, where the set is challenging and takes you close to muscular failure (the inability to complete another rep unassisted). This creates a sufficient, powerful stimulus for the development of your muscular and nervous system. Generally, training in the 1-5 rep range with heavy weights will induce maximum strength gains, while training in the 6-15 rep range will be a greater stimulus for bulk muscle growth.

Your best bet is to combine both but focus on the one which resonates with your goals most.

  1. Training volume

As a beginner, you should aim to complete up to 10 challenging working sets, per muscle group, per week. The more you progress, the more that volume grows – This will help you create new, additional stimulus, to which the body has not yet adapted/

  1. Rest times & Recovery

A general rule of thumb to follow, is that your rest-times between sets are longer, the heavier you lift, because intensity by nature is demanding. If you’re training in the 1-5 rep range, you should take up to 5+ minutes of rest between sets, and if you’re in the 6-15 rep range, that would be around 3 minutes of rest between sets.

After you’re done training a muscle group, you should give it 48-96 hours of recovery time, before training it again – If you are doing a full-body workout, you can be on the lower range of that time frame.

  1. Exercise choice
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In general, and especially in the case of a busy schedule, compound movements should be the main focus of your workouts. Compound movements are exercises that engage multiple muscle groups at once – These exercises allow you to lift heavier weight and thus, create a greater stimulus.

Think of squats, bench, deadlift, overhead presses and all their variations.

Sample Training Regimen

Below you can find a sample training regimen for people on a busy schedule. This training split offers a variety of compound movements that target the entire body. The workout should take roughly one hour to complete and due to the low number of working sets, it can be done every other day. In the table below, you can find each exercise, the sets, reps, rest times as well as possible substitutes for each exercise.

Full Body Split – ~60 min completion time

Exercise Sets Reps Rest times
Flat Barbell Bench Press or incline dumbbell bench press 2 warm-up sets, 3 working sets 6-10 3 minutes between working sets
Vertical Lat Pulldown or T-bar row 3 working sets 10 2.5 minutes between working sets
Overhead Presses or lateral raises 3 working sets 8-10 3 minutes between working sets
Squats or leg presses 3 Working Sets 10 3 minutes between working sets
Standing or seated Calf Raises 3 working sets 10 2.5 minutes between working sets


Creating an effective training regimen on a busy schedule can be a hassle, but as long as you follow the general guidelines provided, you can create an effective training split. Needless to say, you will invest some of your time in this, but if optimized and done correctly, the investment will pay off. With a well-optimized regimen, you’re looking at about 5-6 hours of training PER WEEK.

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You have 168 hours in a week.

If you work a normal day job, you’d have 40 of those 168 hours going to your workplace. A regular sleeping pattern will take up to 56 hours per week. You’re left with 72 hours to do whatever you have to/want to do.

The choice is yours!