Get Fit in a Weekend

No time to exercise during the week? No problem. All you need is 40 minutes per weekend to build a strong, lean body.

Few concepts capture the American man's imagination as much as the weekend warrior: Freed from the shackles of workaday life, he uses Saturday and Sunday to catch up with family, soothe the soul, and cram a week's worth of missed exercise into just two days. In reality, however, less than 3 percent of us live up to this ideal, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is unfortunate, especially since less than 50 percent of us get the government's recommended dose of 90 minutes of exercise per week because we're "too busy," according to a recent study at the University of Pittsburgh. But don't lose hope. "If you can set aside 20 minutes on Saturday, and 20 minutes on Sunday, you can still build muscle and lose weight," says trainer Mike Boyle, owner of Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning, in Winchester, Massachusetts. The caveat: You also need to schedule 10 minutes at home on Wednesday to lock in your gains. "But that's it," says Boyle. "The key is to increase your workout density, without compromising muscle performance." Here's how.

SATURDAY: Back and Lower Body

Perform the following exercises as trisets (mini-circuits in which you do 10 to 15 reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next without rest). Once you've done all three exercises, rest for one minute, and then begin again, completing three sets of each triset.


Parallel-Grip Chin-up
Front Plank
One-Legged Squats


Dumbbell Rows
Bicycle Crunches
Romanian Dead Lifts


Swiss Ball Y's, T's, W's
Miniband Walk
Captain's Chair

SUNDAY: Upper Body

Follow the same strategy as outlined in Saturday's workout, but instead of doing exercises in triplets, you'll be doing them in pairs, or supersets, says Boyle. The workout will take no more than 20 minutes, but by the time you're done, you'll have hit every major muscle in your upper body.


Dumbbell Bench Presses
Side Plank


Squat Curl Presses
Straight-Leg Sit-ups


Hammer Curls
Triceps Extensions

WEDNESDAY: Muscle Maintenance

Perform one set of each of the following exercises, doing as many reps as possible. Rest one minute between exercises. "The goal is to maintain the gains you made over the weekend," says Boyle. "It will also help prevent soreness, setting you up for your next

Bosu-Ball Push-ups
Russian Twists

Filed Under