We’ve all been there – you’re ready to train but you are short on time and equipment. Here’s how you can crush a full body training session with only 15 minutes on the clock!
Before You Begin:
This full body training session is one of the best ways to tackle all of your major muscle groups without having much time or equipment to work with. It’s important to note that some of the movements in this full body sequence are a bit higher level and may not be appropriate for a newcomer to resistance training (don’t worry – we’ve recommended a way to scale this one back a bit, too).
Target Muscle Groups:
Equipment You’ll Need:
- (1) Stopwatch or Clock
- (1) Pull-up bar
- A small open space about 6-8′ wide
Full Body TRAINing:
Repeat as many rounds as comfortably possible within 15 minutes.
- 5 pull-ups
- 10 push-ups
- 15 air squats
Set a 15:00 minute clock. Click start and begin the full body training session by aiming to complete 5 pull-ups. Once completed, lower to the floor and complete 10 push-ups. From there, stand up to perform 15 air squats. Then you’ve completed (1) full round. The kicker here is that you want to challenge yourself to limit rest and push through mental and physical fatigue to begin your second round by going right back into pull-ups.
Let me start off by saying that when pull-ups are done correctly – they are very taxing. Take your time here. I always tell my clients to aim for “control over intensity” [Yes, that means I favor strict pull-ups in this workout]. Begin with your palms facing away from your body while gripping the bar. Let your body hang in a passive state. Then, go into an active state by driving your shoulder blades down towards your hips and retracting your lats. Additionally, think about keeping your belly-button pulled into your spine, maintaining a neutral pelvis, and favoring a strong upper back.
NOTE: The height of your pull-up is completely subjective to your body. Go too high and your biceps will take over the end range of the movement. Don’t go high enough and you might not get a full contraction of your lats and upper back. Find your strong middle ground & own it well.
Have you ever done a set of push-ups and felt nothing but your shoulders or triceps screaming at you? Yeah, me too. Use this portion of the workout as a means to target your chest muscles.
Here are a few push-up cues I live by:
- Take a grip just a bit wider than your shoulders.
- Take a deep breathe in at the peak of each rep before lowering your chest to the floor.
- Drive your elbows out, but not too high or wide. Imagine you have a grapefruit that you need to squeeze in your armpit and the space between your tricep and ribcage. Keep your upper arm angle fixated on squeezing your imaginary grapefruit. This spacing between your upper arm and ribs will put your arm at an angle that should challenge your chest muscles more than your shoulder or triceps muscles.
- Pause for a brief moment at the bottom of each push-up. Ensure your arms are in proper position, you’ve braced with a deep breathe of air, and are then prepared to drive into the floor to elevate.
- My favorite cue for an optimal chest engaging push-up: push through the OUTSIDE of your palm. Think of pushing through the soft cushiony padded area between the bottom of your pinky finger to your wrist. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a flat palm on the floor. But as with many movements in resistance training – you MIGHT feel your chest engage MORE here simply by implementing this “outside of the palm” cue.
I’ll keep this one brief because we all have our own squat pattern that works well for our structure and overall level of flexibility. However, I would encourage you to focus on two things will performing an air squat.
- Drive your knees out wide
- Stand-up tall
Why drive your knees out wide? Well, simply put – you’re going to use your glutes more. And strong and balanced glute/hips are the foundation for so many other movements. Use the squat as a means to not only build your lower body but also as a way to serve your body to perform other movements better. Stronger glutes are a must! Emphasize them well here.
Why stand-up tall? Here you’ll get what most like to call “hip extension.” When you stand up tall and lock your hips “out“…you’ll find that you’ll be able to elongate your spine and contract your glute muscles better than partially standing up at the top of each squat. Again, strong glutes are a must. Make sure get them firing in this portion of the circuit!
SCALE THIS WORKOUT:
I realize millions of pull-ups and push-ups may not be feasible for the masses. I’ve had a few clients over the years perform a simpler style 15-minute sustained effort workout without all of the push and pull. If you need a simpler variation that can also be a challenge, then give the circuit below a try.
- 5 push-ups
- 10 sit-ups
- 15 air squats
Repeat as many efficient rounds as possible in 15 minutes
Want more quick and efficient training sessions?
Check out my one of my favorite full-body workouts below:
Evertrain Co-Founder & Director of Fitness