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The Best Workout for a Time Crunch

If you can barely spare half an hour at the gym, try this 25-minute total-body circuit—you'll be sweating in seconds.
James Ryang

"If I have only a small window of time—say, a half hour—in the gym every day, what’s the best workout I can jam into it?"

“Here’s an awesome 25-minute total-body circuit workout using basic, straightforward moves: a pushing motion, a pulling motion, a lower-body press, and some rotation for the core,” says Robert Reames, C.S.C.S., a trainer for PEAR Sports and a member of the Fitness Institute for Gold’s Gym. 

This routine works the entire body, so you don’t overlook any muscle group and can train as effectively as possible. “The transitions are fast, and overall intensity is high,” says Reames. “Workouts like this are extra effective because they continue to work for you long after you’ve left the gym.

“And be sure to elevate your effort by using appropriate resistance levels on all exercises,” he adds. (Read: Pick the right weights and/or machine settings for your fitness level so you can’t slack but you don’t hurt yourself, either.) 

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Start with cardio on a treadmill, elliptical, or recumbent bike.

Perform each of the following exercises for 30 seconds, resting only as needed between sets. 
Afterward, rest 10 seconds and repeat the whole circuit for four total rounds. Then be sure to cool down with some stretching. 
Use moderate weights for each exercise—loads that allow you to perform 10 to 15 reps each set.

1. PUSH: 
The first exercise involves pushing—any chest or shoulder press or pushup variation.

Next is rotation: med ball twists or a woodchopping motion using a cable or medicine ball.

3. PULL: 
Then pulling—lat pulldown or row variations.

4. GO LOW: 
Finally, work your lower body—squat or deadlift variation, or leg machines.

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