I like workouts that are uncomplicated and don’t take too much time to complete. A simple workout means not having to dedicate half a day planning on what exercises need to be done. A short workout means no excuses not to complete them.

I found that the Push-Pull-Legs routine combined with the Rest-Pause method fits my requirements very well. Workouts are simple and take about 20 mins to complete. Perfect for busy (or lazy) individuals.

Equipment

Additionally, the exercises listed here are mostly suitable for home workouts.

  • Resistance bands
  • Door attachment for resistance bands
  • Dumbbells of various weights
  • Push up grips
  • Pull up bar or head to a nearby park with a pull up bar

Workout routine

All exercise set should be completed to form failure where additional repetitions cannot be performed without losing proper form or technique.

McGill Big Three

  • Exercise 1: Bird dog, hold for 10 sec x 5-10 reps
  • Exercise 2: Curl ups, hold for 10 sec x 5-10 reps
  • Exercise 3: Side plank, hold for 10 sec x 5-10 reps

Monday (Push)

Muscles – Chest, shoulders, and triceps

  • Suitcase walk (carry)
  • Exercise 1: Push-up (horizontal push)
  • Exercise 2: Single arm dumbbell press (vertical push)
  • Exercise 3: Dumbbell tricep kickback (vertical push)

Tuesday (Pull)

Muscles – Back and biceps

  • Farmer’s walk (carry)
  • Exercise 1: Banded seated row (horizontal pull)
  • Exercise 2: Banded pull down (vertical pull)
  • Exercise 3: Bicep curl (vertical pull)

Wednesday (Legs)

Muscles – Lower body

  • Suitcase walk (carry)
  • Exercise 1: Dumbbell drop squat (squat)
  • Exercise 2: Banded pull through (hinge)
  • Exercise 3: Static lunge (lunge)

Thursday (Push)

Muscles – Chest, shoulders, and triceps

  • Farmer’s walk (carry)
  • Exercise 1: Dumbbell floor press (horizontal push)
  • Exercise 2: Dumbbell overhead press (vertical push)
  • Exercise 3: Dumbbell tricep kickback (vertical push)

Friday (Pull)

Muscles – Back and biceps

  • Suitcase walk (carry)
  • Exercise 1: Banded low row (horizontal pull)
  • Exercise 2: Banded pull up (vertical pull)
  • Exercise 3: Bicep curl (vertical pull)

Saturday (Legs)

Muscles – Lower body

  • Farmer’s walk (carry)
  • Exercise 1: Dumbbell goblet squat (squat)
  • Exercise 2: Romanian deadlift (hinge)
  • Exercise 3: Dynamic lunge (lunge)

Rest-Pause method

Set a target number of total reps to hit. For example, 3 sets x 10 reps = 30 total reps.

  • Do as many reps as possible
  • Rest for only 20 to 30 sec
  • Repeat until target number reached

I use the Interval Timer app on my phone to track my intervals.

Movement patterns

  • Push

    • Horizontal push
    • Vertical push
  • Pull

    • Horizontal pull
    • Vertical pull
  • Legs

    • Squat
    • Hinge
    • Lunge
  • Core

    • Core flexion
    • Carry

Videos

Here’s a video on exercises for specific movement patterns with progressive difficulty levels.

This video talks about various strategies to train more efficiently with less time.

This video demonstrates how to do the McGill Big Three exercises.