3 Ways to Shorten your Workout

More is not Better

For those of you not familiar with the concept of minimum effective dose (MED), I am going to resort to my standard analogy. If you are boiling water for a nice pot of tea, you heat it to 100 degrees Celsius causing it to boil. Making the water even hotter, say 200 degrees, will not make the water ‘more boiled’. The minimum effective dose for boiling water is thus 100 degrees Celsius. This mechanism applies to many things in daily life and especially to working out and sports in general. For one of my personal examples check out my gaining 5 kilos of lean muscle in 2 weeks with 1 hour workout per week.

Shorten your Warming Up

Getting a good warm up is essential for a nice and efficient workout. Most people however forget that a warm up should prepare you for the actual activity ahead. This results in many a sportsman getting quite tired after their warm up leaving them an ineffective workout. A study by researchers at the University of Calgary showed that doing a shorter and less intense warm up will significantly boost your performance. This study was done on cyclists but may as well be applied to any type of sport.

When you Train for Volume

When training for bigger muscles a tiny 2 workouts of 30 minutes per week will yield incredible results. You do have to pay a lot of attention to what you eat though, and the workout is quite specific. The details can be found in this Hive Health Media  post I wrote but it all boils down to a couple of simple principles. The first is ‘set to fail’ which basically means that you never put down the weight or lock your joints (your muscles are under constant pressure) and you hold the weight for 5 seconds in the lowest and highest position until your muscles give out. In combination with that you eat like a pig while focusing on protein, though some supplements might be useful in addition to that. Check this post (LINK) to see what I used.

When you Train for Strength

When training for strength an over smaller time under tension is necessary, namely 15 minutes per week. When I first heard this I had a thought along the lines of ‘sure man, and what chemicals are you taking with that?’. It turns out however that the Russian Power Lifting team and the Chinese ice skaters have been using this for quite a while. The basics of this program include a few simple guidelines (I will post a full post on this later).

Basically you should lift in sets of 2 to 3 reps with a maximum of 10reps per workout (yes you read that right). You should lift at 95% to 85% of your max and hold a 5 minute break between sets. Other guidelines include dynamic stretching as a warm up. The goal of this workout is to leave you feeling exhilarated rather than exhausted.


I am a life sciences student in the Netherlands with a passion for health and fitness. I am an avid follower of the Paleo diet and are a self proclaimed body hacker (and thus guinea pig). I'm currently working on a vitamin store, which started out as a pet projects to cater to my own supplement needs. I blog at Skill Collector and work at Hoasted Webhosting.

4 thoughts on “3 Ways to Shorten your Workout

  • October 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    2 workouts of 30 minutes a week- Can’t agree more with you.
    I tried it for 2 months and, of course with a diet, I gained more or less 5 lbs of lean muscle. Nice post!

  • September 27, 2011 at 2:49 am

    I notice that I do exercises most effective at the first 30 minute, after that I just feel like to giving up! this may be a confirmation for the post.

  • June 26, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Yah!, it’s really true, if you overused your body for a workout the result will not be good. Usually fitness instructors recommend you to have a workout out at least 1 – 2 hours a day and no excess. Working out daily is good but limit it to your body’s capability.

    • June 27, 2011 at 2:12 am

      I agree fully, though I must add that 1-2 hours daily is quite excessive… Fitness every day is even a bit much, it will only impair results in my experience (and research).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *