Is this you? You work all week, run errands, take the kids where they need to go, and then stagger into the weekend with little desire to get off your tired butt to do anything. You feel like you deserve a much-needed break from, well, life. You know you promised yourself that this year would be different, but the resolutions of January seem like so long ago, and you’re right back in your fitness rut. With everything you have going on, where do you even start?
You know that regular exercise gives you energy, but it also takes energy to exercise, and you don’t seem to have an ounce to spare. Well, there is a way to circumvent this trap. It will take willpower at first, but I believe through small steps you can eventually find a place of balance and build a weekly habit to improve your health.
If you’re looking to charge into the weekend with enough juice to go play a pick-up game with your buddies or run an obstacle course race, instead of plant yourself on the couch for 48 hours, this plan is for you.
Declare War on the Weekend
If you put a rubber band in the freezer overnight and then take it out the next day and try to stretch it, it will most likely snap. That is essentially what can happen if you go from zero during the workweek to 100 on the weekend. Most of us sit all day and all week at a desk job. There’s no shame in that—we happen to have a society that enables laziness. There are seats, benches, and chairs wherever you go. But all that sitting atrophies muscle, slows metabolism, tightens hip flexors, and weakens glute muscles. In other words, it’s a cocktail of bad news for your health.
A lot of people think that, to counteract all this sitting during the week, they have to hit the ground running and kick butt from day one. But burnout, squashed enthusiasm, and even injury can attend this reckless, sit-to-sprint mentality. The trick is to devise a plan of action that coaxes you into a better daily habit pattern; one that checks all of the required boxes to enable your success.
Let’s first set a few ground rules before we declare war on the weekend:
- Focus on the necessary: Big, multi-joint exercises will form the backbone of this program. Training with a ton of isolation moves is neither efficient nor as effective as stimulating the most muscle in the least amount of time.
- Stay flexible: Having a plan in place is great, but without any room for adjustment, it’s sure to fail. Be ready to roll with the punches.
- Be brief: Since you’re on a schedule and can’t waste time, you must not only have an effective program, but it must be efficient as well. No wasted time, no wasted effort.
- Mean business: Since time and effort are priorities, you must make every set and rep count. Going through the motions won’t cut it, you must apply intensity.
This program doesn’t require a bunch of expensive equipment only found in big commercial gyms. It does, however, require your focus and ingenuity regarding getting the most out of the short list of things at your disposal. Here are some tools you might find helpful. If you don’t have them all, use what you have to improvise.
- Suspension trainer
- Adjustable bench
- Pull up bar
The Weekend Warrior Workout Programs
Don’t think that just because “weekend” is in the name, this will be a walk in the park. You’ll be training very different components of your system by touching on several variables. These will include building overall strength, increasing muscle mass, improving stability and balance, and training both your muscular and cardiovascular endurance and conditioning.
Below are two programs that you can interchange as desired. One utilizes the minimal equipment listed above. The other is a complete bodyweight-only program designed for the traveling types who find it hard to train on the road, or for those who just want to change things up at home.
Minimal Equipment Workouts
Perform each training session on nonconsecutive days of the week (for example, Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Be sure to dynamically warm up before each workout with two rounds of push ups, jumping jacks, and body weight squats for 10 reps each.
This program is a complete bodyweight workout that needs only a pull up bar, a suspension trainer, and a bench. As with the program above, perform each training session on nonconsecutive days of the week (for example, Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Be sure to dynamically warm-up properly before each workout with two rounds of push-ups, jumping jacks and body weight squats for 10 reps each.