Strength training is an important part of any fitness routine, and finding a strength training workout (or workouts) that work with your lifestyle can make a huge difference Travel & To-Go Food Containers. Strength training helps you perform better in day-to-day life, wards off injury, prevents bone loss, and even can help you lose weight (if that’s a goal of yours). However, fitness pros and popular training programs often recommend three to four strength training sessions a week to see results. And if you’re busy with other workouts—or just life—that can be hard to accomplish.
But you can have it both ways: Results are entirely possible with just two strength-training sessions a week, Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., founder of TS Fitness, tells SELF.
The reason three to four days per week is the magic number is mainly because that puts 36 to 48 hours in between sessions, which allows your muscles to recover, Tamir explains. Grabbing the dumbbells two days a week means you could do more, but if you make those days efficient, you don’t need to do more to see results.
“You might not be getting the maximum benefits or amount of muscle growth, but you’re still going to get stronger Eyewear & Accessories,” says Tamir. “You’ll have more potential for maximum power and energy [in other activities] than you would if you didn’t strength train.” Think: stronger glutes for running, lats and shoulders for swimming, and arms for rock climbing.
The key to making those two strength sessions really count? Focus on full-body workouts and compound movements, which engage multiple muscle groups at the same time, giving you more bang for your buck.
Here’s an example of a 60-minute workout Tamir created for SELF to make the most of two strength sessions a week.
Dynamic Warm-Up: 5–8 minutes
Before you pick up a weight Knickers & Bras, Tamir recommends spending 5 to 8 minutes on a dynamic warm-up. This means moving through stretches continually (rather than holding them in place), which gradually warms up your core body temperature to ease into the workout ahead. It also wakes up your muscles and helps improve your range of motion, so you’ll be able to get deeper into exercises like squats and lunges. Here’s a five-minute warm-up to try.
Strength Exercises: 40 minutes
Here’s where the real work comes in. Tamir recommends pairing exercises in sets and switching between upper- and lower-body exercises, so one muscle group can rest while the other is working. Here’s what that general formula looks like:
Lower-body exercise: 8 to 15 reps
Upper-body exercise: 8 to 15 reps
Rest for 30–45 seconds
It’s also important to include both pushing and pulling movements (like a push-up versus a pull-up) so you’re training your muscles in different ways, says Tamir. The weight you should use depends on your personal fitness level and the exercise you’re doing—here’s a guide on how to choose the right one for you.
Tamir says to start with compound movements—because they work multiple muscle groups, they require more effort, so you’ll want to do them when you have the most energy. Since these involve large muscle groups, he recommends doing four sets of each to really challenge them. Here’s an example to start with:
Squat: 12 reps
Lateral pull-down: 12 reps
Rest for 45 seconds
Lunge: 12 reps
Bent-over dumbbell row: 12 reps each side
Rest for 45 seconds
Next Jackets, move onto isolation exercises to target the specific muscle groups you want to work on. Because these “accessory” muscles (like the triceps) are smaller, you can use lighter weights, do a few more reps, and cut back on rest time, Tamir says.
Rear delt fly with dumbbells: 15 reps
Single-leg squat to box: 15 reps each side
Rest for 30 seconds
Dumbbell bicep curls: 15 reps
Reverse cable curls: 15 reps each side
Rest for 30 seconds
These exercises are just examples of moves you can do—here are five powerful lower-body moves you could swap in, 14 back and shoulder exercises, and 12 amazing arms moves. The options are endless. Tamir suggesting sticking with the exercises you choose for about four to six weeks. After that, your body will start to adapt Shapewear, so you should switch out the moves, but follow the same format.
Another tip to keep you progressing: Every other week, Tamir suggests increasing the weight you use while decreasing your reps. For example, if you started with 12 reps with 8-pound weights during weeks one and two, move down to 10 reps and up to 12-pound weights during weeks three and four.
Cardio Finisher and Core Work: 10 Minutes
Tamir recommends ending with a quick 10-minute burst of cardio. “You’re going to work on your endurance and your heart rate is going to go up, so you’re going to burn more calories.” You could do sprints on a treadmill or another cardio machine, or high-intensity exercises like burpees or kettlebell swings. Whatever gets that heart rate up.
If you want to incorporate some core work, now’s the time. Since compound exercises do a good job of engaging your core already, Tamir suggests not spending energy on abs work until the end. Try a circuit of these 21 amazing abs moves.
And if you only have time to squeeze this workout in once a week? That’s OK too, says Tamir. As long as you’re working efficiently and putting in the effort, you’ll still see results from incorporating just a day or two of strength training into your weekly routine.