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The Loop

Fitness Friday: How to get the same workout in half the time

July 10, 2015

In golf, many people think the reason slow play occurs isn't because some golfers are too deliberate in their shot-making. It's the time they are wasting between shots. You could make the same point about gym-goers who spend more than an hour working out when they can get a similar results in half the time -- or even less.

If you want to dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend in the gym (who doesn't?), start thinking about developing a routine of "compound exercises." Golf Digest fitness advisor Ben Shear (@ben_shear), who trains several top pros including Luke Donald and Webb Simpson, says there are a lot of exercises you can do that train multiple muscle groups at the same time. A simple example of this would be combining a dumbbell hammer curl with an overhead press. Or to really load it up, adding a squat into the movement pattern. Holding two dumbbells and going from a squat to an arm curl to an overhead press is so efficient; it works the quads, glutes, hip flexors, biceps, forearm muscles, deltoids and more in one shot. So say you normally do three sets of biceps curls, squats and military presses. That is nine sets of exercises that you just turned into three sets. You just cut your workout time by roughly 66 percent.

And if you continuously move around the gym, breaking only for water, you can save even more time as that rapid movement takes the place of working on a cardio machine like the treadmill or elliptical.

So how do you design compound exercises? Generally speaking lower-body exercises are great when paired with upper-body movements. And push exercises are great when paired with pulls. You can create a great number of compound movements just by using that formal. For example, doing lunges while twisting your torso. Or doing a push-up while alternating leg raises.

Sometimes, Shear says, you only have time for 10 minutes of exercise. That's when you really could use the efficiency of a compound exercise. To watch Shear and trainer Ryan Anderson demonstrate the ultimate "short-on-time" workout, click on the video below.