Why is it worth exercising, even if there are only 1-2 hours a week

WHO recommends for adults, get 150 minutes of light or 75 minutes of more intense aerobic activity per week, as well as arrange two strength training sessions.

And you can fit these recommendations into two sessions to improve your health, reduce the risk of heart disease, increase strength and endurance and slightly increase metabolism.

As for muscle growth, even one session is enough for you to see progress. In one research using 20 young men, they found that with the same amount of training (weight × sets × reps), muscles increase regardless of whether a person works out once or three times a week.

it confirmed and a review of 25 scientific studies on training frequency.

With the same volume, it doesn’t matter how many times a week you do strength training: the muscles will grow anyway.

It is clear that, doing 1-2 times a week, you simply cannot physically withstand such a volume that can be done in 3-5 sessions. But the results will be, especially if you are just starting to practice.

How to practice

The main goal is to load the body better. Therefore, we will leave long low-intensity cardio like walking or jogging until the time when you have more free time.

Now let’s turn our attention to the main thing: strength exercises and intensive interval training.

Since you will be working out at home, we have compiled a program of exercises that do not require bulky equipment. But you still have to buy a horizontal bar – without it, the back and biceps will be left without sufficient load.

Optionally, you can also purchase dumbbells and gliding discs or fitball – this equipment will complicate some movements and better load the muscles.

We also put together two short sets of cardio exercises on the spot or with a little movement so that you do not have to go outside. Due to the vigorous pace and short rest, such training will increase endurance with minimal time.

How to do strength training

We will present two training days. If you only work out once a week, alternate between them.

Workout 1

  1. Pushups.
  2. Pull-ups on the horizontal bar with a direct grip.
  3. Bulgarian split squats.
  4. Scandinavian twists.
  5. Twisting on the press.
  6. Superman exercise.

Workout 2

  1. Push-ups “slide”.
  2. Reverse pull-ups.
  3. Stepping up the hill.
  4. Flexion of the legs for biceps of the thigh, lying on your back.
  5. Lifting the legs to the horizontal bar in the hang.
  6. Exercise “swimmer”.

To save time, you will perform the exercises in a circuit format. Do one set of the first movement, then rest for 30-60 seconds, then move on to the second exercise and also do one set.

Thus, do all six movements, then rest for 1-2 minutes and start again. The number of circles depends on your capabilities and condition. Start with three and work your way up to five over time.

Choose a difficulty that will allow you to complete 6-12 repetitions in exercises for the upper body and 15-20 for the lower body. Do movements on the press and back 20-25 times per approach.

But before you start training, it is worth devoting 5 minutes to warming up.

How to warm up

The warm-up will warm up the muscles and raise the pulse, so that you will be easier and more enjoyable to perform subsequent exercises. Do not skip this part, even if you are limited in time. This will take no more than 5 minutes.

Do articular gymnastics: turns and tilts of the head, rotation of the shoulders, elbows and wrists, hips, knees and feet, tilts. Then – dynamic stretching. All elements, execution order and number of repetitions are shown in the video below.

How to do exercises

Since the physical capabilities of people vary greatly, we will show the progression of movements from the simplest options to quite complex ones.

Push ups

If you’re just starting out and can’t do classic push-ups, try the kneeling variation.

As soon as you manage to complete 15 times, move on to classic push-ups and do as many times per set as you can. Follow the form of the exercise: do not spread your elbows to the sides and tighten your abs and buttocks so that your lower back does not sag.

If classic push-ups are not new to you and you can easily perform 10 reps in a set, then do diamond ones. This option is better loads and triceps and chest muscles.

Place your hands close to each other so that the index fingers and thumbs are connected. Perform push-ups in the usual way, keeping the body level.

Push-ups “slide”

If you are good at classic push-ups, do the slide movement on the second workout. This variation allows you to better load the shoulders.

First, try to do it with your feet on the floor. Tilt your pelvis up so your body looks like an inverted V, and push up until your head touches the floor.

If this is not a problem and you can do 8-10 reps per set, move on to the chair version. Place your feet on an elevation so that the body from the hands to the pelvis is extended in one line perpendicular to the floor, and do push-ups until the top of the head touches the floor.


Great movement for pumping the muscles of the back and biceps. If you don’t know how to pull up yet, replace the exercise with lightweight variations.

Those who can complete at least 5 repetitions per approach will have to do the exercise with a direct grip in the first workout. According to a small researchit activates a little more the lower part of the trapezoid and the infraspinatus muscle, which is responsible for the movement of the shoulder blades.

Pull up in full range – until the chin crosses the bar line. Don’t raise your shoulders to your ears, keep your abs tight, and don’t use momentum.

In the second workout, you will pull yourself up with a reverse grip. In the same research found that this position of the hands allows you to load the biceps of the shoulder more.

The rules of execution are the same as for pull-ups with a direct grip: full range, lifting and lowering under control, a tense press.

Bulgarian split squats

Since it is quite difficult to load large and strong leg muscles without resistance, you will perform unilateral squats – on one leg.

Find a stable support 45-50 cm high, turn your back to it, put one leg and do squats. Try to sit up to the parallel of the thigh with the floor and make sure that the heel of the supporting leg does not come off.

Also pay attention to the knee: it should not wrap inward during the lift. Make an effort to avoid this.

If this exercise is not yet given to you, replace it with lunges back. This is also a unilateral exercise that will help you load your hips and improve your sense of balance.

Do a full set on one leg first, then repeat the same with the other.

Stepping up the hill

This is one of the best glute exercises at home.

Choose a stable support 45–50 cm high, place your right foot on it and slightly move the body forward, loading the leg. Then rise to the support using only the strength of the working leg. Do not push off from the floor of the other, so as not to take away the load from the muscles.

Slowly and under control descend back down and repeat. Do a whole set on one leg first, and only then on the other.

Scandinavian twists

This exercise perfectly pumps the back of the thigh without any weighting. To do this, you will need a partner to support your ankles, or a wide enough space under the bed to tuck your feet in.

Lay a folded blanket on the floor and kneel on it. Lock your ankles and lean your body forward, keeping your torso straight from the top of your head to your knees. It is important not to bend the pelvis, but to hold the body with the strength of the muscles on the back of the thigh.

Slowly increase the angle of inclination, and when you can’t take it anymore, fall forward with your arms outstretched. Push off the floor and repeat the exercise.

If performing without a partner, make sure the bed can support your weight and your feet won’t slip out from under it.

Biceps leg curl

Another great movement for pumping the back of the thigh. If you have a fitball, try doing the exercise on it.

Place your feet on the ball, bend your legs and lift your pelvis off the floor so that your body stretches in one line from your shoulders to your knees. Gently straighten your legs, keeping your pelvis in the air, and then roll the ball closer to your pelvis again, bending your knees.

Try to keep your lower back neutral and not break the straight line of your body.

When you can do 15 reps without any problems, try the one-leg variation – it’s much harder and more effective for pumping the back of the thigh.

You can do the same without a fitball if you put a sliding piece of cloth under your heels or do the exercise in socks on a smooth floor.

Twisting on the press

The most simple movement that will pump the abdominal muscles well and will not create an excessive load on the lower back. Press the lower back to the floor, tear off the shoulder blades, do not put pressure on the head with your hands and strain the press constantly.

If you’ve done 25 reps per set and don’t feel much tension in your abs, try doing crunches a little slower. Go up in two counts and go down the same way. And don’t forget to constantly tighten your stomach, even as you return your shoulder blades to the floor.

Hanging leg raise

The movement is great for loading the abs and hip flexors, but at the same time creates a lot of compression in the lower back. If you have problems with your lower back, avoid hanging leg raises so as not to exacerbate pain and damage your spine.

Instead, you can do the same crunches as in the first session, or try the exercise “bike”, which is shown below, in the block of interval training.

Hang on the horizontal bar and pull the pubic bone towards the navel so that the pelvis tilts back. Then raise your legs bent at the knees, trying to reach your chest.

Slowly and under control, return to the starting position and repeat.

If you can do 15 reps per set, move on to straight leg raises.


This exercise will work your back extensors, the muscles around your spine.

Lie on the floor and extend your arms above your head. Raise your arms and legs at the same time and lower them back down. For better pumping, you can fix the upper position for 1-2 seconds.

Lifting with traction

The exercise will load the muscles of the back and slightly increase the mobility of the shoulders. Raise your chest off the floor, forcefully bring your arms to your body, as if pulling something heavy. Return back and repeat.

Do not lower your chest to the floor until the end of the exercise, tighten your buttocks and try to raise your back a little higher each time.

If you can do 15 reps without any problems, pick up a small water bottle or light dumbbells.

How to do interval training

At the end of the power part, rest for 3-5 minutes and proceed to the interval complex.

Set a timer and do the first exercise on the list for 40 seconds, rest for the remaining 20 seconds from the minute and move on to the next movement. In this way, complete all four exercises, rest 60 seconds and start again.

In total, you need to complete three circles. If you feel like working vigorously for 40 seconds without stopping too early, switch to a 30/30 format – work and rest for the same number of seconds.

The main thing is not to stop in the middle of the working interval and move intensively.

Workout 1

  1. jumping jacks.
  2. Burpee.
  3. Jumping rope.
  4. Climbing exercise.

Workout 2

  1. hot feet.
  2. Push-ups and jump to the hands.
  3. Exercise “skater”.
  4. Lunges with touching the floor.

How to do exercises

Jumping Jacks

Jump on half toes, clap your hands over your head.


Get down to the floor until your chest and hips touch. No need to do push-ups – first lift your chest and shoulders, then tear off your pelvis and put your legs closer to your arms. At the top, do not jump high, the main thing is to get off the floor.

jump rope

Keep your elbows close to your body and try to twist the rope only with your wrists, not your forearms.

rock climber

Pull your knees closer to your chest and return them. Try not to move your pelvis too much during the movement – tighten your abs so that the body remains more or less stable.

hot feet

Move your feet at a fast pace, keep your back straight. At the end of the interval, try to speed up if you have strength left.

Push-ups and jump to arms

If you don’t know how to do push-ups yet, just jump from the lying support to your hands and come back.


Do not press your hands on your head, make sure that your lower back remains pressed to the floor.

Floor touch lunges

Alternate legs with a jump, lean towards the leg with a straight back. If you run out of strength, do two lunges forward without jumping, and then step back with an inclination.

How long can you use this program

Since this program combines all the necessary movements for pumping muscles and developing endurance at home, you can perform it constantly.

Over time, move on to more complex variations of movements. You can also buy dumbbells, leg weights, or a weighted vest to make the exercises even more effective.

When it comes to interval training, as your endurance builds up, increase your work time. For example, perform movements for 50 seconds and rest for only 10, or even work for a minute without rest and take a break only at the end of the circle.

If you’re looking for something new, check out our other interval workouts.