Gym tips for busy dads – Strength & Cardio workouts (part 2) – by Adrian Moore

Welcome back, gentlemen.

In the first part of this two-part series, I shared 3 top tips to help get the most out of your workout time. I promised you I would share some sample programmes to get you on way, so here you go. Below you will find a sample from a strength programme that is quick and extremely effective if done consistently. There’s also a HIIT sample and a traditional cardio session if that’s your thing.


Strength

As I said in Part 1, in my opinion the 531 programme by Jim Wendler is one of the most effective strength programmes out there, and probably the top one when time is of the essence. You can be done in 20-25 minutes. Focussed and effective, just what we want. It makes use of compound lifts, which utilise more than one muscle group. We’ll squat, deadlift, bench press and shoulder press. Wendler has a number of ways you can do 531, and the quickest one is titled “I’m Not Doing Jack Sh*t”, which really just means that there are no assistance exercises to go with it. Remember, time is of the essence! One of the reasons it’s so effective is because it’s based on a real one-rep max (1RM). Your 1RM is the heaviest weight you can lift for one repetition. You’ll need someone to spot you while you take these. This will ensure they are real 1RM’s.  It’s a 4-week cycle, and you then increase the base weight and go again. The sample below is based on a 1RM of 100KG in each of the lifts. You need to plug in your own numbers.

1 Rep Max Summary

Real 1RM (KG) Wendler’s Training Max
Press 1 × 100 1 × 90
Bench Press 1 × 100 1 × 90
Squat 1 × 100 1 × 90
Deadlift 1 × 100 1 × 90

Week 1

press
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
3 × 55 
5 × 60 
5 × 70 
5+ × 80 
deadlift
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
3 × 55 
5 × 60 
5 × 70 
5+ × 80 
bench press
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
3 × 55 
5 × 60 
5 × 70 
5+ × 80 
squat
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
3 × 55 
5 × 60 
5 × 70 
5+ × 80 

Week 2

press
5 × 40 
5 × 45
3 × 55
3 × 65
3 × 75 
3+ × 85 
deadlift
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
3 × 55 
3 × 65 
3 × 75 
3+ × 
bench press
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
3 × 55
3 × 65
3 × 75
3+ × 85 
squat
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
3 × 55 
3 × 65 
3 × 75 
3+ × 85 

Week 3

press
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
3 × 55 
5 × 70 
3 × 80 
1+ × 90 
deadlift
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
3 × 55 
5 × 70 
3 × 80 
1+ × 90 
bench press
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
3 × 55 
5 × 70 
3 × 80 
1+ × 90 
squat
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
3 × 55 
5 × 70 
3 × 80 
1+ × 90 

Week 4

press
5 × 40
5 × 45 
5 × 55 
deadlift
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
5 × 55 
bench press
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
5 × 55 
squat
5 × 40 
5 × 45 
5 × 55 

If you have a bit more time, I like the “Boring but Big” version of 531. I urge you to read Jim’s book if this sounds like something you would like to try. There’s also a great calculator to work it all out for you. If you appreciate it, show the man some love and Paypal him a couple of bucks! Karma, man, karma. For full transparency, I have no links to Jim Wendler or the calculator dude and receive nothing if you buy the book or donate.


Cardio

HIIT

We know we need to utilise HIIT if we’re going to get the most bang for our buck. What do you enjoy? Running? Cycling? Rowing? Skipping? The following sample template uses a rower and a skipping rope, but you can easily substitute both things – it’s the theory that counts.

A word of warning: these are not fun. If you want fun, stop reading and hit the Zumba website. If you’re game, read on…

After a 5-minute warm-up, it’s time to get down to business:

20s rowing, maximum effort (everything you have, full power. Aim for 1:30/500m).

60s light skipping for recovery.

X 8 rounds

Rest for 4 minutes (This can be some very light rowing or a slow treadmill walk)

Repeat!

You can set the rower for interval training. If you’re unsure how to do it, check out the Concept 2 site here.

This takes you under 30 minutes! Quality, not quantity.

You can probably see how you can easily swap the exercises for something that you prefer. A spin bike or treadmill all work just as well.  Just keep the interval theory behind what you do and you’re all set. Try to note the output of your max effort interval, and then try to get back there each round. Brutal!


Traditional Cardio

If you just fancy doing something a bit more traditional, try this for size:

Jump on the treadmill and set it to 5% incline and a speed of 4mph or 6kph. Set the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer hits 20 minutes remaining, every two minutes you add 1% incline. That will look something like this:

0-10mins – 5%

12mins – 6%

14mins – 7%

16mins – 8%

18mins – 9%

20mins – 10%

22mins – 11%

24mins – 12%

26mins – 14%

28mins – 15% (usually treadmills max out at 15%)

Don’t be fooled, this is not easy!  Make sure you are walking with good form and not holding on to the machine at all. If you want an advanced option, have two 10kg plates on the treadmill with you and do 1 minute carries every other minute. Ouch. If it’s too tough, bring the speed down a bit.

Again, this is a 30 minute workout!


Conclusion

As you can see, there really is no need for your training to suffer once the baby arrives. Between you and your partner, you should both be able to take at least an hour out of your day for something that is important to you. If your partner enjoys training, too, then maybe one of you trains in the morning and one in the evening once the baby is down. Our previous article “7 tips for balancing fatherhood & fitness” can help with some ideas on scheduling.

I hope this article helps you keep up your regime. Feel free to reach out via the comments section below.

Happy training!


Written by Adrian Moore

One thought on “Gym tips for busy dads – Strength & Cardio workouts (part 2) – by Adrian Moore

  1. Thanks for the great information to keep motivated to go to the gym after having kids. My husband keeps saying he wants to go back, but feels so busy. Your point that an hour really isn’t that much out of the day and if we take turns with the kids, we can make it happen if we make it a priority. Hopefully, we can get back to the gym and maybe even an independent trainer will help us too! http://www.julianwalkerstudio.com/independent-trainer/

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