I’m the king of 30 minute workouts. Why?
Because there was a point in my life that 30 minutes a day was all I could spare. During that two-year stretch, my training needed to be extremely quick and extremely effective.
That was when I developed a style of workout that’s turned out to be useful for almost every person I’ve trained: the “Trinity Format”
I have developed numerous “Trinity” workouts over the years, focusing on different muscle groups and equipment. Here is one I call “The Barbell Trinity,” which will help you pack on an incredible amount of size and strength in a very short period of time. All you need is a few barbells, and you’ll be able to work your whole body from head to toe.
Want more workouts like this? Check out the Men’s Health Maximus Body book, which is filled with no-nonsense muscle building routines.
The premise to the Barbell Trinity is simple. Go to the gym and load up three barbells. For this workout you’ll need to set up a deadlift, a back squat, and a bench press. Beginners should use 50 percent of their bodyweight, Intermediate athletes should use 75 percent of bodyweight and Advanced athletes should try it at bodyweight. Set a clock for 30 minutes, and get to work banging out reps. The goal is to get as many reps as possible of each movement in that 30 minute time period—without cheating form.
The Barbell Trinity
30 minutes, as many reps as possible
- Back Squat
- Bench Press
Here’s an example of the format in action:
When you get fatigued from one exercise, move on to the next one. You can take on the clock using self-prescribed rep clusters or wing it and switch moves on the fly depending on how you feel—whatever helps you finish as many reps as possible.
A few tips for this workout:
Don’t be greedy with the weight.
Doing reps for 30 minutes can get tiring, and form can degrade fast if you aren’t careful. Choose a weight that allows you to constantly be in control.
I will almost never do sets to failure. Remember, it is easier to stay out of a hole than to crawl out of a hole. I usually do a number of reps that allows me to keep moving throughout the 30 minute workout and minimize rest.
Different speeds for different needs—even for yourself.
At times I will do this with absolute max reps in mind. This is a true fitness test. Other days when I am not feeling great I will use a lighter than usual weight and practice form. That way I can tailor the workout to suit my current condition.