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Instead of skipping your workouts altogether when you’re short on time, simply fitting them in where and when you can — whether by shortening them or trying options that offer flexibility and efficiency — can be an effective way to stay consistent and help you stick with your goals.

To that end, we asked Maggie Fazeli Fard, RKC, MFT-1, a fitness coach and senior fitness editor with Experience Life, to share a few of her go-to workout options when time is tight. The criteria? Keep the sessions to 30 minutes or less and the equipment to a minimum.

Leveraging Ladder-Style Training

Ladder workouts follow an ascending or descending rep pattern, making them easy to remember and complete almost anywhere.

“A ladder-style approach to strength workouts is particularly useful if you’re short on time, equipment, or space,” says Fazeli Fard. “It’s a great way to build volume without maxing out on weight.”

Fazeli Fard designed the following four ladder-style express workouts that you can do at your Life Time club or at home — whenever they fit into your schedule. (Need instructions for how to do any of the movements? Just click on the name of the exercise.)[/vc_column_text]

1. Bodyweight 10 to 1 Descending Ladder

Weight: Perform all the movements using only your bodyweight.

Instructions: Perform 10 reps of each exercise, in order. Then 9 reps, then 8 reps, and so on, ending with 1 rep of each move. Pace yourself, and rest as needed between rounds.

2. The 12-Minute 3, 6, 9, 12 Ascending Ladder

Weight: Thrusters will be the limiting exercise for most people, so set up a barbell (or grab a pair of dumbbells) at a weight that feels slightly challenging and use that same weight for all three movements.

Instructions: Set a timer for 12 minutes. Perform 3 reps of each exercise, in order, then 6 reps, then 9 reps, then 12 reps, and so on, increasing in intervals of three until time is up. Pace yourself, and rest as needed between rounds.

3. The 2 to 10 Ascending-Descending Ladder

Weight: Use the same weight for both movements. Choose a kettlebell at a weight that feels challenging for you.

Instructions: In the first set, perform 2 reps of the goblet squat and 10 reps of the kettlebell clean. Then, perform 4 reps of the goblet squat and 8 reps of the kettlebell clean.

Continue in this fashion, increasing the number of goblet squats while decreasing the number of kettlebell cleans by two per round. Complete the workout with a set of 10 goblet squats and 2 kettlebell cleans. Pace yourself, and rest as needed between sets.

4. The 1 to 12 Ladder

  1. Star Jump
  2. Turkish Get-Up (per side)
  3. Inverted row
  4. Deadlift
  5. Pushup
  6. Inchworm
  7. Squat jump
  8. Gorilla row (per side)
  9. Walking lunge (per side)
  10. Kettlebell swing
  11. Glute bridge
  12. Mountain climber (per side)

Weight: You can use multiple sets of dumbbells or kettlebells and/or bodyweight only, as needed for each movement.

Instructions: This ladder assigns a rep count from 1 to 12 to a specific movement — and every number will be repeated in each round. You’ll begin with 1 star jump. In the second round, you’ll do 2 Turkish get-ups per side, then 1 star jump. In the third round, you’ll do 3 inverted rows, 2 Turkish get-ups per side, then 1 star jump.

Continue in this fashion until the last round, when you’ll complete 12 mountain climbers per side, 11 glute bridges, 10 kettlebell swings, 9 walking lunges per side, 8 gorilla rows per side, 7 squat jumps, 6 inchworms, 5 pushups, 4 deadlifts, 3 inverted rows, 2 Turkish get-ups per side, and, finally, 1 star jump. Pace yourself, and rest as needed between sets.

More Quick Workout Options

Life Time On-Demand Express Workouts

Strength, cardio, yoga, barre, dance, and more — all of these workout types are available on demand within the Life Time Digital app. Simply navigate to the On Demand section of the app for hundreds of options at varying time durations, including some that can be completed in as little as 20 minutes.

Emily Ewen

Emily Ewen is a senior writer and content editor at Life Time.

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