Burst Training

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Short on time but still want to get into incredible shape?

Burst training isn’t some new or magical approach to training that I’ve come up with, I just like calling it that.  Call it what you want but it’s a great way to pack a lot of training into short amounts of time.

I need to preface this by saying that if you are training for athletics or a specific competition (powerlifting, strongman, etc) then this is far from optimal.  If you’re main concern is just fat loss and general fitness, it works GREAT!

To start, pick out times you have during the day where some moderate physical activity would be possible.  This could be anywhere from 10-30 minutes.  You can go as low as 5 if you have some sort of free weight equipment to work with.  I don’t recommend you use any type of machine to for this style of training.

Once you have your times set, pick a couple different exercises that all challenge you in different ways.  For example you don’t want to pick squats, lunges, and stair runs all for one day.  A better pairing would be pushups, pull ups, and squats or rows, lunges, and hindu push ups.  Preferably your exercise selections will cover your entire body if all you are using is body weight movements.  The exception is if you are doing weighted exercises like the clean and press, snatch, weighted swing, or some other type of full body lift with kettlebells, dumbbells, or barbells.

The Hindu Push Up

Now for the application part.  In a perfect world you will have 2-3 times per day that you can throw in a little training.  Once per day will require much higher levels of intensity and will be very limiting. You’ll only be doing 1-2 exercises per “burst” to keep things simple and efficient.  Don’t worry about the number of sets of each exercise you do.  Pick a goal for the number of reps and go for it.  Once you hit those goals, change exercises and start with a fresh rep goal, or up the rep goal of the current exercise.  Here is a sample breakdown:

Burst 1 (10 minutes right after waking up): Jumping Jacks – 100 reps, Push Ups – 50 reps

Burst 2 ( 10 minutes at Lunch Break): Squats – 100 reps

Burst 3 (10 minutes as soon as you get home from work): Rows – 50 reps

If you have 2 20-30 minutes periods you could do anywhere from 1-3 basic exercises at each Burst.  The best advice is to keep it simple and balanced.

For those that want to buy some inexpensive equipment for their home I really like a simple pair of gymnastic rings.  These can be set up in your garage, a doorway, or your backyard and can be used for a ton of different upper and lower body exercises.  They’re also portable so if you have a job where you travel regularly they are easy to take along and still get some quality work done.

Lance Armstrong Swingin' it up!

If you are using full body free weight exercises you can stick with one exercise per Burst and go for rep goals at a certain weight then either bump the weight or the reps each time you hit the goal.  For example, if you are doing a kettlebell swing and only have on kettlebell then you’ll need to keep bumping your rep goal each time you meet it.  It will mostly depend on what you have for free weights.  If it’s just one set weight, rep goals will be where you focus, if you can adjust your weights or have several weight options then you can stick with your initial rep goal and increase the weight a little every time you reach the rep goal.

This type of training can be do 4-5 days per week.  Always be sure to take a couple days each week for just light activity like taking a walk or doing nothing and just resting.

Just like any program, the results will be dependent on how consistent you are and the effort you put in.  I prefer to change exercises on a weekly basis so that you get several opportunities to do the same exercises and set some new rep goals before moving on.  They can be changed up daily as long as you rotate back to the old exercises to beat old rep goals.

There isn’t anything special about this program in and of itself.  This just gives you a way to get you heart rate jacked up for a bit several times throughout the day to help elevate your metabolism.


One thought on “Burst Training

    Shane Doll said:
    July 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Trey, great post on burst training. Just found your blog looking for other people talking about this subject. I’ve built an entire business model around this type of training down in Charleston, SC and can testify to the amazing benefits for your readers. It’s the real deal, no question about it. Really like your blog, checked out some other posts, good stuff my friend. Keep up the good work. If you ever want some more content on this subject let me know. I’ve got volumes of research and content on it. Take care- Shane

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