The five best work outs (according to a Personal Trainer)

20 April 2020 Graham Fletcher
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As a Personal Trainer for the last 15 years, I have been asked this question frequently. What are my go to workouts when time is limited and what training I do at home with only a few pieces of equipment?

So, I thought I would come up with a list of my top five workouts and the reason I like them so much. These workouts are different to each other but have some similar themes as well.

There are loads of different definitions of what functional movement is out there but one of the best that relates to these workouts is “Moving large loads, large distances”. I really like that! So, a calf raise is not moving a large distance and a bicep curl only moves a moderate to low load. Different to a pull up that moves a large distance and large load. These workouts fit this definition really well.

Some other common themes are as follows:

  • They contain only compound movements. All movements involve multiple joints and multiple muscle groups
  • There are no isolation exercises. No bicep curls and calf raises here!
  • Exercises are super sets where opposite muscle groups or movements are used together
  • Are only short duration with little equipment (max. 20mins)
  • They train multiple energy systems with aerobic and anaerobic being used
  • All are scalable regardless of your fitness

CrossFit workout

Fran: 21, 15 and 9 repetitions of pull ups and thrusters

This doesn’t look too bad at first glance but this gets hard really quick. I love that you can scale this right back to ring rows/ TRX rows and using a broomstick right through to strict pullups and using 43kg for males and 30kgs for females on the thrusters. Here we have a classic push and pull. A full squat into an overhead press for the reps and the same number of reps for the pullup before moving onto the next rep number. Doing pull ups while puffing hard is not something that is easy!

Pull and push

Here you row for 500m and do 15 push ups for eight rounds. Scale this to an amount of push ups you can manage for eight rounds or on your knees but don’t change the 500m row. I love how simple this is but gets you breathing hard and getting a good pump on after eight rounds.

CrossFit workout Cindy

5 Pullups, 10 Push ups and 15 body weight squats as many rounds as possible for 20 mins

Just you and a bar to pull up on is all you need! Simple, but push ups don’t come easy at the 16 min mark with the combination of these movements. Scale this back to ring rows and push ups on the knees if needed.

Horizontal push, horizontal pull, squat, vertical push, vertical pull

The next is a workout uses all your main movement patterns. So, you do a horizontal push, horizontal pull, squat, vertical push, vertical pull movement and do a rotation exercise. This is one of the templates that we use here at FIAFitnation in our courses. This can be done with bands and body weight right through to using machines, dumbbells, kettlebells and everything in between. Your imagination is your limitation on this one as is the number of reps and intensity that you can do it at. I would try to stick to three sets to keep it short but this one hits every muscle group in your body.

Bar complex

This is seven exercises that are completed for seven reps each without putting the bar down. The exercises are overhead squat, bent over row, clean, push press, front squat, upright row and a deadlift. Pick a weight that you can do the overhead squat with good technique and all the other exercises should be okay to do at that weight. This work out is a bit more technical and requires you to know what you are doing but again can be scaled easily by changing the weight.

So, there is my list of my top five workouts. Go give them a try! These can also be used as a benchmark test that you can do every couple of months to check in with how you are progressing towards fitness.

Graham Fletcher

Senior Trainer & Assessor

Graham originally comes from a Dance background where he was a Professional Ballet dancer for 13 years. He started with the Queensland Ballet and then spend the majority of his dance career working in Overseas companies. On retiring as a dancer Graham made the transition into the Fitness industry.

For the last 17 years he has run his own PT business and worked in additional roles as PT manager for 6 years and Les Mills Presenter for Body Balance. His interest in Fitness is broad and inclusive with particular interest in CrossFit, Corrective Exercise and everything in between.


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