Over the years, I’ve often stressed the importance of consistency. There’s nothing fancy about what I do. There is one thing I don’t do though. I don’t miss days. Consistency has always been my greatest weapon. No matter how busy I get, I always opt for something over nothing. On hectic days, it’s easy to say that you’re too busy to train. But ultimately, we’re all responsible for prioritizing our own lives. You can either make 15 minutes to train at the end of a long day, or find another 15 minutes to scroll through your phone. The choice is yours.
Something Beats Nothing Demo
Below is an example of a “something beats nothing” workout that I did last night. I performed the session late after a long day of work. On days like that, I typically opt for a short session where no thinking is involved. I just want to put my head down and grind before I have a chance to choose otherwise. I pick a few exercises and work through them repeatedly for a block of time (ex. 15 minutes).
- 3 x rollouts
- 6 x stand-up sit-ups
- 9 × pushups
- Continue for 15 minutes
I’ve done the above listed workout many times over the years and it always wipes me out. It’s one of my favorites when I don’t have a lot of time but want to be challenged.
Although there isn’t much structure to these sessions, the rep ranges are not arbitrary. When performing short sessions, I group the exercises according to difficulty and keep the rep ranges low so that I’m constantly working back and forth between the chosen movements.
In the example above, standing rollouts are the most difficult exercise. As a result, I’m only performing 3 reps per set. Stand-up sit-ups are next in difficulty, followed by pushups. The 3, 6, 9 rep range keeps you moving without ever spending too much time on a single exercise. And while it might not sound like much, you’ll be surprised at how fast the difficulty mounts as the minutes pass.
Whenever I demonstrate a short workout on social media, my page is bombarded with questions about warm-ups. Yet, I choose bodyweight workouts when time is limited because I can perform them with little or no time spent warming up. And obviously, I make this statement with the understanding that everyone is different. With that said, I’ve never needed much time to prepare myself for a bodyweight session. I can drop down and perform exercises such as pushups at any time without warming up.
Naturally, you should always do what makes sense for you. I do however recommend choosing exercises that won’t require a lot of time prepping yourself to perform. The whole point of the workout is to be short and sweet. In other words, if I’m performing this type of session, it’s because I don’t have a lot of time. I certainly don’t want to spend it preparing myself just to get started.
As I’ve said before, first you make your habits and then your habits make you. I’d much rather perform a short workout than do nothing at all. Doing so leaves me feeling better physically and mentally. That’s all I’m really looking for with a short session. It’s just a bridge that gets me through to the next day. The workouts aren’t complex or comprehensive. It’s just something, and I’m a firm believer that something beats nothing.
“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte
Hell Yeah Ross!! Workout Capacity 101 is one of my favorites, 20 mins of just straight savagery after a 12 hour day is money in the bank.
I know your not crazy into warming up, but I was curious on your thoughts about muscle pliability as an athlete, especially as we age. I’ve been foam rolling a ton lately, I can feel a difference in my recovery and am not getting injured as much on the BJJ mats.
This morning I tried doing a standing sit-up and was unable. I guess having a medicine ball makes it easier? I’m going to keep working on it. A great quick work out. Thanks Ross.
^using a medicine ball increases the difficulty. If you can’t do one with your bodyweight alone, strengthen your core with easier exercises that you can perform.
Hi Ross, one of my short routines that i have been doing for over 50 years now whenever time is tight is,free squat, ab wheel and pushup, start with 20 on the squat and 10 on the others and just keep going from there for 15 minutes.Usually do 3 minutes of rope work first if time permits. This has never failed to get the job done.
Hey Ross! Absolutely agree. Given our largely sedentary lifestyle, even a little bit of exercise goes a long way. Thanks for sharing the workout. Taking up a sport also works helps keep up the motivation to remain fit.
I loved this.
Definitely something that I adhere to.
I’m typically very consistent when it comes to exercise and my workouts, and have pretty much always been this way.
But, there are times when life just gets in the way. It happens to all of us.
I’ve actually got a “go-to” bodyweight workout very similar to you, and I’ll usually sent a timer for 15-20 minutes and just get on with it.
Obviously, it’s nowhere near as hard or intense as I usually train, but that isn’t the point – as you say, “something still beats nothing”.
My 3-exercise circuit comprises squats, push ups, and burpees.
Once again, very much like you, I keep the reps low, and just keep going until that timer buzzes.