A Functional Bodybuilding Coach Shares the Key to Shortening Your Workouts

CrossFit athlete-turned-functional bodybuilding coach Marcus Filly regularly shares insights into how to build strength and muscle safely and sustainably on his YouTube channel. In a recent video, he offers up some advice on how you can make your workouts shorter to accommodate a busy schedule, without compromising on the results you want.

"Don't stress about not doing everything perfectly," he says. "One workout is not going to derail your progress. Showing up consistently is half the battle."

Here are three things Filly recommends in order to get the absolute most out of a workout in 30 minutes or less.

Don't forget to prep

If you're short on time, it might be tempting to skip your warmup or activation routine—but Filly warns that this is a false economy which could lead to longer-term setbacks in the form of injury. "Prep work doesn't have to be long to be effective," he says. "These few minutes will help your body and brain settle in and get ready for the work ahead."

He advises looking at the movements in the main workout, and programming similar movement patterns into your warmup using just a resistance band, empty bar, or your own bodyweight.

Train for strength

"It's quite tempting to think that a high-intensity workout like the classic CrossFit workout Fran did something really special for you, because you felt so much pain and you were writhing on the floor," says Filly. "But what I'd rather see is you use that intensity for a strength superset, and then walk out the door with a massive pump."

End your workout on a high note

"Let's bring it home with some high-quality muscle contractions, either in the form of strength balance, conditioning, or both," says Filly. "To round out a push and pull session, I'd include a giant set rotating between three movements: an archer pushup biasing one arm at a time for unilateral strength, single arm body rows working off the same thing, and an extended wall plank for 45 seconds to work that core and upper body."

He ends with one last tip, which is training for time rather than rep count. Filly uses the EMOM (every minute on the minute) method, popular among CrossFitters. "Grab your equipment and go; the rest periods will be built in so you don't need to fear getting sucked into your phone between sets," he says. "And if a buddy wanders over to chat, you'll have an excuse to stay on task."

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