Out of time: Finish training? Or go home?

As a busy working mom (worked full time out of the home for 13 years and now working from home – which is just as difficult), I know what it’s like to get neck deep into a workout and then realize – crap, that meeting starts in 15 minutes. (Or school lets out in 20 minutes and I need to leave NOW.)  

I’ve left training sessions unfinished. I’ve also blasted through a few more exercises to get done what I can. Neither is right or wrong. But finishing a workout busting through some accessory work makes me feel awesome.

So, what’s a serious lifter to do when short on time? Find a way to take the exercises that will enhance your main lift (maybe you did squats that day) and blast through a metabolic session. You’ll get your training session done, you’ll jack your heart rate up and you’ll boost your metabolism for hours after. (BONUS!)

I asked Ms. Jen Sinkler to give me one of her favorite finishers that would be great to end with on a time-crunched day. Take it away, Jen….


Bottoms Up in Two Rounds


Sometimes you’ve mere minutes to polish off your workout. You’ve gotten your strength work in, and you don’t have the time or inclination to burn off them gainz with a bunch of traditional cardio. You do, however, want to spike your heart rate, improve your conditioning and dispense with some extra body fat.


Below, I’ve laid out a quick and effective total-body circuit called “Bottoms Up” that requires only Valslides, a kettlebell, something small to jump over and a pull-up bar. To get more bang for your buck, use weights heavy enough to provide a substantial challenge for the goblet clean and the hop-back deadlift. It’s only two rounds after all…you can do anything for two rounds. (I yanked this puppy straight out of my brand-new Lift Weights Faster conditioning manual, so if you like it, there’s more where this came from.)


Bottoms Up

Tagline: Cheers! Work your way up from the floor each circuit.

Suggested Equipment: Valslides, a kettlebell, something small to jump over and a bar to hang (and pull) from.

Time Allotted: Less than 10 minutes.

Instructions: Do two rounds of Circuit #1 before proceeding to Circuit #2. Complete each circuit as quickly as possible. Take breaks as needed (but try to take them at the bottom of the rounds).

 lwf workout


Valslide Body Saw

  • Assume a forearm plank position by lying on your stomach with your elbows directly under your shoulders and a Valslide under each foot.
  • Raise your body so that only your forearms and the Valslides are in contact with the floor.
  • Keep your midsection tight, squeeze your glutes, and slowly push your body away from your forearms.
  • Only slide back as far as you feel comfortable, without piking or allowing your low back to sag. When you can’t go any farther, pull your body back up toward your forearms to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, always keeping your hips elevated in a plank position.

lwf seesaw


Kettlebell Goblet Clean

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, a kettlebell on the floor between the balls of your feet.
  • Keeping your chest up, push your butt back and bend your knees just far enough that you can secure a sturdy grip on the handle.
  • Stand quickly and, using the power of your hips, legs and butt, launch the kettlebell straight up as if it’s in an elevator. Use your arms to keep it close to your body as it travels up.
  • When it reaches about chest height, rotate your elbows down around the kettlebell and support its weight against your chest. As you do so, the kettlebell should feel weightless. (This means you really need to
make it pop with your legs!) Lower the kettlebell to the starting position and repeat.

lwf gobletclean


  • Grip a pull-up bar with palms facing you.
  • Pulling your elbows down and back, pull yourself as high as you can.
  • When your chin clears the bar or — even better — your chest touches, lower yourself with control. (Really, these should be called chest-ups.)


Kettlebell Hop-Back Deadlift

  • Stand tall with a kettlebell on the floor between your feet.
  • Keeping your chest up, push your butt back and bend your legs until you can grip the kettlebell handle.
  • Shift your weight into your hands and hop your feet back into a plank position.
  • Immediately reverse the movement, hopping your feet up so that they’re again on either side of the kettlebell, your hands still on the handle.
  • Holding the kettlebell and keeping your spine in neutral alignment, stand up, letting the weight hang down in front of you.
  • Reverse the movement, lowering the kettlebells with control to the floor between your feet. Repeat.
  • Note: If you’re working with anything less than a 24-kilogram kettlebell (53 pounds), place your hands on the floor on either side of the kettlebell.


lwf hopback dead


  • Start facing the floor in a straight-arm plank position with your body elevated between your hands and toes.
  • Line up your hands directly under your shoulders, just wider than your rib cage.
  • With a stiff core and squeezed glutes, lower your body down as far as you can control, angling your elbows out to no more than 45 degrees. Don’t let your low back sag.
  • If you’re unable to complete a full pushup, scale the movement by elevating your hands onto a step, box, or railing.


Two-Legged Lateral Hop Over Cone

  • Place a four- to six-inch cone on the ground and stand to one side of it.
  • Jump back and forth over the cone while staying on the balls of your feet.
  • Move quickly and explosively throughout the set, and be sure to land with a slight knee bend each time you hop.
  • Make the movement more challenging by jumping as high as you can, while still maintaining a controlled landing. You can also use a taller cone as long as you do not have to tuck your legs to clear the cone.

lwf cone hop

See, told you that would be awesome. Oh, and today is the last day to get her book at HALF PRICE. So you might want to grab it, like NOW.

lwf book

Jen Sinkler (www.jensinkler.com), RKC, PCC, PM, USAW, is a longtime fitness journalist who writes for national magazines such as Women’s Health and Men’s Health. A former member of the U.S. national women’s rugby team, she currently trains clients at The Movement Minneapolis.


About Julia Ladewski

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