6 Ways to Squeeze In an Effective Workout Over Thanksgiving Break

Don't let the holiday break derail your training regimen. A 30-minute workout is better than nothing.

Scheduling quality time in the weight room during Thanksgiving break can be a formidable challenge. You might be traveling or have family obligations, and many gyms have limited hours. Or you would rather spend time crushing food, not working out. No one would blame you.

However, completely neglecting your training over Thanksgiving can set you back, especially if you have upcoming tryouts for winter sports. It's not to say that you need to crush full training sessions. But a short and abbreviated workout (say 30 minutes) is better than nothing.

With that said, here are six tips to help you squeeze in a workout when time is short over Thanksgiving break.

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1. Incorporate Supersets

Supersetting exercises for opposite muscle groups is a great time-saver—shaving several minutes off a typical workout. It's basically a 2-for-1 deal.

2. Reduce Rest Time Between Sets and Exercises

Some programs call for 2-3 minutes between exercises. Though his might be ideal for strength, it's not practical when time is tight. Keep your rest intervals to 30-45 seconds—just enough to allow you to recover. It might feel different than your traditional workouts, but that's OK. It's only one weekend.

3. Limit Socializing and Other Distractions

Minimize conversing with teammates between sets and between exercises, and forgo using your cell phone or taking unnecessarily long breaks between exercises. Such distractions lengthen training time and limit productivity.

RELATED: 3 Short, Intense Workouts That Build Muscle

4. Combine Exercises

Blending exercise movements provides these benefits: it simultaneously engages more muscle groups and joints in less time, effectively increases muscle growth (since more muscles are involved in the lift) and more efficiently stimulates fat-burning metabolism than do single-joint movements. Examples include Power Clean to Squats and Overhead Press, Step-Up to Overhead Presses and Lunge to Curl and Press.

5. Use Minimal Equipment

Simplify and lessen workout time by using minimal equipment for the entire training session. This is particularly advantageous in a crowded gym when machines, benches and power racks are all occupied. For instance, use just a pair of moderately heavy dumbbells and do a full-body workout comprising Squats, Lunges, Farmer Walks, Overhead Presses, Single-Arm Rows, Single-Leg Squats and Push-Ups with your hands placed on the dumbbell handles instead of on the floor.

Or, using a moderately heavy medicine ball, do feet-elevated Planks atop the ball; Push-Ups or Squat Thrusts with your hands on the ball; Single-Leg Squats combined with med ball Overhead Presses (great for improving sports performance-enhancing balance and core stability); Side Lunges combined with Med Ball Press-Outs; or Side Lunges combined with Med Ball Twists or Chops.

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6. Substitute Bodyweight Exercises When Machines and Free Weights Are Unavailable

Rather than waste time waiting for machines or free weights to become available, quicken your workout by substituting bodyweight exercises such as Wall Squats, Pull-Ups, Push-Ups, Planks, Step-Ups, Lunges, Burpees, Squat Thrusts, Single-Leg Squats and Jump Squats.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SQUAT | LOWER BODY | UPPER BODY | LUNGE | BENCH PRESS | PLANK | DEADLIFT | BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES | BARBELL EXERCISES | DUMBBELL EXERCISES