If you’re short on time, you probably opt to not go to the gym at all instead of spending 20 useless minutes without more time for an adequate training session.
20 minutes isn’t much, but a quick session here and there will only aid your efforts in meeting your long-term goals. They should, by no means, be a staple of your weekly workout routine but they can have some use.
First of all, working out for 20 minutes is always better than not working out, and they can also be used to bring up a region of your body that needs some more work, such as the back muscles.
Because you’ll have only 20 minutes for this workout, resting will have to be kept to a minimum. This workout should be considered one big set in which you’ll do the most you can in a short amount of time.
What this essentially means is that you’ll have to perform all exercises without taking any rest. If you want to push this even further, make sure that all of your exercises are nearby without moving across the gym and wasting time.
After every set, have 60 seconds of rest and do two or three more, if you have time.
20-MINUTE BACK WORKOUT – One Giant Set
- T-Bar Row: 2-3 sets with 8 reps each.
- Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row: 2-3 sets with 10 reps each.
- Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown: 2-3 sets with 12 reps each.
- Reverse-Grip Pulldown: 2-3 sets with 12 reps each.
Let’s look at each exercise individually and how we can make them as most efficient as possible.
1. T-Bar Row
This exercise puts all the stress on your back and it’s easy to perform. Your wide grip will activate your lateral muscles and your bent-over stature will do the same for your core and lower back.
It’s better to have a T-bar station for this, but a bar and landmine will do a good job too. Don’t worry about going too heavy, but remember that after this one, there will be four other exercises and you don’t want to waste all your strength here.
You can also use straps for this exercise, but it’s better to omit them and pick an adequate weight that will challenge you to lift it without them.
2. Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row
Quick workouts often make use of dumbbells because you can bring them wherever you’re working out and won’t lose any time walking from station to station, so take the pair you want and put them next to your T-bar station.
When you’re done with the first exercise, take your dumbbells and do some bent-over dumbbell rows. Barbells have a disadvantage towards dumbbells because the latter will provide you with a fuller range of motion, but will also hit your middle back muscles near your spine.
You’ll need to keep your core tight and your spine neutral to make sure you don’t injure your lower back. Also, you might want to rest your chest on an incline bench whenever your core needs some respite.
3. Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
You’ll have to relocate to a lat pulldown machine to do wide-grip pulldowns, but this exercise and the next one are in the same place, which means you won’t need to change stations again. Even if you’re in a hurry, try to not use the momentum of your pulldowns.
Instead, make sure that your lateral muscles bear the entire brunt of the weight. You can do this by lowering the weight down when you need to feel your back muscles pumping.
When you get to the bottom part of the exercise, squeeze your elbows for a contraction before allowing the handle to go back up. When you do the last rep, you’ll need to change your grip for the reverse-grip pulldowns.
4. Reverse-Grip Pulldown
When you switch up your grip, you’ll hit your back muscles from a new angle. This means your lower lats will activate, but so will the biceps to help them finish up the move.
Keep your chest up and don’t jerk the handle even if your muscles are exhausted after doing all those reps. Doing a good pulldown requires keeping yourself as vertical as possible.
When you’re done, take 60 seconds of rest and do the entire set all over again a second time at least once. If you want to go all the way, set a timer to see how quickly you would be able to do three rounds and try beating that time the next time you perform this workout.