Workout Routines

6 Two-Move Workouts to Save You Time and Get You Shredded

Keep your workouts simple and experience the power of advanced “training economics.”

6 Two-Move Workouts to Save You Time and Get You Shredded
Ian Spanier
Ian Spanier
Duration 30 min.
Exercises 2 per workout
Equipment Yes

We've got some great news: It doesn’t take a laundry list of exercises and an hour-plus to tone your body and build strength. Not when your program is intelligently designed, that is.

In this case, it takes only two moves, thanks to the programming chops of renowned trainer Zach Even-Esh, the founder of the Underground Strength Gym, the head strength and conditioning coach of the Rutgers University wrestling team, and the author of the best-selling book The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength & Conditioning.

The two-exercise concept is a shining example of quality over quantity. “This is called training economics,” Even-Esh says. “We take the exercises that deliver a high return of results on a short investment of time. This type of approach will always deliver results.”

Even-Esh has designed six, two-move workouts. The first four sessions alternate between upper-body (Workouts 1 and 3) and lower-body (Workouts 2 and 4) training, and each of the last two (Workouts 5 and 6) incorporates one upper and one lower for more full-body stimulus. And each move for a workout should last only 30 minutes.

The exercise menu includes familiar moves—squats, lunges, presses, cleans, pullups, deadlifts, pushups, and rows—done with high set counts and relatively heavy weights. Isolation moves are nonexistent, except for a few optional moves that can be tacked on for those who have an extra five minutes or so to spare.

There’s no fat in this program. It has all been trimmed. “These workouts focus on getting more work done in less time,” Even-Esh says. “By working larger muscle groups, you’ll add functional muscle, which helps you build a body that can perform both in the gym and in your home life—playing with the kids, doing yard work, and having generally high energy.

Longer workouts and more exercises are not always better. Better is better, and that’s exactly what these workouts do. In fact, these short workouts are often implemented for our sport athletes in-season and allow them to continue making gains in overall athletic performance.”

THE TWO-MOVE SCHEDULE

Even-Esh offers six separate two-move workouts, but the intent is not to do them all in one week, let alone on six consecutive days. Rather, he recommends doing four workouts per week, training on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

“This allows you to schedule weekends off for family activities and Wednesday off for downtime,” Even-Esh says. “And if you’re really short on time or bandwidth, you can do three days per week, training on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, taking off Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Weekends should be spent in active recovery with recreational activities or stuff with friends or family.”

If you follow Even-Esh’s recommendations, two weeks’ worth of two-move workouts could look like this:

4 DAYS PER WEEK

WEEK 1

  • Monday: Workout 1
  • Tuesday: Workout 2
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Workout 3
  • Friday: Workout 4
  • Saturday: Off
  • Sunday: Off

WEEK 2

  • Monday: Workout 5
  • Tuesday: Workout 6
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Workout 1
  • Friday: Workout 2
  • Saturday: Off
  • Sunday: Off

Repeat cycle going forward, with Workout 3 done on the next Monday.

3 DAYS PER WEEK

WEEK 1

  • Monday: Workout 1
  • Tuesday: Off 
  • Wednesday: Workout 2
  • Thursday: Workout 3
  • Friday: Off
  • Saturday: Off
  • Sunday: Off

WEEK 2

  • Monday: Workout 4
  • Tuesday: Off
  • Wednesday: Workout 5
  • Thursday: Workout 6
  • Friday: Off
  • Saturday: Off
  • Sunday: Off

Repeat cycle going forward, with Workout 1 done on the next Monday.

THE WARMUP 

Start every workout with the following circuit-based primer.

10 reps each of:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Alternating forward lunges
  • Band pull-aparts
  • Hanging knee raises
  • Body-weight squats

Workout 1: Upper-Body Push + Upper-Body Pull Superset exercises 1 and 2.

Exercise 1

Feet-Elevated Pushup How to
Feet Elevated Pushup thumbnail
5 sets
10, 8, 6, 4, 2 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

Inverted Row You'll need: Barbell, Squat Rack How to
Inverted Row thumbnail
5 sets
10, 8, 6, 4, 2 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3 (optional)

Jump Squat
Jump Squat  thumbnail
5 sets
10, 8, 6, 4, 2 reps
-- rest

Workout 2: Legs + Core Superset exercises 1 and 2.

Exercise 1

Dumbbell Farmer's Walk You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Farmer's Walk thumbnail
4 sets
150 feet reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

Bulgarian Split Squat
Bulgarian Split Squat thumbnail
4 sets
10 reps
-- rest
*Three-second eccentric

Workout 3: Upper-Body Push + Upper-Body Pull Superset exercises 1 and 2.

Exercise 1

Dive Bomber Pushup How to
Dive Bomber Pushup thumbnail
5 sets
30 sec. reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

General Pullup You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Pullup thumbnail
5 sets
90% of max* reps
-- rest
*In other words, 1 to 2 reps short of failure; also, switch hand positions every set.

Workout 4: Legs + Core

Exercise 1

Barbell Clean and Press You'll need: Barbell How to
Barbell Clean and Press thumbnail
9 sets
2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2* reps
-- rest
*Use the same weight on every set; rest 30 seconds between sets.

Exercise 2

Bodyweight Walking Lunge You'll need: No Equipment How to
Walking Lunge thumbnail
1 sets
50 per side reps
-- rest

Workout 5: Legs + Upper-Body Push Superset exercises 1 and 2.

Exercise 1

Back Squat You'll need: Barbell How to
Man does back squat exercise thumbnail
5 sets
5 reps
-- rest
With a pause at the bottom.

Exercise 2

Clapping Pushup You'll need: No Equipment How to
Clapping Pushup thumbnail
5 sets
5 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3 (optional)

Jump Rope You'll need: Jump Rope How to
Jump Rope thumbnail
5 sets
40 sec. reps
20 sec. rest

Workout 6: Legs + Upper-Body Pull Superset exercises 1 and 2.

Exercise 1

Sumo Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
Sumo Deadlift thumbnail
5 sets
3 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

Reverse-Grip Barbell Row You'll need: Barbell How to
Reverse-Grip Barbell Row thumbnail
5 sets
6 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3 (optional)

Triceps Pushdown You'll need: Elastic Band How to
Triceps Pushdown thumbnail
3 sets
33 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4 (optional)

Barbell Curl You'll need: Barbell How to
Barbell Curl thumbnail
3 sets
21* reps
-- rest
*Do 7 top-half range of motion (ROM), 7 bottom-half ROM, 7 reps full ROM.
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