Half-Ass the Right Way: A One-Set, Full-Body Workout for Busy Lives


In today’s fast-paced world, finding time for lengthy workouts can be a challenge. Many people give up on exercise altogether, believing that if they can’t spend hours at the gym, they won’t see any results. But what if we told you that half-assing the right way can still lead to significant fitness improvements? The key is maximizing the efficiency of your workouts by focusing on one set per exercise, going until failure, and targeting compound movements. This article will provide a sample full-body routine and tips on how to make the most of your limited workout time.

One-Set Training

One-set training is an approach where you perform only one set per exercise, but push yourself to failure. Select a rep goal (either 5, 10, or 15) and aim to reach as many reps as possible. If you exceed your goal, add 5 lbs to the exercise next time. This method saves time and still allows for progressive overload, which is essential for muscle growth and strength gains.

Full-Body Split

Instead of following a complex workout split that requires you to keep track of which day it is, opt for a full-body routine where you perform the same exercises each session. This way, you’ll hit all major muscle groups regularly, allowing for more consistent gains and reducing the likelihood of muscle imbalances.

Compound Exercises

Focus on compound exercises, which work multiple muscle groups at once, rather than isolated movements. By targeting larger muscle groups with fewer exercises, you’ll save time and still see substantial results.

Sample Full-Body Routine

Bench Press: This compound movement targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps, making it an excellent upper body exercise.
Military Press: This overhead pressing movement focuses on the shoulders, with secondary involvement from the triceps.
Pull-ups: This bodyweight exercise works the back muscles, particularly the lats, as well as the biceps.
T-Bar Row: A great exercise for the middle and upper back, the T-Bar Row also engages the biceps and forearms.
Squat: The classic lower body exercise, squats primarily target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, while also engaging the lower back and core muscles.
Deadlift: This compound lift works the entire posterior chain, including the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and upper back muscles.
Perform one set of each exercise, aiming to reach your chosen rep goal. Go until failure, but maintain proper form throughout.

Efficiency is Key

To make the most of this time-saving workout, aim to complete your routine as quickly as possible without sacrificing form. The less time you spend, the more focused and intense your workout will be. Additionally, knowing that your workout is short will make it easier to maintain consistency and motivation. Consider incorporating a brief warm-up and cool-down to minimize the risk of injury and enhance recovery.

Rest and Recovery

Despite the efficient nature of this workout, it’s important to prioritize rest and recovery. Aim to perform this full-body routine two to three times per week, allowing at least one day of rest between sessions. This will give your muscles ample time to recover and grow. Additionally, ensure that you’re consuming a balanced diet with adequate protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to support your fitness goals.


Remember, it’s not about the time spent in the gym, but rather the effort and focus you put into your workouts. By adopting a one-set, full-body routine that targets compound movements, you can still achieve great results without investing hours at the gym. Give this efficient approach a try and see the difference it can make in your fitness journey.

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