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Strength Training On The Go

strength training Mar 18, 2024


By Carla DiGirolamo, MD, CFL1 


This workout is a “go-to” for strength training if you're pressed for time or traveling. It’s versatile in that you can pair any two upper/lower body lifts that you wish, it's time-efficient, and can be done with minimal equipment. If you have time and unlimited access to equipment, that’s even better!


Try these movements with a barbell, dumbbells, or both. If you have only one weight available for both movements, there are alternative repetition options. You can increase the volume of the squats or perform “tempo” reps to challenge body control throughout the movement.


Why is this workout particularly good for midlife women?


  • Builds/maintains muscle mass and strength
  • Stimulates bone tissue to maintain and build bone density
  • Promotes metabolic health
  • Keeps the joints moving and reduces injury risk by maintaining muscle strength and stability


Warm Up


4 Rounds* – light load 

*1 Round = Up-downs, then push-ups, then air squats

7 Up Downs

7 Push-Ups (from knees or other modification – should be easy)

7 Air Squats


Movement Practice


If you have the available equipment, choose a barbell for one movement and dumbbells for the other. Both options should be on the heavier side with the goal of doing all 5 reps unbroken, but reps 4 and 5 being VERY challenging. If you do not have a barbell, use dumbbells for both movements and choose one weight that is challenging for both. Do not change weights between movements as there is not enough time.


Take 5-10 minutes to practice 3-5 repetitions per movement to find the appropriate weight.


Modification: If you do not have heavy weights available, use lighter weights and do a “tempo” sequence for the movement with a slow count of 3 in the direction of resistance and a count of 1 to release for the 5 repetitions.




EMOM 20:00 (Every Minute on the Minute x 20 minutes). Set your timer for EMOM (1:00) x 20 minutes or set a 20-minute timer. 


On EVEN minutes, perform the bench press. On ODD minutes, perform the front squat. Use a barbell or dumbbells for either or both of these movements. Again, these should be on the heavier side for the proper stimulation and response. Reps 4 and 5 should be hard, but not ugly. All repetitions should be done unbroken.


EVEN minutes – starting at 0:00


5 dumbbell or barbell flat bench presses (rest for the remainder of the minute)


** If you don’t have a flat bench, do the dumbbell presses lying flat on the floor


ODD minutes -starting at 1:00 


5 heavy barbell or dumbbell front squats


TIP! Avoid the need to change weights each minute due to time constraint. If only one sent of weights is available, find your heaviest bench press weight. If this weight feels light for your front squats, then DOUBLE the front squat repetitions!




Enjoy this 15-minute post-workout stretch that will help your upper and lower body on its way to fast recovery.


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