It’s the end of the semester.  You face numerous tests and semester long projects that make up a majority of your final grade.  You’re strapped for time.  Time is your currency.  The more time you have to study and do work the more successful you’ll be.  You need the best return on your investment with what you put your energies towards.  Everything you do needs to be done efficiently.

As you currently have little down time, this article will be short and sweet.  You have so much work to do but you do not want to completely sacrifice your physique.  You still want to go to the gym and get a great workout.  While the gym is time away from the books, studies have shown a workout can improve your brain function and give you more energy.  Think of your workout as a stop at a charging station, grabbing some energy to hit the books harder.

The Workout

Making your workouts short and to the point is what you need.  The most effective way of doing that, while still stimulating your muscles adequately, is focusing on the big compound lifts.  These will require more energy resulting in fewer sets, hence the time saved.  Here is a four-day workout split that should require no more than 20 to 30 minutes a day.

Day 1 – Chest and Triceps

Flat Barbell Bench – 5 sets for 5 reps

Dips – 3 sets to failure

Dips can be done in a dip rack (hanging) or using a bench.  If you can easily get 15 reps try adding weight to increase the resistance and make those triceps beg for you to return to the library.


Day 2 – Back

Deadlifts – 5 sets for 5 reps

Pull-Ups – 3 sets to failure

Like dips, if you excel at pull-ups and can get 15 reps easily you should consider adding weight to make your back work even harder.  Your lats will curse you for it.  Also, do not worry about biceps this week.  Your biceps will be worked indirectly throughout this workout.  You don’t have enough time to sit before the mirror “mirin” your curls.


Day 3 – Shoulders and Abs

Military Press – 5 sets for 5 reps

Crunches / Leg Raises / Side Crunches Superset – 3 sets to failure

Day 4 – Legs

Squats – 5 sets for 5 reps

Romanian Deadlifts – 3 sets for 10 reps

Nothing says leg day like squats.  Squats develop your legs from front-to-back and side-to-side.  After squats, finish off with some Romanian deadlifts to really bury those hamstrings.  Most people are quad dominant, especially females, so additional direct hamstring work is always welcomed.

Now Back to the Books

You’re in the final stretch of the semester.  Keep focused on your academic goals and utilize the gym as a tool to help you achieve them.  A hard workout is a great way of giving your mind something else to focus on and allowing you to mentally prepare for the long hours ahead of you.  Be efficient in everything you do, you cannot afford to waste time. To kill two birds with one stone you can even study while doing your cardio.  Now that is efficiency.  Try this workout; within 30 minutes you will be done and ready to conquer all obstacles ahead.

Good luck.  Be elite.