Who needs to be in the gym for hours?  Get an effective workout in a fraction of the time with the 80/20 Workout.


If you know Tim Ferriss you know about the 80/20 principle or Pareto’s Principle.  For those of you that don’t here is a quick and dirty summary.


80% of your results come from 20% of your inputs.


What that means is most of your problems/successes/profits etc. come from just 20% of what you do.  The rest is just nonsense taking up time.  Now is it always exactly 80/20 in real life?  No but it’s damn close.


The 80/20 principle is a way of streamlining processes so you can be more effective without getting bogged down with useless crap.  So naturally I applied this to working out.


We are all too busy for our own goods.  Work, kids, side projects and keeping the spouses happy (wink, wink) takes up about 90% of our waking hours.  Somedays you can squeeze in a workout but most days it is just a pipe dream.


You know you should workout but typical workouts you’d find on the interwebs or come up with are usually designed to take 45-60 minutes.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!


So how do we apply this to exercising?




What are you working out for?

  1. A) Are you an elite level athlete?
  2. B) Do you plan on competing in a bodybuilding show?
  3. C) Are you trying to be a fitness cover model?
  4. D) Or do you just want to add some muscle to impress the ladies (or dudes. No judgment here) and to be able to drink some beer later?


My guess is option D.  If you are only working out to add some muscle and drink some beers later there is no need to work out like any of the other options unless you really want to.  And I highly doubt you do.


Now that we found your end game let’s 80/20 some ish.




Seeing that your goal is to add some muscle so we don’t need to go crazy with blasting every muscle into submission.  Right there isolation exercises are out.  Things like Cable Flyes, Triceps Pushdowns and Leg Extensions go bye bye.


What else can we strip down?  How about rest periods? Perfect!  Instead of hanging around checking Facebook or Tweeting we’ll keep the rest periods to 60 secs.  Enough time to catch your breath, get a sip of water and for your body to recover just enough to abuse it again (not in that way pervert).


The most bang for your buck is going to be barbell or bodyweight exercises.  These work multiple muscles at once from stabilizing the weight, stabilizing the body and lifting the weight.  Isolation exercises do this too but it’s on a much smaller scale and forget about machines.


What about workout scheme?  It’s inefficient to do a body part a day like just about everyone does.  So be happy you can skip International Chest Day or the lesser known equivalent Monday.


A better way to arrange your workout is to do a push pull scheme.  Instead of hitting one muscle a day, you can hit multiple muscles and boost your metabolism in the process.  Rather than all the nutrients going to your shoulders in a traditional scheme, the nutrients have to go to the chest, shoulders and triceps to repair the muscles.


Since we are busy people making an everyday commitment is going to be tough – especially with kids.  The push pull scheme only requires 3 days of workouts.  One day for push, one for pull and of course one for legs.


So with that long winded introduction, I give to you the 80/20 workout.  Now would be a great time for some trumpets.




Rest 60 sec

Day 1 Push

Barbell Bench Press 3×6-8

Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 3×6-8

Dips 3×6-8

Toes-To-Bar 3×10


Day 2 off


Day 3 Pull

Barbell Bent Over Row 3×6-8

Pullup 3×6-8

EZ Bar Curl 3×8

Cable Crunch 3×20


Day 4 off


Day 5 Legs

Front Squat 5×5

Deadlift 8×3

Seated Calf Raises 4×20

Myotatic Crunch 3×10


Day 6 and 7 off


Boom!  We got a complete workout with 20% of the effort and in roughly 42% of the time.  [Mic drop]


Shit, I still need that mic.




Hypothetical situation.  Say you love to work out and you need to go everyday [slowly raises hand].  Going 3 days is not going to cut it.  It leads to the shakes and curling up in the fetal position for hours.  My wife says I’m a baby and sometimes I’m inclined to agree.


So I applied the same principle but added a little twist to it.  I put my expensive personal training certification to use and coupled heavy lifting (<5 reps) with some muscle building (6-12 reps) in one week.  That ladies and gentlemen is called non-linear periodization.


Oh schnaap!  Dave is dropping knowledge bombs over here!


Non-linear periodization is alternating between rep schemes within a week.  Remember this for the quiz later.


The resulting workout is a 5-day time effective masterpiece.  This might be on the same level as Bill Shakespeare and Leo Da Vinci.




Day 1 Heavy Push

Barbell Bench Press 8×3

Barbell Shoulder Press 8×3

Squats 8×3


Day 2 Heavy Pull

Deadlift 8×3

Barbell Bent Over Row 8×3

Weighted Pullup 8×3


Day 3 Abs/off

Cable Crunch 3×20

Good Morning 4×6-8

Toes-To-Bar 3×10

Back Extensions 3×20

Myotatic Crunch 3×10


Day 4 Push Gainz

Leg Press 3×12

Dumbbell Bench Press 3×12

Barbell Push Press 3×12

Dips 3×12

Calf Raise 3×20


Day 5 Pull Gainz

RDL 3×10

EZ Bar Curl 3×10

Dumbbell Row 3×12

Rope Face Pull 3×20

Shrugs 3×12


Day 6 and 7 off




What something that’s keeping you from working out?


What kind of workouts would you like to see on Aesthetic Physiques?


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