For those of us who are "Blue Collar" lifters, the time we set aside for training is special and limited. Doing what is absolutely necessary is vital, so we use the things that work and dump the crap that doesn't. This can (and does) include programs, movements, and training partners—all of which can hold you back. If they are not for you, they are against you. My suggestion is to find the right partner(s) or lift alone. Lifting alone has its advantages and draw backs. However, for me, it is the only thing that works. Programs are like assholes—everyone has one and they all stink. The key is finding the one that stinks the least for you and what works best for you.

In terms of my schedule, I usually only have about 30 to 45 minutes to get my training in. My wife and I both work 12-hour shifts and I'm usually at home alone with my kids, so training can usually take place whenever I can squeeze it in. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and nap time are all usually great options, and when my wife and I are off together, I take advantage of that time. I must say that I am fortunate that my wife supports my quest for strength. I realize that some of you do not have this support, and well, that sucks. I will offer no advice, mostly because I am not a relationship or marriage counselor, but I will invite you to read an article titled 21 Suggestions for Success, by Shelby Starnes.

The first step in training economy, however, is not training... it is having a PLAN. Without a plan, path, idea, or goal, you are just pointlessly wandering around a gym, garage, or basement with nothing to go after. Make goals—not "get jacked" or "slim down,"  but specific goals—bench 500 pounds, squat a million... whatever. Now that you have big goals, you can focus on the smaller, more immediate goals. In other words, in order to bench 500 pounds, you need to put up 135 pounds first. There's no way around it. Unfortunately, there is no 12-week program to a 1,000-pound bench, squat, or deadlift, either. No matter what a magazine, website, or Internet training guru says, it's just not going to happen. It is a bunch of foolishness put out by people that are foolish themselves and companies that WANT you to fail so that you will come back looking for another quick fix. They know, like most of us do, that there is no quick fix. Putting up massive amounts of weight takes time under the bar—not just months, but years... and sometimes even decades. The fact that some even think that they could put “X” amount of weight on any of their lifts in “JUST 12 WEEKS!!” is absurd, and it shows the level of laziness they have achieved. Frankly, it also shows that they are not willing to work hard for things, and this probably carries over to other areas of their lives. The men and women that accomplish great feats in the realm of powerlifting have drive beyond yours and mine... but I digress, this is a topic for another article.

Now that you have a plana goalof what u want, it is time to put your plan into a Program. Obviously, you should be doing the main lifts: bench, squat, deadlift, and military press. These, to me, are the core movements that make up strengththe pillars for which you should base your training days upon. Keeping it simple in the programming scene is the hard part, though. With bands, chains, dynamic effort, max effort, isometric, periodization, meso cycles, miso cycles, repetition... there are countless combinations from which to choose. I'm sure there are also variations I missed, thank god! The key, though, is to find what works for you, and being a person of limited time, programming and what works for you are most important. Personally, I follow the Queen of Simplicity: Jim Wendler. His 5/3/1 program is about as simple and effective as one can get. Its routine is basic, but it delivers bar-loads of results. I'm not going to sit here and say that every person on planet earth should be using this program. All that I am saying is that this is the program that I have found to work for me, and it gives me the best results. There are many good, well written programs out there depending on what your goals are. Many of them are found right here on The biggest thing about programs and manuals is believing in it. If you believe in it, then you will reap results no matter what. The other key is sticking to it for a while and not being "that guy" who switches programs every six weeks.

So now we can finally get to the training part! We have our path, we have a program, now we move on to our training. In my own experience while lifting out of my garage, I have found that I cannot do every assistance lift variation on the planet. This is mostly because I do not have the equipment or the space for it. Therefore, I usually stick with movements that have been proven to work since the dawn of training: good mornings, barbell rows, pull downs, pull-ups, incline press, dumbbell press, etc. In turn, I usually stick with two or three assistance lifts for a couple of cycles before switching them up. However, there are some movements I do not stray from. For instance, good mornings and barbell rows are two exercises that you will always find in my training. They seem to work for me, and I feel they yield the best results. Now, being a person of limited time and equipment, as I'm sure you are as well, sometimes we have to improvise with equipment. In order to do farmers walks, I filled two 5-gallon buckets with about 80 pounds of concrete. It might sound a little ghetto, but it gets the job done and I did it for under $30.00. This is just one example of something you may have to do in order to get what you need when training on a budget.The idea here is to get the most training bang for your limited buck.

So, in closing, let’s review a little. Training Economy is not just lifting; it involves a lot more than that. It is goals, programming, equipment, AND training. All of these things are contributors to the bigger idea. When you are in a gym where your time is as limited as your equipment, being smart about your programming choices and movements are paramount. Just because you may use your kids as resistance when performing pulling or dragging movements does not mean that you cannot succeed. Sometimes thinking outside of the box can offer the best results and make things a little more interesting.

Now, if you would excuse me, I need to show my three-year-old son how to shift into neutral so I can push my truck. (Since I don't have a Prowler®, it's the next best thing). Later y'all.