Weekend Warrior? Here Are the Things Your Workout Needs

If you’re someone with a crammed schedule that leaves you little time to exercise during the week, you’re in luck. Recent findings show working out on the weekends — and only on the weekends — comes with health benefits. Of course, this makes many wonder exactly what constitutes the perfect weekend warrior workout.

Lucky for you, getting the most out of a weekend-only workout doesn’t require looking through every video or fitness plan to find what works best. In fact, with just a couple tips and tricks, you can put together a personalized, hassle-free workout. Here are the seven things you need to consider when piecing together your weekend warrior workout.

1. Up your cardio game

women looking away while running on treadmill

An open weekend means more time to devote to your cardio routine. | iStock.com/g-stockstudio

Len Kravitz, Ph.D. and senior exercise physiologist for IDEA Health & Fitness Association told WedMD the average adult “should accumulate 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.” So, what do you do if you don’t have “most days” to work out during the week? You up cardiovascular activity over the weekend.

Since your schedule is — hopefully — less crammed by work on Saturdays and Sundays, simply devote a little more time to your cardio game.

2. Embrace circuit training

Jumping rope becomes more than a schoolyard staple when added to your circuit. | iStock.com

Circuit training is great for everyone’s workout, and for weekend warriors, it can be taken to new heights. Consider breaking up the previously-mentioned 45 to 60 minutes of cardio into 10- or 15-minute spurts, using jumping rope or jogging up flights of stairs to get your heart rate up. Then, integrate all-over exercises (more on those later) and a little resistance training.

3. Consider keeping free weights handy

Dumbbells on the gym floor

A couple of candy-colored dumbbells can take your weekend workout to the next level. | iStock.com

No, you don’t need to have equipment to get a full workout in — but it certainly helps to have a couple things on hand for resistance training. The easiest way to add resistance to your exercise is to use free eights — whether they’re the dumbbells at the gym or a pair you have at home. (Light free weights are fairly inexpensive, too.)

4. Prioritize all-over exercises

Three attractive sport girls doing plank exercise lying on yoga mat in fitness class.

It’s time to embrace those pesky planks as part of a complete weekend warrior routine. | iStock.com/Bojan89

Ask around as to what three exercises are most loathed by fitness nerds, and you’ll probably get the same answer: squats, planks, and the ever-dreaded burpees. And while there are plenty of effective alternatives to these exercises, the real deals are the best additions to your weekend warrior regimen. Why? Because they don’t take forever to learn, and as long as they are done properly, they’re super effective.

5. Have one new/challenging/exciting exercise

Kick up your weekend workout with a new and exciting exercise | iStock.com

For those who work out multiple days a week, switching up their routine is the best way to keep from plateauing. For the weekend workout crew, integrating different workouts also allows you to try new and fun exercise options. This could be as simple as trying out a new machine at the gym, taking a new class, to trying a new outdoor workout. PopSugar also recommends opting for paddleboard yoga or rock climbing. You will reap the benefits of switching up your exercise routine and get to try new things in the process.

6. Consider a quick yoga session

Young woman folding blue yoga mat

Balance out an intense weekend workout by unrolling your yoga mat. | iStock.com/fizkes

Your two-day workout fest doesn’t have to be a continuously grueling grind. The weekend is an ideal time to de-stress and clear your head, and having a low-impact exercise or two in your regimen can help. Though yoga gets a bit of a bad rap, doing a couple key moves can really help you get into that weekend state of mind while toning your body. The Huffington Post agrees that yoga “is frequently touted for its ability to reduce stress and boost well-being, but it also offers wide-ranging physical health benefits that rival other forms of exercise.” If you’re new to the yoga game, try some of these simple moves.

7. Remember to cool down and stretch

young woman stretching her stomach on fitness mat

Cap off a productive weekend with some quality stretch time | iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

For whatever reason, many fitness junkies are averse to stretching and cooling down after workouts. Nevertheless, this is an important practice that everyone should embrace. Plus, getting stretch time in over the weekend can help loosen up your body after it’s been cramped in your car or at your work desk all week. These stretches from SELF are ideal for helping with flexibility without over-exerting yourself, making them the perfect addition to a weekend warrior’s workout regimen.