How Long Should a Workout Last?

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

A reader asked me how long a workout
should take. Here's the exact question:

"My question is workout duration. Is the
45 minute thing bro science? Sometimes
my workouts go into the 1 hour and 15
minute time frame. This is before I do 15
to 20 mins of mobility work and warming
up. I'm 42, and entering the gray hair

So that's the question of the day -- now
let's figure out where to begin and how
to answer it.

First, I'm scratching my head a little because
I'm not sure what "the 45 minute thing" is.

And I have no idea if it's "bro science" because
I stay as far away from the bro's as possible.

Anyhow, I assume "the 45-minute thing"
refers to advice to keep your workout to
45 minutes.

That goes back to advice from a Bulgarian
weightlifting coach who visited the U.S.
back in the 1970's or 1980's, and was
quoted as saying that workouts should
last no more than 45 minutes because
your blood levels of testosterone start
to diminish after 45 minutes.

To get around that, the Bulgarians
supposedly trained for 45 minutes and
then rested for awhile -- and then trained
some more -- and then rested -- and so
on for pretty much the entire day.

At least, that's how it was reported.

Whether that's what the Bulgarians actually
did is anybody's guess -- and whether there's
any sort of solid science behind it is also
anybody's guess.

And, of course -- leave aside the drug issue.
If any testing was done to validate the 45
minute thing, was it done on natural
athletes or on drug-users?

Yeah, that would kind of change things,
wouldn't it?

But I digress . . .

It's obvious that you can't go to school or
work for a living (or do both, as many do),
and train all day -- meaning that  the so-called
Bulgarian method doesn't cut it in the real world.

In the real world, you can't train all day. So
let's not even argue about it.

In the real world, we need to rely on good,
old-fashioned common sense -- and some
intelligent trial and error on the part of the

Common sense tells us that there's no
such thing as an optimal time for a workout.
It would depend on too many factors that are
unique to a given individual: age , experience,
types of exercises performed, sets, reps, how
heavy, etc.

You also have the question of light, heavy
and medium days. The total training time
would probably fluctuate depending on how
hard and how heavy you train on a given day.

So instead of hard and fast rules, we need to
have ranges.

Here are some ranges and some suggestions:

1. Start with 10 to 20 minutes of warm-ups.

a. More if you need more, less if you need
less. Age is a key factor here. Older trainees
need more warm-up time.

2. Train for 40 to 90 minutes.

a. Note that this is a wide range. It will
accomodate most of us perfectly well.

3. Total training times including warmups,
should be between 50 minutes and two

a. See no. 2a above.

4. Younger trainees usually recover better
than older trainees, so they can experiment
with the "more" end of the range.

5. Older trainees (age 35 and up) usually don't
recover as well, so they should move more to
the low end of the range.

6. On a low energy day, shorter is better.

7. On a high energy day, do a bit more if
you're in the mood. Or not. Either way works

a. If you train on Sat or Sun, that's usually
a good day for a longer workout.

8. The most important consideration is not
how long you train, but how much you FOCUS
on what you are doing. If you go through the
motions, you're wasting your time. If you really
concentrate on your training, you can have a
very productive workout in a short period of

9. Measure your progress by weight on the bar.
If you're getting stronger, everything is fine. If
not, make adjustments.

10. If you're not getting stronger, you usually
need to do LESS training, not MORE training.

Hope that helps!

As always, thanks for reading and have a great
day. If you train today, make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Gray Hair and Black Iron is the best book
out there about serious training for older Dinos:

P.S. 2. My other books and courses are right
here at Dino Headquarters -- and remember,
you also can find us in Amazon's Kindle

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "It's better to be
a lone wolf than a lemming." -- Brooks Kubik