How To Hack Your Strength Training

If only I had all the time in the world, I wouldn’t need to find ways to sneak in my strength training.

With ultramarathon training starting on Tuesday, I am looking for ways to optimize every minute of my day. With a family of 5, a full course load of school work, and a farm and house to care for, I have very little time left over for myself. Add to that 26 miles the first week of training and I’m starting to stress.

I took a hard look at my schedule and decided I needed to get a little creative, as there is just no time left over to add strength training into the mix. And I’m going to need quads and calves of steel if I’m going to run 31 miles over a mountain.

Here is what I plan to do throughout the day to get my legs, abs, and arms in tip-top shape while maintaining my sanity over the next 6 months of training. With repetition breeds habit, so I’m hoping this becomes a life-long practice.


The shower is a great place to think deep thoughts. It’s also, comes to find out, a fabulous place to do squats while washing. I can manage around 30 squats and 30 calf raises all while getting clean.

Morning and Evening Bathroom Routine

Trapped in the bathroom brushing your teeth, washing your face, drying your hair? Do some one-legged squats, one-legged calf raises, and maybe some lunges if your bathroom is big enough.


I read a lot. I may be a minority, or maybe not. If you use a Kindle, it’s easy to lie on the floor and do planks while enjoying a book or magazine. This is not so easy if you read traditional paperbacks; the pages tend to flip around on you if you aren’t actually holding the book.

TV Binging

I think it’s fair to say that if you are doing exercises while binging TV shows, there is nothing to feel guilty about. You can alternate through different exercises during commercials, or just challenge yourself and go crazy throughout the show. You can alternate between Superman, push-ups, planks, squats, burpees, calf raises, and crunches. The routine is all up to you.

Fly-By Pull-Ups

We have a pull-up bar in our house that is set up in a basement doorway. Every time I get off the treadmill or fill the woodstove with more logs, I do a few pull-ups. It only takes a couple of extra minutes out of my day since I am walking right by it.

Work Breaks

There is so much you can do during work breaks. You can run the stairs, calf raises at your desk, standing crunches, or squats if you’re daring. I work from home so I am lucky enough to have an exercise ball as a chair. I like to do crunches on it during my work breaks.


You can always commit to a few exercises before you get into bed at night. Do a 60-second plank or two and you will be so thankful when you finally crawl into bed.

Grocery Store Lines

We all have to wait in lines more often than we like. Why not risk looking like a maniac and doing one-legged calf raises? It’s a fairly subtle move, and who cares what people think—you are a healthy and fit human. If you are more of the timid type, you can do standing crunches by flexing your abs and releasing. No one will know—I promise!

House Chores

Use those free evenings to do deep cleaning chores around your house. Trying to incorporate house chores with exercise is great way of managing your time. Mopping the floor can be quite a workout, so make sure you check these reviews of the best tile steam cleaners to ensure that your floor is properly cleaned whilst you workout at the same time. You don’t want to have to go back over where you’ve cleaned because your old mop has left streaks or not cleaned the floor correctly. Save yourself the time by cleaning it properly the first time. It doesn’t have to stop there either, go rake some leaves for a great ab workout. Remember to focus on your muscles to get the most out of it.

I’ve been hacking my strength training for the past week to get into the habit, and I can report I’ve had amazing results. My legs and arms feel strong and capable. Admittedly, I have not been doing enough planks or crunches because they are my least favorite, but I will be focusing on them next week.

Do you sneak exercises into your day? I would love to hear your tricks and tips for happy muscles.

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About Liz Ward 101 Articles
Liz Ward is a running fanatic, avid reader, and amateur farmer. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband, three kids, and a small herd of animals.