The Convenient Workout: Perhaps the Easiest Way to Build Muscle in the World

Matthew Dickson
8 min readMay 22, 2021

The Convenient Workout is a simple full body workout routine. It is incredibly easy to fit into your day and works all the major muscles in your body. It might just be the easiest way to build muscle in the world.

Millions of people dream of becoming more muscular. This is an amazing dream to have. Being muscular helps you in so many ways. I highly encourage you to keep chasing that dream. You will love it when you get there.

I’m excited to tell you about this workout. It has put more muscle on me in a ridiculously simple way. Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating.

Approximately 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese (World Health Organization, 2016). If people were able to do at least this basic workout, they would be much better off for it.

One pound of muscle burns more calories than one pound of fat. So having some muscle on you will act as a 24/7 fat-burning machine.

The Convenient Workout is very easy to fit into your day. Having more muscle on you means that you will burn more calories, even while you sleep. Muscle burns more calories than fat. A lot of people don’t have the motivation to go the gym. They want to, but they just can’t seem to go.

If you don’t want to gain too much muscle, you can still do the Convenient Workout, but do the exercises twice a week instead of three times. Generally three times a week of strength training will build muscle and two times will maintain it.

The Convenient Workout has three main components to it:

1) There are only four exercises that work your entire body: push-ups, pull-ups, planks and squats.

2) The exercises aren’t done all at once. They are spread throughout the day. (This is the key ingredient.)

3) Do them as your energy dictates.

Did you know that the average 45–60 minute workout with weights at the gym has only about 5 minutes of actual work in it?

If you do 8–10 exercises with weights, 2 sets each, that is 16–20 exercises. One set of 8 bicep curls only takes about 15 seconds. If most of the other exercises take roughly this long as well, 15 seconds times 16–20 exercises is 4–5 minutes of actual work. The other 40–55 minutes spent at the gym is spent resting in between sets.

Also, of that 4–5 minutes of actual work, half that time is spent lowering the weight and half is spent raising the weight. The Convenient Workout takes advantage of this small amount of exercise that it actually takes to build muscle.

The Convenient Workout is such an easy full body workout routine because people don’t have enough time to work out. People don’t have the energy to workout. Not everybody can spend an hour at the gym three times a week, plus even more time when you include driving back and forth to the gym, showering, etc. If we could make this simpler for people, wouldn’t that be great?

What if working out only took a few minutes? And you didn’t have to go to the gym? What if you could do the workout almost anywhere? What if you didn’t work up a sweat when you did it? So you wouldn’t even have to change into gym clothes?

Enter the Convenient Workout. The key factor that makes this whole workout tick is this: if you only do one exercise at a time you won’t work up a sweat, so you won’t have to change into gym clothes. Also the exercises can be done almost anywhere, because they are mostly bodyweight exercises. And there are only four exercises to do in the first place.

This is why it is such an easy full body workout routine. Most muscle-building workouts are done every other day, or typically three times a week. If you’re doing only four exercises, you can do all four on the same day, or you can break them up. You could do two one day and the two the next.

And each one only takes a few minutes. If you do two every day, you can do one in the morning before you go to work (or school or wherever) and one when you get back home. Or you could do three one day and one the next.

Each one only takes a few minutes each. Again, most of that time will be the rest break in between the 2 sets. Say it’s the morning. Before you head out the door you drop and do some push-ups — as many as you can. Say you do 25. That should probably only take about 30 seconds. You take a break for 1–3 minutes and then you drop and do another set, as many as you can. Say another 30 seconds. That’s it. Your done.

You probably didn’t work up a sweat. You probably didn’t have to change into gym clothes, which is one less thing for you to do. This makes it easier for you and more likely you’ll actually do the exercises. It is more…convenient.

It only took about a minute of actual work and you’re ready to head out the door. It was so easy to fit into your day. You actually got the exercise done. Do the same thing with some squats tonight when you get home and the day’s workout is done.

And during your 1–3 minute break in between the 2 sets you could get your breakfast or lunch ready, or brush your teeth, etc. This another part where it can save you time.

Say you’re doing all four in one day. You can do two of them at home, one before you go to work and the other when you get back at home. The other two you can do somewhere when you’re out and about during the day. Find a quiet place somewhere and do the push-ups. Later on in the day find somewhere to do some planks.

Who says you have to do all your exercises at once anyway? That’s what most people do when they go to the gym. They do their 8–10 exercises: bench press, biceps curls, triceps curls, squats, hamstring curls, etc. And it takes an hour or so. Why do them all at once? Why not only do four of them and one at a time?

The four exercises in the Convenient Workout are what are called compound or multi-joint exercises. Biceps curls work biceps. Triceps curls work your triceps. But the bench press (as well as push-ups) works your chest and your arms and other muscles as well. It is a multi-joint exercise. It works more than one muscle at the same time.

If you wanted to go to the gym and only do four exercises to work your whole body, that’s fine too. You’ll only have to work out for about 20 minutes or so. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from going to the gym, because gyms are fantastic. But a lot of people don’t have the time or energy to go to the gym.

The Convenient Workout is a solution to this. Not the only solution, but a decent one. It is certainly better than sitting on the couch and gaining weight and health problems. It is a simple full body workout routine and the one I use. It is an easy way to gain muscle and, yes, quite convenient.

But if I’m only doing one exercise at a time, do I still get a good workout? In a word, yes. You won’t get as good a cardio workout as you would if you did all four exercises at the same time. But who gets that much of a cardio workout when they use the weights at the gym anyway? They’ll work up a bit of a sweat, but not much. They’ll work up enough to have to shower afterwards.

Also when you do all the exercises at once, you don’t have as much energy for the last exercise as you did for the first one. But if you only do them one at a time, each one will be done at full force. You’ll actually have hours to recuperate from the one before. Not that you need hours. Ten minutes would probably be fine.

Variety in your exercises is good. CrossFit is great for this. CrossFit has such a wide variety of exercises to work many different muscles in your body. The Convenient Workout falls a bit short in this category, but there are ways to add variety to the 4 exercises.

You could substitute sit-ups for planks, or some of the other kinds of ab exercises you can do. Instead of squats you could try lunges. Push-ups can be altered with close and wide hand positions, or a weighted vest, or by trying to do them more explosively (working up to a hand clap in the up position). Pull-ups can be altered with a wide or narrow grip, or by doing chin-ups (palms facing towards you), or a weighted vest.

Alternate the variations of these exercises each time you do them to increase the variety of the 4 exercises and to help keep your body on its toes and surprising different muscles!

I discovered this workout on my own. I already knew that with just four exercises you can work your whole body. I learned this from Mark Sisson, the author of “The Primal Blueprint”, who says on his website ( that these four exercises will give your whole body a thorough workout.

The part I discovered is doing them one at a time — spaced throughout the day. I haven’t read this anywhere else from what I have been able to find. I stumbled upon this on my own. One day I felt like doing some push-ups, so I dropped to the floor and did some. Then my energy went away. Sometime later, either later that day or maybe a day or two later, I dropped and did some planks.

This continued over the course of a summer and I started to grow some muscle. I kept doing one of the four exercises when I had some energy.

It was then that I realized that you don’t have to do all the exercises at once, like you do when you go to the gym. Just doing them one at a time will still grow muscle. I thought, “Isn’t this cool! I’m actually getting the exercises done, it takes very little time and it’s so easy to fit into my day.”

Now I’m sharing it with you.

Disclaimer: I have no official health or fitness certification. I have a read a lot of books on fitness, and I have achieved some results with the Convenient Workout (and I love doing it!). Consult your doctor before trying any fitness program. Use this workout at your own risk. Use common sense and listen to your body. I hope this workout can help you, but I can’t guarantee any results.



Matthew Dickson

Advocate for people with mental illness in developing countries at Bicycled across Canada twice, books, nature, fitness, learning, dancing!