How To Save Time In The Gym
Unless you've made training a priority in your life, most busy professionals feel like they don't have enough time for the gym.
And there's ways you can save time while still getting in an effective workout.
It's just going to require more grit & willpower. And a little bit of planning.
My personal favorite for saving time in the gym is to utilize supersets, tri sets, or giant sets (which is similar to a circuit, but I view them a little different).
Most everyone knows what a superset is.
It's where you take two exercises and you perform them back to back, with no rest in between. You can rest AFTER both are completed.
But there are intelligent supersets, and not so smart ones.
The goal isn't to just mix and match movements.
It's to either pick antagonist muscle groups, or the same or similar muscle groups.
An antagonist group would be something like the biceps and triceps. And typically, you'll get a little "boost" in strength for whichever movement comes second, so keep that in mind when picking the order of the exercises. That's one of the benefits of hitting antagonist muscles. A rope cable curl, followed by a rope overhead extension would be a superset that works in this way.
Just think about which muscles do the OPPOSITE of each other, and pair them together.
Something like a leg extension followed by a leg curl. Doing something like an overhead press followed by a leg extension would be a strange combination.
A tri set is simply adding a third exercise to the mix.
You can structure this the same way as above, or use it to bring up a specific muscle group while training others.
For example... a dumbbell curl, followed by an overhead dumbbell extension, followed by a dumbbell hammer curl. So we're hitting biceps, triceps, biceps, bouncing back and forth between antagonist muscles.
Or, let's say your traps are lagging and you want to fit in some extra work at the end of an upper body day. You could do a rope pressdown, followed by a rope cable curl, followed by a rope shrug. So we're hitting triceps and biceps (antagonists), and then traps since they need extra attention.
Now, most of the time, supersets or tri sets are structured in this way.
Intelligently selecting antagonist exercises and working one muscle group while the other is resting, and vice versa.
You can also use these principles to target THE SAME muscle, just with a different function. Naturally, this style is harder because you're not allowing that muscle to rest.
So doing something like a dumbbell curl, followed by a dumbbell hammer curl. Most people are stronger on a hammer curl, so you would perform regular curls until you couldn't anymore, and then switch to hammer curls to squeeze out more reps. (You could even drop the weight just a bit on the hammer curl, making this mini drop sets at the same time.)
Or you could do something like dumbbell stiff leg deadlifts, followed by lying hamstring curls. This will set your hamstrings on fire.
You could start getting into giant sets.
These are similar to a circuit, but a circuit is usually a group of exercises meant to target the entire body in some way, and typically focused on the speed and cardio aspect of training. I see giant sets as a bit different.
Giant sets are meant to beat a particular muscle group into submission, by targeting as many heads and functions of that muscle as possible.
Hitting the same muscles from as many angles as possible. For me, a giant set requires at least three movements performed with this intent.
I like to do something like dumbbell shrugs, dumbbell reverse flies, and prone Ys... with a specific mind-muscle focus of EXHAUSTING the traps, from my neck all the way down into the very center of my back. Slow, controlled form. Focused on time under tension.
When you do a giant set correctly, whichever muscles you're targeting should be burning and FULL OF BLOOD. You'll know if it's working.
And finally, we get to one of the most intense ways to save time in the gym.
ONE SET TO FAILURE.
On your primary lift of the day, perform your normal 3-4 working sets.
On your last set, keep going to COMPLETE FAILURE (but good quality reps) and then drop the weight if you need to, just squeeze out as many reps as you can until you want to puke. Everything should be fried for that main lift.
Now, knock out a superset or tri set, and you can be pretty much done for the day.
Brutal. Simple. Effective.
Give these methods a try, and let me know which one you like the most.
Hope you have a great weekend,
Spartan Training & Coaching