It can be hard to find time to work out. I work at a gym and still find it tough making time to train. However, just because you can’t find an hour a day doesn’t mean you can’t get results.
If the goal is fat loss, then shorter conditioning and more intense workouts may be just as effective. There are plenty of different advanced methods to help get out of plateaus and add variety to keep things fresh. One of the most effective methods I have found that works great for fat loss and saving time is using supersets.
Traditional weight training usually involves one to three sets, and resting anywhere between an average of 10-30 seconds for fat loss and up to three minutes for pure strength. Once the last set is completed, the trainee then moves to the next exercise. On the other hand, a superset is two different exercises performed back to back, with little or no rest in between for opposing muscle groups. Examples could include bicep curls followed by triceps extensions, bench presses followed by barbell rows, or leg extensions followed by hamstring curls. This saves on time and allows you to pick up the intensity. You can expect to finish the same amount of sets in your standard workout in half the time. By working opposing muscle groups, you allow your muscles enough recovery time to start each lift fresh and keep the blood flowing for a possible cardio effect.
In a recent published study about supersets, the authors concluded that, “The general population may be more willing to adhere to less time-consuming resistance training programs that offer similar results, as compared to more time-consuming programs.” The idea of shorter workouts may be more appealing and could be a motivational factor for some.
Another method to increase intensity while decreasing workout time is compound sets. Compound sets are very similar to supersets, except you work the same muscle group. Again, little to no rest in between sets. The goal is to move from one exercise to the next as quickly as possible with good form.
Like supersets, compound sets are a tremendous time-saver. Start with the multiple joint exercises that allow more weight to be used first, and then move to an isolation exercise. Examples would include bench press followed by chest flys, pull-ups followed by pull downs, squats followed by leg presses. Compound sets give you the advantage of working your muscles from a variety of angles, a key factor in gaining lean muscle. This method is great to use for people looking to gain muscle and save time.
As always consult your doctor prior to starting any exercise program, and if you are unsure how to properly perform any exercise seek the advice of a trained fitness professional.
— Kyler Crouse, BS, CSCS, FMS is a personal trainer and strength coach that trains at Sierra Athletic Club and a training center instructor at Barton Memorial Hospital. Kyler specializes in performance enhancement and rehabilitation after injury. Visit www.KCstrength.com for more information.