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Everyone would benefit from 30-hour days. Although we can’t add more hours to the clock, there are some tricks you can do at the gym to maximize your results and minimize the time you spend there. As opposed to popular belief, you don’t have to spend endless hours at the gym to get results.
When you have to hit one particular muscle group, look for an exercise that can give you the most effective stimuli. Goal-oriented gym trainees get the most results. They choose training that will get them to their destination faster instead of just going with the flow of things.
For example, when building a program, I always choose a pull-up rather than a simple lat pulldown. The overall nervous and muscular demand of the pull-ups is much greater than the seated high pulley pulldown. Pull-ups also recruit your abdominals more than a simple Swiss ball crunch. A great pull-up session will always leave you with sore abs. Another example would be to substitute the barbell bench press with dumbbells. It’s subtle, but the dumbbells offer a greater demand on the nervous system because of the instability of each arm compared to the bench press. They also allow a greater range of motion. Using compound exercises hits chains of muscles functionally, the way they are supposed to work.
Pull- or chin-ups
Bent-over barbell rows
Deadlifts and all its variations
Supplement Your Results
Most people think that using a supplement makes them “not natural.” Well, the movements from weightlifting aren’t natural either, but they are still beneficial. What we need to understand is that we are all different, hence, different needs. Some people might have a hard time recuperating after tough workouts. Some people need a kick in the butt before they workout.
Using supplements can help you get to your destination faster. If you’re a goal-setter, instead of taking four months to reach it, you might be able to scratch off a month. All goals aside, if you get the basics, you’ll make your life and training easier. Some high quality fish oil and a good multivitamin will do the job. We all are genetically different, requiring different needs, and lacking different nutrients.
Different goals mean different workouts. First, let’s make a few rules that are not weightroom related. This post is about saving time, so we all know what little habit can save time, especially at the gym. One of them is your cell phone. Leave it in your locker. Second, if you train with a buddy, keep conversations short. No more than the length of your rest. Next thing you know, it will turn into a competition on who gets the most results.
Now, let’s look at some of the most effective workouts that will bring you the best results, in the fastest of time. Let’s say you have no more than 30 minutes to train. Pick 2-4 exercises that you need improvement on or that you don’t like. Again, I would go for the compounds exercises enumerated previously to get the most results from this type of workout. Depending on your goals it could look like this:
A1 Pull-ups – 10 reps 3010; rest 45-60 seconds
A2 Barbell front squats – 8 reps 3010; rest 45-60 seconds and repeat for 30 minutes.
A1 flat dumbbell press x 8; rest 75 seconds
A2 bent-over barbell row x 8; rest 75 seconds
For 20 minutes
B1 Dips max out; no rest
B2 reverse grip lat-pulldowns* x 12; rest 90 seconds
For 20 minutes
*You can use single joint or easier exercises for the secondary supersets
A1 Weighted pull-ups – 4 reps 3010; rest 75-90 seconds
A2 Barbell back squats – 6 reps 3010; rest 75-90 seconds and repeat for 45 minutes
Yes, you read that right, repeat for 30-45 minutes. No given sets, just go for the given time by alternating between exercises. The high demand of the primary exercises makes it a great workout for fat loss since it involves an upper and lower body superset. It raises lactic acid greater than just plain upper or lower body supersets, which helps burn fat faster. You should also expect strength gains from this kind of workout. If you suck at pull-ups, this workout will make you gain a couple of reps with your own body weight. If you can’t do more than 6, so be it. Just do as much as you can.
Final thought for this workout—use your time to the max. If you have 45 minutes, go all out for the given time. Some might have a problem with the high volume of these workouts, as it is more suitable for strength gains than for hypertrophy, but again, it is to maximize results. Keep in mind that you should only use a given program for no more than 3 to 5 weeks, especially with this kind of volume.
Flat bench press
Supinated grip pull-ups
Standing barbell overhead press
The goal is to do 3-4 sets of this circuit with a rest of 2 or 3 minutes between sets. The rule of thumb is to be able to finish the full 3 sets. Pick a rep range but don’t go more than 8 reps on each. However, on the leg press, I would use 20 reps to have the full effect, or shock. If you go all out for each of them, you can be done in 20 minutes.
Pick a body part and do 6 exercises in a row. I use this circuit for hypertrophy and fat loss as well. The sequence of exercises is important as you might want to start with the most mechanically challenged exercise first and finish off with an isolation or single joint exercise. Here are some examples.
Wide pronated grip pull-ups AMRAP (as many reps as possible)
Close supinated grip pull-ups AMRAP
Cable seated rows x 10
Bent-over barbell row pronated grip x 10
Straight-arm pull down x 15
Cross bench DB pullover x 15
Rest 2 minutes and repeat for 3-4 sets
Barbell front squats x 8
Barbell back squats x 8
Barbell cyclist squats x 12
Leg press x 12
DB walking lunges x 10 each leg
Leg extension x 20reps (light)
Now that time is not an excuse, do what you can to get the most out of your workouts, even though they could be short. These workouts are also good to get you out of a plateau. If you have been training with the same system for a while, this could be what can kick your strength gains into high gear. The old belief that you need to spend hours in the gym in order to get results is past due, the key lies in what you do, not how long you do it.