Ways to save time in the gym
Exercise • • 1 minute to read • By INFS Faculty
Author- Asmita Shah
If someone has very minimal time to work out or cannot dedicate long hours to training due to non-fitness obligations, work, family, etc. there are plenty of ways that can minimize the training time and provide effective training sessions. Here are certain pointers that can be implemented.
SET CLEAR TIME CONSTRAINTS AND PLAN AHEAD
Time management is the most effective strategy to achieve success. Set a clear and dedicated time for every activity or workout session beforehand.
Plan the training session. List down the exercises and machines to be used on any fitness app or go old-fashioned, use pen and paper.
MAKE YOUR WARM-UP SHORT & SPECIFIC
Long warm-up sessions consist of low-intensity cardio and/or extensive mobility and activation drills. To keep warm-up sessions short, understand the objective of warm-up in the first place: to improve performance and muscle activation, raise body temperature, and minimize the risk of injury. To add to it, poorly performed warm-ups can decrease performance and increase the chance of injury.
The least amount of low-intensity cardio to raise the core body temperature is no more than 10 minutes along with some specific mobility /activation work to minimize the risk of injury and maximize performance.
For example, Dynamic and specific warm-ups can be done to increase hip and ankle mobility as well as to get the blood flowing to the targeted muscles before a lower-body training session. Similarly, focusing on movements that target scapular positioning before the upper body session.
CHOOSE EXERCISES WITH A QUICK SETUP
Compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, hip thrust, overhead press) make the core of most of the training programs. Compound lifts offer an advantage by training multiple muscles at the same time but execution can increase the rest period and set-up times. If the schedule is very hectic and busy, choose exercises with a quick setup. Machine-based exercises are equally effective as their free-weight counterparts. It is also beneficial to replace free-weight exercises with their smaller free-weight variation. For example, a Dumbbell press can be done instead of a bench press. A dumbbell shoulder press can be done instead of a barbell shoulder press.
There is one exception to this: if the aim is to increase strength or have a specific goal, then certainly have no choice but to perform those exercises to maximize the performance.
SHORTEN YOUR REST PERIODS
Most discussions revolve around the conclusion that it’s best to take proper rest in between the sets to recover fully from the previous set. It doesn’t hamper the training performance and hence training volume which is associated with muscle growth. But it can be counterproductive for those having limited time. While longer rest intervals may be preferable in some cases (e.g., unlimited-duration exercises, powerlifters), shorter rest periods might be the better option in reality for the general population having non-fitness obligations.
Experiment with your rest period to recover from the last set, get the best recovery, and maximize efficiency.
- 1.5-2 minutes for ‘big’ compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts when performed not near failure. About 1 min for multi-joint machine-based exercises.
- 45-60 seconds for most isolation work. Isolation exercises, by allowing a high level of local muscle exhaustion to be induced, might require increased recovery time. Experiment to find your sweet spot.
A superset is an effective way to reduce the time duration of a workout session by performing two exercises of different muscles back to back with minimal rest. There are multiple ways to superset.
- Compound with an isolation exercise. Ex: Bench press with bicep curl
- Isolation with an isolation exercise. Ex: Bicep curls with tricep extension
- Compound with compound exercise. Ex: Deadlift with chest press
Selection of exercise is important to not compromise on the performance. For example:
- Performing overhead shoulder press after deadlift puts unnecessary strain on the lower back and can hamper the performance and increase the chance of injury.
Experiment by selecting different variations of different muscles to get the most out of your training plan.
AVOID BEING SOCIAL IN THE GYM
To reduce training session duration, avoid being friendly with everyone in the gym. Use earphones. Mindless and endless scrolling in between the sets increases the overall duration. To avoid that, set a timer and be prepared to perform the next set when the timer is up.
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