Getting the most out of your workouts in the shortest amount of time is the gold standard for what everyone should be looking for when it comes to exercise programming. How can I get the most out of the time I invest in exercising in the shortest amount of time possible? Here are a few ideas of how to switch things up in your programming for that very reason.

Each Minute on the Minute (EMOMs) = there are several ways of using this principle of training within your workouts but the main idea is to increase volume and output in a short amount of time. Performing your repetitions each minute on the minute will stop you from day dreaming during your workout. You can get a lot in to a workout in a short amount of time. Let’s look at an upper body pull and push EMOM workout. EMOM perform 5 pull ups on the even minutes and 10 tricep dips on the odd minutes. Do this work out for 20 minutes in total and you will have accumulated 50 pull ups and 100 tricep dips. It is just as good for your lower body too. EMOM for 10 minutes complete 5 front squats. Follow this with EMOM for 10 minutes of 5 deadlifts. In a short space of time (10 minutes) you can get a large volume (50 reps) of squats and deadlifts.

Full Body Circuits = set the clock for however long you have to work out, let’s use 30 minutes as an example. During this 30-minute period you are going to try and do as many rounds as possible of the following circuit: 10 squats, 10 press ups, 10 sit ups, 10 kettlebell swings, 10 pull ups. In just 30 minutes you can accumulate a huge amount of volume for multiple muscle groups. Each time you attempt this workout you try to beat your previous score. This not only makes the workout more fun but it also adds the aspect of beating your previous best week in and week out. You don’t have to stick to the exercises I have listed either. You can put together your workout using whatever exercises you like and whatever rep range you like.

Supersets = putting 2 exercises back to back without a rest is known as a superset. Using these within your workouts is very time efficient but be warned it is very demanding on your energy levels and body. Usually you will start with the exercise that you want to focus more of your energy on before moving on to a less demanding exercise or an antagonist muscle group of the one you have been working. Two example supersets may look like this:
1 = Back Squats – 5 reps supersetted with Walking Lunges – 10 reps each leg. This will be a brutal leg dominant superset but you get a large amount of work done in a small amount of time.

2 = Bench Press – 5 reps supersetted with Pull Ups – 5 reps. This is where you are working opposing muscle groups during the superset. This way will allow you to keep your output high during both exercises as the muscles being worked don’t interfere with each other during your working sets. They will still be tiring to perform as you are doubling up on your work load during each set.

Using Rest Time Effectively = when you are resting in the gym you can usually perform some less demanding exercises that won’t interfere with your working sets. An example of this effective utilisation of your rest time might be to do some low intensity abdominal work such as planks, crunches or leg raises. You could also perform some light resistance band work for your opposing muscle groups during your rest time. An example of this might be to perform 10 resistance band pull aparts after you have bench or dumbbell pressed. Equally you could perform body weight exercises of opposing muscle groups during your rest periods. An example of this might be sets of 5-10 press ups between your sets of deadlifts or squats.

The main things to remember here are that the extra work performed during your rest periods SHOULD NOT INTERFERE with the quality of your repetitions of your main lifts. If you are finding that your strength is decreasing due to the extra work, then just rest between your sets and work on your endurance outside of your weight training sessions. Improvements in your endurance will lead to better recovery between work sets and a better output from your weight training sessions (you are able to train harder and for longer).

Written by: Adam Wakefield

I have been working as a personal trainer for over 9 years. I began my career in the fitness industry after completing a degree in Sport Science where I graduated with Upper Class Honours. I have always had a thirst for all things related to health, fitness and nutrition and it wasn’t before long that I owned my own gym.

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