I hear many excuses about how people cannot workout. I’m sick (alright, this one’s good, though), I’m busy or I don’t have time.
Woah, just back up a minute. You don’t have time? What if I told you Richard Branson trains almost every morning? You heard that right. Unless you’re sick, there’s simply no excuses to skip a workout.
Moreover, working out makes you gain confidence, productivity, makes you sleep better and, after all, makes you HEALTHY.
Still, workouts may feel like they rob you from an important part of your time, so here is my favorite tip to make my workouts more efficient: supersets.
What are supersets?
Simply put, supersets mean alternating between two exercises without using rest periods. For example, you could do a set of triceps exercise and, without taking any rest, go on to some bicep work. I like to alternate each exercise for 6 sets total.
How to use supersets in your training?
Supersets are extremely efficient because they allow you to skip the rest period between two sets. Use them for exercises that work two opposed muscles such as biceps/triceps, chest/back or even quadriceps/hamstrings.
This method of training can burn you out quicker than a normal set/rest/set cycle, so pay attention to your body and try to use them only at the end of your workouts.
What are the advantages and benefits of using supersets?
Supersets have the great advantage of saving you time over single-exercise training. For the busy ones, they represent an interesting opportunity to fit a workout in a tight schedule, while for others, they represent a new way to add variety and spice to their usual routine.
I love supersets because they allow me to fit more volume in my tight lunch-workout time. They also burn more calories because of the added intensity.
Also, supersets can help you overcome the dreaded but inevitable plateaus, which are the moments where you cannot progress any further, whether in weight or in the number of reps. The explanation for this is that they increase the intensity of your exercises by not allowing or allowing only short rest periods. This causes your muscles to be ”shocked” and be worked out in a new and more intense manner, which will help overcome a plateau.
Are there disadvantages with using supersets?
Intensity might be a good thing, but make sure not to overdo it. Yes, supersets are super great (ha, bad pun), but they can become too much to bear for your body if used too often.
To ensure proper recovery, be sure not to use supersets every training day.
How to make your workouts more efficient
Supersets are an excellent way to cut some time off your workouts, but there are more ways than one to make your workouts more efficient.
First off, make sure to keep a training log, which is a place where you will keep all the data linked to your workouts. A traditional workout log includes the exercises done, the number of sets, reps, and the weight used.
Having a clear workout log will help you target what your strengths and weaknesses are and determine what to change about your training.
This way, you will use your workout time more efficiently by privileging lagging features over already-developed muscles, finally obtaining a great-looking and, most of all, healthy body.
Also, if you wish to shave off some time, do not include unilateral exercises in your routine. Unilateral are exercises that only use one side of your body, like dumbbell triceps kickbacks or dumbbell rows. Instead, try to fit in exercises that will target both sides of your body. For example, you could trade triceps kickbacks for push-downs (I especially like to use a rope grip for this exercise) and dumbbell rows for barbell or t-bar rows.
“Strive for progress, not perfection.” – Unknown
Full-Body Workout Routines for the Win
Finally, for the ones who want to not only save a few minutes but outright DAYS, switch to a full-body workout routine.
Full-body routines are exceptionally great for strength gains and should be a staple of every beginner’s progress. They usually need you to train 3 days-per-week (I like Monday/Wednesday/Friday). If you are busy, a 3-day full-body routine will give you enough volume to work every muscle group thrice-a-week without sacrificing results. Now that’s what I call effective training!
Many 3-days-a-week routines exist, and they are probably the most common routines ever, here’s a simple plan to get you started.
So, in conclusion…
Supersets are an extremely effective way of shaving time off your workouts and burning more calories in a single training session. Make sure to not use them every day since they need more recovery for most people.
Keep in mind that efficient training is done by tailoring your workouts according to your needs. You need to know what your goals, needs and weaknesses are to set up a proper routine that will help you spend less time in the gym without sacrificing any results. A personal trainer or coach can be an extremely great source of knowledge and advice in creating or adjusting an already-existing routine.
On another note, be aware that the key to obtaining the results that you want is your NUTRITION. A healthy diet mainly composed of healthy, monounsaturated fats, protein and complex carbs accompanied with a good workout routine will get you results quicker than you think.
Building muscle and losing weight are slow but extremely satisfying processes. You will feel and see the results not only physically, but also mentally. Keep working and you’ll reap the rewards in no time!
Now, enough reading. Go to the gym!