Getting fit doesn’t mean you need to spend countless hours in the gym each day. You want to work out, but life always gets in the way, and you never manage to squeeze a workout or two by the end of the week. Don't worry. I got you covered. In this article, you'll learn how to manage your workouts to make them as time-efficient as possible.
Will My Workouts Stay Effective?
Cutting your workouts shorter won’t kill your gains. In fact, sometimes shortening them might make them more optimized, as working out for more than 75 minutes drops your testosterone and increases cortisol.
Although some drawbacks are present, there is a ton of benefits of working out in a time-efficient manner. Your workouts will be more intense, you'll improve your cardiovascular health, and save some time!
1. Full-Body Workouts
People mistake full-body workouts as a workout split for beginners, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Legendary bodybuilders like Arnold, Leroy Colbert, George Eiferman, and others used this split to get jacked. If it worked for them, why wouldn't it work for you? This will be your bread and butter when it comes to spending less time in the gym.
There are a few key things you need to keep in mind in order to get all of the benefits regarding time efficiency.
First of all, exercise only 2 or 3 times per week, having at least one rest day in between your sessions. You should do one exercise per muscle group. When it comes to the reps and sets, keep the reps anywhere from 6 to 10 and the sets from 2 to 4. The rest time in between sets should stay below 3 minutes.
2. Multi-Joint Exercises
Compound, or multi-joint exercises, are done by moving at least two joints at a time. Unlike isolation exercises, they target multiple muscle groups and offer more bang for your buck. They also allow you to use more weight than their isolation counterpart, making them more effective for gaining strength.
The big 6 compound exercises include the pullups, bench press, squats, deadlifts, rows, and the overhead press.
For example, the bench press works your chest, triceps, and front delts, making them a great multi-joint movement.
Supersets basically mean that you’re doing two or more exercises, one after the other, with little to no rest in between them.
The most effective way of doing this is called antagonistic supersets. This method involves supersets alternating between exercises that work opposing muscle groups—for example, biceps and triceps, quads and hamstrings, chest and back, etc.
You should rest for 30 seconds between exercises and around 2 minutes after each superset. While the more traditional way meant you didn't rest at all in between exercises, we now know that resting for 30 seconds is superior.
4. Circuit Workouts
Circuit workouts aren’t as focused as traditional workouts, but they do the trick when it comes to time efficiency.
This is a style of workout out where you cycle through numerous exercises, one after the other, primarily targeting different muscle groups, with minimal rest in between exercises. Circuits can be timed or rep-based. In the timed version, you'll do an exercise for, let's say, 30 seconds, while in the rep-based version, you'll do the exercise until you complete a certain number of reps.
The number of exercises in a circuit can vary from 4 to 10. You can rest in between circuits, or you can keep on going until you finish all of the sets. It all depends on your goals.
High-Intensity Interval Training, also known as HIIT, consists of short bursts of explosive and intense exercising, where the rest times are kept to a minimum.
One of the most well-known HIIT workouts is called Tabata. A Tabata workout involves 20 seconds of really high-intensity work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. You should repeat this for 8 rounds for each exercise.
You can alternate between exercises after each round, or you can complete 8 rounds of one and then go to the next exercise.
Considering all this information, what would the perfect time-efficient workout look like?
It would contain around 4 to 6 exercises, all done in a superset or circuit fashion to save time.
1. Squats and Hamstring Curls, 3 sets of 8 reps
2. Bench Press and T-Bar Row, 3 sets of 10 reps
3. Overhead Press and Pull-ups, 3 sets of 8 reps
Rest 30 seconds in between exercises and 2 minutes in between supersets.