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How To Cut Resistance Training Time In Half

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Generally speaking, I recommend following set training routines that are adapted
to a person’s specific goals and not messing with them. The reason is that if
these routines were designed by an intelligent trainer, there’s likely a reason
everything is laid out as it is.
Nevertheless, sometimes there are some routines that are structured in a way that
completely waste time that could be better utilized. That time is the time spent
resting between sets.
When analyzing many resistance training routines, you’ll see that more often
than not the majority of the time is spent resting. In fact, some high intensity
routines may only have you doing a few minutes of actual lifting per 30-45
minute workout!
Let’s say you have a full body workout routine done three times a week with
these exercises:
Squat 3×12
Calf Raises 3×15
Bench Press 3×10
Barbell Rows 3×12
Barbell Curls 3×12
Tricep Pushdowns 3×12
If each set took 1 minute to complete, that means you spend approximately 18
minutes doing actual lifting. If the routine calls for 2 minutes rest between sets,
that means you’re spending about 2/3 of an hour long workout just resting
between sets!
We can take this exact same workout and reduce the workout time by around
50%. All we have to do is use supersets/alternating sets. That means going
from one exercise to another back and fourth in alternating fashion so two
exercises are completed in the time it would normally take to complete one.
Let’s look at how we can set up a superset workout using the previous template:
A1. Squat 3×12 – Rest 30 seconds after set, then move onto Calf
Raises
A2. Calf Raises 3×15 – Rest 30 seconds after set, then go back to
Squats – Repeat cycle until all three sets completed.
B1. Bench Press 3×10 – Rest 30 seconds after set, then move onto
Barbell Rows
B2. Barbell Rows 3×12 – Rest 30 seconds after set, then go back
to Bench Press – Repeat cycle until all three sets completed.
C1. Barbell Curls 3×12 – Rest 30 seconds after set, then move
onto Tricep Pushdowns
C2. Tricep Pushdowns 3×12 – Rest 30 seconds after set, then go
back to Barbell Curls – Repeat cycle until all three sets completed.
A side benefit is that the reduced rest time also builds up cardiovascular
conditioning.
Another way to utilize supersets is something called “active rest.” This means
doing “assistance” exercises that aren’t very demanding like calf raises, rotator
cuff work, and forearm exercises while resting between sets for your “primary”
exercises. This way you can get extra work without adding additional time to
your workouts. For instance, I rarely do ab or calf exercises by themselves.
Rather, I do them while “resting” between sets for other exercises.

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