We all have the same 24 hours a day, and many people have the same excuse for not exercising time or lack of it. The problem solver in me wants to come up with a solution for this. Now, I can’t make you exercise, but I can make your workouts more efficient and effective so you will make the most of the time you do have.

The theory goes that the more you perform something, the easier it will get, like walking. When you’re a baby, the first steps are always shaky. But after a while, you get the hang of it and sprint away from your parents.

You naughty child. 😊

Unfortunately, lifting weights and cardio, no matter how often doesn’t get easier. The muscles and lungs burn, your breathing is heavy, and you feel uncomfortable. No, it doesn’t get easier, but making it more efficient and effective means you spend less time doing it and get the same benefits.

That’s where I’ll step in with some tried and true techniques for you to crush your workouts in the time you do have.  

Progressive Overload Is Effective

First, a quick question.

Do you work out to get better?

Whether it is fat loss, muscle gain, or improved performance, the name of the game is an improvement. This improvement happens because of progressive overload. I could get fancy with a definition, but it’s doing more work than before. Your body recognizes that work and works harder to return to homeostasis (balance). This process leads to improvement.

When applied consistently, you will see the improvement slowly, leading to better flex times. The methods below are about progressively improving your ability to overload your workouts to make them more efficient and effective.

Let’s go.

Efficient & Effective Method One: Don’t Change Two Variables At Once

What are workout variables? Here, it means the equipment you use, like dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and weight machines. The other is your body’s position in space; the two main ones are standing and on the floor.

When I’m referring to standing, it’s two feet on the ground, whether you are standing, seated, or lying on a bench or another piece of gym equipment.  

On the floor, it is more complicated. It refers to lying face down (push-ups), face up (dead bugs), half kneeling ( one knee on the ground), tall kneeling (two knees on the ground), or a combination of those.

The heart of this method is to minimize the transition time between exercises. When you reduce transition time, you’ll do more work in less or the same amount of time, leading to progressive overload. This doesn’t apply to a straight-set method where you do one exercise. It applies to circuits, supersets, or tri-sets, where exercises are grouped.

Here are a few examples that don’t change two variables at once.

1A. Bodyweight Squat

1B. Bodyweight Push-up

1A. Half Kneeling Pallof Press

1B. Dumbbell Floor Press

1A. Machine Chest Press

1B. Lat Pull Down

Here are a few that do.

1A. Dumbbell Floor Press

1B. Lat Pull Down

1A. Half Kneeling Pallof Press

1B. Barbell Bent Over Row

It’s not like it’s against the workout law to do this; it is a method to make your workouts more efficient when time or equipment access is an issue.

Efficient & Effective Method Two: One Piece Workouts

Using one piece of equipment is a follow-up of method one, where the goal is to minimize transition time between exercises. When performing supersets, tri-sets, circuits, and programs with grouped exercises, using just one piece of equipment will make your workouts more efficient.

Why? You’re not waiting around for another piece of equipment; you have the stuff you need near you, which means, you guessed it, a smoother exercise transition.

Hopefully, you will get more work in the same amount or less time to reap the benefits of progressive overload. These workouts work well with barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, resistance bands, and medicine balls.

When using one piece of equipment, it is not meant to keep the same weight for the entire workout. Selecting heavier or lighter weights of the same piece of equipment works well, especially if you grab the weights you need beforehand. Here are a few examples.

Dumbbell Tri-Set

1A. Dumbbell Goblet Squat

1B. Dumbbell Bench Press

1C. Dumbbell Farmers Carry

Resistance Band Circuit

1A. Front Squat

1B. Pull Aparts

1C. X Crossover Lateral Walks

1D. Band Resisted Push Ups

1E.  Bent Over Rows

Efficient & Effective Method Three: Work For Time

You versus the stopwatch is an efficient and effective method when you’re really short on time, equipment, and motivation. Sometimes, getting up for a long, grinding workout is hard, and knowing you’ll be done in 20 or 30 minutes makes it easier to get up. Short, sharp, and intense workouts versus the stopwatch are great for your conditioning, cardio, and fat loss but not for building muscle.  

There are three main ways to exercise for time: every minute on the minute, where you complete the reps within the minute, and the rest if you finish beforehand before moving on to the next exercise. Second is grouping three to six exercises, keeping the reps roughly the same for each, and doing as many rounds as possible in a specific time frame.

Third is scraping the reps together and performing work-rest intervals within a minute. Some examples are 30 seconds of work/ 30 seconds of rest, 40/20 and 20/40. This keeps you accountable against the clock and improves your ability to get a lot of reps in within a short time.

Here are a couple of examples of work for time.

1A. Squat Toss eight reps

1B. Slams 8 reps

1C. Side lunges with Reach- 4 reps on each side.

1D.  Floor Chest pass eight reps

1E. Halos 8 reps on both sides

 Perform each exercise for every minute on the minute for three to four rounds.

1A.  Dumbbell Goblet Squat

1B.  Dumbbell Bench Press

1C.  Dumbbell Bent Over Row

1D.  Farmers Carry 40 yards.

Choose a total time of no less than 10 minutes and 20 minutes, and do as many rounds as possible with your desired reps (between 6-10). When grip and form become an issue, don’t be afraid to go down in weight.

Wrapping Up

Time is always going to be an issue when it comes to your health and fitness. Eliminating time as an excuse means you’ll have to find another one. 😊 These three efficient and effective workout methods will keep you and your waistline on the straight and narrow. If you have any questions about this, I’ll be more than happy to answer them here.

One Comment

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