There are a number of ways that you can save time during your workouts and get a good amount of work done. First, keep an eye on your rest times. If you actually time your rests you will have a shorter workout! If you are working out with a partner don’t stand around while they finish their set (if you aren’t spotting them). Do some mountain climbers or jump rope!
Second, you can increase your intensity. I talk all about this in a blog post linked here.
Third, my favorite way to save time is utilize supersets in all my workouts. Not only does this allow me to get in more working sets in a shorter time, the muscles are brought to fatigue more easily (meaning growth) and my heart rate stays up (meaning more cardiovascular endurance and calories burned during my workout). Supersets are why I can get away with doing very little traditional cardio and still remain lean.
What is a superset anyways?
A superset is performing two exercises back to back without rest. There are a number of ways to do this, which I go into more detail below. But an example would be doing a chest press then an ab crunch right after with no rest in-between those two exercises.
Here are some different superset methods that I use myself and with my clients.
Same Body Part Different Area
If you do bodybuilding splits where you are working one body part in a session superset two exercises that hit different parts of a surrounding area. For example, I tend to do this on my back day because it gets it’s own day and I want to hit it hard.
Back Day – Wide Grip Lat Pulldown superset with Seated Narrow Cable Pull
These machines are typically right across from each other on the cable rack so it’s easy to jump back and forth between them! The pulldown focuses on the lats and the cable pull focuses more on the rhomboids.
Shoulder Day – Military Overhead Press superset with Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Find yourself a bench or padded set, place your barbell in front of it and your two dumbbells for raises to the sides of it. Military press works mostly the anterior delt (along with the whole shoulder girdle and triceps) and lateral raises work the medial delt.
Leg Day – Barbell Squat superset with Seated Calf Raises
After doing a heavy squat it feels good to sit down and do some calf raises.
Antagonistic Body Parts
If you tend to do two body parts per session most likely they are antagonistic like chest/back, quads/hamstrings or bicep/triceps. This style of training works really well with supersets.
If you tend to use compound movements in your weekly routine (and I hope you are!) usually the only thing left could be to superset with an isolation movement that’s antagonistic.
Back/Chest Day – Bent Over Row superset with Dumbbell Chest Press
Bicep/Tricep Day – Resistance Band Bicep Curl superset with Tricep Kickbacks (pictured)
Major Body Part With Abdominal Exercise
Hate doing abs? Do you always save it till the end of your workout but half the time you are tired and just skip it? Superset your ab work into the lifting portion on your workouts! This is the only way they get done for me personally. So my back day, leg day, and shoulder day get weighted and bodyweight ab exercises snuck in.
Shoulder Day – Upright Rows superset with Stability Ball Crunches
Two Unrelated Body Parts
If you tend to do a full body routine, or like me you group two body parts together like chest and shoulders to hit shoulders twice a week, supersetting unrelated body parts together can be a great way to get in more working sets. For example, you could do a compound movement with an isolation movement or two isolation movements.
Stability Ball Chest Press superset with Dumbbell Overhead Press (pictured)
You can do so much with a cable machine! I use cables for unilateral (one arm at a time) exercises. That means one whole arm on the cable machine isn’t being used so I will have it at a different setting to perform a different exercise. Or you can find two exercises like the example below that can be done with both arms in the same position.
Chest Day – High Cable Fly superset with Kneeling Cable Crunch
Advanced – Same Body Parts
If you want to blunged a body part you can superset two exercises that focus on the same body part. These is really for those who love the pain and maybe had to skip a session in the gym and are trying to make up for it. You would use this by performing a compound movement with an isolated movement.
Barbell Squat superset with Glute Cable Kickback
Or for more skilled athletes you can perform two compound movements with similar areas of the body. That can be tricky in a crowded gym since you will need to take up two equipment racks and take longer breaks in-between sets. But it’s doable if you can handle it.
Barbell Chest Press superset with Inclined Chest Press
These are just a few examples of ways to superset exercises and save time. Look for ideas coming to you in the Fall Issue of Definition Magazine!
What are your favorite supersets in the gym? Share with us in the comments!
Are you liking these fitness type blog posts? I hope so because I really enjoy writing them!!