You can slice it however you like but if you are taking it easy in the gym, results will be slow or worse, nonexistent. The shortcut to seeing rapid fat loss and increased muscular definition is intensity.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can same time in the gym and start seeing quicker results by going over a few intensity techniques that I love to use with my personal training clients. After that, I will show you how you can fit them into a simple schedule that will still give you a life outside the gym.
Failure – Lifting the weight until no more full repetitions can be carried on in good form.
Drop sets – Hitting failure and then dropping the pin in the stack to a lighter weight to continue on working.
Strip sets – The same as drop sets but usually used for free weight exercises where the “strip” refers to taking a plate off in order to continue.
Super sets – Combining two exercises to increase intensity, usually a compound movement followed immediately with an isolation movement for the same muscle group or vice versa. An example would be hitting failure on the bench press and then continuing on with a flye movement. Super set can refer to two separate body parts like combining bench press for chest with chins for back.
Running the rack – Can be done up or down the rack (dumbbell holder) but usually down. This is almost the same as a drop set where you use a set of dumbbells to failure and then select a lighter pair to continue on. You can continue on down the rack as far as you want but three drops is most common.
Forced reps – Having reached failure, your partner will add just enough assistance to allow you to carry on for one or two more reps.
21’s – Dividing the movement into three parts. The top, bottom and whole movement. Most commonly done on curls where 7 tops are done then 7 bottoms and then 7 full reps. Any combination of tops and bottoms can be used however. I prefer to do the seven full first that way the partials are only done when the full movement has already been trained to failure.
10 to 1 – Several different variations on this one. You can start heavy and do one rep, strip some weight and then do two reps and carry on this way until you hit 10. Another is to start at 10 take a couple seconds rest and then do 9 and carry on till you get to one using the same weight. The last is to keep the same weight on all sets but hold the contracted position for 10 seconds, lower and then hold 9 seconds and so on till your done.
Rest/pause – Performing a rep then taking a couple seconds rest and then doing another rep thus delaying the build up of waste products allowing you to use heavier weight and extend the set past the reps that you would usually hit failure at.
Now that is a lot of stuff to remember! So how do you fit all these different systems and ways of working out with intensity techniques into your regular lifestyle and still have a life?
Lets look at a couple days in the life of a personal trainer, me!
Saturday Leg Workout:
8 x 8 Squats, 30 seconds rest between sets, same weight on all sets. This is intense because of the volume of weight moved in such a short period of time. You don’t need cardio on a day like this.
3 x Triple drop (strip set with three drops) leg press calf raises.
5 x 5 chins 55LBS (intensity through weight).
Triple drop Seated cables rows (intensity through volume moved over time).
Hand Stand Pushups – Triple drop sets moving to dumbbell shoulder presses on failure (intensity through a compound movement and multiple stimulation paths when we go to dumbbells as well as the strip.)
Monday PM: Commando Cardio (This could even be bumped to Tuesday)
The Bear: 35LBS Dumbbells (DB) DB Deadlifts DB Cleans DB Push press DB Squats then 15 pushups for a “rest”.
Each exercise for 5 reps and do seven non-stop circuits. (It even sounds intense doesn’t it?)
Finish it off with 8 x 8 Burpees. After each set of Burpees, your active rest is to do 8 jumping knee tucks and then right back into the Burpees. No separate cardio needed on this day either! This IS cardio, just with the benefit of resistance.
Tuesday: snowboarding for the afternoon.
None of these workouts take over 45 minutes and they are intense enough that you will KNOW you are causing changes to your body. Routines like this burn lots of calories leading to fat loss but the intensity of the routines actually build muscle at the same time! Why would you waste time doing sub personal best performance workouts when you can just go as intense as your personal level will allow and then go do other things?
With the example above you can see that the body is worked with heavy weights and cardio through small rest times. Muscular endurance is worked also and we even have time to go snowboarding which is a “hidden” workout in itself.
This is how you fit fitness into your life and see results. Short, quick intense workouts with extra healthy activities on the side that you enjoy. Take your body to the next level and give some of these ideas a try. The pay off will be faster results and less time spent in the gym.