How to Structure a Workout to Achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time
Let`s face facts – these days everyone is strapped for time. You`ve got school, work, women and other assorted past-times to pack into any given twenty-four hour period. A lot of people use this as an excuse to get out of working out, but you know that your life can`t be as fulfilling as possible if you don`t look and feel good.
No one wants to spend all day in a gym trying to pack on lean muscle and melt away a spare tire, but being out of shape can make you feel self conscious in all types of social and physical situations – so what do you do if you really want to achieve the body of your dreams, but don`t have all day to work on getting it?
Here are a few hot tips that will have you looking and feeling better than you ever have before and have you in and out of the gym in under an hour.
Even if you aren`t trying to bulk up, using compound movements to pack some lean muscle onto your frame will do wonders for you overall appearance. You may burn off your spare tire by hitting the aerobics class three times a week, but it most likely won`t lead to the body of your dreams. Most men naturally want strong chests, backs, legs and arms, (and having those things certainly doesn`t hurt when it comes to attracting members of the opposite sex) – the way to achieve these is by training with weights, not with jazzercise.
As an added bonus, the lean muscle that you are piling on with weight training will also turn your body into a fat burning furnace. Muscle naturally consumes more calories than other body tissues, so even while you aren`t working out your body will be burning more calories than it used to due to the fact that you`ve packed on some lean muscle.
The best types of exercises to build muscle are compound lifts, or lifts which work a number of areas of your body together. Barbell squats, deadlifts, bench press, and barbell rows are some of the simplest exercises to perform but pack the biggest punch when it comes to building muscle.
Squats work your quadriceps, your hamstrings, your glutes and your entire core – it`s said by many muscle building experts that the squat is the king of all exercises.
Deadlifts are a close second to the king, working your quads, hamstrings, glutes, upper back, entire core as well as building up your grip strength.
The bench press is probably the most popular weight training exercise out their for a reason, you see lots of guys in the gym loading weight on a barbell and getting under it to bench because it works plain and simple. Heavy bench presses will do wonders for your upper body, adding muscle to your chest, shoulders and triceps.
Barbell rows are the opposite movement of the bench press and therefore work the opposing sets of muscles, barbell rows will add thickness to your upper and middle back and give your biceps and grip a heck of a workout as well.
Performing compound exercises will let you work several muscle groups at the same time, eliminating the need to perform dozens of exercises focusing on individual muscles and getting you in and out of the gym in short order. You can break your workout down into three days, each focusing on one of the aforementioned lifts: i.e. leg day could consist of warm up, followed by 5 set of 5 repetitions of squats increasing the weight on each set – you can follow that up with some light calf work and a few extra core exercises, shower and hit the road. Same goes for the day you work your back – warm up then do a 5 X 5 of deadlifts increasing weight with each set, then do 3 sets of ten reps of barbell rows and three sets of ten barbell curls and call it a day. These workouts are both incredibly quick and incredibly productive for building lean muscle.
If you are happy with your current workout program, but feel that you just don`t have the time to complete it – up the intensity by using either circuits or intervals to get your workout done in less time. The beauty of circuits and intervals is that they can be applied to just about any type of working out that you are doing to speed things up and improve your results.
You can easily make your current training program into a circuit like this: say you currently do three sets of twenty five pushups with two minutes rest between sets, then three sets of six pull-ups with two minutes rest between sets, then three sets of fifteen lunges with two minutes rest between sets and you finish up with three sets of twenty five crunches with two minutes rest between sets – here is how your new workout could look: one set of twenty five pushups immediately followed (no rest) by one set of six pull ups, immediately followed (no rest) by one set of fifteen lunges, then immediately (no rest) onto your set of twenty five crunches – that is one circuit.
Rest for ninety seconds to two minutes between circuits and complete the circuit three times – you`ll be performing the same amount of sets and reps for each movement, but in a much more intense fashion. By eliminating all of the rest between individual sets and jumping straight to the next movement in the circuit you are, in essence, adding a cardio element to your weight training session and you`ll be burning quite a few calories in the process. By the end of the workout you should be almost completely drained, but you`ll see bigger and better results and this type of workout will have you in and out of the gym in half of the time.
There is no need to use a lack of time as an excuse; honestly it was a poor excuse anyway. Get yourself back into the gym and either change your current regimen to include compound movements that will add lean muscle to your frame, or change your current set and rep scheme into a circuit and get dramatic results in a fraction of the time. Having an incredible body isn`t a fantasy – its well within your reach, and getting there will probably take a lot less time than you think if you follow the advice above.
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About Jeff Wilson Jeff Wilson has been involved in some form of sports and athletic training for more than two decades: as an athlete, a trainer and a writer.