More Weight Less Time

by DavalosMcCormack on January 22, 2009

I’m sure there must be some people out there who love weight training – but I haven’t met any. Like most people I know I do weight training because it’s great at keeping muscles strong and healthy, gives you a nice definition, and helps burn off fat. But fun it most certainly is not. 

So when I came across a few tips to help speed up the weight workout without sacrificing any of the benefits I was all ears. Actually, if you’d ever seen a picture of me you’d already know I was all ears, and quite a bit of nose too come to think of it. 

But I digress. The article pointed out that in a review of 35 separate studies on weight lifting, 33 of the 35 found that one single set of exercises can be just as effective as several sets. 

This means you don’t have to do multiple sets to get the biggest benefits. As long as your muscle is tired by the end of the exercise (to the point where you can barely complete that rep) then you are doing enough to make it stronger. 

For example, when you are doing arm curls instead of doing three sets of ten repetitions lifting 30lbs each time, do one set of 12 to 15 reps lifting 35lbs. By the 13th or 14th rep your arm will probably feel like lead. That’s good. That means you have taxed the muscle enough to help it get stronger. 

The second time-saving tip is that you don’t have to work out every muscle group at the same time. 

I like to move quickly through my routine so that I do, say, one set of arms, then while my arms are resting do some sit-ups, then another set of upper body exercises and then some leg-lifts. While one part of my body is recovering I’m working another part. 

But you could just focus on doing one group of muscles each day you work out. Say you work out three days a week; on day one do legs, day two upper body and arms, day three stomach. 

The third time-saving tip is try exercises that combine several muscle groups at once.

These can be tricky and require a lot of focus to make sure the technique is correct otherwise you can hurt yourself. But don’t properly you can exercise several muscle groups simultaneously, getting a big benefit in a short amount of time. 

For instance, using a BOSU ball you can help build up strong, stable core muscles while doing arm curls or shoulder press or squats. Here’s a good place to get some ideas on what exercises are good and also how to do them. 

Remember, good form is essential with exercises like this so the first time you try do it without weights until you get the mechanics correct. Do it in front of a mirror if possible so you can see if your form is getting ragged. 

As always, these are just some ideas to help you vary your workout and pack as much in to as short a time as possible. 

As you try them you may well come up with ideas of your own. If you do, we’d love to hear them.



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