I did a little poll of my Facebook friends yesterday – probably the wrong forum, considering that half of my Facebook friends are physique competitors and the others just flat out know me too well and knew the answer already.
The question was: You have only 30 minutes in the gym. Of these two which would you choose: weights or cardio? Of the responses I think only 2 people said “cardio.” It wasn’t really a trick question, but I do have a few tricks that I use in the gym when time is of the essence.
The idea is to keep the rest as short as possible going immediately from the first exercise to the second. Once the superset is complete, take a 60 second rest. Don’t get chatty – stick to your watch!
2. Giant Sets
I love giant sets. A giant set is 3 or more exercises performed back to back. I really like to do a 5 exercise giant set sticking to one body part. For example, I might do lat pull downs, barbell rows, straight arm pull overs, dumbbell rows and finish the set with seated cable rows, taking each exercise to failure.
Going through a giant set like this 3-5 times will sufficiently kill whatever body part you’ve chosen to train. If you did it right, you will feel depleted upon completion.
I rarely “rest” between sets. I like to superset and during my 60 second “rest” I do plyometric exercises to get my heart rate up. Plyometric exercises are high intensity training techniques designed to build strength and power and agility, such as hops, bounds, box jumps, etc.
Plyos keep the intensity high and keeps my heart rate up giving me a cardio workout while I weight train. I have also found that plyos are extremely effective in torching body fat!
4. Metabolic Circuit Training
This is a 3 exercise circuit designed to get the heart rate up while lifting heavy. This is NOT a workout for beginners! This workout uses 3 total body exercises for a total of 27 sets and is completed in less than 30 minutes. You can read the full details in my article published on Muscle & Strength here.
5. Total Body Circuit Training
There are several ways to do total body circuit training, but the easiest way is to simply do one exercise per body part doing as heavy as you can for as many reps as you can crank out (don’t mess with the “lighter weight, higher reps” business) and moving immediately to the next body part. You should have one exercise for the following body parts: back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, quads, hamstrings, glutes (if you choose squats you get a 2-for-1, quads and glutes in one efficient exercise!), calves. You should be able to complete 3-5 total body circuits.
Next time you “only” have 30 minutes, give one of these methods a try. I guarantee, if you do it right it could very likely be the most effective and efficient 30 minutes your body has seen in a workout in a long time! 30 minutes is plenty of time for a killer workout!
Be Fearless. Own Yourself.