During these hectic days, it can be difficult to squeeze quality workouts into an already jam-packed schedule. But without approaching your workout session with intention and a clear plan of execution, you can easily waste precious time in the gym, leaving you with lackluster results. The good news is that even just a few small changes in your strength training routine can enable you to reap many more benefits from your workouts. Keep the following strength training tips in mind to help you make your time at the gym much more efficient.
1. Warm up with dynamic stretches instead of static stretches.
Taking your body through a proper warm-up is one of the golden keys to increasing the effectiveness of your workouts, but not all warm-ups are equal. For strength training in particular, it's vitally important to get those muscles primed for action by warming up with dynamic stretches instead of static stretches.
So what's the difference? With static stretches, you basically stay in a stationary position while pulling or stretching a certain muscle group (e.g., quads, chest, etc.) and holding for a few seconds per stretch. Dynamic stretching, however, is when you stretch while you move by warming up the muscles that you'll be using in your workout through performing specific movements that recruit those muscles.
For example, if you're going to perform squats with weights, try lunges without weights first in order to warm up those quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Implementing dynamic stretching into your warm-up routine will ensure a better range of motion and reduce the risk of injury.
2. Use supersets.
Using supersets is one of the most efficient ways to maximize your time during your workouts. You'll see people in the gym performing straight sets--i.e., they'll crank out a set of bench presses, and then walk around checking their phone for about two minutes before doing another set of that same exercise. They're not making any use of their rest time between sets, which can make for a horribly inefficient workout.
With supersets, you can combine a pair of exercises that work opposing muscle groups, so as soon as you're finished with the initial set of exercises, you can go right into the alternating set with no delay. For example, you could pair up bench presses with calf raises for a great upper/lower body tandem, or go for a push/pull combo by performing pull-ups followed by push-ups. By using supersets, not only will you get more work done in less time, but you'll also burn a lot more calories while you're at it.
3. Avoid exercises that require sitting.
Most of us already spend tons of time in a seated position during the day, whether it's commuting to and from work, or sitting at a desk while you're working. Why go to the gym and essentially do the same thing? Avoid exercises that require sitting--i.e., the seated dumbbell press, the seated row, etc.--and instead incorporate exercises that use as much of the whole body as possible.
Even if you favor some of the classic exercises that are usually performed sitting, there are variations you can try where you can stand, kneel, etc., to make the exercise more active. Yes, this will make things a little more challenging, but isn't that what working out is all about? By doing this, you'll engage more muscle groups, which means more calories burned when it's all said and done.
Figuring out how to get the most out of your workouts is not always an easy thing, and sometimes it's good to get some help from a professional personal trainer who knows how to maximize workout efficiency. Five Seasons Family Sports Club has a staff of knowledgeable certified personal trainers who can provide you with expert advice, insight and encouragement to aid you on your workout journey. Contact us today to see how one of our personal trainers can help you achieve your fitness goals!