Lift, sit, lift, sit, and lift again. Does that describe your workout in a nutshell? You spend a couple of hours in the gym and base your success level on a time factor. While time is important, what are you truly doing to maximize your time? One of the reasons people don’t get started working out is because they claim to have no time. If you read a typical workout from a magazine or online, it is written in a straight-set style, which can take over an hour to do, depending on how much rest you give between sets. To me, that’s not an efficient use of your time.
If I bet you $100 that I can complete a total of 36 sets in under an hour, would you take that bet? Trust me, before I became a personal trainer, I would’ve bet against myself and started to count my money before I even had it! Granted, doing that volume of sets in under an hour is not for the beginner. Understanding the concept and implementing it into your current level of expertise can improve your strength and cardiovascular conditioning.
The concept I am talking about is called a superset. A superset is when you do two lifting exercises in a row without rest. You get twice as much done in half the time. You may be doing the palm to the face now realizing this simple concept could’ve saved you hours, days, and weeks over your workout experience. Don’t beat yourself up too badly; while the concept is simple, it is not always easy to implement if you don’t have some knowledge of which muscles do which things.
I’ll give a simple explanation of how the body and muscles work. Muscles oppose each other in in a push/pull fashion. Your chest muscles extend your arms horizontally and bring them towards the middle of the body when extended out like a T. Your upper back and rear shoulder muscles then return your arms to the starting positions before extending them. Each muscle group around your joint functions in this manner. When one side of the joint muscle works, the other rests. The opposite happens to bring the limb back to where you started. If you divide the body into upper and lower halves, the same work/rest relationship also happens. Your quadriceps are resting as you do a pull-up, for example.
One way of doing a superset is to work opposing muscle groups, chest and back. You can do a set of bench presses, then do a set of pull-ups, then rest. Your rest period can be short or long, depending on how heavy you are going and your goal for the workout. Shorten the rest period to include cardiovascular training with your weightlifting. Here is an example of how you can do 12 sets in under an hour:
Do not think this only applies to men and gym “Meatheads”; this applies to anyone working out. The amount of weight you lift is inconsequential to the template. Ladies, you can also do this and save time while getting a better-quality workout. I know generally, ladies love working their lower body and men love working their upper body. You can combine this and do push-muscle, lower-body exercises with shoulder exercises. As your legs are working, your shoulders are resting, and vice versa. Squats paired with lateral dumbbell raises are a great combo.
The best way to utilize this format is to hire a fitness professional to help you design and implement what is best for your schedule and goals. I do supersets with all of my clients, yes kids and older adults too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org today, and let’s set a free consultation. I coach clients via Zoom and provide workouts, feedback, and nutrition guidance. Maybe this is what you have been looking for to get over that plateau, or just need help getting started, no shame in either game. My pleasure is seeing you become the rockstar you always wanted to be! Lean on me, when you’re not strong, as the song says, and I will help you carry on!