Everyone goes to the gym in the hopes of achieving, or at least approaching, their individual goals. But how can you get the most bang for your buck?
Here are three ways to save time and get better results in the gym.
Don’t stand around between sets
Too often people check Twitter or Instagram after a set. Instead, do a mobility drill that will enhance the exercise you’re doing. For instance, after your first set of Squats, do some Overhead Squats with a wooden dowel or some Spiderman stretches.
My personal favorite trick is to set up my next exercise between my last two sets of the first exercise. If I’m going from Squats to Barbell Rows, I finish my second to last set of Squats, then set up the bar I’m going to use for the Rows.
During the next rest period, I’ll do a few rows with an empty bar so I can start warming up. This trick alone shaves about 10 minutes off a full workout. (See Ask the Experts: Am I Resting Too Long Between Sets?)
Ditch your training partner
There are training partners and there are “training partners.” The first is someone who shares your goals. S/he challenges you to work harder than you thought possible and enforces accountability. The second is someone who is just along for the ride, someone who is in the gym only to keep you company. Leave your partner at home if you have to talk him or her into coming. (See Pros and Cons of Working Out with a Partner.)
Prioritize the big lifts
This is probably the most important tip of all. Using multiple joint exercises to get stronger will get you the results you want. Exercises like Squats, Lunges, Dumbbell Bench, Pull-Ups and Rows engage multiple joints working together, which produces the release of more growth hormone and testosterone than single joint exercises like Biceps Curls. You get better results in less time. (See Use Combo Lifts to Increase Strength and Power.)