To most people, 60 seconds isn’t much. General consensus is that not much can be done in just a minute. But hang on…what happens when you combine lots of those insignificant little minutes together? ….Well, they combine forces and become a powerful chunk of time. I realize this concept is a bit heady and I probably just blew everyone’s minds, but stay with me….
So think about it…when you’re working out you’re most likely taking a rest between sets, am I right? For 60-90 seconds, you sit around doing nothing but allowing yourself to catch a breath and your muscles to regain their strength. Let me first say, there is nothing wrong with working out in this format; hell, I work out like this from time to time. But with all things fitness, what you are doing needs to be customized to your specific goals.
Working out with 1-2 minute rest periods after each set is great for those looking to maximize their muscle mass, i.e. get big. Typically this type of workout is done by bodybuilders, strength athletes, and your run of the mill brodies looking to pump up those beach muscles. But for the vast majority of you SIF’ers, your goals are different. You most likely aren’t trying to build a huge chest and pair of biceps. You guys and girls are more concerned with losing that annoying bit of fat on your stomach, improving your endurance, or adding lean muscle mass evenly across your body. Doesn’t it make sense to opt for a workout that helps you reach your goals and stop using the standard lift, rest, lift sequence that is so common? Of course it makes sense…that’s why I’m writing this article.
You see, those 60 seconds between each set are valuable….very valuable. It’s during this period of time that you are able to transform your boring, hardly effective workout routine into something that will actually transform your body and make even the most fit people in your gym respect what you’re doing. When you reach fatigue, and continue to push yourself further than what you normally do, your body doesn’t know how to react. While your body is freaking out and unable to adapt to the additional work load, magic happens. Your endurance increases, your muscles slowly become more developed and defined, and the fat begins to start melting off your body at an increased rate.
So, for those of us who aren’t all about our beach muscles or actively engaged in sports requiring great strength, it’s time to change-up your workout format. One quick point; I’m not saying to NEVER rest. Rest is important..I’m just saying to make less wasted time by utilizing 60-75% of the time you’re currently resting after sets.
Below you’ll see the best ways to maximize the 60 or so seconds between your sets and amplify the gains you’re making.
- Cardio between sets. Performing strength-based exercises followed by periods of intense cardio is one of the best things you can if you’re going for a total body transformation. Expect to increase your EPOC which will increase your metabolism, which leads to greater fat burn during (and after) your workout. A lean, athletic, and healthy body is sure to follow anyone who pushes themselves with this type of workout. Feel free to get creative with your exercises, but an example would be:
Bench Press/60 second jump rope/Military Press/60 second jump rope/Bench Press/Rest
- Supersets. If you’re one of those people who has trouble putting/keeping on weight, and want to focus on building your muscles, go for this type of training over the standard lift/rest/lift sequence. A superset is when you complete two exercises back-to-back without rest between sets. You can superset the same body part, i.e. bench press and dumbbell flys or opposing body parts, i.e. skullcrushers and incline dumbbell curls. Supersets are great for giving you a great muscle burn while also helping you improve your endurance. A well-designed plan utilizing a lot of supersets will do wonders for your metabolism and physique in general.
- Short rest. As you probably realize by now, variety is the spice of life. It’s also what keeps your body making progress. If you’ve been accustomed to 60-120 second rest periods, mix things up. Short rest is strictly timed and makes use of very short rest periods to throw your muscles out of whack. Rests of 10-20 seconds will allow you enough time to complete another set, but keep your muscles in a near constant state of fatigue. Consider bringing over a couple sets of weights so you can move to a lower poundage when things become too difficult…and they will. An example of a short rest sequence looks like this:
100 lb lat pulldown/10 second rest/100 lb lat pulldown/10 second rest/75 lb lat pulldown/15 second rest/50 lb lat pulldown
By doing something other than sitting around and reading about the latest celeb to get knocked up or texting your girlfriends about how your boyfriend is an inconsiderate jackass, make the most of your time. Think about it for a second, if during a 60 minute workout you have 20 rest periods of 1 minute, and you start performing work during 75% of those rest periods, you’ve just increased your workout by nearly 50%, i.e. adding 15 minutes to a 40 minute long workout.
Those little minutes are going to add up..If you do this every time, or almost every time out, it’ll be like adding another day or two to your overall workout plan. How much more progress would you be making if you had an extra day or two spent working out? Probably a lot more than you’re making now. Don’t underestimate little things like rest period. By making the most of your workout and utilizing advanced training concepts as mentioned above, you’ll start looking more like an advanced athlete and less like the chick you see flipping through an US Weekly on the elliptical every day.
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