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The Best of the Rest: 4 More Tips for Strength-Training Efficiency
Add exercises between sets. This efficient approach can cut your workout time by 10-15 percent. Allow yourself 60 seconds between sets and use this time to train other muscle groups such as the abdominals and lower back. You can also spend this time stretching.
Bring a water bottle. Not only does this strategy save time by reducing the number of trips to the water fountain, it helps keep you hydrated, thus increasing performance during the workout.
Avoid peak hours. Most gyms are crowded between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Planning your workout outside these times reduces your wait time for equipment (and prevents you from chatting with other gym-goers).
Work your core. If you have only five minutes to work out, focus on your abdominals—arguably the most important muscles in the body. These muscles serve many functions: They protect the lower back, aid digestion and play a key role in maintaining posture.
In his Advice to a Young Tradesman, Franklin said the way to wealth was dependent on two things: industry and frugality; that is, waste neither time nor money. The same might be said for your health. Incorporating these efficient workout strategies will help to maximize your fitness level with a minimal investment of time. These techniques may not lead to riches in dollars and cents but to something better—improved health, which is priceless.
Brzycki, Matt and Fornicola, Fred. 2006. Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness. Blue River Press.
Franklin, Benjamin. 1905. Advice to a Young Tradesman. In Albert H. Smyth, ed., The Writing of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 2. New York: Macmillan.
Zhou, S. 2000. Chronic neural adaptations to unilateral exercise: Mechanisms of cross education. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 28: 177-184.
This article has been reviewed and approved by SparkPeople fitness expert, Jen Mueller, M.Ed., Certified Personal Trainer.
Glenn is an ACE-certified personal trainer who motivates clients to perform their best, both physically and mentally. He earned his doctorate in health psychology and is the owner of Fitness Motive, a wellness consulting company located in Cincinnati. Glenn also works as an adjunct university instructor at the University of Cincinnati. He enjoys the outdoors, reading, and has developed an affinity for the taste of dark chocolate.
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