#161 – Training Economy: Time Saving Tips for the Gym
Matt and Scott discuss the importance of being efficient in the gym. Most folks have other things to do besides train, and anyone who’s run through the bitter end of their LP has experienced a workout that dragged on for nearly two hours. It’s easy for it to happen if you don’t pay attention to the clock. There’s no excuse for excessively long workouts, but if you’re guilty, Matt and Scott have some time-saving tips for you.
One common mistake novices make occurs during the warmups. Lifters think they need to take a few minutes of rest between warmup sets, and squatting alone ends up taking them 30 minutes or longer. Warmups should only take about as long as it takes to complete the set and add the plates for the next set. 30 seconds, maybe a minute. Knock ’em out. Don’t overcomplicate your warm ups either. Use simple, even jumps in weight during your warm ups using the 25’s and 45’s — leave the change plates for your working sets. Of course, if your work set is fairly close to the weight of the unloaded barbell, you’ll have to use change plates, but once you are lifting loads well above the empty bar weight, keep your jumps simple.
Rest times for work sets should be kept to a reasonable minimum: 3-5min is all you usually need. If you are at the very end of LP, or lifting some very heavy loads, then perhaps 7min at the most. Anything beyond that is wasted time.
Phones, other gym members, and small children can all be distractions in the gym. Scott recommends getting a timer that goes off every minute, and every three minutes, so that you can pace both your warmups and your rest times between work sets. You can buy fancy, expensive gym timers from Rogue and others, but Matt recommends an inexpensive digital timer with a magnetic back, that can be mounted to the rack. When you finish a set, just hit the timer.
If you haven’t been paying attention to your warmup scheme and rest times, simply minding the clock will shave several minutes off your workout. For those that need to move even faster, however, Matt recommends warming up your press movement in between squat work sets. After you rack the bar on your first work set of squats, start pressing (or bench pressing) with the empty bar. The first few warmup sets of the press are light enough that they won’t affect your squatting, and vice versa. Of course, you’ll need a second barbell, and enough room on the rack to use it. Scott recommends the deeper, 48″ squat racks, such as the Rogue R-4, for this reason. The extra depth allows two lifters — or one lifter with two bars — to work on the same rack without the risk of the outer diameter of the plates colliding with each other during the workout.