Learn how to have more efficient strength workouts. Reduce wasted time with short yet effective warm ups and rest periods. Add training aids to each set to prepare for your work sets.
More Efficient Strength Workouts
You begin your workouts with warm ups, so let’s begin examining how to lift more efficiently with warm ups.
Most people don’t need a general warm up, but if you want a general warm up, do something like 5 minute of aerobic activity: walk, rower, bike.
Your warm ups for strength training consist of lighter sets.
Begin with the empty barbell (or typically 135 for the deadlift). Perform your reps (typically 5-8).
Once you’re done with the first warm up, immediately add weight for the next warm up, and perform the next warm up. As you get closer to your work set, you may add rest time.
Efficient warm ups lead to more efficient strength workouts.
Matt monitors his heart rate, but you may simply rest 1 minute before the last warm up and then 2 minutes before the work set.
The point is that warming up should consist of minimal rest and no wasted time. Add the weight, quickly rest (or don’t) and add more weight.
Warming up is important, but don’t waste time warming up.
Adding Training Aids Each Set
This doesn’t necessarily improve the efficiency of the workout.
Adding a training aid each set (or at least for the warm ups closer to the work sets) mentally prepares you for the work set. It becomes a part of your workout routine, and prepares you for the harder work sets.
You may take off your shoes. Add chalk or straps or wraps. Throw on your belt. Sniff ammonia. Play a song that gets you psyched up for your heavy work sets.
Shorten & Time Rest Periods
For more efficient strength workouts, ensure you don’t waste time during your warm ups. You also don’t need to waste time during the rest periods.
Resting between sets is important. The higher the intensity and the more muscle mass is used, the longer you need to rest.
At one extreme, you have muscular endurance sets or power sets, with minimal rest, such as one minute.
The other extreme is something like deadlifts above RPE 8, where you may miss your work sets without longer rest.
The need for longer rest periods for strength is one reason it’s hard to add much weight as an advanced athlete – it takes a lot of time and effort and consistency over a long period of time.
How to Workout Efficiently
We’ve addressed specific ideas for how to shorten your workouts. The first step, though, before you change your programming is to tighten things up where you can.
For more efficient strength workouts, look at your warm ups, your rest periods, and any other time you can cut.
Ensure you’re monitoring your time. You might track workout duration, warm up duration, and time your rest periods.
Tracking something often changes the behavior, as you’ll want to see the workout duration go down.