If you’re like most people nowadays, 24 hours in a given day just doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. Time is your most valued commodity, so you’ve got to make the most of it. Because of this, your workouts need to be efficient so you can get in and out of the gym and home in time to feed the kids.
Off to the gym you go, but son of a bitch…you forgot. Its Monday. That can only mean….
Every single bench and barbell is taken, and there’s even a line forming of people waiting to use it. Equipment is harder to come by than a New York Giants fan that still feels optimistic about the rest of the 2017 season (13 points in 2 games…yikes). So what are you to do? There’s no equipment, no space, and you’re pressed for time. Well, it’s time to get creative with your workout and manipulate certain training variables so you can still get a good lift in, even if it means not performing any big barbells lifts. So just what tweaks can you make? I’m glad you asked!
Tempo is a fantastic way to elicit gains in your training program but often gets neglected by trainees. Have you ever done a rear foot elevated split squat with a 4 second eccentric phase coupled with a 2 second isometric pause at the bottom? Try it, you’ll hate life.
Try mixing in slower eccentric movements (lowering portion of a lift) and pauses. You’ll be forced to use lighter weight, but trust me, you will feel every bit of the lift. I promise you that.
Here’s an example using a goblet squat. Take 3-4 seconds to lower down into the bottom of a squat, pause for 1-2 seconds, and then explode up. Now repeat for reps. This is perfect for individuals who only have access to limited weight.
If I had a dollar for every time I saw someone perform a set of an exercise only to follow it up by spending 3-4 minutes on their phone, I could literally buy a pet panda. I imagine that costs a lot.
Switch up your rest periods! I know the textbooks say rest 60-90 seconds for hypertrophy, 3-5 minutes for strength and power, etc., but guess what? Sometimes training with shorter than normal rest periods can be beneficial and spark some serious gains, especially if fat loss is your goal (aka 85% of people who workout).
So try cutting your rest periods in half. Chances are you’ll be wiped out from a new stimulus and you’ll cut time off your total time spent at the gym. Win win.
Offset loading involves you loading only one side of your body while performing an exercise. I love this for two reasons. First, it adds in a rotary stability component to a lift, meaning you’ll have to fight to not let the weight pull you out of proper position. This forces your core to work harder than normal to keep your spine in proper alignment. Secondly, you use half the weight. This is perfect for people who don’t have access to an abundance of training equipment or space. Bilateral loading tends to dominate many programs, and I’m not saying that’s bad, but adding in an offset exercises every now and then can be a real game changer.
To use the example of the goblet squat again, hold the kettlebell (or dumbbell) on one side of your body and perform the rep as if you were loading it bilaterally. You’ll notice its a lot harder to stabilize and keep things ‘normal’.
And just as a little present for reading this, here’s a sample workout you can use utilizing all 3 of these training variables. Plus, it’ll only involve one kettlebell (or dumbbell). The ultimate space and time saving workout.
A1. Offset kettlebell front squat x8, 2.2.1 tempo (2 sec down, 2 sec pause at bottom, 1 sec up) right side only
A2. Offset single leg RDL x8, right leg only
A3. Single arm overhead press x8, 3.0.1 tempo, right side only
Rest 30 seconds. Repeat everything on left side. Repeat for 3-4 sets (1 set involves both sides)
B1. Single leg pushup x8, 3.1.1 tempo (4 sec down, 1 sec pause, 1 sec up), right leg up
B2. Single arm bent over row x10, 1.3.1 tempo, right side only
B3. Offset reverse lunge x8, right leg only, (hold weight with left hand if working your right leg, vice versa)
Rest 30 seconds. Repeat everything on left side. Repeat for 3-4 sets.
Boom. One workout. One piece of equipment. Virtually no space demands. And time efficient. Now you can go home and re-watch the first season of Stranger Things before season 2 comes out. #whathappenedtoeleven