Hurry Up And Grow: 11 Tips For Super-Efficient Workouts

Isn’t it about time to max out your workouts?’s staff members offer their best training tips for accomplishing as much as possible without wasting time.

11 Tips For Super-Efficient Workouts

Matt Biss
Matt Biss,
Training And Nutrition Specialist

Do Tabata front squats: Load a light weight onto the bar and complete as many squats as you can in 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 7 more times. Perform them correctly and you will have achieved in 4 minutes what most don't in an hour.

» Time saved: 56 minutes

28 - Number of physique contests our web-publishing staffers have entered.

Jeff O'Connell,

When doing high-intensity interval training before an upper-body session, stand on the treadmill sideboards during the rest intervals and stretch your pecs, lats, neck, and tris. Don't statically stretch your hamstrings in this position, however. Increasing your range of motion without increasing your strength in that new range could set the stage for a hamstring pull.

» Time saved: 5 minutes

Heather Rininger
Heather Rininger,
Competition Content Coordinator

Embed 5-minute cardio spurts in a circuit-training workout.

For instance, do 5 minutes of cardio, followed immediately by 1 15-20 rep set each of leg presses, leg extensions, leg curls, and walking lunges; and then repeat, starting with another 5 minutes of cardio. I do four rounds usually. I finish with the same cardio spurts inserted into back-to-back ab circuits of cable crunches, medicine ball twists, and "bicycles."

You can get a fantastic high rep leg-and-ab workout with cardio in less than an hour!

» Time saved: 15 minutes

Josh Brunner,
Web Content Developer

Invest in a set of high-quality workout bands with adjustable resistance. If you're in a crunch but need to get in your workout, these are perfect for a wide range of exercises, and portable enough for just about any setting, including hotel rooms or the office.

» Time saved: 20 minutes

5 - Average number workouts our web-publishing staffers complete each week.

Kris Gethin
Kris Gethin,
Deputy Editor

If I have only a modest amount of time to complete a workout, I'll combine my warm-up and working sets. Example: For my first set, I'll choose a weight that will allow me to reach failure at around 50 repetitions. The high number of reps will lubricate my joints and warm my muscles, but they'll also challenge them to adapt and grow. So those reps count as a working set. You may feel inadequate using a lighter weight, but your muscles, joints, and schedule will commend you for choosing it.

» Time saved: 10 minutes

Kelly Conrad,
Graphic Designer

Even during upper-body exercises I always contract my core, glutes, and quads. Tightening my core and glutes during bench presses, for example, helps me drive the bar through those last tough reps while also working the middle of my body.

» Time saved: 8 minutes

Kirk Calzacorta
Kirk Calzacorta,
Web Content Editor

On ab days, I'll do an abs exercise in between the sets of any bench exercise – on the same bench. So I might rack the bar during bench press and then do 15 crunches or reverse crunches. My working muscles receive the break they need, but my heart rate stays up. Working this way, I can actually complete an entire ab workout in the time I would normally be resting for my next sets.

» Time saved: 15 minutes

Jessica Austin,
Senior Web Content Editor

This super-efficient outdoors workout combines steady state running with body-weight-move supersets and intervals sprints. I run for several minutes until I come upon a park bench or table, where I do 1 set each of the following exercises without resting in between: pushups, dips, leg raises, lunges, and jump squats. I rest a minute to catch my breath, and then I start running again-only this time I add 45-second sprints! I repeat this 3 more times. In 33 minutes (including the time it took me to change into my sports bra, shorts and running shoes), I can complete my day's cardio and resistance training.

» Time saved: 27 minutes

65 - Average number minutes our web-publishing staffers train each workout.

John Hardesty
John Hardesty,
Vice President of Digital Publishing

Avoid the rush by working out early in the morning. You'll have access to any machine or equipment you want! You'll be able to fly through your workout without roadblocks.

» Time saved: 10-15 minutes

Craig Roberts,
"The Voice of The Exercise Database"

With a contest looming, I'm waking up at 4:30 a.m. and heading straight to the gym. "Where the heck are my shoes?" is not what I want to be mumbling to myself at that hour. So I get everything I need for my workout ready the night before. I lay out my shoes, socks, and workout clothes, so that as soon as my alarm sounds, I can just roll out of bed and throw them on. I also measure out some Xtend into a shaker bottle and put that right next to my keys, so I don't forget to grab it on the way out. The point is to plan and prepare for your workout-the night before if you work out in the morning, or before you go to work if you're heading to the gym right after. Get your clothes laid out, put your gloves, straps, belts, etc., in your gym bag, and have your pre-, intra-, and post-workout stack ready to take when you need them.

» Time saved: 10 minutes