We'd all love a couple of free hours in our daily schedule to complete a weight workout, but for some of us, that’s not an option. Being short on time doesn't mean you have to settle for inferior results, however. Performix athlete Scott Mathison designed this workout for home trainers or anyone who wants the benefits of a resistance workout without missing their next appointment or class.
"This workout consists of nine exercises that hits each of the major muscle groups," says Mathison. "Four of the exercises are multijoint movements, which engage more of the body's musculature than single-joint movements. Multijoint movements such as squats, dumbbell bench presses, pull-ups, and military presses allow you to push heavier loads than single-joint movements, which in turn has a greater effect not only on building muscle but also burning more calories."
Mathison's approach divides the exercises into groups called supersets, in which you do two exercises back to back with no rest in between, and giant sets, by linking three movements in similar fashion. "By using the same equipment, the workout cuts down on the length of your training session while elevating your heart rate," he says.
To determine the load that's right for you, Mathison recommends using a weight where you can complete 10 reps but not 11. If you can, adjust the load accordingly.
You'll repeat each superset and giant set for a total of two rounds, resting 1-2 minutes only after you complete a round.
"Of course, you can load more weight on a bar and/or increase the number of reps you complete if you sacrifice good form, but doing so diminishes the focus on the target muscles and increases your risk of injury," he adds. If you don’t know how to do a movement correctly, click on it, and you'll see a video and step-by-step tutorial.
Given that this is a low-volume workout, it’s a good idea to do it several times a week.
Giant Set: Chest/Back/Abs
Here are Scott's tips for each exercise, designed to maximize their effectiveness:
Dumbbell Bench Press
"Lower the weights just below the point at which your elbows reach 90 degrees, then press back up to full arm extension."
Dumbbell Bench Press
"Strive to bring your chin over the bar and lower to a fully extended arm position. If it’s too difficult to complete 10 reps, try the assisted pull-up machine."
Barbell Ab Roll-Out
"On your knees, roll the barbell directly out in front of you; the farther you go, the more difficult it is. Keep your abs pulled in during the motion."
Barbell Ab Roll-out
Military Dumbbell Press
"From a standing position, press the weights up and together to full arm extension. Don’t lower the weights much past the position in which the degree of elbow bend is less than 90 degrees."
"The trick to make this middle-delt isolation exercise work is to lock a slight bend in your elbows and maintain it for the entire set."
"Keep your upper arms locked perpendicular to your body so the movement takes place only at the elbows. That will heighten focus on the triceps."
"As with the skullcrusher, locking your elbows in place improves the effectiveness of this single-joint move. Your elbows should always remain tight to your sides."
"Effective execution requires you to keep your back straight and core tight, and drive through your heels as you stand up."
"Elevate your feet on a plate or stair for a full calf stretch. Don’t bounce at the bottom. Rise up as high as you can on the balls of your feet."