manrunningtreadmill2We’re always trying to get the best bang for our buck. With hectic work schedules, social lives, and other hobbies, the last thing you want to do is waste extra, unnecessary time at the gym. Below are a few tips to make your workout as efficient as a Prius with a full tank of gas.

(1) Doing Excessive Warm-ups

This is not your sister’s cheerleading practice. Warming up is an essential part of your workout but it doesn’t need to last a lifetime. A study done by the University of Calgary Human Performance Laboratory showed that shorter, less intense warm-ups may be better than longer, more intense warm-ups. Stick to 5-10 minute warm-ups, especially if you’re in a rush, or a maximum 15-minute warm-up if you have a little extra time. Additionally, you don’t need to do a warm-up before each exercise, but rather one at the beginning to get your muscles ready. Think of it as a little foreplay before the big bang.

(2) Taking Long Breaks Between Sets

The breaks you take between sets are almost as important as the workout itself. For some, a rest period is dictated by how long it takes to check their fantasy leagues or sports highlights. Don’t fall into this trap. Different styles of weight lifting require different amounts of rest period. For maximum strength training workouts (very low reps, heavy weights), most studies and experts recommend a rest period of 3-5 minutes. For those looking for muscular hypertrophy (growth in size), most experts recommend a rest period of 60-90 seconds for about 8-15 reps. Finally, for endurance athletes with lighter weights but more reps (13+ reps), 30-60 seconds rest is recommended.

(3) Using Improper Form

Improper form can be a killer to any workout. Not only are you risking injuring yourself, but you also may not be working the muscle in the right way. Whether it’s cardiovascular activity or weight lifting, paying attention to your form is vital to your workout’s efficiency. If your form is starting to suffer because you’re feeling fatigued, take a longer break or switch up the move. You wouldn’t slack on setting up your perfect fantasy line-up, don’t slack on your form.

(4) Spending an Excessive Amount of Time on Cardio

Unless you’re training for a marathon, you do not need to focus your time primarily on cardio. A balance between strength training and cardio will help keep you at peak performance. Try alternating days, splitting time, or fitting in a shorter, high intensity interval cardio session (about 30 minutes will do).

(5) Focusing Only on Machines

While machine weights can still benefit your workout, they do not give you half the impact of free weights. Also, don’t forget about putting your own bodyweight to work – various forms of push-ups, pull-ups and dips are still one of the most proven and effective workout moves around.

Hope that helps you get an efficient workout in!

Sources:

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/research-review/factors-affecting-the-length-of-the-rest-interval-between-resistance-exercise-sets-research-review.html

http://news.menshealth.com/how-long-to-rest-between-sets/2012/01/20/

http://www.protraineronline.com/exercise/rest-periods-between-sets-everything-you-ever-needed-to-know/

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