We take a look at how to make the most of potentially less kit and less time spent at the gym.
As we near the much-anticipated return of the gym many of you will be chomping at the bit to get back to some heavyweights and the lure of a fully stocked gym. But your workout experience is likely to be a little different, with the amount of time you can spend on the gym floor, as well as the array of kit you can use, both expected to be limited to begin with. So with that in mind here are some ideas and suggestions to make your allotted slot in the gym efficient and worthwhile. But before we get started one word of advice - go steady on the heavy stuff at least for your first week. For most it is unlikely you've lifted anything super heavy for the past 18 weeks or so, ease in to it, your body will thank you. Ok onwards.
HAVE A PLAN
Now more than ever it is going to be important to head into your session knowing, at least roughly, what your session is going to entail. So spending some time the day before, or even on a Sunday night, planning out your rough sessions for the week. It can be as simple as:
- Monday - Upper Body, main focus shoulders & arms
- Tuesday - Lower Body , main focus quads & hamstrings
And so on.
HAVE A PLAN B
A step further would be to plan those sessions in more depth and then have a backup plan should that bit of kit not be available. Bench press suddenly isn't free? That's fine you can slot in your floor press or another alternative rather than letting it ruin your session as you panic to think of what's next and soon the buzzer has gone and your session is over. We'll also be putting out some content around good alternatives to exercises for machines/bits of kit that are likely to be prime territory in the gym so keep an eye out for those. Having a plan will mean you can go in, get your work done that you want to and be super-efficient.
As mentioned above planning will help you be more time efficient but there are also different modalities of training that can help you be in and out of the gym in record time. Here are a couple of our favourites for when we want a short, sharp sweat.
Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM)
You can make this as long or as short as you like. The principle is simple, you have a set amount of work to complete in a minute. The quicker you work the more rest you get, but go too quick and you may not last the course! You can design these how you like, but a general rule of thumb is you for beginners you want your workload to take up roughly 30s within the minute, if you're a little more advanced you can push this to 40-45s within the minute. Anything shorter will be too easy, anything longer won't allow for sufficient recovery. A sample session might look like:
As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP)
We like to use these either at the end of a session to finish us off with quite small, punchy reps. Or you could stretch the number of reps out as well as the time you spend doing the AMRAP for a workout that builds and pushes your endurance a little bit. The idea being you set your time and you set your reps of each exercise and you get as many rounds in as you can.
Double Down with Super-Sets
Rather than simply doing your one lift or move, why not try pairing two exercises back to back, with no rest, therefore increasing your total time under tension and getting more work done in a shorter time? This could look like pairing complimentary exercises together, say a squat with a lunge. Or it could be opposing moves so a pushing exercise paired with a pulling exercise. Equally if your main focus of the session is legs but you desperately want to work your arms then you could pair your main lower body move with an upper body accessorry exercise, say a deadlift super set with some curls 😉
Utilise your rest periods - If time is short then certain parts of your routine might fall by the way side. For many that will mean the mobility & non-glamourous moves will be the first to go. Instead try adding these into your rest periods. If you are doing a lower body session think about any upper body mobility drills and routines you could do in the usual 1-2 minutes you would be resting. You'll be surprised how much you can get done.
Single Item Workouts
Kit is likely to be at a premium when you head back into the gym. You may not have the complete luxury of being able to use every piece you want, but there is tonnes you can do with just one single bit of kit. Grab yourself either a dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell and try one of these:
If you end up doing one of these workouts send us a message or tag us on social and let us know how you found it! Hope to see some of you in the gym soon!