I’m going to go out on a whim here and guess that your family, work, and daily responsibilities are a bigger priority than exercising. Your time is limited in the gym, so why waste your time with ineffective workouts that will not get you closer to your results? Even as a personal trainer in West Los Angeles, I can definitely sympathize with you. If you understand the powers of strength training, you know you’ll get the biggest return for your time invested in working out in terms of shedding body fat, building lean muscle mass, injury proofing your body, and upgrading your performance (in sport or life).
If you are not strength training for whatever reason, then this post may not be as beneficial. I’d find a strength training program you can incorporate into your current routine and then come back to this post. But, if you are strength training then you can thank me for the 20 hours of time I will save you this year!
Without further ado, here are the top 5 time wasters:
1. Single Joint Exercises with No Rehabilitative Purpose.
- There is a therapeutic benefit to doing rehabilitative single joint exercises such as Ys, Ts, Ws, medicine ball ABCs, and side lying clamshells so keep these in your program. The bicep curls, tricep extensions, leg curls, etc are the moves I have beef with. There is a time and place in hypertrophy (building muscle mass) programs for these “beach exercises,” but I’d rather you replace them with the following:
Bicep Curls – Chin Ups
Tricep Extensions – Closed Grip Push Ups
Hamstring Curls – RDLs or Deadlifts
Knee Extensions – Reverse Sled Drags
2. Excessive breaks between sets.
- For your explosive movements your rest should be 2-3 minutes, high rep movements (12-20) rest should be 30 seconds to 1 minute, and lower rep movements (1-8) should be 1-2 minutes. If you’re having trouble gauging your rest periods, get the Everlast interval trainer to keep with you. The interval trainer is also great if you want to add more of a fat burning effect in your metabolic “finishers” at the end of your workout and implement some timed sets.
3. Peeling the weights off the barbell inefficiently.
- Squat rack – peeling one off each side at a time (how many plates on one side can you have???
Squat Rack Time-Waster
Squat Rack Time-Saver
- Deadlift bar peel, pick up, and unplunge
4. Traditional cardio
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) 10 minutes > 30 minutes traditional steady state cardio for fat burning effect. That’s research. I’ve been preaching this since I first started being a strength coach, but here’s some new research (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23176325) showing 450% increase in after burn effect from high intensity training.
5. Poor OR no exercise program
- Nothing will kill your groove in the gym like not knowing which exercises to do, when to do them in your program, and how many set and reps to do. Create a template for yourself (or hire someone) that is catered to your specific muscle/movement imbalances and dysfunctions, physique goals, and performance goals. Log your weights, because if you’re not tracking your progress, you’re just guessing that you’re progressing.