4 Training Strategies to Stop Wasting Time in the Gym

Blog Cover Photo (1)

You know the feeling when you get into the gym, start your workout and then an hour later, you realize you’ve hardly accomplished anything?

There are so many opportunities for time wasting and distractions during the workout that those 60 second rest breaks between sets easily turn into 4, 5 or 6 minute breaks. And then before you know it, it’s time to head home and you hardly got a workout completed.

Well – here are 4 training strategies to use to stop wasting time in the gym.  Instead of resting, texting and wasting time after every set, you can implement one of these training strategies to get more bang for your time training buck.


1. Compound Training

Compound training is pairing up two or more excises and completing them back to back, with little to no rest in between.  You may have heard this called by another name: superset.  But my friend, compound training and superset training are not he same thing. Yes, both involve pairing up exercises with little or not rest in between.  But the exercises you choose determine what kind of training you are performing. 

Superset training uses two (or more) exercises of opposite muscle groups with minimal rest in between.   A compound set uses exercises that target the same muscle group.

So compound training – pairing up exercises that target the same muscle group with little to no rest in between them. You go from one, right into the other to blast your muscles! 

The end result in compound training is to add volume to a muscle. Because you’re targeting the same muscle group, you won’t be able to lift as much weight, but you will be able to keep those muscles activated for longer and give yourself a pump in size – all while keeping your heart rate up!  And since you’re not resting in between, you cut down on your time wasting.

Want to fry your shoulders? Try these compound sets:

  • Dumbbell shoulder press followed by lateral raises
  • Front raise followed by upright row


2. Superset Training

Now the supersets – two exercises paired together that target opposite muscle groups.

Superset training is effective because it allows one muscle group to rest while you target the opposing group. It allows you to maintain strength throughout each set in the scheme so you can continue to lift at a higher load than you would in compound training (because after all, compounds blast one muscle group again and again – there’s no way to maintain a high strength load through all sets). 

But even when you put opposite groups together – the order of them is still important!

Completing the posterior chain exercise increases the reciprocal stability of the anterior region – if we take away the nerd speak, that just means pull first, then push in order to get the most out of your pushing exercises!

Try this upper body super set:

  • Pull Up / Barbell Standing Overhead Press
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Row / Barbell Bench Press
  • Cable Rope Face Pull / Incline Dumbbell Bench Press


3. Contrast Training

This type of training typically pairs a heavy strength exercise with a power exercise.

Start with a set of heavy lifts and then follow it immediately with a set of explosive, unloaded exercises that use the same movement pattern -– like a heavy squat with a box jump.

Now when you picture that in your head, it can seem impossible to get your legs to jump after doing a heavy squat. But this method is actually incredible for your body – you produce more force in a power exercise when a strength exercise precedes it.

Now the gurus aren’t exactly sure why this happens. The assumption is that it’s related to phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chains, increased recruitment of motor units and changes in pennation angles, blah blah blah…

For those of us without the nerdy science degrees, we can think of it how Supertraining author Yuri Verkhoshanksy describes it: “like lifting half-can of water when you think it’s full.” You are primed and ready for something heavy but it ends up lighter than expected and you can use more power. 

So not only can you maximize the effectiveness of your power training with Contrast Training, you save time by combining strength and power into one workout.

Try these:

  • Bench Press into Plyo-Pushups
  • Squats into Box Jumps
  • Deaflifts into Jumping Pull Throughs


4. Complex Training

If your rest times become too tempting, you can design your workout to have minimal rest amounts with complex training.

In a complex, you usually have 4-7 exercises that can all be completed with the same one piece of equipment (usually a barbell or dumbbells). You complete all exercises for a certain number of reps before setting down your equipment of choice.  No resting until that set is done.  

Here’s a great one to try:

The BEAR Complex:

  • Power clean
  • Front squat
  • Push press
  • Back squat
  • Second push press

Complete all exercises 7 times through unbroken. Then set down your bar.   Rest for 1-2 minutes. And repeat.


stop wasting time in the gym

Like this article?  Then check out this one too:

8 Training Rules to Live By



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *