Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Time-Based Workouts

Use the clock!
(Or a stopwatch)

In exercise time is an overlooked variable. It only becomes relevant when you ask yourself, "Do I have enough time to work out today?" I think time is an easy way to plan training. (An example I've noted in the progressions post.)

Another simple way to do a training session is by allotting a specific amount of time to each movement. I picked this up from coach Kirksman,
"...and athletes usually use how they feel and time blocks. For example, 1 ¼ hours is spent snatching, 40 minutes snatch pulling, 30 minutes block snatching and 30 minutes of practice. During this period, they try to take as many sets, reps and weight as possible."
He's speaking in reference to Olympic weightlifters. A recreational exerciser wouldn't be lifting anywhere close to 3 hours. (I hope not!)

Designing training is straightforward. First divide up time amongst each lift. Then use how you feel to figure out the number of reps to complete. Do this by performing your first set. Gauge what you feel is a comfortable number for each set. It doesn't have to be the same rep amount for each set but it gives you an idea of what range you'll be in for that day - think + 1-2 reps. Don't worry about sets because you stop when the time is over for that exercise. Rest periods can be timed but don't have to be. Wait until you're confident you can complete another quality set without failure.

In practice an example bench press day would look like this,
1) Warm-Up
  • Mobility: Thoracic spine extension and rotation
  • Multi-joint Drills: Band pull-aparts, push-ups

2) 25m Bench Press, 3-4 reps

3a) DB Row
3b) DB Floor Press
  • 15m total, 6-8 reps

4) 10m Face Pulls, 8-10 reps

5) Cool Down

  • Stretch pecs and lats
  • Overhead DB walk: 1m each hand
The benefit I see from creating time blocks is prioritization in the workout and that there's room for adjustments from one's own individual feedback. The workout is tailored to you instead of you being tailored to the workout. (Think about it.)

By manipulating time you'll be more aware of how your body responds to training. You'll also find you can get in and out of the gym quicker too!

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