Thursday, April 14, 2011

2 Things To Do While You Sit There in Between Sets

It is Wednesday as I write this and I have hit the gym 3 different times this week. I hit the gym at 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm. Today, I noticed a common theme around the gym that I have noticed all the other times. So many lifters look 'bored' between sets. For instance, one lifter was yawning while sitting on a military rack; while another was popping his zits on his shoulder; and another was daydreaming as he gazed in the mirror. Why do we waste so much time while we lift? Is the time that we spend in the gym supposed to reflect the actual training? I hope not. If that is the case, there would be a lot more stronger and shredded lifters walking around.
Let's put in this way...which lifter sounds more dedicated?

LIFTER #1: "I spend 2 hours in the gym every day"...or
LIFTER #2: "I spend 45 minutes in the gym everyday".

While most of the uninformed general public would presume that LIFTER #1 as the more dedicated exerciser,
it is LIFTER #2 that is the smarter lifter. Dedication doesn't automatically make you a more efficient simply means you haven't found a better way to do something.
I think the safest thing to assume for people that spend much of their time in the gym "dilly-dalling" (as my teachers would say), would be 2 things:
1.) They don't want to be there
2.) They don't know any better

If they don't feel like being there, that is a whole separate post. However, if they don't know any better, here are some suggestions to consolidate your time at the gym and make your workouts more effective and time efficient:

Mobility Drills. Sure you can do them in the beginning; but I prefer to do them in between sets. It is a great way to actively recover during challenging sets. Contrary to what many elitists want you to think, some mobility work can be performed during the actual workout and not necessarily in the beginning only. For example, as depicted in my Stronger Shoulders DVD, in between sets of upperbody exercise, a set of Mobility "S" Stretches can be performed.

Mobility work during the working set rest periods can help decrease lactic acid build-up; elongate working muscles that are prone to shortening from excessive volume; and serve as a mode of active recovery. I have found that many of my clients prefer to use some mobility drills during their workouts because they feel 'warmer' and more in-tune with their body. I still advocate doing some mobility work in the beginning of a workout as part of your warm-up, but I don't see any problems with performing additional drills in between working sets. 

Static Stretches. WHAT??? Static stretches during the workout?? NOOOOOOOO....
Static stretches have gotten a bad rap over the last 3 years because someone shouted out a study that stated some athletes lost an itsy-bitsy amount of power production when they statically stretched before a workout. Ever since then, static stretching has been shunned like the Black Plague.

 The misconception with the interpretation of this study is that most trainers don't work with elite athletes and most exercisers don't train like elite athletes. So everyone is getting worried about ...well...nothing. I have been throwing some static stretches in between sets with all my clients for years. Static stretching can be controlled simply by manipulating the time a stretch is held. For instance, most of my clients will perform a stretch for the lats (back) and simply hold for 4-6 seconds.

For most exercisers, a simply static stretch will inhibit reciprocal inhibition, calm the nervous system for an overactive agonist, and help to lengthen a muscle while it is stimulated.

Not only will these 2 things help your body become stronger, healthier, and more agile, but they save you time and produce better results than say watching TV while occupying a piece of equipment.

1 comment:

  1. Good points regarding use of static stretching during a workout. I appreciate that insight.


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