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Hi. I'm Sara!

I am extremely passionate about all things health - while not letting it take over your life.  I love efficient workouts, easy healthy meal ideas and all kinds of tips and tricks to help you become a stronger version of yourself

Hope you stick around for a while & check out all the good stuff!

Make Your Workout More Effective With Supersets & Circuits

Make Your Workout More Effective With Supersets & Circuits

We all want to know how to make the most of every minute the day.  Most days I am lucky to find more than an hour all to myself, and I cringe at the idea of using it all up to hit the gym.  A GOOD workout doesn't have to take hours.  Whether you are looking to get stronger, leaner, or want to develop a more well rounded fitness base - two things you need to be doing are supersets and circuits

What am I talking about?  Traditional strength training programs are usually written as given number of reps [repetitions] of an exercise [also called a 'set'] followed by rest for 1-2 minutes.  Repeat the set, rest, repeat one last time and rest again.  Then move on to another exercise with that same structure.  If your workout includes 6-8 moves that could be 24-32 minutes of time just RESTING. 

Rest is important though right?  Yes.  Muscles get stronger when you put them under a little bit of stress.  But when an exercise becomes too difficult to do with proper form - that's when you need to back off.  Your muscles are under TOO MUCH stress and at that point other muscles are going to jump in and take over.  OR you start to bounce around getting help from momentum or gravity.

We REST, so that the muscles recover enough to repeat the exercise with the same strength and form as the first round.  Here's the thing though, if you are strategic about how you structure your workout, you can rest one muscle while working another.  

So what exactly is a superset.  Two excercises back to back with no rest inbetween.  Supersets can be two moves that attack similar muscles but at different angles  Think lat pull down then seated row.  Both attack the back muscles in different directions.  Supersets can also target two completely different muscle groups, depending on what your fitness goals are.  Think squat then overhead press.  While technically a superset can be any two movements back to back it is not recommended to work the same muscle, the same way, for both.  That defeats the purpose of eliminating the rest.  You wouldn't superset a pull up with a lat pulldown or a tricep pull [on a cable machine] with a tricep dip [using a bench].

Got it.  So then, what is a circuit?  Multiple [more than two and usually between 4-8] exercises performed back to back [to back to back] with no rest in between.  Once all exercises are done give yourself 2-3 minutes rest and then repeat all 4-8 exercises through again.  Rest and repeat a final time.  The concept is similar to super sets in that, you don't need rest because the next exercise should target a different muscle or muscle group.

Circuits are great because you can do such a wide variety of exercises with this format.  You can use machines or free weights, plyo or body weight moves, or a mix of both.

Killer Core Circuit that will take under 30 minutes:  Do 12-15 reps of each move without rest in-between.  Rest 1-2 minutes and repeat 2 more times. 

  • Spiderman Plank [lift one foot & touch knee to same side elbow]
  • Side Plank with thread the needle
  • Knee tuck on a stability ball
  • Stability ball back extensions

If you're looking to double up on your cardio and strength, circuits are going to be the workout for you.  Going from one move to the next without rest saves time and keeps your heart rate up so you burn more calories while also getting stronger.

{psst - my Get Strong Run Faster program is built circuit style - if you are looking to up your strength game and make some serious speed gains this year you NEEED to check it out}

So tell me - was this helpful?  Are you ready to incorporate one or both of these into your next workout to save time?

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