When time is an issue and to make the most out of your 30 minutes or less devoted to your workout, chances are you either do super-sets—alternating one strength move with another for the opposite muscle without rest—or circuits—a series of six to eight exercises done one after another with no rest. But have you thought about adding some aerobic component in between the resistance moves?
Researchers have been looking into the impact of a passive rest—wait for a set amount time between exercises—or an active rest—aerobic exercise in between the resistance exercises—on mechanical, neural, hormonal, and metabolic responses to improve strength and power.
Two for One
A recent study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows that doing low-intensity cycling during the rest period of a set of squats did not show any benefits in terms of removing important chemical by-products to enhance recovery time, strength, and power compared to a passive rest.
This study may have not shown better outcomes in strength, power, and muscle by-products removal, however, doing some aerobic in between the strength exercises may amplify other metabolic and hormonal responses that are important when looking to improve overall lean body mass.
Aerobic activity during the rest period of resistance training may develop mechanical efficiency and optimal muscle temperature for greater force and velocity output. This will also produce greater hormonal responses, such as the ones that affect the most body mass/fat ratio, and increase neuro-muscular activation, among other neural, metabolic, hormonal and mechanical responses, according to an article published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal.
Probably, you do not know how much time you have to rest in between strength exercises. The authors point out that depending on the workout, the aerobic component may take anywhere from 18 to 34 minutes. This is quite a lot considering many people do cardio for around 30 minutes.
So, combining the resistance exercises with short segments of aerobic exercises may be a way to get the most out of your workout if the goal is to increase body mass and to reduce body fat.
This workout has four super-sets. After every super-set, perform any cardio exercise of your preference for two to three minutes, such as cycling, running/walking, rowing, the elliptical machine, jumping rope, or jogging in place. The intensity may go from light to moderate, five to eight in a scale of one to 10 perceived of exertion, depending on your fitness level.
Always perform a light warm-up and stretch at the end of the workout. Do this routine two-three times a week, leaving one day in between.
Super-set 1: DB Upright-Row to Shoulder Press followed by DB Bicep Curl with Leg Up. Do two to three minutes of cardio at the end of each super set. Do three super-sets, 10-12 reps.
DB Upright-Row to Shoulder Press (above, L-R): lift up the dumbbells to shoulder levels, rotate the hands, and extend the arms to do a shoulder press. Keep the back straight, chest up, and core tight.
DB Bicep Curl with Leg Up (above, L-R): Perform a bicep curl while lifting the opposite leg to a knee high level.
Super set 2: DB Bent Over Arms Lateral Raise followed by DB Overhead Triceps Extension. Do two to three minutes of cardio at the end of each super set. Do three super-sets, 10-12 reps.
DB Bent Over Arms Lateral Raise: bend over at the waist at a 45-degree angle, keep the back straight, chest up, and core tight. Have the DB in a neutral position extended at chest level—palms facing each other- and lift them to the side. Contract the muscles of the back.
DB Overhead Triceps Extension: lie down on a bench and grab one DB. With the arms extended, bend them to 90 degrees while keeping the arms close to your face and elbows in.
Super set 3: DB Row followed by BB Side Lunge. Do two to three minutes of cardio at the end of each super set. Do three super-sets, 10-12 reps.
DB Row: bend at the waist at a 45-degrees angle, keep the chest up, head aligned with the spine, the core tight and shoulders down while you pull in the DB contracting the back muscles.
BB Side Lunge: from a standing position take a step wide to the side—diagonal—and flex the hip backward to sit in that leg. Keep the other leg straight so it doesn’t move. Bring the leg in to the starting position, using the glutes and hamstrings.
Super set 4: BB Squat followed by BB Good Morning. Do two to three minutes of cardio at the end of each super set. Do three super-sets, 10-12 reps.
BB Squat: sit back up to a 90-degree angle. Keep the back straight, chest up, and core tight.
Good morning: Bend at your waist while pushing back the hips. Use the hamstrings and the glutes when doing this exercise and not your back. Bend until you can keep good form: back straight, chest up, core tight, and neck aligned with the spine.