Tim’s Tips Are Written by Tim Rigby, M.A., NSCA-CPT
When it comes to weightlifting, many novices (and even intermediates) base their exercise selection off a 40-50 minute workout. They mistakenly believe that performing only three or four movements is insufficient for promoting muscle and strength. In cases like this, it’s time for a reality check. All you need is 25 minutes of intense exercise, and we’ll even give you a plus/minus of 5 minutes, shorter or longer, for some flexibility. Here’s how to make it work:
First of all, don’t let your rest periods take up the majority of your workout. Often, you’ll see guys performing a set with a reasonably substantial weight, and then take a 2 or 3 minutes rest, over and over. Unless you’re a competitive powerlifter looking to develop fast-twitch, one-rep max strength, this is far too long. The sweet spot for muscle building is not only 8-12 reps per set, but also only 60-75 seconds rest between sets. In fact, the shorter you can keep your rest periods, the more you’ll encourage growth.
The other key to success with efficient workouts is frequency. Don’t just work out 3 times a week – spread your full battery of exercises over 4 or 5 workouts, so you’ll be better off in terms of positioning yourself for faster muscle growth. This may sound like an onerous task, but keep in mind it includes a lot of isolation exercises (especially for your smaller muscle groups) which aren’t as taxing as the heavy compound moves.
So keep your weightlifting workout around 25 minutes and you’ll see noticeable increases in muscle mass and strength more readily.