Working smarter and not harder is a great motto for any task
in life when you think about it, but it makes particularly good sense when it
comes to your workout efforts. So many people work out for hours and hours each
day and their results do not justify their efforts. Throughout history people
have invented things to save them time an effort while accomplishing the same
amount of work. It wouldn’t make sense to move a pile of pebbles from
one place to another by carrying them one handful at a time when you could much
more easily shovel the whole pile into a wheel barrow and more the whole pile
at one time.
Likewise, it doesn’t make any sense at all to do countless
sets and reps of an exercise to fatigue a muscle when you can do fewer, more
intense reps and get the same or better results. Weight lifting is all about
reaching the point of exhaustion for a particular muscle. Of course using a
moderate weight and lifting it over and over again will eventually get you to
the that point of exhaustion, but why take that long doing something that could
be accomplished much more quickly. Unless, of course, your only goal in life
is to spend as much time as possible in the gym, then by all means do as many
sets and reps as you possibly can!
However, if you are like most people you would like to make your workouts a
part of your life and not the purpose of your entire existence, so working out
smarter instead of harder is the best plan for you. The way this is going to
be accomplished is by doing 4 intense sets for each exercise with varying weights
and reps (12, 8, 6, 10) instead of doing 3 to 5 sets of 12 to 16 reps like a
lot of plans would have you do. The key here is using enough weight to make
those reps count.
Your first set is going to get the muscle warmed up and should be using a weight
that is about 60% of your 1 rep maximum (that is the most weight you can lift
for just 1 rep). Next, you will do 8 reps with a weight that is 80% of your
1rm, this should be very challenging. At this point you will do 6 reps with
a weight that is around 90% of your one rep maximum. This set should be very
difficult to complete and should require tapping into your inner strength to
finish the last rep. You will wait just 60 seconds between sets and the last
set will be done with the weight that is 60% of your maximum again, this time
for just 10 reps, but these will be the toughest reps yet!
You will do just two different exercises for each muscle using the smarter
not harder technique described here and believe me, your muscles will feel the
difference right away. Your workout will take about 35 minutes each day and
you will thoroughly exhaust each muscle throughout the week. You will be amazed
at the results you get in such a short amount of time and you will laugh (inside,
of course) at those guys who spend 2 hours or more at the gym each day and never
change the way they look.