Timed Exercise is the New Rep And Set

Using Reps and Sets

During exercise many people establish patterns of how many reps and sets to do of a specific exercise. As this happens, the amount of time they spend exercising becomes somewhat easy to estimate too. For example, if I do X number of sets, I can expect to spend Y amount of time exercising.

What if instead of counting reps and sets during exercise, we focus on the total amount time spent exercising? We propose, by doing this you will allow increased flexibility and creativity into your workouts while still making the most of the time you spend exercising.

Here are three tips for getting the most out of your workout while focusing on the total time spent exercising as opposed to counting reps and sets. Choose one number for how much time you want to spend exercising, 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes. Remember that number only and use these tips to get an effective workout.

Tip #1 Switch between exercises done in sitting, standing and lying positions

Many exercises can be done in multiple positions, as long as you are challenging yourself at a healthy level, experiment by doing the same movement in a standing, sitting or lying position, thus working additional groups and adding some variety to your workout.  Having these options also makes your workout adaptable to your energy levels, moods and environment.

A Gravity Ball bicycle is an example of an exercise done in the lying position.

A Gravity Ball bicycle is an example of an exercise done in the lying position.

2. Break up exercise into several sessions done throughout the day

Are you not able to do the full 30 minutes you had planned RIGHT NOW? No problem, break up your workout into two 15 minute sessions done at different times throughout the day. When you do this you only need to remember one number (15 minutes), not the number of reps or sets left of a certain exercise. Make things easier on yourself.

3. Challenge yourself through using the time principle

Just because you are not pushing yourself through your last rep, you can still challenge yourself in your workout by a number of ways.

Gravity actually begins working against you as soon as you pick up a weight. Your body becomes off balance and more core strength is required just to keep you standing up straight. As long as you are holding a weight, you are getting in some exercise.

In order to get the most effective workout in the time you’ve set aside, try these tips:

  • Push the ball away from your center of gravity (COG) – Most of the time our center of gravity is in our torso / stomach region. When we push or hold a weight away from us the stronger the force of gravity acting down on us is and the heavier the weight feels. More strength is required to hold up a weight that is farther away from you as compared to closer. When you need a rest, bring the weight closer to your center of gravity.

  • Use proper form - Regardless of the exercise you are doing, performing it with proper form and technique is of utmost importance for avoiding the risk of injury.

Whatever you do, have fun with it and push yourself a little more than you did yesterday and you’ll thank yourself tomorrow!