When trying to squeeze 32 hours of productivity out of a 24-hour day, efficiency is everything. Whether it's listening to your phone messages while typing e-mails, finishing a presentation for work while microwaving a quick dinner, or paying bills while playing online blackjack, doubling down on activities (and 11 when the dealer's showing a 6) is paramount to success.
That same level of impressive time management doesn't have to end at the health-club doors. By using supersets - doing two exercises back-to-back with no rest in between - you can significantly cut down the minutes you spend working out. Best of all, instead of compromising your results, it may in fact enhance them because the shortened rest periods serve to increase the overall intensity of your session. (Because your biceps strength isn't diminished by fatigued triceps and vice versa, your arms are excellent candidates for this training technique.)
This program also includes other nods to efficiency. The three exercise pairings utilize the same equipment: The first two moves are done at a preacher bench with an EZ-bar; the second two are both dumbbell moves; and the third superset takes place at a cable-pulley apparatus. That means no running around a crowded gym trying to monopolize multiple stations. All in all, it's a triumph of multitasking, and it may just buy you a few extra moments to squeeze in another important yet often neglected "to do" - a little R&R.
"SUPER" ARM ROUTINE
Supersets are two exercises done back-to-back with no rest; rest 30 to 60 seconds between each superset.
||Seated EZ-Bar Overhead Extension
||15, 12, 10|
|Biceps|| EZ-Bar Preacher Curl
||15, 12, 10
||Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curl
||15, 12, 10|
|Triceps||Dual Twisting Dumbbell Kickback|| 3
15, 12, 10
|Triceps|| Cable Pushdown
THE EXERCISES: A HOW-TO GUIDE
Seated EZ-Bar Overhead Extension
1. Sit backward on the preacher bench, holding an EZ-bar overhead. Your upper arms should be alongside your ears.
2. Bend at your elbows to lower the bar down to a point just behind your head.
3. Reverse the motion to bring the bar back overhead.
EZ-Bar Preacher Curl
1. Sit with your underarms snug against the preacher-bench pad, holding an EZ-bar.
2. Flex your biceps to curl the bar toward your shoulders.
3. Pause for a one-count at the top, then lower the bar and repeat.
Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curl
1. Sit in a low-back chair or on a flat bench, a dumbbell in each hand.
2. Curl one dumbbell up toward your shoulder, then lower it and immediately repeat with the other arm.
3. One full curl with each arm equals one repetition.
Dual-Twisting Dumbbell Kickback
1. With a dumbbell in each hand, bend about 90 degrees at the waist, keeping your core tight, back flat and your head in a neutral position, your eyes toward the floor. Your upper arms should be at your sides, arms bent and palms facing in.
2. Moving only at the elbows, straighten both arms to lift the dumbbells out behind you, at the same time twisting your wrists outward so your palms face the ceiling at full extension.
3. Return both dumbbells to the start, twisting your wrists so your palms face your body at the bottom.
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in front of an upper-cable pulley. Grasp a short straight-bar attachment with an overhand grip and hold it with bent arms, forearms parallel to the floor, elbows at your sides.
2. Flex your triceps to push the bar down toward your thighs, moving only at the elbows. Pause for a one-count at full extension.
3. Return the bar along the same path - don't let the weight stack touch down between reps.
1. With your feet shoulder-width apart and core tight, hold a short straight-bar attachment, palms up, arms straight, elbows at your sides.
2. Bend both elbows to curl the bar toward your chest, keeping your elbows tight at your sides and not letting them shift forward.
3. Pause and squeeze your biceps briefly at the top, then lower the bar to the start. Don't let the stack touch down between reps.