Fitness Tips: Exactly how to get a great dumbbell workout in less time
This pairs two exercises that work opposite muscle groups, which you then complete back to back with little rest.
Four moves to fit.
Want a really simple way to make your workouts more efficient? Trim down your rest time. Look around the weight room and you’ll probably find a lot of people idling around: sipping water, fiddling with their playlist, chatting with their friends. And of course, sometimes that rest is warranted—like if you’re busting out multiple sets of heavy, taxing lifts.
But for the average gym-goer who’s not working on their one-rep squat max, you don’t need all the downtime. You can still let your muscles adequately recover between sets while continuing to work; you just need the right approach.
One of the approaches I like the most is opposing-muscle supersets, or what you might hear some experts call antagonistic supersets. This pairs two exercises that work opposite muscle groups, which you then complete back to back with little rest.
The idea is that while one muscle group works, the other rests, thereby cutting down the recovery time you actually need to take in between moves. I also like this approach because it helps ensure you’re building balanced strength throughout your body (a.k.a. you’re not overtraining your quads while neglecting your glutes).
With this workout, the first superset is all about your lower body: It first hits the backside (your glutes and hamstrings), and then hits your front side (quads). The second superset does the same with your upper body, first working your back, then working your front (your chest).
You should be able to use the same dumbbells for each exercise in the superset, but you might find that you want to go heavier on the first superset than the second. As always, your goal is to find a weight that lets you complete all the reps with perfect form—but makes you struggle to eek out the final one or two of each set.