Want to build muscle and tone your shape? You have to spend hours in the gym for that, right?
This is one of the many misconceptions people have when it comes to physical exercise. If you’ve ever set foot in a gym, you probably know what I mean, or maybe you’ve even done it yourself. Heck, I used to be one of them; on the same machine for an hour, or still stuck doing the same exercise, on rep number 463 of 800. You get the idea.
What you need to know is this is all a waste of your valuable time!
The good news? With the proper technique, you can squeeze in an amazing workout and be on your way to finish doing whatever it is you do.
Let me first start by saying if you are looking to achieve the shape and bulk of a professional body builder, well, this post is not for you.
So I’ll get right to it. Stop using weights that are too light! And another thing, stop using weights that are clearly TOO heavy! Working out smart includes not trying to show off with a weight you can’t handle just as much as it includes not being afraid to challenge yourself AND your muscles!
Now I wont tell you exactly how many reps and sets you should be doing for each exercise because that is going to depend on what you are looking to accomplish and what your current fitness level is, BUT I will give you a general range that will allow you to tone, tighten & build muscle. You DO NOT need to be in the gym for hours. You can accomplish a perfectly effective workout with the right technique.
I learned something I will refer to as the “Six-Twelve Rule”. Essentially, for each
exercise choose a weight that is light enough to complete 6 reps, but heavy enough where by the time you get to 12 reps, you simply cannot do any more. The last 2 to 3 reps should be a struggle. Choose 6 different exercises to do and complete 4 sets of 6-12 reps each.
Here’s an example:
It’s LEGS DAY! (Zeena’s Favorite 🙂 – Just kidding Zeena!)
Choose your 6 different leg exercises, making sure you are covering all parts of the leg, (ie: calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, etc.) Now, start with your first exercise.
Let’s say you start with weighted lunges, grab a set of dumbbells that are a weight that would allow you to complete 6 reps comfortably, but by the time you got the the 12th rep, you wouldn’t be able to go any further. Do this 4 times for each leg.
Then, move on to your next exercise, adjusting you the heaviness of your weights as needed. Repeat until you have completed all 6 of your exercises.
Now obviously there are a lot of variables that are going to play a role in each individuals physical fitness needs, and nothing in this life is black and white, but I hope you get the general idea of how to work out smarter. Stop doing endless reps with weights that are too light. Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to pick up a heavier weight, but of course don’t break your back with a weight you are not ready for. Try the “Six-Twelve Rule”. Perhaps you’ll decide you like doing 10 reps and 3 sets. That’s fine too!
Don’t be overly literal with the number of reps and sets. 6 & 12 are a great place to start and depending on the individual or the exercise at hand, you may need to adjust. Listen to your body, and HAVE FUN! 🙂