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episode #279

No Time? The Most Efficient Strength & Hypertrophy Program – A Narrative Review

August 21, 2023 in Podcast


This week I discuss a review based on ways to build the most efficient, effective strength program for busy individuals. To summarize:

  • Perform at least 4 weekly sets per muscle group (chest, back, legs)
  • Use a 6–15 RM loading range (15–40 repetitions can be used if training is performed to failure)
  • Perform at least one lower body exercise, and one pulling-, and one pushing exercise for the upper body
  • Utilize time saving training strategies: Drop-sets, rest-pause training and supersets
  • General warm-up should not be prioritized when time is of an essence
  • Specific warm-up can be useful when training with heavy loads
Use some of these time-saving techniques so you can be consistent when it comes to building and maintaining strength as you age! Have a great day!

Episode Resources:

Citation:  Iversen, V.M., Norum, M., Schoenfeld, B.J. et al. No Time to Lift? Designing Time-Efficient Training Programs for Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review. Sports Med 51, 2079–2095 (2021).


Brian (1s):

Hello and welcome to the GETLEAN and Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. I'm a certified health coach, trainer and author, and this podcast is for middle aged men and women looking to optimize their health and get their bodies back to what it once was 10 to 15 years ago. I will give you simple, actionable items to get long term sustainable results. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show. All, right Welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. I hope you had a great weekend and happy Tuesday. If you're listening to us on Tuesday, hopefully you'll listen to my interview with Jared Roski, a k a, the Health Goat.

Brian (45s):

He's a holistic health practitioner and out of LA and we touched on all about his brand guide to dominate the grocery store. We talked about just simplifying things and optimizing circadian rhythm and much, much more. So I've known Jared for a while. He's coming up, he's got some great courses and brand guides and he does some cool reels on Instagram. So check it out. Those are all in the show notes and yeah, worth a listen. Episode 2 78 and on today's micro podcast, I, I got this from Mike Mussel. He did a review on this article and I thought it would be beneficial to do it as well.

Brian (1m 29s):

And the title of the article, and I'm gonna share my screen real quick. If you're watching on, you know, YouTube, you can take a look here. It's called No, Time to Lift. Here we go. No Time to Lift, Designing Time Efficient Training Programs for Strength and Hypertrophy, A Narrative Review. And so I went through this article, I mean it's long, but what I love about these reviews is the fact that it takes a bunch of different studies and then gives you sort of a conclusion as to what to take from them. And the reason I like these reviews is because, you know, you could read one study that sort of has this one Narrative and it can complete completely different than something else.

Brian (2m 12s):

And like as we've talked about in this podcast, you can go sort of crazy and whatever Narrative you really want to hear, you can find a study for. So I like these ones that sort of take a bunch of different studies and then give you a conclusion. So that's what I'm gonna do with you is I'm going to share sort of the high level conclusions based on this. Because for one thing what I like about this is it talks about, you know, first of all, muscle is how important it is. We always talked about that for metabolic health, for burning Fat, improving resting energy expenditure, helping with aging and longevity. And so what this goes through is, you know, for individuals who maybe don't have enough time to Lift or to do Resistance training, you know, spend an hour or two in the gym, you know, what is the most efficient way for them to get results and maintain it in the long term and stay consistent over time.

Brian (3m 9s):

Because I always say consistency is the most important thing. So let's just hit on the high level, sort of the practical applications for this time efficient strength and Hypertrophy Program. Okay, first and foremost, how much and how heavy should you train? So the article stated that performing about four weekly sets per muscle group was enough. So four weekly sets, I mean that could be done, gosh, that could be done in one day, that could be done on two days. I think two days, two sets, two days is, is is more than reasonable. So, they said at least four weekly sets per muscle group, group.

Brian (3m 54s):

So if you're, you know, for chest, that would be four bench pre, excuse me, having trouble talking for bench press sets or four sets of squats for lower body. And it mentioned that you can increase the volume when possible up to 10 weekly sets. Okay, so there is some, you know, leeway in the sense that if, if you do enjoy and you have more time and you enjoy going to the gym, you can do up to 10 weekly sets. So let's just say between four and 10 based, depending on your time constraints. And then using six to 15 rep range for strength in Hypertrophy.

Brian (4m 35s):

Okay, so six to 15, which you know we've talked about here. Sometimes you'll hear six to 12, but I think that's a good rep range to go with. If you do lighter loads and you wanna go hit the rep range and do 15 to 40, that's fine, but you gotta just make sure that you're performing at close to failure. I mean, if you do 30, 30 reps and you're just, it's, it's not, you're not feeling much, then you're probably gotta go up and wait a little bit. So if you do lighter loads, you can do more reps, but you gotta try to get close to failure. So secondly, what should you train? Well, you should perform lower body, at least one lower body, one pulling and one pushing for the upper body.

Brian (5m 21s):

And preferably these would be like multi-joint exercises like a leg press seated row bench press, okay, so you could do this all in one workout, you could do one lower body, one pulling and one pushing machine machines. Could be, you know, used free weights based on your training goals, availability and personal preference. I mean if you, obviously if you're working out from your house, you're not gonna have, assuming you don't have too many machines in your house unless you got a big basement with a whole weight set in there. But free weights also like I've done and, and I've had used it over the years as the X three or some type of Resistance band training.

Brian (6m 3s):

There's some good ones out there and I like using the X three. And so that's, that's another sort of option as well. And you can bring that when you travel. So like it talks about you could do body weight training as well. So that's how much and how heavy you should train. That's what you should train, okay, make, gotta make sure you hit the lower body and the upper body. Personally I like lower body better. Most people like upper body, but for me that's just something I prefer. I do all of it, but I do prefer lower body time saving strategy. So it talks about drop sets, rest pause training and supersets And.

Brian (6m 44s):

what the, the reason it brings this up is it can pretty much cut your training time down in like half compared to traditional training. So, and it, it can be beneficial for Hypertrophy. So for example, a drop set, okay, this is something that I, I use from time to time, not all the time. And you can create fatigue, create failure pretty quickly and then be done. It's when you perform an exercise and then you sort of drop the weight, let's just say anywhere from 10 to 30% and continue for more reps until you reach failure. So if you've ever seen someone doing like the bench press And, you know, let's just say they got, you know, 1 45 on there, they'll bring it down maybe from there to one 15, you know, then maybe 95 and then maybe 75 and then maybe just a bar at 45.

Brian (7m 39s):

So that would be a drop set and it's, you know, you, it's fatiguing and you just go through it once and done. So that's an efficient way of doing things. There's something called rest pause training and that's another way to be time efficient. It breaks down one set into numerous mini sets with 10 to 15 second rests in between. So this not only helps fatigue and break fatigues the muscle fiber but also can break down break help you break through, excuse me, challenging strength and growth plateaus. So I don't really do this much rest pause training.

Brian (8m 20s):

This would be just one set and just trying to get probably as much out of that set as possible with small little rests. So if you did 1 35 bench and you did it you know for 20 and then you rested a little bit and you try to do as many then the next time and then rest and, and just one, one big set but broken down into mini sets, that's rest pause training. And then last one they mentioned to be time efficient, and this is something I do quite a bit is supersets, you could do some type of a push pull super set where you do a bench press followed by a row shoulder press followed by gosh shoulder press followed by like, you know, reverse flies, you know, so you're doing opposing muscles and back to back as opposed to doing bench rest.

Brian (9m 18s):

Bench rest just do, you could do bench and then rows and then come back to bench. By the time you're done with the rows you've had efficient rest period. So they're great for reducing workout time and can, you know, obviously great for muscle growth. I love doing supersets and doing some type of push pull or you know, if I'm doing legs, maybe I'll do more backside hamstringing GLTE work and then do some type of quad exercise and do those back to back. So supersets are great rest pause training, I don't do that as much. And then drop sets can be very efficient. So those are time-saving strategies.

Brian (10m 1s):

And give those a try as well. They talk about those. And then lastly, warm up and stretching, overrated a bit of, you know, I would say do the warm, do a warmup based on what you're doing. So if you're doing bench press, just start with really light bench press and that's all you need to do for a warmup. You don't need to do some type of stretching, elaborate stretching, warmup. I just like to do, get move. I would say do some type of movement, you know, maybe get the blood flowing. But I would say that stretching is a bit overrated from that standpoint. I typically like to do some releases, which I can't, it's tough to talk about it right now, but you know, you can release your glutes, you can, you know, do some releases for your calves when you're doing lower body upper body.

Brian (10m 49s):

I like to just, you know, release, release my chest, my OIDs, things like that. But I would say do a Specific warm up based on whatever that exercise that you're gonna be doing. So if you're doing squats, do light squats. If you're doing bench press, do light bench press and then you could just get right into it. And so that's a good way to just save time. You don't need some elaborate warmup session. So that's what I wanna touch on today. I will leave a link in the show notes for this review. And yeah, it's just, I, I liked it 'cause it, you know, Designing a time efficient training program for strength and Hypertrophy is I think ideal.

Brian (11m 32s):

I think everyone should be doing it. So that's all I want, what I wanna touch on today. If you have any questions, feel free to email me, Brian at Brian Gryn dot com. If you're loving the podcast, would love a review and on iTunes or Spotify, wherever you're listening. And we're also on YouTube. So thanks so much for listening. Enjoy the day and the week. I'll talk to you on Friday with another great interview. Thanks for listening to the GETLEAN E Clean podcast. I understand there are millions of other Podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes at Brian Gryn dot com for everything that was mentioned in this episode.

Brian (12m 14s):

Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again, and Have a great day.

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