The Fitness Zone

A Step-By-Step Guide To Achieve The Most Efficient Workouts

Jul 21, 2016 | by AIF

Whether you are a beginner or advanced lifter, there is nothing more satisfying than reaching your training goals, however this can be a frustrating task if you aren’t training efficiently. But don’t worry, you’re not alone, and we have the amazing Nathan Yannakopoulos and Brodie Hicks, Fitness Coaches from the Australian Institute of Fitness, QLD, who have five simple workout hacks to help you get more out of your workout. So for the guys and gals who are working their butts off yet seeing little to no results, this article is for you.

1. Mobility and Activation Warm-Ups

Warm-ups are typically conducted poorly, or not at all! How often do you see people wander into the gym, walk immediately up to a squat rack, and start pumping out reps? If you’re doing this, you’re not only drastically increasing the risk of seriously injuring yourself, but are also not able to exercise to your full potential.

For those who do warm-up, you may be doing some cardio, followed by some dynamic stretches, but current research suggests that including mobility and activation work within your warm-up is the way to go!.

Mobility and activation warm-ups include a range of exercises designed to increase the range of movement (ROM) in your joints, as well as activating the muscles you are about to put under pressure. Leg and arm swings are just a couple of exercises you can add to your warm-up routine.

2. Supersets

Supersets are THE most commonly used training technique to boost intensity. It involves completing two exercises, one after the other, within one single set. Virtually any two exercises can be paired together to create a superset.

But why supersets? When compared to other training techniques, supersets expend more energy per minute of exercise, which means less time in the gym AND getting more bang for your buck out of each exercise!

3. Compound Exercises

The argument over compound versus isolation exercises generally boils down to the goals of the individual. The strongest and most powerful athletes in the world typically focus on compound movements such as squats, deadlifts and power cleans, while bodybuilders generally spend a lot of time focusing on isolation exercises such as bicep curls and tricep extensions.

For those of you who are looking for exercises that are sure to burn more calories, and use more muscles, you need to be thinking compound. Compound exercises require movement over two or more joints, e.g. hip and knee joint in a squat, which allows you to target more muscles in less time.

In addition to all of these amazing benefits, compound exercises are also far more functional; therefore transfer well to athletic performance and typically produce less stress on your joints.

4. Rest Periods

Possibly one of the single greatest annoyances of general gym goers is witnessing someone sit on an exercise station, usually on their mobile, waiting for their five-minute rest period to be up. Surely they do not need to rest that long! Or do they?

In a technical sense, the length of rest between sets is to be determined by your goals, e.g. in order to gain muscle power or increase strength you typically require more recovery, than if your goals were to increase muscle mass or increase muscle endurance. In saying this, the reason for rest periods is to recover, so listening to your body it the key. If you are feeling fatigued, or off your A game, a longer rest may be required!

5. Active Recovery

While typical rest periods involve sitting/standing still, active recovery involves a period of light aerobic activity during the rest between sets.

Research has shown that incorporating active recovery into your workout may improve contraction of the muscle, and improved muscle efficiency. Aside from these benefits, implementing active recovery between sets means that you are able to incorporate that dreaded cardio session into your strength session, and finally, all that extra moving during your workout means more calories burned! Win-win!



The Australian Institute of Fitness
The Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF) is the largest and longest established fitness training organisation in Australia, with dynamic training methods and expert course coaches nationwide - spanning fitness, massage and nutrition. The AIF qualifies more fitness professionals than any other provider in Australia, as well as offering a broad range of continuing education courses (CEC), upskilling resources and partnership programs for existing industry.

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Disclaimer: Where Certificate III in Fitness, Cert III/Cert 3, or Fitness Coach is mentioned, it refers to SIS30321 Certificate III in Fitness. Where Certificate IV in Fitness, Cert IV/Cert 4, or Personal Trainer is mentioned, it refers to SIS40221 Certificate IV in Fitness. Where Master Trainer Program™ is mentioned, it refers to Fitness Essentials and SIS40221 Certificate IV in Fitness. Where Master Trainer Plus+ Program™ is mentioned, it refers to SIS30321 Certificate III in Fitness and SIS40221 Certificate IV in Fitness. Where Certificate IV in Massage or Cert IV/Cert 4 is mentioned, it refers to HLT42021 Certificate IV in Massage Therapy. Where Diploma of Remedial Massage is mentioned, it refers to HLT52021 Diploma of Remedial Massage.