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Two Routines For Faster Workouts
Giant Sets and You-Me's

Getting more done in less time is one of the driving principles in fitness. With hectic social commitments, long work hours and the distractions offered by TV and computers, people are lucky to find 45 minutes for a little exercise. To help you get in and out quickly, I've got a couple of routines that can really push the envelope.

Both these routines are for people who are already at an intermediate or advanced stage of fitness. You should not attempt them if you're a beginner. Anyone who tries either of these routines without some prior exercise training will very likely damage their muscles. You've been warned.

You should not use these routines for every workout. Save them for when you want something more challenging, as a way to attack a weak area in your physique or to break through a plateau.

Giant Sets

The first is called a Giant Set. It's simply 4 exercises, done for a single body part with no more than 10 or 15 seconds rest between each set. Try and get about 10 reps out for each set.

If you were working your chest, you might start with 10 flat bench presses, then move to an upright position for cable flies, then lower the bench for 10 decline bench presses and finish off with 10 reps of incline dumbbell flies. Giant sets can be arranged for any muscle group you want to target including arms, legs or back.

There are a couple of things you should consider. Always move from heaviest to lightest weights. You might need to take off 5 or more pounds for each progressive set to make sure you can complete 10 reps of each. Do them at a time and place where you won't be interrupted and where you can set up everything in advance. The goal is to move from one exercise to another with no more than 10 or 15 seconds between each set.

A complete workout would consist of 2 or 3 giant sets, with a rest of 1-2 minutes between each set. Make sure you minimize the rest periods in between them and you'll get a little bit of a cardio burn-in as well. Your entire workout can be done in 25-40 minutes, depending on how many giant sets you perform. It'll be over quick but your muscles will be screaming.


The second routine is specifically for arms and it's often called "partner-assisted barbell curls." The version I'm going to describe is called "You-Me's." What makes them different from traditional barbell curls is that both you and your partner are getting a workout in.

It's important to start with a partner that is similar to you in strength. Choose a barbell that's about 75% of the weight you would normally use for a 10-rep set. Face your partner and complete 15 reps, then hand your partner the barbell to do the same thing.

When your partner finishes, you get the barbell back to do it again. You might not be able to finish 15 reps, but get as close as you can, while maintaining strict form. Keep passing the barbell back and forth, carefully spotting each other until you've finished 6-8 sets. During each set, you should try and complete 15 reps, but by the end, you'll be lucky if you finish 3 or 4 reps. If you were able to complete at least 10 reps on the final 8th set, the weight was too light and you need to increase it.

If you don't have a partner that's similar to you in strength, you can do the same thing but without your partner doing their sets. Instead, when you hand the weight off your partner simply counts out 10 seconds, then hands you back the weight to do your next set.

The You-Me technique can be used with any exercise that utilizes a free weight you can pass back and forth to a partner. Just make sure whatever exercise you choose, that you maintain strict form and that you'll be able to safely take the weights from your partner if their muscles hit failure.

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