Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grouping Exercises Saves Times While Providing Equal Benefits

The benefits of the multiple mini-circuit method of performing resistance exercise have been described previously in this blog. It involves doing a set of each of 2-5 exercises in a grouping, then repeating the cycle 3 or more times before going on to the next exercise grouping. The advantages include:
  • A lot of exercise can be done in a given time period.
  • Each muscle group has adequate recovery time.
  • Heart rate remains high, affording some aerobic conditioning.
  • The body becomes accustomed to intermittent high-intensity exertions, relevant to many sports.
A recent article by Robbins at al. in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (vol. 24, no. 7, pp. 1782-1789, 2010) provides research support for this exercise method.

Study Method
18 physically trained men performed the following two exercises:
  • Bench Pull - lie face down on a bench and perform a rowing movement to raise a barbell lying under the bench
  • Bench Throw - Perform an explosive bench press movement throwing the bar upwards, using a specially designed machine that catches the barbell so it does not fall back down on the lifter
On one day they first did 3 sets of bench pulls followed by 3 sets of bench throws for a total of about 20 minutes of exercise. On another day, they alternated sets of bench pull and bench press, accomplishing 3 sets of each, for a total of about 10 minutes of exercise.

Even though the alternating sets took half as much time as performing 3 sets of one exercise followed by 3 sets of the other exercise, the subjects were able to handle as much weight for as many repetitions of each exercise in both types of routines. In addition, measures such as bench press throw height, peak power, peak velocity, and muscle electrical activity were the same for both routines.

Bottom Line
While saving a lot of time, performing exercises in groupings worked the muscles as well as doing all sets of each exercise before going on to the next exercise. Thus, the grouping method enables a full workout to be performed in much less time or allows more work to be done in a given amount of time.

NOTE: Our descriptions of exercise programs are for educational purposes and do not constitute recommendations. Anyone embarking on a physical exercise program must be in good enough health to safely do so. Fitness to exercise can best be determined by a physician's clearance.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome questions and comments.