I’m a huge believer in setting up circuits of three or more exercises when training. This saves time as well as increases the intensity of the workout as you can reduce the rest periods in between sets. I tend to do an exercise, then rest 30 seconds or so before moving on to exercise two, three and so on until the circuit of exercises has been completed. This allows me to increase work density while still getting “true” rest in between exercises that are either the same or similar in that they target a particular area of the body.
The workout might look something like this:
• single leg squats
• rest 30 seconds
• push ups
• rest 30 seconds
• bent over rows
• rest 60 seconds and then repeat the circuit
By doing the workout this way you increase the rest in between the single leg squat sets, push up sets and bent over row sets, but at the same time increase your work to rest ratio. This really aids fat loss and can be used to condition athletes in a time constrained environment.
While this is a great way to work out, there are some problems with this model of training. If you use a commercial gym or are training in a facility used by other people then you may find it quite difficult to use two pieces of equipment at the same time, especially if you are training at a busy time of the day.
So what if you could perform exercises where you stayed in the same place using the same load for the entire duration of the workout. Is this possible? Well it is through combination lifting. After getting into this type of training I found it worked just as well if not better than alternating sets or performing circuits of exercises.
Combinations or Combo lifts are broken down into three different categories:
1. True Combinations: This is when two or more lifts are performed together with a pause between each e.g. Power clean + front squat.
2. Hybrids: This differs from the true form of the combination in that there is no pause between the movements. They simply flow into one another. In fact, the previous movement sometimes isn’t completed before the next movement begins (e.g. Front squat to overhead press)
3. Complexes: In this variation two or more exercises are done but each exercise is performed independently of the other so exercise 1 is performed for a certain amount of reps before moving on to exercise 2, 3 and so on (e.g. Kettlebell single leg dead-lift (10 reps) followed by bent over row (10 reps) followed by Kettlebell swings (10 reps).
After trying this type of training you will understand why it works in helping people lose unwanted body fat. They are extremely difficult and will really get your heart rate up. Besides increasing the intensity of your workout, combo lifts are great for those who lack equipment or space. If you are working out at home or in the park and you only have a kettlebell or TRX suspension trainer, you can still get a great metabolic workout done in a short space of time.