What do you do with your time between strength-training sets? At the clubs where I work out, here’s what I usually see: people sitting on a piece of equipment for long periods of time between sets, zoning out, checking their phone messages, or chatting with others.
The sitting around part can be a pain for others because in a crowded gym, chances are good someone else would like to be using the bench or machine you’re perched on.
Now I’m going to sound like an old crank. But when I first started working out seriously, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, it was common gym etiquette to allow others to “work in” with you.
Nobody took offense if you approached someone to ask whether you could work in. And if you were using a piece of equipment and saw someone standing around nearby, you’d ask him or her, “Would you like to work in with me?”
That’s a phrase I rarely hear these days.
But parking your butt on the equipment for 15 minutes straight isn’t just a matter of potentially being rude. It also diminishes your workout. When you’re sitting around vegging, you’re losing an opportunity to keep your heart rate up, to burn a few more calories–and you’re losing focus and intensity.
Here’s what I like to do upon finishing a set: immediately move to another exercise for the same or a different body part, walk around the gym, or even jump on a treadmill for two minutes.
Staying in motion keeps my energy up, and while I’m walking, I start thinking about the next set and what I hope to accomplish with it.
If I just sit and wait, I can feel my energy draining away and my intensity fading. And although I don’t want to be antisocial in the gym, there’s only so much time I’ll devote to chatting with people until the workout is over.
During those precious minutes I have to spend in the gym, I want to be fully engaged–just me and the weights, doing our customary dance.
So what do you do between sets? And are you happy with the energy level of your workout?
Flickr photo by Jagrap