Faster Workouts is designed around 3 key scientific findings, observed by scientists all over the world, over the past twenty years.
The greatest improvement comes from the first set.
In 2017, Dr. Ralston in the UK analyzed the results of a dozen studies and came to a startling conclusion: 80% of the benefit comes from the first few sets each week.
That finding is supported by dozens of studies that have compared doing 3 sets of each exercise to doing only 1 set – and few of those studies show that 3 is better than 1.
Right there, you can save 67% of your time by doing just 1 set. You have to try hard, but you’re done quickly.
While gyms won’t tell you this, the guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine back this up, noting that “A single set of resistance exercise can be effective especially among older and novice exercisers.”
You get almost all of the benefit from the first set, so why waste time doing more?
Multiple joint exercises are just as good as single joint exercises.
Some work 5 muscle groups, some work just 1.
Studies have compared doing single joint exercises that work only 1 muscle group to multiple joint exercises which work up to 5.
A study comparing the effects of multiple-joint (MJ) exercises to single-joint (SJ) exercises showed no difference, though you could do far fewer sets if you use MJ exercises. The study noted that “Long-term studies comparing increases in muscle size and strength in the upper limbs reported no difference between SJ and MJ exercises and no additional effects when SJ exercises were included in an MJ exercise program”.
To take this point to its logical conclusion, a study by Dr. Iversen in 2021 in Norway points the way. If you can’t put Norway on a map, just know that no country wins more Olympic medals per capita, so they must be doing something right when it comes to exercise science.
The study even included a specific suggestion, that the most time-efficient program has “a minimum of one leg pressing exercise (e.g. squats), one upper-body pulling exercise (e.g. pull-up) and one upper-body pushing exercise (e.g. bench press).”
That’s why all of our Faster Workouts include one pulling, one pushing and one leg pressing exercise. That’s all you need.
The fewer repetitions you do, the stronger you get.
Let’s be clear, to get stronger you have to work hard.
But if you do 15 repetitions and think that’s better than 10, you’re dead wrong.
Studies show over and over that after 10 repetitions, you’re starting to do more aerobic exercise (like running) and less strength training.
The fewer repetitions you do, the higher the “intensity” – which is critical.
Dr. Melissa Raymond, a researcher in Australia published the results of 21 different studies that compared low versus high intensity strength training – and it wasn’t even close.
The key here is that that the last repetition has to be “very hard” – but if you do that, you won’t need to do more than 10 repetitions ever again.
Again, just like the above time-saving hacks, less is more.
If you have questions about this, please email me at email@example.com.
The goal is to make this super-simple but super-effective.
Dr. Chris Sciamanna