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Trying to figure out how to get a proper warm-up without also spending forever on it; for a while I’d only been doing warm-up sets at 5x40%, 5x60%, 3x80% on the big compound lift which goes first in the routine.

I’d added some mobility and dynamic stretching to counter stiffness but even going by the Reddit fitness wiki there’s a ton of options, and I’d like to shave off some time spent at the gym. (The big lift alone is the warmup sets, then 15 reps over five sets, then another back-off set of “as many quality reps as possible at 80%” to reinforce technique.) I usually do Molding Mobility for joints - in the morning when I remember but most of the time only at the gym; then DeFranco’s Limber 11 if I’m starting a back squat or deadlift, his upper body stuff if I’m starting a press, something more targeted before front squats because they’re weird like that.

If my main lift is something Fiddly™ like the front squat or deficit deadlift, the total of nine sets can take up to an hour if I’m not laser-focused. (Which: let’s assume I’m probably not.) The rest of the workout is done rest-pause and usually takes about an hour for the remaining… ~36 sets of accessories and isolation. But adding up say 2x15 minutes in the locker room, 20-30mins warmup, 2h weights; for a grand total of ~3h door-to-door.

What could I do to trim this down? My one thought was that the light warmup sets are probably overlapping in purpose with the mobility stuff I do: the 40% and 60% don’t particularly feel like a load, and seem like they mostly serve to get the joints through the full ROM for a bit. Not sure how much time it’d save, it is only two quick sets and no rest, but chasing down and swapping plates could be a thing that takes longer than it seems.

I’ve also been experimenting with staggering my routine from push/pull/legs into high-frequency-full-body, which opens up the possibility of supersetting the accessories that are now done on different muscle groups; but that will give me around 15 minutes at most. (The rests between the accessories are 15-60 seconds per set, and if I need a machine on the other side of the gym, or if it’s a busy time, there’s no point.)

The other option would be switching routines but I mostly like this powerbuilding one; bodybuilding-focused ones seem faster, but I’m very unsure about losing the strength+technique benefits of the heavy compound lift. One idea I had would be taking what I do and just splitting up the big lifts and the accessory work, and doing something like: bench press on day 1, pull accessories on day 2, back squat on day 3, push accessories on day 4, deadlift on day 5, leg accessories on day 6… (Give or take extra conditioning or mobility work on big push days, I think I can stand to benefit from either and those lifts are significantly less time consuming.) But I feel like this is getting way beyond my pay grade and I’d prefer input from somebody more familiar with how to do routine programming.

  • I don't think I fully understand your second paragraph, so: what exactly is your mobility routine in a given workout? Because it sounds like you're doing two (sometimes 3) full multi-exercise mobility routines in addition to your main lift and some accessories. – Dave Liepmann Sep 1 at 12:33
  • @DaveLiepmann They’re meant to be short, one is more about joint ROM and the other is dynamic stretches/foam rolling. They might end up taking a lot less time once I don’t have to look at GIFs to remember what to do though. – millimoose Sep 1 at 14:55
  • Do you time your rest periods? – C. Lange Sep 1 at 15:37
  • @C.Lange Yes, I have everything set up in Strong – millimoose Sep 1 at 15:40
  • "I’ve also been experimenting" – careful of changing too many variables at once, and of fuckarounditis. Remember what is fundamental: lift heavy, eat eat eat, rest well. – Dave Liepmann Sep 1 at 17:33
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I’d added some mobility and dynamic stretching to counter stiffness...I usually do Molding Mobility for joints - in the morning when I remember but most of the time only at the gym; then DeFranco’s Limber 11 if I’m starting a back squat or deadlift, his upper body stuff if I’m starting a press, something more targeted before front squats because they’re weird like that.

A morning mobility routine is extremely useful. Putting it in the gym workout on top of your existing pre-lifting mobility routine(s?) is excessive. One mobility routine per workout is a good rule.

(The big lift alone is the warmup sets, then 15 reps over five sets, then another back-off set of “as many quality reps as possible at 80%” to reinforce technique.)

It makes sense for a ~5x3 (+1 back-off set) lift to take half an hour to 45 minutes. Taking longer than that is a choice. Other rep schemes could take less time.

If my main lift is something Fiddly™ like the front squat or deficit deadlift, the total of nine sets can take up to an hour

Taking an hour just for deficit deadlifts sounds excessive. An hour of front squats sounds like it must be either brutal or inefficient.

The rest of the workout is done rest-pause and usually takes about an hour for the remaining… ~36 sets of accessories and isolation.

That's quite a bit of accessories. Have you considered doing less, perhaps by combining them into a short HIIT workout? I've had success keeping my gym time concise & effective with something like:

  1. long warm-up because I'm creaky
  2. main lift, up to 5 heavy sets
  3. (maybe/sometimes) single accessory lift, up to 3 heavy sets
  4. dumbbell/kettlebell/bodyweight circuit, up to 20 minutes

This is a maximum of 2 hours but with some effort can easily be 90 minutes, and if pressed for time shortening #3 and/or #4 brings it to an efficient hour.

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  • I’m working off of online material that seemed okay, most of them have 5-6 exercises total. Shifting the isolation into a circuit would probably help, but I’m reluctant to do my own programming from near-scratch; although I suppose for a starter I could look at the exercises I do now in those slots (which is mostly dumbbells/very few machines) and see if I can find ones I do without either having to trek around the gym that target the same muscle groups. (I suppose replacing crossover station stuff with DB flies, and alternating between three or so back-to-back.) – millimoose Sep 1 at 15:07
  • @millimoose One thing to consider is that doing a ton of accessory work doesn't make a lot of sense when not also eating a ton. Then the question becomes, "what is this exercise for?" – Dave Liepmann Sep 1 at 15:20
  • Okay, so maybe flat out drop some of the accessory work thay seems redundant except for adding volume to something that doesn’t go untrained anyway. IIRC the split has say Romanian deadlifts and hip thrusts on the same day as front squats, so two glute-dominant accessories following a quads+hips compound, so only doing whichever one of those shouldn’t compromise the overall setup? – millimoose Sep 1 at 16:55
  • But my hunch is it’s either setting up a set/the reps (i.e. getting my shoulderblades and butt into the correct position takes a second or two etc.; where a bench press seems to require fewer such tiny adjustments), and overall attention drifting or procrastinating a little on the more taxing exercises. – millimoose Sep 1 at 17:01
  • RDL + Fr. Sq. + hip thrusts all on the same day can be quite a lot. But to be pedantic for a second, those 3 are actually a good "complete breakfast" of complementary exercises: each is a hip exercise that hits one muscle group more than the others (hamstrings, quads, glutes respectively) but they all use all of the hip musculature. – Dave Liepmann Sep 1 at 17:31

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