Monday, December 30, 2013

The Gym Timer - One of the Most Useful Training Tools

Having a timer up on the wall in your garage or commercial gym is a great tool for you and your athletes.
The Gym Timer adds a unique element to training that you don't want to miss.
The gym timer has made a serious bid for one of the most important pieces in the gym.  Ten years ago the only reason to have needed a timer up on the wall at the gym was to know what time it was.

But it can play a serious role in strength and conditioning.  It's no longer just about how much weight you can move or how many reps.  It's now about how quickly can you move that weight as well.

There are those that see the gym timer as a double edged sword.  Is it too strong of a motivator?  Can the user focus too much on moving quickly to beat their last effort and throw form and safety out the window?  No doubt.  That's a possibility.  But for those that strive for integrity in the movements as we all should, the timer is a great training tool to help us measure success and to insist that we push every step of the way.

Let's run through some of the most common workout scenarios that use the timer.  And after having read through these we can see how important a timer can be for the gym.  It's a great motivator that keeps us plugging along and working hard.

AMRAP - As Many Rounds As Possible: (ex - 12 Bodyweight Deadlifts / 12 Pull Ups / 12 Kettlebell Swings)  In this type of workout, the athlete runs through these exercises in a continuous loop until a set time expires.  The gym timer can be set in count down mode to count to zero from a set time, 12 minutes for example.

RFT - Rounds for Time.  In the above workout, instead of repeating until time expires, the goal now is a bit different.  In Rounds for Time, there is a set number of rounds that must be completed before the workout ends.  And the number of rounds depends on the difficulty or number of reps of the individual movements.  A challenging workout for the above would be 5-7 Rounds.  So, in this example, the timer starts counting from zero and keeps counting up until the 5-7 rounds are completed.

EMOM - Every Minute on the Minute.  This is a great use of the timer as well.  With the timer either counting up or counting down, at the top of each minute a short but intense movement is completed.  Some use this style of programming for heavy strength training, i.e. 1-3 heavy back squats.

The Ladder Workout - In this style of workout the number of reps increases each round, ex. 1-2-3-4-5-6... and it is most commonly used for movements like pull ups or burpees, etc...  And in the Ladder workout, the workout ends when the next series of reps can't be completed within the minute.

Tabata... Another very popular method of utilizing the timer founded by Izumi Tabata of Japan in which the athlete performs 20 seconds of high intensity work followed by 10 second of rest for 8 rounds.  In just 4 total minutes you can find yourself gasping for air.  We've seen one of the most popular uses for this sequence by running it back to back for Pull Ups, Push Ups, Sit Ups and Air Squats.

And with these five timing methods, the combination of workouts you can make is endless.  It's the variety in programming that keeps the workouts interesting and fun.  We really like what the gym timer adds to training.  It is the coach that motivates us to beat that last effort and it encourages us to keep moving.

Both of our gym timers are capable of running these timing programs and more.  See our lineup of gym timers here.