A really simple way to increase the difficulty and the benefits of your existing or even future workouts is to reduce the rest time between sets and exercises.
It's very common for people to rest "the standard" 1 minute between sets and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially if you are really pushing it and need the time to recover.
Let me show you a few examples of why and how you could do this:
1. You are rushed for time!
- Most of us have this problem from time to time and rather than just skipping your workout completely, reducing your rest time between sets can get your workout done in less time and even have significant benefits on your metabolism.
2. Your current program is getting a bit stale
- If your current workout takes 45 minutes for example and you rest 1 minute between sets and then the same or even longer between exercises, cutting your rest time to 20-30 seconds will dramatically reduce the time required to complete a workout.
3. Your recovery and general fitness has improved
- A simple rule I use in my own training is to rest just enough to get my breath back and then straight back into it. When your overall fitness and ability to recover improves from training, if you feel good to go after 30 seconds why wait 1-2 minutes for the next set/exercise? If you want and enjoy spending more time in the gym then by all means rest as long as you feel comfortable.
One last tip is to record the time for your whole workout as you would normally do it. Start by reducing the time between exercises, ie. the time you take from say moving from Low or Cable Rows to Lat Pulldown, and try and decrease this overall time. You will also get a more cardiovascular workout from shortening your rest periods and keeping the heart rate elevated.
Try this with any of your workouts whether they are strength training based, body weight, cardio or combinations of either and watch the time fly and your overall conditioning improve.