Weight lifting - Possible to alternate upper and lower body with less recovery between sets?

Hi all. I just started lifting and I get the point of having a rather long rest between sets in order to recover properly. The recommended 3mins just add a lot to the total workout time, and especially in the morning it feels like spending too much time in the basement instead of getting out of the house.
Would it be possible to alternate upper and lower body exercises and keep rest time shorter, say 1min? I have been doing that with body weight exercises and it felt good, but of course load and rep number don’t compare.
Does anybody have experience, good or bad, or some theoretical arguments that speak for or against it? Are there maybe other strategies to make lifting less time consuming?
In case it matters, I am male, 48y, recreational athlete for 30y, TR for 2y, quite some experience with weight lifting (although with a different training goal when I was 19…)
I’m grateful for any input…

1 Like

My N-1 is that alternating upper and lower body exercises does enable you to reduce recovery a bit, but you’ll still notice the impact especially when lifting heavy and getting close to your max.

Would also say though that when it comes to strength training for cyclists the maxim “perfect is the enemy of good” always applies. I.e. the optimal approach might be one exercise at a time with 3 minute recoveries. But if alternating exercises with ~1 minute recovery enables you to get your lifting done in half the time and that in turn means you’re more consistent at doing it and/or free up more time for sleeping, cycling and other life stuff, then that’s going to net you better results in the long run than whatever the incremental benefit of that extra recovery would be.

1 Like

Obviously it all depends on goals, but this has worked for me–2-3/x week off season. Everything organized around planes of movement.

Only “big” lifts requiring longer rests are lower body. One bilateral, one unilateral, alternating hip/knee dominant. So one day might be deadlifts and rear foot elevated split squats, the next front squats and one-legged Romanian deadlifts.

Then upper body horizontal pull/push and vertical pull/push, again alternating unilateral/bilateral. But because the muscles you push with rest during the pull and vice versa, you can super-set them. So, for example, dips right into one arm rows, then rest, then dips/rows. Pullups right into one armed overhead press, then rest.

Follow that with two core, one “vertical”, one rotational, e.g, ab rollouts and Palloff presses.

In off season maybe finish up with a Tabata jump rope or kettlebell swing.

Even with 3 minutes rest for the big lifts, I can get this done in an hour and 15 minutes, including warmup.

1 Like

Yep. I do this all the time, alternating either deadlifts or squats with chin-ups. Just increase the rest times as you go heavier.

1 Like