Here is our weekly guest post by Mr Paul Hess of www.primalrejuvenation.com
ARE YOU STRONGER EVERY WORKOUT?
Most guys are not making enough progress and don’t even know how to measure progress.
The biggest problem is over-training--that needs to be defined precisely.
With body building, for example, if you are not stronger every set in every work out, then you are overtraining. Read that again.
When I ask most guys if they are getting stronger they say something like, “Yeah, I think so, I mean I think I noticed maybe a few weeks ago.” And maybe you did a few times or awhile ago, but this is really sloppy.
If you are not writing everything down you don’t know.
Did you increase a rep or weight at the same number of reps?
Did you do that on every exercise?
You can bullshit yourself but you can’t bullshit me: Show me the data.
The problem is that you lack both theory and method. You need both. Body building is not simply a practical activity. All practical activity depends on theory, even if it is usually only implicit and unconscious.
Understanding exercise is based on the theory of stress adaptation: a stress (lifting a weight) triggers an adaptive response, which leads to successful adaptation if there is enough rest and nutrients. So exercise adaptation is stress, rest, and eating. Let’s look what is directly related to your routine: stress and rest.
Stress has 3 components: intensity, volume, frequency.
For strength and muscle size it is intensity that triggers growth, the amount of weight.
Not volume as number of sets or higher frequency in terms of rest days.
Rest is undermined by a high number of sets and working out too frequently.
So what you need in some sense is the minimum about of intensity and maximum amount of rest.
If you have studied body building you probably already know something about this. Some pro body builders went from working out each body part 2 twice a week for one or two hours each workout, to each body part once a week, in shorter workouts of 30 to 45 minutes, maybe even only working out every other day. This is ONE example of the theory, but this does not explain the method. You cannot just follow a set routine or copy someone else’s. Those guys are on steroids or designer growth hormones.
The method is what is crucial. The method is to adjust your variables based on if you are stronger every set of every workout. So if you are off even one set without some kind of increase, what do you do? Taking relatively high intensity as a given you have to reduce volume and frequency.
The truth of what works is often so far outside the box and anything you can imagine so you don’t even want to believe it. It was Mike Mentzer a few decades ago that popularized his method of Heavy Duty first conceived by Nautilus machine inventor, Arthur Jones. Dorian Yates followed this generally and won the Mr. Universe contest in the 1990’s as the biggest freakin’ thing that had ever been seen.
Mentzer worked with more regular clients. He found that the rest intervals needed were astonishing. He told a story of a client who could not get stronger until he reduced his volume to 20 minute workouts once every 5 days on a 3 way split—that’s working out each body part with only about two exercises each body part only once every 15 days. Then the client finally gained 38 pounds of muscle. This is simply incomprehensible to most people. They have stuck in their heads some implicit theory that says “I got to get to the gym more.” That’s not results-driven logic.
Some guys just want to get the gym because the pump feels good, as Arnold Schwarzenegger said, working out is a like a “full body erection.” That’s cool, but save some of that pump for your girlfriend.
Many men and women are so over-trained they don’t even feel like athletes: cranky, injured, waiting like a junky waiting for their next workout fix. Athletes should have a little more energy than others. You want to be a big, fast, sex machine, not staying skinny, in pain, sluggish and whatever. Some people just want the social experience. Get a life and get results. Do something else like yoga or chi gong on other days that has many more physical benefits to transform your life emotionally and spiritually as well.
If you are working out and not having progress, then I suggest a week or two off to allow some growth to occur based on workouts you already did and rest-up to start over fresh.
Here is a sample routine to begin. The particular exercises can be substituted following the principles. After warm ups, one set only of each exercise because intensity triggers growth, not volume. Once the muscle is stimulated, let it rest.
Day One: Upper Body
Lateral dumbbell raises for medial delts.
Day Two: Legs
Stiff legged dead lift
This is the minimal volume to begin with. If you want to start on a weekly routine just do these once a week with 3-4 days rest. That will not be enough rest for many. As you progress you can add another exercise for some muscles. Your rest intervals might get even longer as your organs have to work harder to maintain big muscles.
Be prepared to let go of being attached to going to the gym now that you are all excited to finally make progress. I can give you other things to do to give you that full body erection feeling or maximum chill with my body-centered meditation and Align Spine and Mind programs. Improving posture and movement efficiency will increase your power as much as anything and prevent injury. Get that fluid movement that is sexy.
There is a science lesson there that can be applied to anything in life. It’s about knowing how to find the truth. Even small practical things can have scientific and spiritual lessons.
Read more about over-training and the benefits of spinal alignment at my website:
Chris Bale's Blog
Founder & Head Coach.