SuperMuscular.com is proud to present this series of fitness article to help increase your knowledge and to help you reach your training goals. Sean Nalewanyj is a well known best-selling fitness author, natural bodybuilder and success coach. He gives out real, science-based, nutrition and supplementation advice to help you reach your physique goals in the most productive yet practical way possible. Below he provides a wealth of valuable free content through these Fitness Articles here on SuperMuscular.com. If you find his tips helpful, make sure to check out my complete program, The Body Transformation Blueprint.
Sean Nalewanyj is a best-selling fitness author, natural bodybuilder and success coach. He gives out real, science-based, no B.S training, nutrition and supplementation advice to help you reach your physique goals in the most productive yet practical way possible.
He provides huge amounts of valuable free content through the Fitness Articles here on SuperMuscular.com. If you find his tips helpful, make sure to check out my complete program, The Body Transformation Blueprint.
Sean is a fitness coach, natural bodybuilder and writer dedicated to helping guys and girls from all around the world build muscle, lose fat, gain strength and improve their bodies and lives.
As a naturally “skinny guy”, he originally began training in his teens as a way to bulk up and add muscle to his frame. Like most people who are just beginning a fitness program though, he had absolutely no clue where to start.
As many do he subscribed to over-hyped fitness magazines and took advice from the “buff guys” at the gym…
He spent hours sifting through conflicting information on fitness websites and online forums…
He spent a ton of cash experimenting with different supplements and gimmicky “miracle programs”…
And yet despite all his hard work, the progress he made was only ever mediocre at best.
Frustrated by the lack of results, Sean knew there had to be a better way and decided to stop putting my trust in all the run-of-the-mill “mainstream” advice being offered by every Joe Schmo trainer around – advice that never seemed to be backed by any real evidence or sound reasoning in the first place.
I knew that, like anything else, there must be a science to building muscle and burning fat.
So, he tossed out the fitness magazines and shifted his attention to research papers and exercise journals instead…
He also put my focus on the study of bio-mechanics, sports nutrition and supplement research…
Sean consulted with some of the top experts in the field to gain as much insight as he possibly could…
Eventually he was able to map out first-hand the real, science-based methods behind building muscle, burning fat and gaining strength in the most effective way. He developed his very impressive program entitled the …..
The surprising thing he discovered was just how misleading and downright inaccurate the vast majority of fitness information being offered online these days really is, and how most trainees are being led down the completely wrong path toward their goals.
The simple reality is this…
Building muscle, burning fat and getting into impressive shape does NOT need to be complicated.
It doesn’t require you to revolve your entire life around your training and diet (yes, you can have a social life, eat your favorite foods and have other hobbies outside of the gym while still getting into your best shape ever), and it doesn’t require you to spend a ton of money on supplements, programs and other fads/gimmicks that you don’t really need.
It requires hard work, discipline and consistency, yes, but the process itself is far from rocket-science despite how unnecessarily over-complicated all the “experts” out there try to make it.
Once you learn to employ the correct fitness training methods from a program such as The Body Transformation Blueprint and then add some dedicated work in the gym (and kitchen), you will you be able to dramatically transform yourself into the lean, fit, strong and healthy body to desire.
High Intensity training varies from typical weight training methods in that is performed with such intensity to the point of momentary muscular failure. Although you will be required to push yourself out of your comfort zone, the payback is that you will be burning fat while sitting on the couch long after your workout, advocates say as much as nine times as much as working on a treadmill at a moderate pace. If you are willing to put your body through these high intensity workouts, you will accomplish much more fat-burning work in a fraction of the time.
Popularized by Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus, in the 1970s, the principles of this training is that the exercise should be brief, infrequent and intense. Due to the intensity of the workout, there is more emphasis on the recovery part of the workout than with other more traditional methods. With allhigh intensity training workout routines, the emphasis always will be on the following:
High Intensity Training
1. High level of effort. Maximum stress will be put on the muscles, which will stimulate the body to produce an increase in muscular strength and size. As strength increases, resistance will increase progressively, always providing the muscles with adequate overload.
2. Relatively short and infrequent training. The longer the workout is, the lower the intensity must be, as the level of intensity of these workouts is such that the body cannot withstand the stress for an extended length of time. The greater length of recovery is because the muscles are extensively taxed; more time is needed to recover. The recovery period is really the time when the benefits of the workout are being reaped.
3. The cadence of the lift. The cadence of the workout during high intensity training is considered vital, particularly because of the intensity involved in order to prevent injury. Strict form and controlling of the lifts are always stressed, with yanking of the weight, jerking or bouncing to be strictly eliminated.
Some advocates of high intensity training will carry out the cadence lifting the weights in a smooth but natural pace. Some will time the lift, with the lift broken down into counts. For instance, on the lat pull down exercise, the cadence would be: Three seconds pulling down, one second pause, three seconds in raising the bar back up, finished with a one second rest at the top. This would complete one repetition.
The skeptics of high intensity workouts claim that it flies in the face of much of the conventional wisdom involving weight training. The standard of weight training has been using a weight one can lift eight to twelve times, with three sets being the accepted practice. But there is just too much evidence to support high intensity workouts to say that it has no place in muscle-building.
One last word of caution: never do workouts that exceed what you are in shape to do. High intensity workouts should only be done by those who are already in great physical shape or minimally have been exercising for at least a few months. If you haven’t had a thorough physical exam recently, it is highly recommended you get one to find about any health issues before you start.
High intensity training has been proven to be probably the Best Way to Gain Muscle. For losing weight and building stamina, Intense Cardio Routines also is an excellent vehicle. Read more about it on our webpages. Rich Carroll is a writer and health advocate living in London.
3 Best Weight Training Tips – Are you getting the maximum muscle building results from your weight training workouts? Most people could train much better and get much better results. Following these weight training tips can make a huge difference in you workout results. Many folks spend long hours in the gym, pumping iron and lifting like crazy, yet show little benefit from their effort. Other people unfortunately shy away from strength training either because they do not understand the outstanding physical benefit they will get or they think it takes a lot of time. Proper strength training is performed in a high intensity manner. Using high intensity training methods will result in getting maximum benefit in the amount minimum of time. Actually the exact definition of exercise definition is Intensity = Work divided by Time. Think about his and you will understand that proper weight training should be brief in time but intense in effort. By following these strength training tips you can greatly improve the results from your workouts and will most likely reduce your training time.
Please note that the weight training tips mentioned here apply to just about any type of strength training and muscle building exercise and weight training. Free weights (dumbells and barbells), weight training machines and body-weight exercises (such as dips, chin ups and ab crunches) all require similar training guidelines to provide effective strength training benefit.
Weight Training Tips – Proper Form!
Proper form – The laws of physics tells us a lot concerning momentum and the forces needed to move any object, such as a barbell or weight stack. How does this apply to muscle building and weight training tips? This is very simple and cannot be disputed. The weight or resistance you are exercising with should never be lifted quickly. You should also not drop the weight. Your weight training exercises should always be performed in a slow and controlled manner. By lifting the weight slowly you eliminate the use of momentum and force your muscles to contract with much more force. This means you will be getting a much better workout. It is simply harder to lift weight slowly then to lift fast.
The idea is to make your muscle work harder! It is also much safer to train this way. But just how slowly should your movement be? One very common technique is to take 2 complete seconds to do the lifting motion, a full 1 second pause and then take 4 seconds to slowly lower the weight back down. This results in one repetition taking about six full seconds to complete. Most people train at a much faster pace thereby make the repetitions much easier to perform. Some advanced training methods use even slower movements. These techniques are really very difficult to perform, requires a lot of effort and will take a lot out of you. The most important thing to keep in mind as you train is that you should use a slow and controlled speed of motion and perform the movement through a full range of motion. Using such proper form and proper speed of motion greatly increases both the safety and the benefits of your muscle building exercise.
Weight Training Tips – High Intensity Effort
High Intensity effort – High Intensity training is not a new exercise concept but it got a large boost in popularity during the 1970’s by Arthur Jones, the creator of the revolutionary Nautilus fitness machines. The effectiveness of high intensity exercise has been clearly demonstrated by many top athletes, including Mike Menzter, a 5 time Mr. Olympia winner. But what exactly does the term high intensity exercise really mean? Basically it means that the strength training exercises should be performed until the point of momentary muscle failure. This means to continue the exercise movement to the point when no further repetitions can be done and the final one attempted is a “failed” rep, hence the name failure. This is one of the most important weight training tips you can follow yet it is often ignored by people who workout regularly. This type of high intensity exercise means your muscles will receive a strong stimulus to recruit more muscle fibers and become stronger by your next workout. You should keep in mind that a muscle building program is a combination of stimulating your muscles with exercise and than allowing your muscles to grow and develop between workouts when rest and recovery takes place. High intensity exercise puts lots of stress on the body and it must not be overdone by performing too much in one workout or by exercising too frequently. The American College of Sports Medicine, the most respected authoritative organization that deals with the field of exercise, suggests that healthy adults should perform ten exercise 2 times per week, performing 8 to 12 repetitions each set. Since these recommendations are based on extensive scientific research it make good sense to try and follow these closely. These weight training tips are essentially based on the ACSM guidelines.
Weight Training Tips for Workout Recovery
Recovery Period – The third tip to help you get maximum results from your strength training is to make sure you have proper and complete recovery and rest during the time span between your exercise sessions. If a person is doing a complete body workout routine or if utilizing a split workout program (different body parts on different days), the necessity for the bodies recovery stays the same. This time span should always take at least a minimum of 48 hours but generally a longer time period of 72 to 96 hours or longer usually work much better. Keep in mind that your muscles actually develop and grow during this time and you should want the recovery period to be sufficient. Initially the muscles have to have their basic recovery from the stimulus of the high intensity workout, then additional time to overcompensate and adapt. Sleep is a very important factor here. Ideally the muscles will recruit more muscle fibers and then be at a higher level of strength and fitness for the next workout. To ensure that you get full recovery you should make certain that you get adequate sleep, proper nutrition and also avoid over training. Too much exercise or workouts done too frequently can be detrimental to your training results.
Always try to follow these three weight training tips – Use proper exercise form, exercise in a high intensity fashion and be sure to allow for full recovery. With this the benefits of your muscle building workouts will increase dramatically.
Here is an outstanding video made by fitness expert Dave Durell of HighIntensityNation.com. He is demonstrating a high intensity shoulder workout. During this session he utilizes two advanced training methods – per-exhaust and a static hold. Pre-exhaust is done by performing two exercises, back to back. The first is an isolation exercise that is a single joint movement. This is performed to muscle failure of course and than is immediately followed by a compound joint movement, forcing the fatigued muscle to continue working. This is an excellent training method that can be used for just about all major muscle groups. The static hold that he used is essentially an isometric contraction with additional negative / eccentric movement. Notice the entire workout for his shoulders does not take long.
SuperMuscular.com is your site for accurate, scientifically based exercise information. Our goal is to help you reach your goals. If you are motivated to reach your ideal weight, build muscle, improve your nutritional habits and develop a lean and fit body than you have found the right place.
My motivation for developing this site stems from my years of working professionally in the fitness field. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Physical Education, working as a fitness trainer and fitness center manager for many years as well as authoring The Fitness Center Handbook I came to many realizations about the world of fitness. One is that there are many highly motivated individuals who regularly engage in a wide variety of activities designed to make them healthier, stronger, leaner, sexier and more fit. I personally have met and worked with literally thousands of these folks and I still see them every day at the gym. These people should all be congratulated and admired for their dedication to improving themselves.
Unfortunately there is is also something wrong with the world of exercise and fitness. There are many misconceptions, sources of misinformation and lots of inaccurate information concerning exercise. There is even a lot of outright scams and lies involving fitness, exercise and weight loss. These all lead to wasted efforts and results that are less than could otherwise be achieved.
Hopefully I can reach out to the people who want to exercise the right way and help them learn how to train the most effective and efficient way and incorporate fitness into an active and healthy lifestyle.
Probably the most highly regarded and most widely recognized organization involved in exercise and fitness is the American College of Sports Medicine. The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. Founded in 1954, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) promotes and integrates scientific research, education, and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health, and quality of life. Following closly to their well researched guidelines will be an excellent first step in learning how to properly follow an exercise program.
To simplify things it may be helpful to look at physical fitness as three key points.
1. Developing muscle strength in all major muscle groups. This is best accomplished by following a regular program of high intensity strength training.Developing the strength of the large muscles of the body can have a very significant benefit as far as functional ability, metabolism, weight control, appearance and athletic capability.
2. Developing cardiovascular endurance by regularly engaging in cardio / aerobic activity. This can be accomplishing by following sensible exercise guidelines and performing a wide variety off methods such as running, biking, swimming, cross country skiing, rowing, walking as well as an extensive range of cardio exercise equipment such as stair climbers, elliptical trainers, treadmills, etc.
3. Flexibility (limberness) refers to the range of movement in a joint or of joints, and length in muscles that cross the joints. Flexibility in some joints can be increased to a certain degree by exercise with static stretching being the common exercise component to maintain or improve flexibility. Quality of life is enhanced by improving and maintaining a good range of motion in the joints.
Below are some basics concerning these aspects of fitness training starting with high intensity strength training and cardio endurance exercise. In addition there are additional categories on our site that deal with many exercise topics such as exercise and weight loss for women, nutrition, maximizing your workouts, etc. There are also several links to some well research workout programs that you many want to consider to help you reach your goals.
High Intensity Strength Training Tips – Learn the Right Way to Exercise!
Many men and women, head to their gym on a regular basis and they put a lot of time and effort into developing muscle strength to improve their fitness levels. Strength training is certainly a very worthwhile activity and offers many significant benefits. Unfortunately the average person makes quite a few mistakes that can actually reduce the results of their workout efforts.
Probably the first step is to understand what High Intensity exercise is, then how to apply the high intensity principles to your training routine. The bottom line is that you will probably get much better results in much less training time!
Before you engage it strength training workouts it only makes sense to really understand what this type of training is all about. The term high intensity exercise is something that most people do not really understand. They think if it as a vague way of saying “exercising with lots of effort” when it actually refers to a specific method of fitness training.To develop stronger muscles, to build muscle mass and help decrease your body fat level, you should exercise your muscles in this high intensity fashion. This is a very efficient way to train as it does not require a lot of time.
The term “maximum benefit in minimum time” is a term used to describe high intensity training. Long and drawn out, high volume workouts are NOT high intensity workouts. When performing proper strength training exercise you want to keep in mind that the workouts should be relatively short in durationbut the effort level should be very high. If you perform long workouts the intensity level will in fact be relatively low. High intensity workouts are of high effort and short time span. This is true for the simple fact that a high level of effort can only be sustained for a short period of time. To exercise longer the intensity MUST be lowered.The specific mathematical formula for Exercise Intensity is that Intensity = Work divided by Time. If you think about this you will see that if the time becomes greater the intensity will be lower. If a lot of work is performed in a short period of time then the intensity is high. A simple example of this can be shown with the common exercise push-ups. Suppose you do 50 push-ups in about 2 minutes and on the 50th rep to have reached complete fatigue or muscle failure. At this point you cannot do another push-up. This would be a rather intense effort. On the other hand it you did just 15 push-ups, rested briefly, did 15 more and continued until you had completed four sets of 15 reps for a total of 60 push-ups, taking about a total of 6 minutes to complete. Here the intensity is much lower. The amount of work is higher (by 10 total push-ups, 50 vs. 60) but the time was three times as long (2 minutes to 6 minutes) and therefore the intensity was lower. In this example doing more sets and slightly more total reps did not use as many muscle fibers and did not stimulate the muscles too get much stronger. The all out effort of doing the 50 push-ups all at once would have been a much better workout. The bottom line with high intensity strength training is the quality of exercise is more important then quantity of exercise. Combining quality exercise with the correct amount of exercise and proper recovery will yield outstanding results.
High Intensity Strength Training Tips – Proper Form
Do your reps correctly! Use Proper Exercise Form – Another way in which many people fail get the most from their strength training involves the actual form or technique of how they do each rep of their exercises. In virtually all weight training exercises such as using barbells, dumbbells, weight machines or body weight exercises (such as dips or chin-ups) it is extremely important to NOT allow momentum to help more the weight. This simply means move slowly and smoothly to eliminate the use of momentum. This is a fact determined by the laws of physics. The faster you move against resistance the more there is momentum that helps move the weight. On the other hand the slower you move, the more tension has to be generated by the muscles, which means more muscle fibers will be used and there is a greater potential for strength gains. Most people tend to move too quickly which is easier but you really should be trying to make your muscles work harder not easier. It is actually human nature to use BAD form. Your body wants to make the physical task of moving the weight as easy as possible. But for the best training results you actually want to do the opposite. You want to make the exercise more difficult and make your muscle work hard. By moving at the correct speed you will make the exercise harder and more effective. Hard (high intensity) exercise is what it is all about when it comes to getting stronger and building muscle. More details on ways to greatly improve your workouts can be found in The Fitness Center Handbook.
Proper Movement Speed is Vital!
So at what speed should you move? One common recommendation for muscle and strength exercises is to use two seconds to lift, a brief pause and then four seconds to lower so that each rep is about six seconds in length. The 2 second, 4 second method is considered a standard way to train however most folks perform their reps much faster then this. This is an excellent way to train but some advanced training protocols require even slower movements. By paying strict attention to the speed of movement you will dramatically improve you results because you are making the exercise harder to perform. Always emphasize lowering the weight slowly as this eccentric muscle contraction phase is very important for stimulating muscle gain. The weight should never be dropped or lowered quickly as this means you are missing the opportunity to tense the muscle fully against the weight. This lower portion, often called the negative or eccentric contraction is very effective for building strength.
The Super Slow Training system, developed by Ken Hutchins in the 1980s, suggests taking ten seconds to lift the weight, a brief pause, then take ten seconds o lower the weight back down. Having a training partner to time you will really make you work hard. With Super Slow training the number of reps should be in the range of 4 to 8 reps as opposed to the usual 8 to 12. The amount of weight also has to be lowered. Super slow training is generally considered to be an advanced technique and can be very difficult. It is also a very effective and safe way to weight train. One of the real keys to training with intensity is your mental attitude. It is going to be difficult and you need to accept that fact before your workouts ever begin. If are about to begin an exercise, lets say a set of dips, and you say to your self “I am going to do ten reps” then the chances are that you will do ten reps and no more. You have per-determined when you will finish. A much better approach is to say “I am going to do as many reps as I possible can” or use the idea that once the exercise is very difficult you will do three more reps, than attempt to keep performing reps. This is now you train to “failure” which is what really stimulates your muscle to get stronger.
Strength Training Intensity – Train to Muscle Failure!
Failure can lead to success! Your muscles respond to the stress that is applied to them. This is an important concept to understand if you want to get the most from your strength training workouts. To fully stimulate a muscle group to get stronger you should exercise them until they are fully fatigued. This means to completely work the muscle on each exercise, you should be continue to the point of momentary muscle failure. This is the point where you can no longer perform another proper repetition. Do NOT sacrifice good form to do more reps but do continue the exercise until do a “failed” rep. This is a very hard part of training and requires much discipline. Your thinking should not be ‘I am going to do ten reps with this weight” but rather “I am going to perform as many good reps as I possibly can.” Thinking this way will help you work harder. Also remember that with high intensity exercise you do not need or want to do lots of sets or long workouts but you do need to work hard on all the exercise that you perform. Training to muscle failure is hard work but it does allowyou to get ‘maximum benefit in minimum time.”
Recovery from High Intensity Workouts
Proper Recovery Means Real Results Allow for recovery – If you are training with a high intensity effort and using good form in each exercise then you still need to allow your body to recover fully between workouts. The real benefit from muscle strengthening exercise comes from allowing your muscle to rebuild, recover and grow stronger before your next workout. To maximize your recovery and avoid over-training be certain not do too many sets or exercises and space your workouts apart adequately. Proper nutrition, proper sleep and rest and adequate time is needed to allow your body to get full benefit from your training. The American College of Sports Medicine , a highly respected authority in the field of exercise science, has the following recommendations: Perform eight to ten strength training exercises, doing eight to twelve repetitions of each exercise and perform this workout twice a week. These are excellent guidelines which will allow you to exercise with high intensity effort and recover for your next muscle building strength workout.
These high intensity strength trainingtips can help you get maximum benefit in minimum training time. Do you want to build more strength and develop more muscle in the most effective and efficient way? Are you spinning your wheels at the gym and getting very little benefit from your workouts? If you are frustrated in your workout efforts then you should pause to take a look at your training program, learn some of these high intensity strength training tips and then apply what you have learned to your workouts. You may find that you are amazed at the results.
High Intensity Strength Training Tips
1. High intensity strength training can help you get better results in less time. One of the most important points to remember about weight training exercise is that the benefit does not come directly from the exercise but rather from the recovery and rebuilding that takes place between workouts. The key for muscle development is brief and infrequent high intensity workout sessions that stimulate your muscles and then you MUST allow yourself sufficient recovery to rebuild and adapt to the stress. That is how you get stronger. The harder you train the more recovery is needed. 72 to 96 hours between workouts often works very well although up to a full week can sometimes yield excellent strength building results. Mentally it can sometime be difficult to adjust your attitude to the fact that you must limit the training time and number of workouts which can dramatically improve your strength training results.
2. Push your muscles to fatigue and muscle failure – To really stimulate your muscles to get stronger it is important that you use all the available muscle fibers. This is done by continuing to perform a weight training exercise until you reach the point of muscle failure. Actually very few people train with this much effort. Momentary muscle failure occurs when you can no longer complete another repetition in good form. This strenuous, high intensity exercise will be the stimulus for muscle growth. It is hard to train this way and it requires discipline to push yourself to muscle failure but it is the way to really get the best muscle strengthening results.
3. Much scientific research has shown that performing just one set of a muscle building exercise is extremely beneficial for getting good results. This is one of the most important strength training tips to build muscle and will reduce your training time and improve your results if done properly. Each exercise should be a 100% effort. Once you have completely fatigued one muscle group simply move onto another exercise and perform another set with a 100% effort. More is not better – higher intensity in good form is better!
4. Variety in your workouts is another useful high intensity strength training tip. If you always do the same group of exercises your muscles will eventually get used to them and slow down your results. In order to avoid such slumps it is a good idea to regularity change up the specific exercises your perform. This also helps prevent mental boredom. How often you switch things around can also vary. You may want to change some exercises every week or two, some athletes will change every workout or you can keep things the same for a month or so and then change all the exercises you do. The important thing is too keep things fresh and to train hard.
5. Use proper form – Unfortunately the vast number of folks who weight train with free weights or weight machines use poor technique and bad form. Most people perform their reps in a relatively fast manner just to get them over with or to be able to use more weight. If you really want to greatly increase the benefit of the muscle building exercise you need to lift slowly, pause briefly, and then lower the weight back down slowly. 5 to 10 seconds per repetition works very well. This will reduce the momentum used, increase muscle fiber recruitment, increase safety and make you work much harder. Doing your reps fast will simply do the exact opposite of these things and as a result provide poor results. Do not allow your ego to dictate the amount of weight you use. You DO want to be progressive and gradually increase the resistance but you always want to train hard and in proper strict form. Never sacrifice good form just so you can use more weight.
The more work you put into something, the better results you will achieve. This has always been a widely accepted truth that applies to most areas in life.
The harder you study, the better grades you will achieve. The more time you spend fine-tuning your athletic skills, the better athlete you will become. The longer you spend learning to play an instrument, the better musician you will become.
Therefore, it only makes sense that the more time you spend in the gym, the stronger and more muscular your physique will become, correct? Contrary to what you might think, the answer to this question is a gigantic, definite, absolute no! It is in this area of bodybuilding that conventional wisdom goes straight out the window, down the street and around the corner.
I know what you might be asking yourself…
“What? Spending less time in the gym will actually make me bigger and stronger?”
The answer is yes! It really will, and when we examine the muscle-growth process from its most basic roots, it becomes quite clear why this is the case.
Every single process that occurs within the human body is centered around keeping you alive and healthy. Through thousands of years of evolution the human body has become quite a fine-tuned organism that can adapt well to the specific conditions that are placed upon it.
We become uncomfortable when we are hungry or thirsty, we acquire a suntan when high amounts of UV rays are present, we build calluses to protect our skin, etc. So what happens when we break down muscle tissue in the gym?
By battling against resistance beyond the muscle’s present capacity we have posed a threat to the musculature. The body recognizes this as potentially harmful and as a natural adaptive response the muscles will hypertrophy (increase in size) to protect the body against this threat. As we consistently increase the workload from week to week the body will continue to adapt and grow.
Ultimately it is, but the most important thing to realize in relation to all of this is that the muscles can only grow bigger and stronger if they are provided with sufficient recovery time. Without the proper recovery time, the muscle growth process simply cannot take place.
Your goal in the gym should be to train with the minimum amount of volume needed to yield an adaptive response. Once you have pushed your muscles beyond their present capacity and have triggered your thousand-year-old evolutionary alarm system, you have done your job. Any further stress to the body will simply increase your recovery time.
Most people train way too often and with far more sets than they really need to. High intensity weight training is much more stressful to the body than most people think. The majority of people structure their workout programs in a manner that actually hinders their gains and prevents them from making the progress that they deserve.
Here are 3 basic guidelines that you should follow if you want to achieve maximum gains:
1) Train no more than 3 days per week. 2) Do not let your workouts last for longer than 1 hour. 3) Perform 5-7 sets for large muscle groups (chest, back, thighs) and 2-4 sets for smaller muscle groups (shoulders, biceps, triceps, calves, abs). Note this is only a suggested structure for your workout program.
Take all sets to the point of concentric muscular failure and focus on progressing in either weight or reps each week. If you truly train hard and are consistent, training more often or any longer than this will be counterproductive to your gains.
Physiologists have long known that High Intensity Training is one of the most effective ways to build strength, develop muscle and increase your fitness level. However it is also a training method that is often misunderstood and as a result high intensity training is not used very often or very well by the many men and women who regularly engage in weight training. The high intensity training system is based on extensive scientific research and is backed by exercise science and many studies have shown just how effective it can be.
High Intensity Training Tips!
To get the most from high intensity weight training you should first get a thorough understanding of the workout principles and than put them into practice. One of the first things to understand is that high intensity training means brief but strenuous workouts. It is not possible to train with a high intensity level for an extended period of time. To workout for long periods of time it is absolutely necessary to lower the intensity level. Such a lower intensity workout will not yield the maximum in strength training results. It is not the quantity of weight training that is important it is the quality!
Proper form and High Intensity Training
Another important aspect to high intensity training is the use of proper form for each exercise you perform. It is a natural tendency for people training with weights to simple do the exercise in whatever way is possible to get it completed. This usually results with the specific exercise being done in poor form. This cheating is just a way to make the exercise easier. Obviously to enhance your workout results you want to make your muscles work harder. This is accomplished by using strict form which puts more tension and stress on the working muscles. Using a slow and controlled speed of motion while working against the resistance is the most important part of using good form. An example of this can be seen with a chin-up. To start you should be hanging still in a complete hang position. Than smoothly pull up, taking about two full seconds until your chin is above the bar. Pause and hold this position for one full second. Lower back down slowly, taking about four full seconds, all the way down until you reach the full hang position. Do all your reps with this same strict technique.
Now in it’s 2nd edition, the highly acclaimed Fitness Center Handbook is now available from Amazon.com
Failure Means Success with High Intensity Training
Along with using this strict form the other very important aspect of fitness training is to continue each exercise to the point of momentary muscle failure. This simply means to do as many reps as you possible can until you fail to do the next one. Don’t just do as many as you think you can do, make it as many as you really can perform, in good form of course. Don’t just select a certain number and predetermine how many reps will be done. Your muscles cannot count but they do know when they have been exercised thoroughly. This high intensity training effort will stimulate the muscles to get stronger by recruiting more muscle fibers to use for the next workout.
The Importance of Recovery with High Intensity Training
As mentioned previously the high intensity training method requires brief but intense workouts. To incorporate this into your workouts several points should be kept in mind. First the total number of sets and exercises should be relatively low. It is not the amount of exercise that gives you a good workout but it is the amount of effort that is used with each exercise. Another factor is that your body requires time and rest between workouts to recover, develop and grow stronger. Therefore workouts should be spaced several days apart to allow for full recovery. Following these guidelines will help you get the most from your high intensity workouts.
The Fitness Center Handbook goes into this topic in more detail. You can learn the exact principles you need to follow to get the maximum benefit from you high intensity training. There are also answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning weight training and fitness.
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For a look at High Intensity Training with famous Bodybuilder Mike Mentzer watch this great video –
The vast majority of people who under take a body building or strength training workouts have no aspirations to become a “body builder” in the sense of the competitive body building sport. Most people start this form of fitness exercise for a wide variety of reasons; weight control, improved appearance and sex appeal, injury prevention or rehab, sport performance, improved self confidence, etc. Regardless of your training goals you can achieve outstanding results if you follow a proper program and adhere to sensible training principles. As with any fitness routine it takes commitment and discipline to get good long term benefit.
Commitment is needed in Strength Training Workouts
The word commitment should be looked at when you first start any fitness endeavor. You really do need to make the right commitment to your training program if you want to get good results. Many people are all excited about an exercise program when they first start, workout like crazy for a while and then quit before too long. Later they may start workout out again and repeat the quitting process. This on again off again approach will not yield good results. It is much better to do a moderate amount of training and keep at it on a regular basis.
Your mental approach should be to understand that your strength training workouts should be a regular part of your lifestyle. Just as you body requires food, water ans sleep your muscle also require exercise. You would not consider not eating or sleeping for extended periods of time. Much like that you should not consider going long periods of time without proper exercise.
Engaging in high intensity strength training at times will take lot of mental discipline and determination. You should learn to think about how well you are treating your body by working your muscle with intense exercise and eating properly. This will help improve confidence, self esteem and of course your physical health.
Benefits of Strength Training Workouts
There are many benefits to folowing a regular routine of strength training workouts. Many people are looking to lose weight and reduce their body fat. By increasing your lean muscle tissue you are going to raise your metabolic rate and this causes your body to use more calories at all times. So the bottom line is that by increasing you strength you can burn of fat more effectively. The result is a lean and stronger physique.
Other areas that can be enhanced from strength training workouts include stree reduction, self confidence, injuy prevention, injury rehad and sports conditioning. One of the great things about strength training programs is that they should not take a huge amount of time to complet. By following a program of high intensity training you can get maximum benefit in a short amount of time.
Having a positive attitude about your strength training workouts is also important. If you find yourself dreading your workouts and you have to force yourself to the gym then it is time to change something. You may need to take some time off, change gyms, find a training partner, etc. One important training principle is that your strength training workouts should be varied on a regular basis. Many people fall into the routine of simply repeated the same sequence of exercises over and over. It is much better physically and mentally to change things up on a regular basis. This may add an element of fun into your strength training workouts and having fun with your “hobby” of working out is a very good idea.
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