High Intensity Workouts are the Way

by Joe Lawrence | August 5th, 2008 | Exercises, Strength Training

“You need to workout each muscle group until failure. It will take about two hours in the gym, if you ever want to get real results.” When you first were introduced to weight lifting, did the advice sound something like that? Fortunately for our muscles and free time, this advice is wrong.

This scenario describes a low-intensity, high-volume workout. “Wait a minute, I do not workout with low-intensity!” Sorry, but it is true. When you lift this way, most people break it up into major muscle groups. One day you do push muscles, like chest, triceps, quadriceps and calves. Other days pull muscles, like back, biceps and hamstrings. Most people break those up even further into routines (ex. back and biceps, chest and triceps, legs and abs, etc.)

Once in the gym we plan on doing numerous exercises to target those muscles. Then we do numerous sets of each exercise. We DO NOT put all of our effort into each set. For example, we are doing a set of eight to ten repetitions. We stop at ten even though we could have done twelve. This is because we are reserving some energy for the later sets and exercises.

Why is that bad? You know that “burn” that you feel as you are lifting? That is caused by a build-up of lactic acid. The more you workout the more you produce. After 45 minutes this acid begins to attack the muscle. Roughly translated, workouts lasting longer than 45 minutes really are pointless, damaging to your muscles and counter-productive.

The solution is high-intensity, low-volume lifting routines. You still work the exact same muscle groups and can even do the same exercises. The difference is the quantity. Let’s do the same exercise as before with eight to ten repetitions. This time choose a weight that you can barely get eight to ten times, exerting all of your energy on that set. When I finish a set I am winded like I just ran a sprint. It will take some time to get used to it, but I promise you will see better results.

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