Q.My workouts have increased in time spent in the gym over the past several years. I continue to add additional sets because it feels like the more hard training I do, the more muscle I'll build. Its gotten out of hand, I need to cut down on gym time. Will this improve my results?
A.Your situation is a very common one. Bodybuilders fall into the natural temptation to add sets of an exercise or increase the number of exercises they do in an effort to "hit" their muscles from different angles and add intensity to their workouts. This trend more often than not leads to decreased results. This is due in part to over-training.
It is impossible to increase the intensity of your workouts by adding volume,whether it is additional sets or more exercises. If you do, it will necessitate pacing yourself to allow completion of the additional workload.
We aren't running a marathon race-we are building muscle! Muscle growth is stimulated by subjecting a muscle to a more intense stimulus than it has been prior. No pacing here-just a high threshold of effort!
In that vein, let's see ways to reduce training time and make our efforts to build muscle more effective!
- Warm up with one exercise for each muscle being trained. Before training a muscle use a compound exercise with a light-moderate weight to thoroughly warm up a muscle. By using a compound exercise you will be certain to prepare all muscles used to train that muscle. Do one set-stopping well short of heavy exertion to avoid in-roading the muscle.
- No texting or idle chat during your workout-be serious
- Have a plan for your workout and stick with it. Whether you have a note card or have your session in your memory, don't walk into the gym with no plan in mind.
- Train at a high level of intensity using a low set volume. By using HIT training, your workouts will last a fraction of what a high volume bodybuilders will.
- Use HIT variables to increase intensity levels and decrease your set count.
- Use rest periods appropriate for HIT training-very brief periods.