Twenty years ago I was very influenced by the bodybuilders and the training systems of the day. Hitting the weights five or six times a week, splitting upper and lower body workouts and working out twice a day was seen as normal.
Every set was taken to positive failure, with three or more forced reps on top of that and if that wasn't enough I would throw in a few negative reps to top it off. This type of training would leave me totally exhausted and render me sore for days after every session.
The constant battering to my body lowered my immune system and I would always be sick or injured. I would take time off training and then go back to it again, all the time gaining nothing in size or strength.
Can you imagine years and years of hard work like this all for nothing. The sad reality is that I still see it going on around me now? The cold hard facts are that over 80% of the regular trainees in your gym are overtraining. That's right, 80%, disturbing isn't it?
Traditional training techniques like volume training are ineffective and downright dangerous, having been passed down from the previous training generations and unquestionably followed at all costs.
The only people making any progress on these systems are the so called 'bodybuilding stars' who have superb genetics (about 2% of the general population) and are taking massive amounts of steroids (very expensive and dangerous).
So please don't fall into the same overtraining trap as many others have, if you haven't made any gains for a long time now and maybe suffer from one or more of the symptoms found below stop!! Stop wasting your time and effort for nothing.
- Reoccurring colds and sickness
- Sore joints and muscles
- Unwillingness to go to the gym to train.
- Loss of appetite
- Chronic fatigue
Put a stop to overtraining by understanding that the two main components of strength training are the intensity of the exercise and the recovery after the exercise.
Infrequent, short, high intensity weight training sessions, followed by the required amount of time to recover and become stronger is what is needed to increase functional muscle size and stop overtraining.
Have a look at some scientific principles found below and practice them in the gym and you will be on the road to greater gains in muscle size without the problem of overtraining.
Limited Energy Level
A strength-training program should be short and simple; you only have a limited amount of energy per training session.
Scientific studies reveal that blood sugar levels (energy) start to deplete after 30 mins, so exercise selection and the time taken to perform them is crucial.
What you should be aiming for is stimulating as many muscle fibres in the shortest period of time available, leaving the gym and going home to grow.
To do this, you will have to perform high intensity workouts consisting of multijoint, compound movements in the shortest amount of time so that blood sugar levels don't deplete.
Progressive Overload is the main exercise principle you need to be aware of in order to get the results that you're after with strength training.
The three most important points are:
- Complete your exercise with perfect technique
- Push to total failure when doing a set
- Overload the weight on the bar progressively.
Basically this means that when the body is stressed by high intensity training beyond its normal demands, the body will adapt to these new demands of improved strength.
Once your muscles have adapted to a particular weight then it'll be time to overload them further (add more weight, speed, repetitions). You'll need to keep on repeating this process of overload and adaptation if you want to become stronger.
The sad reality is that the popular high volume type of training techniques that you find in bodybuilding books and magazines (and used by the stars) are irrelevant to the majority of the population and has a high failure rate.
What is good for the latest bodybuilding star is probably not good for you. Everybody has different genetics; most of us have poor genetics and are not taking steroids like the stars.
The only way the majority of us can make any gains at all is to perform short intense workouts followed by long periods of rest so that you don't over train.
Many studies at universities, conducted around the world have shown clearly that recuperation from strength training requires far more rest time than previously thought.
Infrequent, short, high intensity weight training sessions, followed by the required amount of time to recover and become stronger is necessary for you to increase your functional muscle.
Here's what you need to do - allow your body enough recuperation time for over compensation to take place, so that the muscles can adjust to their new strength and growth.
Exercise Selection for Intensity
I can't stress enough of how exercise selection is absolutely crucial. There are only a few exercises that you really need to perform. These exercises consist of multi-joint movements.
These particular exercises are far superior to that of isolation exercises (working 1 muscle group at a time) because you are required to use more muscles from every muscle group.
By following these principles you will not only develop greater muscle size but also banish overtraining for good.
Written By: Gary Matthews
Author of several ebooks, including:
"Maximum Weight Loss in Ten Weeks"
"Maximum Weight Gain in Ten Weeks"