Train Less, Build More

It may seem counter-intuitive to suggest that spending less time at the gym leads to bigger, stronger muscles, but many bodybuilders and weight lifters have, in fact, found this to be true. There is good science behind this theory, as well as the evidence of the many bodybuilding experts who have noticed a big improvement when they began to train less often.


The Science Behind It

The human body is an amazing creation that has many inbuilt protocols that enable it to adapt to its changing environment. Its need for food, water, warmth or cooling creates sensations which our brain efficiently interprets in order to answer those needs.

We can apply this principle to the muscles that break down when we’re working out at the gym. When we push our bodies beyond their normal limit of movement and endurance, our brains register the signal that there is damage being done to our muscles, and they will hypertrophy, that is, the muscles will increase in size, in order to protect our bodies from further damage.

Every time we train, our body maintains a higher tolerance before the danger threshold is reached. However, in order to recover from this cycle of exertion, threat and reaction, our bodies need to rest. Without sufficient rest, our bodies cannot divert the required resources towards muscle growth.


You Can Train Smarter

This creates an important new goal for your time at the gym: you need to push yourself just hard enough to trigger this muscle-building response. Once that threshold is reached, there is no need to continue to exercise, and you can actually do yourself damage — your recovery time will be longer, your immune system will be weakened, and your body will set up a catabolic response.

The average bodybuilder trains far more often than necessary and performs too many sets. It can have quite negative effects on your body to do high intensity weight training, and you will not see the results you had hoped for when you committed to this regular regime.


Strategies for Muscle Growth

Your ultimate muscle building regimen has a multi pronged approach. The first thing to get into your head is that you need only train three times per week. Each workout should last for around one hour. For the larger muscle groups, that is chest, thighs and back, you should do five to eight sets and for the smaller muscle groups, biceps, triceps, abs, etc, you should do two to four sets.

Set your goals every week: either a weight related goal, or a reps related goal, then train to the point where your muscles fail. It can be hard to let go of the idea that’s been part of our mindset for most of our lives: that the more we put in, the more we will get out. But you will quickly notice that your reduced hours of training result in an increase in your muscle bulk and strength. Try it for a few weeks and you will see the difference!

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