Tag Archives: Training Intensity

Muscle Soreness

no-pain-no-gain

Everyone has heard the saying “no pain, no gain”, however, this statement is only partially true. If you don’t train hard you won’t get any results. On the other hand, if you are getting too sore from your workouts it can dramatically slow down your progress. If you experience too much muscle soreness you are either training too intensely or infrequently.

Training too intensely could involve using advanced training principles during the beginning or intermediate stages of training. This usually happens as novice gym goers try to tackle the workouts they see their heroes doing in muscle magazines. They forget these athletes have been training for years and many of them are on steroids.

It also means that you might be doing too much thinking more is better. Many are guilty of this mistake. I remember myself when i first started out eagerly trying out every exercise in the Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding encyclopedia; every workout and barely being able to straighten out my arms the next day.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your physique. Variety is great but in practice you will need to stick with certain central exercises such as the bench press, barbell curl, and squat your entire training career.

Training infrequently is another major cause of muscle soreness. If you just started a new program expect to be sore for the first while. Your body begins to adapt to the new program and the degree of muscle soreness experienced declines. This doesn’t mean your body is no longer benefiting from the workout, it just means in order to maximize results you need to push a little harder.

I also made the mistake of following bodybuilding routine in which each body part is trained only once a week. Each time I did the each workout I was sore for days. This type of training is absolutely absurd for a natty bodybuilder.

Getting in shape means you no longer walk around like an old man despite how hard you train. If your muscles have a small amount of soreness don’t be afraid to train them. In fact, this is how they grow. Your muscles didn’t have a chance to wait around all week and recover.

As a natty you should train each muscle group at least 2 to 3 times a week if you want to make progress. If you experience muscle soreness just remember each muscle group only needs 24 hours of rest before it can be worked again. If you wait too long you will completely bypass the training effect that follows each workout.

Your body responds and adapts to each workout and there is a small window of improved performance that must be opened. The balance between frequency and intensity is vital to maximize results. If you train too hard too often you won’t make any gains. If you train infrequently but push yourself really hard you still won’t make any progress.

However, in order to maximize results these two variables need to be in perfect balance. Remember, the old saying is true, “no pain, no gain”. However, it is much easier to have a plan to train smart instead of having to work hard.

Deadlift Training – Frequency and Intensity

arnold-schwarzenegger-deadlift-training

Deadlifts can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. They are a gut wrenching exercise and the ultimate test of strength.

The deadlift is popular because it is one of the most effective exercises – perhaps even better than the squat – and, of course, is one of the big three in Powerlifting.

However, deadlifts can leave you feeling like you are dead if done too frequently or intensely. The deadlift places much greater stress on the central nervous system compared to other back exercises such as the barbell row and power clean.

I didn’t really consider this phenomenon until I started recording some of my workouts to assess my technique. I noticed that the average deadlift can take more than several seconds to perform, while other movements take only perhaps a second to perform and most had a shorter range of motion. The Olympic lifts, the exception, are both a longer range of motion and also performed exceedingly fast.

There is definitely a power output difference that can be calculated for each exercise but it is already evident that deadlifts performed too intensely and frequently will fry out the nervous system compared to other exercises.

The only exception to this rule would be new lifters who still haven’t fully adapted neurologically to the movement. Beginners are potentially the only group that can get away from deadlifting as frequent as 2 or 3 times a week. Even squatting everyday wouldn’t fry your nervous system as bad as deadlifting 3 times a week.

The only other exception would be a specialty program designed to increase the deadlift which would require doing less volume for virtually every other body part.

Now using this theory we can assume high frequency training using short range and fast movements would be as effective as a conjugate to increase deadlift strength. The only variable that would have to be further isolated would be the power output of the said exercise.

Some obvious exercises would be shrugs, barbell cheat rows, power cleans, dumbbell rows, seated cable rows, and lat pull downs.

Some evidence supporting this would be the fact that many bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger could deadlift over 710 lbs raw and Ronnie Coleman could do doubles with over 800 lbs using a squat suit. These well-known bodybuilders didn’t specialize in deadlift training and in fact were more concerned with the lats.

In bodybuilding if you don’t have lats then just shut up about your lower back and deadlift. Wide lats are the big show piece muscle when it comes to back in bodybuilding. So these bodybuilders for sure didn’t become Mr. Olympia by specializing in the deadlift or they for sure would have some of the greatest deadlift records in the sport of Powerlifting.

So if you are having nightmares about your next back workout consider what your goal is. If you want a big back and are more interested in bodybuilding then you should train like a bodybuilder and use the deadlift an assessment tool rather than an exercise.

On the other hand, if you are more worried about your max deadlift then there is no way around the principle of specificity. You have to deadlift and learn to love it. There is no way around it.