Stop Chasing Acute Responses

How many of you go to the gym and expect to sweat, feel some type of soreness or feel a strain through your muscles and even worse feel pain? What about once you leave the gym? That feeling of nearly having to crawl to the car or not being able to lift your arms above your head, are these the signs YOU look for to judge whether you have had a good workout or not? Most people do.

But what if I told you it didn’t have to be this way.

Mike Boyle, in my opinion one of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the world sums it up the best:

“If someone says to me I’m not very sore from that workout, next time we will go outside with a sledgehammer and I’ll beat you with it, now will that be a good workout?”

More than likely the answer will be no, but what I am trying to get across is that pain is not the indicator of a good session. Here are some reasons why those volume heavy leg sessions you have been doing are detrimental to achieving your goals:

  1. Recovery time. Doing workouts that push you to your limits means that you will have to allow an increase in recovery time before you can train again. Now seeing as there is only 7 days in a week you may be only able to do 2 maybe 3 sessions a week if you recover properly and not want to end up sick or overtrained.
  2. Injury. Smashing yourself in the gym every session will eventually lead to some type of injury and then this will be followed by forced time off, which will put you off track from where you want to be.

So what should you be aiming for instead?

What we want to be aiming for instead is the minimum amount of work to obtain full activation of the muscle fibres. The following are ways you can train to recruit more muscle fibres.

  1. Opt for compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, overhead press etc. over isolation movements i.e bicep curls, as these compound movements will use multiple muscle groups in the one exercise which will not only recruit more muscle fibres but also burn more calories (think about fat loss).
  2. Lift Heavy. Incorporate some strength training into your routine as this will lead to full activation of the muscle in fewer reps.
  3. Lift until technical failure. This is where we get our volume in. Instead of lifting until you can’t lift the weight anymore try lifting until your technique fails, not only will this still recruit more muscle fibres it will also dramatically reduce your risk of injury.

Give these tips a go and see the difference in your training when you stop going for that feeling of soreness or getting as much volume into your session as possible.


Talk to you guys soon,

Coach Corey


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