PRINCIPLE 1 — INTENSITY
The first key to proper strength training is intensity.
More specifically, High Intensity Strength Training.
Intensity is a word that is thrown around at gyms and fitness centers as often as a new born baby cries when hungry.
You’ll hear someone say they really had an intense workout, or they are exhausted from training so intensely, etc.
But let’s define what intensity as it relates to strength training really is.
Intensity is, quite simply, the amount or percentage of momentary effort generated by the trainee.
Let’s look at a standard strength training exercise to demonstrate what I’m talking about here.
Take the standing barbell curl for the biceps, for example, where the trainee holds a weighted barbell with an underhand grip, resting at his or her thighs.
Let’s assume the trainee is capable of curling solbs for a maximum of io times, meaning he or she couldn’t possibly complete i more repetition despite his/her greatest effort.
If this trainee were to perform 5 repetitions and set the barbell down, this would amount to roughly so% intensity. If the trainee were to perform his/her maximum amount of repetitions possible of io, they would be training with i00% intensity.
i00% intensity is also referred to as training an exercise “to failure” or “momentary muscular failure”. This occurs when the trainee is unable to complete another repetition despite his/her greatest effort.
This is what we are striving for in the strength training portion of this program.
Why? Because exercising a muscle to or very dose to failure is a requirement for muscle growth and a strength increase to occur.
The body has no reason to grow new muscle or get stronger unless we force it to adapt to an intense stimulus…in this case, high intensity strength training.
If the intensity is not great enough, that is, we do what is already easily achievable, the body has no reason to adapt and improve.
Now, a rank beginner could gain a small amount of muscle from being exposed to resistance training of any type, but not enough to make an even marginal impact in their body.
When you perform an exercise at a i00% intensity level, you’re essentially asking your muscles to wake up and get stronger and grow. If they don’t, they won’t be ready for the next time you perform this intensity assault on them!
It’s very similar to the forming of a callus on your hand after doing some yard work that you’ve been away from for a few months.
The skin, in this instance, is subjected to an intense rubbing or friction, and adapts to this new activity by forming a callus. Your muscles respond in a similar fashion.
They are reacting to a new stimulus and are preparing for the next onslaught of intensity….they have no choice but to get stronger!
The other key factor regarding intensity in your workouts is the rest period between sets or exercises. Combined with taking each exercise to momentary