See the guy in the photo? Imagine for one minute if you had to train like that. You’re put into a gym and told to do a workout while blindfolded. You feel your way around the exercise machines until you find one that isn’t being used by someone. Then you move the selector pin of the weight stack to some position and feel how heavy it is. If it’s too light or heavy you move the pin a bit. Then you bang out some reps but you have no way to write down the number of reps and sets you did and you also don’t know the weight you used.
Next week you come back to the gym and feel you way around for other machines that are not occupied and then repeat the whole fiasco without really knowing if this workout is progressively more intense than last workout, never mind the exact percentages of improvement or regression on each exercise.
This is basically how 99% of the people in your gym train every time they do a resistance training workout. It’s blindness compounded by more blindness. And it’s inexcusable.
The factors that cause muscle to grow are very well understood in basic terms. When you force your muscles to work at higher and higher rates of intensity they adapt by growing both bigger and stronger. Your body adds more muscle tissue to itself. In a healthy person, this always works. Intensity can be measured by knowing the amount of weight you lift in a unit of time. Pounds per second, kilos per minute, tons per hour – whatever units you prefer. Once you know that number you can say with mathematical precision that Friday’s triceps workout was 9.6% more intense than Monday’s triceps workout.
That’s easy to understand, isn’t it? But where is the gym where you see every personal trainer watching over his client with a stopwatch and a calculator? I’ve never seen it. All I ever see is people training blindly.
Static Contraction training measures intensity by providing a fixed amount of time, just five seconds, to lift the target weight. You ensure progressive overload by making certain that you can lift slightly more weight this workout than you did last workout. If you can’t it means you have not fully recovered and allowed sufficient time to grow new muscle. You are never working blind. The first time your training goes into the ditch you have the numbers to see it – you never keep banging your head against a wall trying (blindly) to squeeze grow out of a hopeless situation of overtraining and under-stimulating.
The opposite of being blind is having crystal clear goals when you come into the gym. Using meaningful data from your last workout that is interpreted to create an actionable plan for this workout. Step by step this is how you reach distant goals inside the gym and outside the gym.
Stop training blindly, train with your brain.
What delivers the highest intensity?
1-Set? 2-Sets? 3-Sets? Strip sets?
Pyramid sets? Fixed sets? Timed sets?
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