What does progress mean to you? When you look around and watch the people who regularly train in your gym do you think they have progressed at all in the last 6 months? There are plenty of people who are committed to what they do, the problem is that it has become such a habit to them they have lost track of any progression, or lack of it. When I invest time into training and eating well I make damn well sure that I am progressing, because if I am not then something isn’t right. For sure, the rate of progress does slow down as you develop your physique but it shouldn’t cease completely. Over the next week we at FitMag are going to analyse parts of your training, diet and supplementation plan which could be the problem for you. Today we will start in the house of pain!!
If you have been putting the ground work in with your training with little or no reward it could be time to change something.
How often are you training and how long do your sessions last for? In my opinion the average guy in the street should hit the weights four sessions per week for 45-60 minutes. Training longer than 60 minutes can take the body into a very catabolic state because the muscles are depleted of glycogen, so the body starts to break down muscle proteins to create glycogen via glycogenesis. During your workout, even if it is only for 45 minutes you will be in a catabolic state but if you train for say 90 minutes then the consequences are much greater.
When you are lifting the weight are you contracting the target muscle? To move a weight from A to B means nothing, it is the stress placed on the target muscle which equates to muscular hypertrophy. Weight training for muscle size is all about making the muscles work, not moving a weight. Understanding the difference between these two practises is so important. Once you begin to engage the target muscles your body will be forced to recruit more muscle fibres which over time will equate to progress once again.
Is your form really good, I mean really? If there was ever a great case study for changing form for results it is with top IFBB Pro Branch Warren who is notorious for slack form. He trains like a caged beast, he lifts ridiculous weight but his form is not great. Having said that it has worked for him, yet his arms always lagged behind the rest of his body. After using tighter form on arm day his biceps and triceps are looking better than ever, and we are talking a top 3 bodybuilder in the world with herculean genetics!!
Really, do you train with intensity? To qualify the statement, lifting a weight until it ‘’really burns’’ is not what intensity is all about. It is having the mental grit and tenacity to push through pain barriers which you barely knew existed until your quads felt like they had been set on fire!! Intensity is to challenge yourself on a weekly basis and crave progress, to be mentally ready to push beyond what you have ever achieved before. Of course, there is a vast difference between training with intensity and being a complete idiot! The latter is often wreckless as where the former understands the benefits of true intensity and when to apply it.
Just to make sure you are training with proper intensity give this following leg workout a go with the exact application as advised – if you make it through you know intensity is not your issue here. Please do remember the following workout isn’t mean for every week, do you recall me saying someone who understands intensity knows when it is good to train this way?
Leg press X 5 40-60 repetitions with very deep and controlled form. No locking out until you need to rest/pause. Keep rest periods to 90 seconds between each set
Singe legged leg press X 3 12-15 repetitions with very deep and controlled form. Try and use as much weight as possible, this is supposed to feel very heavy. Keep rest periods to 90 seconds between sets.
Smith Machine Squats X 3 20-30 repetitions, keep rest periods to 90 seconds between sets.
Leg extensions X 1 triple drop set with a total of 100 repetitions keep form extremely tight and squeeze the quads hard at the top of every concentric contraction. NO rest between drops!
Leg curls X 5 6-8 repetitions. Go heavy, keep the form very right and control the eccentric part of the repetition.
Dumbbell lunges X 1 total of 100 repetitions. Do as many sets as you need to in order to reach 100 repetitions, keep the form very tight and deep!
Ok, my heart rate is beginning to slow down after realising I don’t have to do this workout until Thursday! This is just an intensity test; if you fail miserably I would suggest your intensity in general needs to go up a notch or two!
Are you still a member of the Monday night chest brigade? If so, jack in the membership and change your training routine. Many people will hold their training back simply by failing to alter their training split, their repetition ranges and rest period times. Keep the body guessing, the human body is amazingly good at adapting to things. Don’t allow it to adapt, keep changing your workouts and I think you will see a better response with your training straight away!
There are five main areas I would address in regards to your training if progress is something which you used to do. It doesn’t have to be poor genetics, age or anything else which is holding you back. Sometimes it can be as simple as making a change and making more effort!