Why Do You Train?

When you go into the gym to ‘’train’’ you should have a very
clear vision of why you are about to assault your body to within an inch of its
well-being. It amazes me that just after 2 minutes of conversation with a high percentage
of the people in any given gym it becomes apparent they have no idea what they
are trying to achieve. The inspiration for this article was driven home after a
chat with a close friend who is a very gifted rugby player, yet his training is
largely based around sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. In his case the training needs
to be functional leading to increases in strength, speed and power. Therefore increasing
the sarcoplasm volumes in the muscle is not a priority; instead he needs to
focus on increasing the volume of myofibrils within the muscle fibre because
this will lead to increases in functional strength. There you have the
foundation to the article, now I will list some key points to help you
determine what your training needs to do for you.

Body Composition

Are body composition changes your main focus? If so, your
training needs to be based around forcing the muscle to ‘’grow’’ and your body
fat levels to decrease. Functional training isn’t of paramount importance
although it does have it benefits in the long run to adding more muscle mass.

Body Composition Rules

Intensity is
key to force physical adaptation

Focus on
sarcoplasmic hypertrophy with some emphasis on myofibrillar hypertrophy as your
muscle mass growth plateaus

Use a
diverse range of exercises, both isolation and compound movements

Train each
body part once a week, twice at most

Functional Strength

Is it your aim to become stronger, above changing the way
you appear? If so, your training needs to be based around myofibrillar
hypertrophy training. By forcing myofibrils into the muscle fibre you will
increase its strength. This means avoiding conventional ‘’bodybuilding’’ style
8-12 rep ranges because this will force sarcoplasmic hypertrophy more so than
myofibrillar which is NON functional.

Functional Strength
Rules –

Emphasis on
lifting heavier weights on a monthly basis

Focus on
myofibrillar hypertrophy with repetition ranges of around 3-5

Focus on
compound exercises including the squat, deadlift, clean & press and bench

emphasis on isolation exercises

Improve Performance

Maybe you are a footballer for example, who wants to improve
your overall fitness levels for your game. In that case, regular bodybuilding
training is again something you don’t need in your life. Use strength based
exercises and a lot of plyometric workouts to improve on your speed, power and

Improve Performance
Rules –

Train hard
at your given discipline

Avoid ‘’bodybuilding’’

Use dynamic
exercise protocols to improve muscle capacity in motion

Relating to
topic 2, focus on functional training

Hopefully outlining these points has opened your eyes and
made you ask the question ‘’what am I trying to achieve with my training?’’
Think on it, then act on it!


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