Resistance exercise for seniors is the foundation for muscle and bone strength. But hardly anyone wants to go to the gym three times a week to lift weights. Fortunately, it is now simpler, faster, and easier than ever to get the right results with just one session per week. Here is how. Read more… »
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Workout routines for muscle building workouts are grossly inefficient. The only thing they add is time in the gym, not more muscle. Here is the research that shows you what to do instead.
Workout Routines – The Dogma
I’ve succumbed to this dogma about muscle building exercises because it is what I’ve been told, since forever,by coaches, trainers, fitness experts, physical therapists, and all manner of specialists. It was drummed into me. I still see it being drummed into clients in my local gym, by trainers who should know better. It goes like this…
To build bigger, stronger muscles most efficiently, you must:
- Workout each muscle group three times per week
- At each session, do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Use weights that take you to muscle failure by the end of each set
Guess what … each and every bit of advice in this list is WRONG!
I will cite research supporting this claim, addressing each point one at a time, in this and future posts. Suffice it for now to say that you don’t need to workout three times per week. In fact, that is too destructive. You don’t need to do 3-4 sets of any predetermined number of reps. And you don’t need to select one weight for any set.
The bit of dogma that I want to address in this post is the one about the number of sets. If you are still getting (or giving) advice about doing multiple sets, then you are at least 15 years out of date. Your approach has been obsolete for that long!
Here are a couple of abstracts from studies that were published in professional journals in 1997 and 1998 (that means the research was done 2-3 years before that).
I’ve highlighted the main points in blue for take-home lessons from these articles.
Study 1 is an example of experimental research, where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. There are many studies like this one, with the same results. Indeed, Study 2 is a comparison of multiple studies, what we call a review of the literature. The authors of this article found that, in 45 out of 47 studies surveyed, performing multiple sets brought absolutely no additional benefits when compared with single-set workout routines. The other two studies showed marginal benefit for doing multiple sets.
Pretty interesting, isn’t it? Now, quit wasting your time in the gym and inject some efficiency into your muscle building workouts – with one set per session!
Blowing up workout routines dogma,
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