Training

Keep Your Training Simple

To stay on track with muscle gains, don't reinvent the wheel every workout.

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Keep Your Training Simple
Pavel Ythjall

OPENING ARGUMENTS

DEFENSE

Always present the muscle with a different stimulus to avoid plateaus. By changing the load (light or heavy weights) constantly throughout the week (daily undulating periodization), you’ll keep the muscle guessing since it has to adapt to an unexpected challenge.

PROSECUTION

Always changing things in your workout may be more about keeping the lifter entertained than actually defeating some adaptive mechanism of the body. Granted, it’s important to try to avoid burnout (or boredom for those less committed), but if we’re talking actual physiology, there is little evidence to support the need for daily undulating periodization.

EVIDENCE

  • Studies comparing the effects of lifting light weights with those of heavy weights clearly favor the latter if mass is your goal.
  • Light weights can induce growth but only when all sets are taken to failure. Always training to failure, whether it’s with light or heavy loads, will still result in the same fatigue and necessary recovery time.
  • Studies comparing daily undulating periodization (alternating light and heavy weights each workout) with linear periodization (progressive overload) show that there is no measurable difference in terms of muscle growth.

VERDICT

Those interested in achieving maximal muscle hypertrophy should focus on training volume and progressive overload, while the use or the choice of a periodization scheme may be a matter of individual preference.

SENTENCING

When planning your training, the long-term goal should be to create a consistent environment conducive to growth. This means adequate volume, adequate resistance, and progressive increase in volume and resistance over time. Changing the weight and reps each workout may o er variety and interest to your training, but don’t count on it to make you grow more than simple linear progressive overload.

 FLEX  

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