Tuesday, October 24, 2023

My Lifting "Sweet Spot"

I think I have finally found it -- my "sweet spot" when it comes to weight training. For me, this means lifting no more than 3 days each week, taking the other days off from lifting so that the entire muscle building process can take place optimally. Remember, muscles grow, not while you're exercising, but while you're recovering. Here's the other thing I've found. The amount of work you do is not the primary driver of muscle hypertrophy. Both intensity and volume matter in the overall bodybuilding picture. Muscle growth is quite simply an adaptive response to stress, and the primary thing that underlies the entire process is training intensity. You can perform with as much volume as you want, but without sufficient training intensity you won't see any lasting muscle building results. First quality, then quantity. For me, this mean training 3 times a week for one and a half hours with a level of intensity that is appropriate to my age (71) and fitness goals. Every time I go to the gym I ask myself if I'm truly pushing myself to that level of intensity that will help me reach my goal of climbing another 4,000 meter peak next summer. No, you don't need to train to failure on every set (I certainly don't), but if you're going much less than 2-3 reps short, you're probably not going hard enough to build up your physique to its real potential. 

When it all comes down to it, stressing your muscles has to be strong enough for your body to perceive that the demands of the current environment exceed their present capabilities. Otherwise, there's no reason at all for your body to build muscle beyond its current level. In short, my goal is a level of intensity high enough to trigger my body's muscle growth response but also low enough to where I won't burn myself or put excessive stress on my ever-aging joints. 

As always, thanks so much for reading and for following along on my strength and fitness journey. Remember that workout intensity (rather than frequency) is the most important factor in your entire bodybuilding workout plan. 

Happy lifting! 

P.S. A few pics from today's workout.