Are you experiencing the strength and muscle gains you would like to achieve with your strength training program?
If not, it’s not you. It’s your program.
Conventional exercise physiology suggests that to build muscle, it is best to perform 8-12 repetitions using a weight that pushes the muscle to extreme fatigue (or even failure) within 8-12 repetitions. However, recent research suggests that building muscle is much more individualized.
To build muscle, testosterone is essential. Given that there are hormones, like cortisol that break down muscle tissue and negate testosterone’s positive effects, it is essential that you use a strength training protocol that creates a hormonal balance.
Recent research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (March 2008) revealed that an individual’s testosterone release and, thus, muscle and strength increases in response to a strength training protocol is completely unique.
Some subjects in the studies had greater testosterone release using a heavy weight, 5 repetitions, and 3 minutes of rest; while others experienced similar results with an endurance training program (lighter weight, 15 repetitions, and 1 minute of rest). Four protocols in all were tested.
What does this mean for you?
Given that you are not in a research lab, here are 3 questions to find out if the program you are using is working for you.
How sore are you after a workout and for how long? Some soreness is great, however soreness that is extra intense and lasting more than 3 days may signal an imbalance in the cortisol-to-testosterone ration, meaning results will suffer.
Are your strength gains going up, down, or staying the same? If the gains in strength are not being achieved, chances are this is not the ideal program for you.
Are you experiencing any of these symptoms of lowered testosterone and elevated cortisol: drop in energy, cravings for sweets, dramatically increased hunger, irritability, restless sleep, and waking not feeling rested? If so, experiment with a new training protocol.
Good Luck! And let me know your success story with experimenting with various protocols! Happy Lifting!
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