This Is Likely To Cause Muscle Weakness During Your Next Workout
by Joseph Mercola: Worse
Than a Disease Diagnosis – This Mistake Can Land You in the E.R.
- When strength
training, as long as you achieve muscle failure, it makes no difference
how heavy your weight is, according to recent research. The Goldilock’s
zone is where the weight is heavy enough to bring you to fatigue
within a certain amount of repetitions, but not so heavy that
you cannot complete the set within one or two minutes
recent study has discovered that it is your mind that limits you
from pushing to failure, not your body. Your brain works in conjunction
with your body to ensure that you stop exercising before physical
harm develops. So the experience of fatigue is not actually physical,
but rather an emotional regulator mechanism designed to maintain
whole-body homeostasis. Muscle fatigue is also an exhaustion of
your nervous system
A new study
examining the difference between lifting heavy weights, as opposed
to a lighter load, to the point of muscle failure, has shown that
there is no difference in the way your body responds to the weight
measured both muscle volume and strength gains as part of their
with our previous acute measurements of muscle protein synthetic
rates a lower load lifted to failure resulted in similar hypertrophy
as a heavy load lifted to failure."
what fitness experts like Dr.
Doug McGuff teaches, and what I have personally been doing for
The key to
increase muscle and improve fitness lies in working your muscle
to fatigue, but you don't need to lift heavy weights to do so.
There is a
Goldilock's zone, however, where the weight is heavy enough to bring
you to fatigue within a certain amount of repetitions, but not so
heavy that you cannot complete the set within a minute or two.
of Super-Slow Weight Training
is a proponent of so-called super-slow weight training, which actually
produces many of the same health- and fitness benefits as high-intensity
interval training, which is a key aspect of my Peak
of using a stationary bike or elliptical machine, you're lifting
weights . These two forms of exercise may at first sound like complete
opposites super-slow versus high-intensity but the
combination of slowing down your lifts and lifting to failure turns
it into a high-intensity exercise. Metabolically speaking, both
forms are very similar to each other, because you're producing metabolic
byproducts of that fatigue.
One such byproduct
is lactic acid.
doing high-intensity interval training on an elliptical or doing
super-slow weight lifting, the lactic acid produced generates a
cascade of metabolic adaptations that improve your muscle strength
and fitness level.
One of the
primary differences is that during anaerobic interval training,
these metabolic adaptations occur as a side effect of the activity
I've previously discussed how these types of exercises help
boost and shape muscles throughout your body but during super-slow
weight training, these adaptations are a deliberate part of the
goal of the exercise, which is to momentarily bring a given muscle
group into deep fatigue in order to increase the strength of that
muscle and to do so within a span of 60 to 120 seconds.
How much actual
muscle mass you gain depends on your individual expression of certain
genes. Your genome governs how large your muscles can become, and
how responsive your muscles will be to exercise. However, regardless
of how large your muscles become, your body will get stronger
as a result of these types of exercises. Some people can be enormously
strong without looking like Schwarzenegger, and some who are very
muscular might not have great strength.
that occurs is the improvement of your glucose storage capability.
Regardless of the increase in actual muscle mass, your glucose storage
capability will increase, and that is a very important factor for
overall health. And, just like high-intensity interval training,
super-slow weight training promotes the production of human
growth hormone (HGH), aka "the fitness hormone," which plays
an important role in maintaining optimal health, fitness, and longevity.
In fact, according to Dr. McGuff you only need 12 minutes
of Super-Slow type strength training once a week to achieve
the same growth hormone production as you would with Peak
to Perform Super-Slow Weight Lifting
by aggressively working your muscle to fatigue, you stimulate muscular
adaptations that improve the metabolic capability of your muscle,
which causes it to increase in strength and size.
recommends using four or five basic compound movements for your
exercise set. These exercises can be done using either free weights
or machines. The benefit of using a quality machine is that it will
allow you to focus your mind on the effort rather than your form.
The following five movements are a good place to start:
(or alternatively chin-up)
- Chest press
row (A pulling motion in the horizontal plane)
- Leg press
Next is a summary
of how to perform each exercise. If you're using the appropriate
amount of weight or resistance, you'll be able to perform four
to eight repetitions for each exercise set. When done properly,
your workout will take no more than 12 or 15 minutes.
- Begin by
lifting the weight as slowly and gradually as you can.
The first inch should take about two seconds. Since you're depriving
yourself of all the momentum of snatching the weight upward, it
will be very difficult to complete the full movement in less than
movement allows your muscle, at the microscopic level, to access
the maximum number of cross-bridges between the protein filaments
that produce movement in the muscle. When pushing, stop about
10 to 15 degrees before your limb is fully straightened; smoothly
lower the weight back down
until exhaustion. Once you reach exhaustion, don't try to heave
or jerk the weight to get one last repetition in. Instead, just
keep trying to produce the movement, even if it's not 'going'
anywhere, for another five seconds or so
switch to the next exercise for the next target muscle group
and repeat the first three steps
to the Point of Failure is Just Too Much
For those of
you who feel that pushing yourself to the point of muscle failure
is just too much sometimes, there's another study out that explains
that too. In this study, researchers found that the old adage, "it's
all in your head" is true in that, typically, it's your mind that
limits you from pushing to failure, not your bodyii.
It's taken more than a century for scientists to figure this out,
and to explain how your brain works in conjunction with your body
to ensure that you stop exercising before physical harm
develops a key to overall improvement in your exercise routine.
which is aptly titled: "Fatigue is a Brain-Derived Emotion that
Regulates the Exercise Behavior to Ensure the Protection of Whole
Body Homeostasis," explains that the fatigue you may experience
when exercising vigorously is a mental or emotional regulator mechanism
designed to protect your body from excessive harm. It may sound
strange, but the explanation they offer is actually quite sensible.
The authors write:
book written by A. Mosso in the late nineteenth century proposed
that fatigue that "at first sight might appear an imperfection of
our body, is on the contrary one of its most marvelous perfections.
The fatigue increasing more rapidly than the amount of work done
saves us from the injury which lesser sensibility would involve
for the organism" so that "muscular fatigue also is at bottom
an exhaustion of the nervous system."
taken more than a century to confirm Mosso's idea that both the
brain and the muscles alter their function during exercise and that
fatigue is predominantly an emotion, part of a complex regulation,
the goal of which is to protect the body from harm... [T]he
CNS [central nervous system] regulates exercise specifically to
insure that each exercise bout terminates whilst homeostasis is
retained in all bodily systems." [Emphasis mine.]
the idea that your athletic performance is based purely on your
body's physiological and metabolic responses appears to be false,
according to this research, because "subconscious and conscious
mental decisions made by winners and losers, in both training and
competition, are the ultimate determinants of both fatigue and athletic
The idea that
fatigue is an important regulatory function to maintain physical
homeostasis makes the advice to make sure you fully recover between
workouts even more important. This recently became a great learning
experience for me.
This is a vital
area of exercise and one that obsessive-compulsives like me frequently
have problems with. It took me over 40 years to realize that I was
working out too hard and needed to integrate more recovery into
my exercise program. Obviously this is not a problem for most
people that don't exercise enough but for disciplined overachievers,
this is a common misunderstanding.
I'd been doing
high-intensity Peak Fitness exercises three times a week for about
a year along with three one-hour strength training sessions a week
when I began feeling fatigued between sessions. After my interview
with Dr. McGuff, I realized I was probably pushing myself too hard
and not allowing myself enough recovery time.
So when should
you back down on your exercise?
piece of information gleaned from Dr. McGuff is that as long as
your intensity is high enough, you can cut back on the frequency
of the exercise without diminishing the results. In fact, if the
intensity is really high, the frequency may need to be
reduced, in order to continue improving.
interval increase in intensity, there has to be a very disproportionate
decrease in frequency for it to continue to be productive,"
as a weak beginner, you can exercise three times a week and not
put much stress on your system. But once your strength and endurance
improves, each exercise session is placing an increasingly greater
amount of stress on your body (as long as you keep pushing yourself
to the max). At that point, you would be wise to reduce the
frequency of your sessions to give your body enough time to
recover in between.
Dr. McGuff, once you're fit, you don't need the frequent
spurts of growth hormone production. At that point, recovery takes
precedence as being more important, and your recovery period could
be anywhere from three to seven days. In fact, he strongly recommends
NOT exercising too frequently once you are in fit condition, in
order to avoid over-taxing your adrenals.
Weight Training Automatically Decreases Risk of Injury
discussing your body's innate intelligence to prevent you from injuring
yourself, by making you feel fatigued, it's worth mentioning that
super-slow weight training is a much safer form of exercise than
regular strength training. The slow movement actively prevents you
from accidentally harming your joints or suffering repetitive use
injury, as the forces are dramatically reduced.
2012 Dr. Joseph Mercola
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