Breaking up ISN’T hard to do…it’ll actually make you stronger.

6 am still killing it every morning!

6 am and look at all that weight!

You’ve been going to the gym 3 days a week for the past year or two. You made quick gains the first year (how couldn’t you? You did absolutely NOTHING prior to walking in the door) but this last year you have stagnated. No more 10 lb. PR’s every month, but your times have gotten much faster, that’s still progress, right? You walk up to the whiteboard and look at the workout. It’s 50 of something, (for TIME) and the bargaining starts. One side of your brain tells you that it’s 50 – that’s A LOT – so you better go light, something you know you can handle and get it over with fast – get all 50 pumped out unbroken in no time. That side of your brain is the cautious side – it wants to avoid discomfort for as short a time as possible and the risk assessment comes in very low. The other side of your brain is reminding you that you’ve been complaining that you aren’t getting any stronger – no pain, no gain, go heavy or go home. Most people would err on the side of caution, but if you really want to get stronger, caution’s not going to cut it.

Why? Muscles don’t grow and you don’t get stronger without tension, stress, and yes, damage. Tension through a full range of motion builds muscle – tension involves HEAVY weight putting a muscle under tension during dynamic motion. No tension, no gain. Metabolic stress – that burn you feel (think of your quads after the Airdyne) is actually helping you build muscle by pooling blood and other metabolic byproducts, initiating a hormonal response. The final component, damage, is probably very familiar (or it USED to be) – it’s that soreness you feel a day or two after a hard workout, and you need at least a little of it to build muscle mass. All three of these components work together to build STRENGTH – and if you take one component out (TENSION), you screw up the other two. At some point, adaptation occurs. You level out.

Let’s say you have been doing 10 push presses at 45lbs. At one time, 10 at 45lbs created tension, (it felt heavy), it caused stress and muscle damage – there was no way you could do all 10 reps unbroken. You were sore. Now, a year later, you are still lifting 45lbs. for 10 reps.  It goes up easy and fast (it no longer feels heavy at ALL), it puts very little stress on your system and very little muscle damage – you pump out 10 reps FAST like it’s nothing. Well, the truth is it is nothing. Or at the least very little. That 10 reps at 45lbs. is no longer a stimulus for muscle growth. If you really want to get stronger, you will need to provide a little more stimulus, and be willing to see your “time” go down a bit. Go up in weight. Challenge yourself. And BREAK UP your reps. Don’t look at 50 as 50 – look at it as 5 sets of 10, or 10 sets of 5 or even 25 sets of 2 if you have to. You have the strength to do it. You have been doing this for a while now. You will not finish first, but your fitness will increase, your strength will increase and before you know it, 55lbs will feel like 45lbs and it will once again be time to add weight…

Posted Under: Longevity Daily


Written by crossfitlongevity


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