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Train To Gain: All Balls to the Wall?

How often should you go all out at the gym?

I’ve never encountered a shred of evidence that more than three total-body workouts a week is necessary. The question is, How intense should those workouts be? You should train hard, but all-out efforts on all three training days will almost certainly be too much’except for a few natural gainers. The training plan that seems to work best is to make a maximum effort on one weekly workout only. The other two should be light and moderate, which helps speed recovery and prepares the muscles for the more demanding sessions.

Let’s say that on a heavy day you do five sets of five or six repetitions in the squat. Your last set incorporates a weight that makes you fight like hell to reach your scheduled counts. On a moderate day you use three sets of eight reps’working, but not struggling for the last reps of the final set. On your light day you do two sets of 10 to 12 reps, using weights such that the squats are only about twice as hard as freehand squats. Here’s a summary of how you should tackle your full-body workouts:

‘Train three times a week on alternate days.

‘Limit workouts to no more than two hours’closer to one hour is best.

‘Follow a good diet and get plenty of rest. At the same time get some enjoyable form of exercise at least twice a week in an activity other than weight training.

‘Train light on one day’50 to 55 percent of your strength; moderately one day’65 to 75 percent of your strength; and heavy one day’80 to 90 percent of your strength.

‘Restrict attempts to hit new limits on lifts to once per month, or every four or five weeks’and don’t try that on more than one basic movement at a time. IM

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