Your time is valuable. That’s why you get paid at your job, whether hourly or salary, you’re making money in exchange for your time and ability to get the job done. Not many people I know want to waste their own time. Today we’re going to discuss how to be as productive as possible while in the weight room. Any time spent exercising is obviously better than none, but are you getting the most out of the hard work you’re putting in day in and day out? If you aren’t utilizing the art of doing at least most of your sets to failure, you’re missing out on serious growth and improvement opportunities.
To understand why going to muscular fatigue is important, we first must understand how a muscle grows. Arnold Schwarzenegger said this, "The last 3 or 4 reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That's what most people lack: having the guts to go on and just say they'll go through the pain, no matter what happens." When muscle cells are viewed under the microscope, you can see that they contain a striped pattern (striations). This pattern is formed by a series of basic units called sarcomeres that are arranged in a stacked pattern throughout muscle tissue. There can be thousands of sarcomeres within a single muscle cell. Whenever your muscles are being worked through resistance training, the result from that work causes incredibly small micro-tears in the muscle fibers. Through a process called protein synthesis, your muscles are repaired in a way that makes them bigger and stronger. Your body does this so that you can handle more and more workloads as your body adapts to the stress that’s being put on it.
So as crazy as it sounds, we’re lifting weights to actually “damage” our muscles so that your body will repair them stronger. That’s why you get “the pump…” it’s your body’s response to trauma! Send blood!!! Your blood is what carries all the good stuff the muscles need for the recovery process to begin. Your body is literally screaming, “Why are you doing this to me?!” BUT… as Arnold said, most people don’t push it to the point where those micro-tears are happening. People don’t like “the burn” and will usually quit too soon. Especially when lifting by yourself, it’s really easy to quit on rep 9 when you very well know you could’ve done 12 reps. You must have the discipline and inner fire to KEEP GOING! The whole point of your set is working for those last several reps… they will hurt… but that’s where you’re going to see major gains. As I said earlier, something is better than nothing, but if you’re only going through the motions, you’re cheating yourself. I see guys in the gym that have been lifting for ten years that look exactly the same as when they started. Everyone wants to be in shape, big and strong... but most people don't want to do what it takes to get there. Push through the pain (obviously without hurting yourself) and watch your muscles grow! It’s those last reps that will separate you from the rest of the pack! Have a blessed day!