How’s that workout regimen you have been on for months going? Have you achieved all of those goals you set for your New Year’s resolution? If so, great! If not, that’s okay. This means that it is time to retool your workout routine to get optimal results.
The human body is a wonderful adaptation machine. This means it will begin to form or change to be able to survive against any stimulus that it is exposed to for a prolonged time. When it comes to training, phasing your workouts can keep you from plateauing and see the progress continue to show. In strength training, most programs should be broken down into three key phases; strength, hypertophy and muscular endurance. I will break down each of these three phases and explain how each can take your fitness goals to the next level.
The strength phase is grueling, grinding portion of the regimen that will test your maximum strength capacities. The workouts consist of performing your chosen movements for three to five sets or one to five repetitions. Theses reps are slow and controlled; usually with a four count on the lowering/ loading part of the movement and a one to three count on the exerting/ power part of the movement. These workouts tend to last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and fifteen minutes. Sounds like a lot of energy use right? This is why you will need to take a longer rest period between sets to allow the ATP (fuel your muscles use during contractions) to replenish. I usually have my clients rest anywhere between two to four minutes to recover from the previous set before attacking the next. In this phase your will not experience a lot of muscle growth but what you will see is tremendous strength gains and muscles that appear to be hardened. Each week, you should strive to increase your weight each week in appropriate manor. This means that if in a workout, you struggled to get the weight up for one or two reps, your should not go up until you can achieve perfect, solid form for four or five reps. It is absolutely imperative that you have mastered your movements before going through this phase. Normally safe movements such as squat and deadlift can become extremely dangerous at an instance.
The hypertorphy phase is also know as the muscle building phase. This is due to the shift in stress from your tendons and central nervous system to the muscle bellies. This signal tells the body to adapt to the insult by building up the muscle fibers in the worked muscles. Your movements will be performed for two to four sets of eight to twelve reps with anywhere between 45 to 90 seconds of rest between. In this phase, you will not be necessarily look to increase your wight every week but to increase the total volume of each movement. With an eight to twelve rep range you have a guide of when to go up. For example, if you perform a bicep curl for three sets of eight reps, the next time you bicep curl, you will strive to complete three sets of ten reps. Once you can get to 12 reps with solid form, you will then slightly move up in weight and drop back down to eight reps. This way you are using the rep range as a guide to when to go up in weight. Each rep usually consists of a three count down and two count up with an emphasis on the squeeze at peak tension. The hypertophy phase will leave you with fuller and rounder muscle bellies.
Muscular Endurance Phase
The endurance phase is the portion of workout regimens that sometimes gets branded as “toning.” This is BS term created by the fitness industry to sell programs to women who fear of stacking on muscle if they touch weights. In the endurance phase, you will maximize muscle pump and fuller feeling muscles. These reps will be performed anywhere between 10-15 pres for two to three sets with no more than 30 seconds of rest in between. Where the real results are seen in the definition that comes out in your muscles.
The key to success in this phase lays in the intensity of the workouts. The reps will be performed at a much quicker pace than in the previous two phases. After a certain point your body will burn through all of its glycogen stores and switch to its next source of energy, fats. That’s right fats! This means your body will begin to burn fats to fuel your workouts. But what about all of the muscle I have built in the previous two phases? I’m glad you asked my friend. Protein in the last source of energy your body will want to tap into for energy. Since your regimen is hopefully phased, you will not spend enough time in this type of workout for it to go after your protein stores that build muscle.
So, next time you go online or social media to get your workout program, take a moment to analyze how the program is actually put together. Anyone can slap together a few workouts and call it good, but where the real gravy train is found is in programming that is methodical and systematic. One wise trainer told me, “What you are not doing is what your body needs.” This means if you are stuck in one phase of training, your body will respond incredibly well to switching it up. This goes with all modalities of training. If you are a yogi, pick up some weights. If you are a body builder, work on mobility and flexibility.
If you are looking to take your training to the next level, send me a personal email and get your hands on the CK Health and Wellness Foundational Strength Program. For more tips, tricks and guidance in the gym, follow me on Instagram and Facebook at @chriskadingCPT and check out the CK Health and Wellness YouTube Channel for more detailed exercise videos.