In this series of articles on exercise intensity, I’ve often mentioned the fact that achieving maximum intensity for any strength-training or weight-training exercise that you do, is the key to building “maximum muscle in minimum time”.
I’ve even gone as far as to claim that you can build “maximum muscle in minimum time”, simply by doing strength-training exercises that take only 1-6 seconds each!
Too good to be true? Not at all, once you understand the nature of exercise intensity, as it relates to strength-training and muscle growth stimulation. Or as it relates to exercise in general.
In fact, it’s simply a law of nature that the fastest and most effective way to build muscle is the least time–consuming way to build muscle. And that’s exactly what I’ll be explaining in this final article of the series.
Just to recap: you build muscle from exercise by subjecting the muscle to a “higher level of intensity” than what it’s currently accustomed to. Doing so gets the muscle to “work harder” than what it’s currently used to. And this triggers an anabolic process in the central nervous system (CNS), that causes the muscle to grow bigger and stronger, to adapt to that higher level of intensity.
And the higher the level of intensity generated in the muscle, the greater the muscle growth is likely to be. So for maximum muscle growth, you need to generate maximum intensity in the working muscle.
And as I explained in the Part I of this series, intensity is the “amount of contraction that you generate in the working muscle, per unit of time”. So to achieve maximum intensity for any strength-training or weight-training exercise, you need to generate “maximum contraction per second” in the working muscle.
Generating “maximum contraction per second” in the muscle is what gets the muscle to work as “hard” as it possibly can. And the harder the muscle has to work, the greater the muscle growth stimulation is likely to be. And the greater the muscle growth stimulation, the more muscle you’re likely to build.
So intensity is the ultimate measure of “how hard” a muscle is working. And as I explained in this series of articles (Parts III and IV), the only way to achieve maximum intensity and get the muscle to work as hard as it possible can, is to combine maximum dynamic contraction (DC) with maximum resistance–induced contraction (RC) simultaneously, throughout the entire exercise.
Ok, so that explains the “maximum muscle” part of the equation. Now what about the “minimum time” part? How exactly does achieving “maximum intensity” enable you to build “maximum muscle in minimum time”, just by doing exercises that take only 1-6 seconds each?
That’s easily explained by one simple, powerful, yet usually overlooked fact: intensity is inversely proportional to duration. So the higher the intensity of an exercise, the shorter the duration of the exercise has to be. That’s simply a law of nature that apples equally to everyone.
Nobody can generate “maximum contraction per second” (i.e. “maximum intensity”) in a muscle, and sustain that level of intensity for a long period of time. That’s impossible for any human being to do. Obviously, the more contraction that you generate in a muscle per second, the harder the muscle has to work, and the sooner the muscle will become fatigued, to the point where the exercise has to end.
So if you can perform a strength-training or weight-training exercise for longer than about 6 seconds at the most, you don’t have maximum intensity; at least not for the entire exercise.
As the famous pro bodybuilder Mike Mentzer said, “You can train hard; or you can train long. But you can’t do both simultaneously! ”
And training “hard” is what you need, to build maximum muscle; especially “maximum muscle in minimum time”.
And think about it: the fact that “maximum intensity” can be sustained for only a very short period of time, for any strength-training exercise that you do, is actually a good thing. Because it turns out that the fastest and most effective way to build muscle, is actually the simplest and least time–consuming way; if you know and apply the secrets to achieving maximum intensity, for any strength-training exercise that you do.
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Questions? Comments? Do you care to agree or disagree? Feel free to do so!