Lesson 5 Module 3
It's far more important to adhere to the big picture elements of doing brief, intense workouts?never chronic?and balancing stress and rest with an intuitive approach to scheduling workouts. Choose exercises that engage a variety of muscle groups with sweeping, real-life, functional movements, and you will promote optimal gene expression, regardless of the particulars.
Ideally, muscles are challenged by brief, high-intensity efforts and the stress response is stimulated for a short duration during these intense workouts. After this brief stressful event, the body responds to the stimulus of the workout during rest periods by rebuilding and getting stronger for peak performance.
A common error among strength training enthusiasts is to apply a chronic approach to strength training similar to the approach of a chronic cardio athlete who over-trains. A chronic strength training pattern involves conducting high-intensity workouts that last too long in duration and are conducted too frequently with insufficient rest between sessions.
Gym rats immersed in a chronic pattern enjoy the rush of high-intensity efforts, but they hang around the gym too long, doing too many sets. Then, they don't allow enough time between workouts to recover properly. This triggers the stress response too often and locks the athlete in a catabolic pattern?never quite recovering fully before breaking down muscle tissue at the next workout.
For all but the most serious strength training athletes and competitive athletes, two high-intensity strength-training sessions per week is sufficient to deliver optimal results. The meaning of a "brief, high-intensity workout" then is a session that is challenging enough that it would be difficult to continue the session at that level of physical output beyond 20 or 30 minutes due to the accumulation of fatigue.
For many exercisers, doing two sets of max effort in each of the four Primal Essential Movements, (pushups, pullups, squats, and planks) might take around 20 minutes, adding in a few minutes of warmup and cooldown in between the exercises, and the rest periods between each set.