When it comes to muscle mass development less is more. One of the biggest mistakes newbies lifters make is lifting too much, too often. This results in one thing, failure. I believe the second most overlooked aspect of muscle development (after nutrition) is recovery. If you don’t recover properly you won’t grow, simple as that.
In this post I’m going to give you a list of reasons why when it comes to training more muscle growth less is more. If you have any questions post in the comments below.
Why less is more in muscle growth:
Contrary to popular belief, muscle growth does not take place in the gym. It’s actually the exact opposite. If the gym you’re breaking down muscle tissue for repair when you rest. It’s when you’re resting that new muscle grows! So not enough rest means you’re limiting your muscle growth potential.
If you don’t allow enough time for recovery you won’t be able to lift as much when you train. Obviously, this is going to hamper your progress.
Doing too many sets on one muscle group leads to muscle breakdown! The guys at Muscle and Strength have been preaching this for a long time. You only need to work a maximum of 16 sets on large muscle groups (chest, quads, etc) and 12 sets of smaller muscle groups (biceps, triceps, forearms etc). That’s enough, really. You might not think that training your biceps for about 20mins per week for 12 sets will make them grow, but believe me, if you’ve got the rest and nutrition right, that’s all they need.
You train your arms more than you think. I’ve heard of people training biceps up to 5 times per week! This is totally ridiculous! They are a small muscle group and don’t require that much training. Another thing you have to think about is that when you train your back you are also training your biceps and forearms hard as well. So even if you only hit your biceps once a week, they’re actually getting trained twice.
Long training sessions are counter productive because after about 60mins your body will have depleted glycogen and protein levels in muscle tissue and will be looking looking for other sources for energy. Often this energy will come from muscle tissue itself. It’s called catabolism. Catabolism occurs when the body breaks down muscle tissue for energy. This can happen during, or after, your workout session. This is why we have our protein shakes immediately after training, to prevent this from happening. If you keep training for too long you’ll end up skinnier than when you started, I’ve actually seen this happen.
Finally, over training often results in preventable injuries occurring. This is often due to joints and tendons not being given adequate time to recover from intense workouts. If you’re injured, you can’t train. If you haven’t been injured, good for you. But if you have, you’ll already know the frustration that comes with it.
Think about these points when you’re training and designing your next workout.