Back in the 80’s, the greatest decade ever, action movies were the peak of cinema. I can remember seeing classics like Conan the Barbarian, Terminator, Rambo, Predator and being thoroughly entertained by the victorious hero winning the day. The common theme is all these movies was a super muscular male lead. Two of the greats were Arnold and Stallone, both rippling with muscles. I was common place to see these two on the TV preaching “Their” workout regimens and saying, “do it like me to look like me”. There in lies the problem, I don’t look like either of them and neither does anyone else.
Over the last 2 decades at Pivonka Chiropractic in Gilbert I have “preached” that to stay healthy you had to lift weights 3-4 days a week and do cardiovascular workouts the other days. It’s no secret that increasing muscle mass and being strong is very important to health and longevity, however, what I always found for me personally was that working out in the above fashion never produced great results for me regardless of the program. Our office used to host fitness Challenges based off the book Body for Life by Bill Phillips and I used that program for years, with really no changes. I also participated in the P90X program, with little to no gains but plenty of injuries to my shoulders, back and knees. So after years of failing and pain I finally decided to look into what I was doing with a little scientific investigation and what did I discover? I was working out TOO MUCH! and wasting my time.
Here are some studies that illustrate my point. In the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (Aug 1997) K.J. Ostrowski et.al showed the results of a 10 week study of recreational weight lifters in which various set schemes were evaluated. Set schemes involving one set to four sets per exercise were tested and the results revealed that ONE set per exercise was just as beneficial as FOUR sets per exercise for improving muscular size, strength and upper body power.
Researchers at Adelphi University performed a literature review of all the known scientific literature concerning single set VS multiple set resistance training. (R.N. Carpinelli and R.M. Otto, “Strength Training: Single versus Multiple Sets,” Sports Medicine 26 1998). There review concluded that performing multiple sets brought absolutely NO additional increase in results compared with single set training.
More studies support this conclusion, W. Wescott et.al examined upper body strength gains in 27 subjects over 10 weeks and showed that a group doing one set showed similar improvements as groups doing 2 to 3 sets. D. Starkey et.al examined leg strength gains in 38 subjects over 14 weeks, their conclusions were that subjects who performed ONE set had similar improvements as groups doing THREE sets. A further study in the Journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that ONE set of high intensity resistance training was just as effective as THREE sets for increasing knee extension and flexion and muscle thickness.
So the conclusion is that doing more than ONE set is a waste of time. Doug McGuff, M.D. in his book Body by Science goes on to explain that weight training more than one day a week is too much and that some people may need to train as little as once every 2 weeks. This is based on the fact that your muscles don’t grow during your workouts but between your workouts. Sufficient rest has to be given to the muscles in order for them to recover. In most cases full recovery doesn’t occur for up to 7 days.
So the facts are that less is more. I am living proof of this. For the past year I have been doing a full body weight workout one day per week for 20 minutes. I have increased my weights every workout and I am now up over 100 pounds in every lift. This is the first time in my life where I have continually GAINED strength each week and have had ZERO injuries or issues with tendonitis.
This workout is designed for the average Joe or Jane who wants to save time and stay strong and healthy and who isn’t a genetic freak like Arnold or Stallone. It is designed for everyone from the young to the old to increase muscle mass and strength safely. In our office we call it Next Level Fitness and we invite anyone to come and try one workout for FREE to see what you think. I know you will see the difference. Call Pivonka Chiropractic serving Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler, Queen Creek and Apache Junction at (480) 892-0022 to learn more or to schedule your one FREE workout.