The reason your training is ineffective
The reason your fitness training is ineffective
Exercising regularly but not seeing results? Experts call this phenomenon: “Junk Volume”
What it is, why is it dangerous for your health, and what do you need to do to stop wasting time, streamline your workouts, and start to see results?
You come to the gym with a lot of energy, lift weights, and don’t neglect any muscle group. But even after all this, you do not see results - there is no improvement in strength, nor in your aerobic performance. If there are still achievements, then they are negligible in relation to the level of investment and the expectation threshold. This phenomenon - training without results (or unsatisfactory results) - experts call "junk volume", and it is common among new and old trainees.
And if you think that's the end of the story, you're wrong. Junk volume can have implications for both body health and motivation. This type of training increases the risk of injuries such as back pain and joint pain, puts the body systems under stress and weakens the immune system. In the short term, it may slow down the recovery time, and later even weaken the immune system and expose s you to infectious diseases. In addition, the asymmetry between investment and results can significantly impair your motivation to persevere in activity.
What causes junk volume training, and what do you need to do to stop wasting time, streamline your fitness training, and finally see results? We list 3 reasons that lead to “junk volume” training and suggest taking a few steps to avoid it and improve results.
- You do not challenge the muscles
Exercising without effort may be good to take note of in your list of daily tasks, but it certainly has no use in improving strength and increasing muscle mass. When you perform strength training while using weights that are too light and do not reach a stage where you experience difficulty (as a result of muscle fiber stimulation), or when you are "stuck" for a long time with the same weights, there is a reasonable chance that there will be no improvement in your muscle mass.
But before you rush in and lift heavy weights to increase muscle mass, you should consult a qualified instructor regarding increasing your reps. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology in 2016, researchers compared two groups of experienced weightlifters over a 12-week period. During this period, one group lifted weights at lighter weights (up to 50% of the maximum force, ie the maximum weight you can lift in one go) in sets with a number of reps ranging from 20 to 25 reps. The second group lifted heavier weights (up to 90% of maximum power) in sets that included a lower number of reps - 8 to 12 reps. Participants in both groups reached a point where they had difficulty finishing the set. The researchers' conclusion, tested using muscle and blood samples, was that the increase in muscle mass and muscle fiber size was almost identical in both groups.
In other words: in order for muscle mass to increase, it is important to produce a load or stimulus on the muscle fibers. This can happen with heavy weights or low weights but with a high number of reps. This creates micro-tears in the muscle, and hence the body mobilizes itself for a process of rebuilding during which the muscle grows and strengthens. If there is not enough stimulation for the muscle, no micro-tears are formed, and the process essential for enlarging and strengthening the muscle does not take place.
Top tip: If lifting the first feels the same as the last rep, it is time to increase the weight or the number of repetitions.
- You don’t stretch your muscles before training
Stretching at the beginning of a workout has great value: it increases blood flow, increases heart rate, and helps in introducing oxygen to the muscles, thus increasing the production of energy essential for activity. If you do not perform quality warm-ups, not only will you not make a profit from the activity but in doing so you increase the risk of injuries (for example, back pain, joint pain, and more).
- You don’t rest between sets
Resting between sets allows the body to replenish energy stores, reduce nerve fatigue and prepare the muscle to cope with the cumulative load exerted on it. If you rush to finish the workout and therefore also shorten the rest times, you may feel exhausted at an earlier stage. In the short term, it will impair the technique of lifting, in the long term it may lead to injuries or inflammation.
The question of how long you need to rest between sets to refill your energy stores depends on various components, such as the weight you lift and the purpose of your workout. If your goal is to increase muscle mass, studies have shown that hypertrophy - the same stimulus that leads to an increase in muscle mass - is best achieved when resting between sets takes place in the range of 30 to 90 seconds.
Top Tip: The ability to recover depends on your level of fitness. Schedule a workout or two and dedicate yourself to them: Disconnect from the phone, use a stopwatch, and schedule activities and breaks.
Try to figure out what the ideal time for you to recover is in the bar for between 30 and 90 seconds. How will you know? The pulse should drop. If after 30 seconds of rest you are still panting, a sign that you will have to wait a little longer. And remember: especially when it comes to hypertrophy (muscle stimulation and encouragement for its growth), the quality of the exercise will never outweigh the amount.