Most people go to the gym to look good. It is a pretty funny thing to watch after spending so many years in gyms. Sometimes a gym feels more like a night club. It can be entertaining, but it tends to distract from the reason we are really there. We go there to fail.
The Whole Point of Resistance Training
In order to build strength, we must lift weights and strain our muscles near the limits of their strength.
When we stress our muscles, they get weaker and weaker with each set. Ultimately they need to rest a few days before they’ve regained their full strength.
Your most productive workouts are those that end in muscle failure.
A proper mindset would be to go to the gym to look bad. You’re doing your best when you arrive and we all know how we feel when we leave.
What Does Muscle Failure Actually Mean?
Now THAT is a good question. What causes a muscle to fail? We are lifting heavy weights and then at a certain point, there is no more contraction.
This could be due to the golgi apparatus shutting the muscle down to protect the tissues.
It could be that you’ve run out of fuel. There are specific metabolic pathways that fuel your muscles for the type of short-duration weightlifting efforts and maybe that tank just emptied.
Either way, training to the point of failure is what is going to encourage your muscles to grow stronger. You can go on a very easy gradient if you want to be very careful, but with a little more effort, you can reach your performance goals months earlier.
Tracking Your Progression
If you are trying to get to a certain performance goal such as bench pressing 1x or 1.5x your body weight, then do a 1 Rep Max test to see how far away you are. Get that information over to a trainer who can take all factors into consideration such as your age, weight, etc. and have him or her work out what would be a safe, but tough progression to reach your goal.
Personal trainers can and should be used like this. I’m surprised that more of them aren’t. I have seen too many of them not give their knowledge or help because someone wasn’t exclusively paying them for it. I disagree.
One fun way to train someone is to make a big performance goal like a bench press milestone, then work out the rest of their program around that. This let’s the person know that you still have their goal in mind, but aren’t going to just skip leg day every time. If you’re smart, you’ll also teach them things like “Working your legs is the best way to boost testosterone.”
Failure in a Controlled and Safe Manner
Don’t hurt yourself. Failure doesn’t mean dropping the bar on your chest and cracking your sternum.
Failure means working a muscle until it can no longer perform. But at that specific moment that it doesn’t perform, you have to have already made a plan as to how to control that weight.
This is where spotters come in real handy.
The Right Place To Show Off
So you’ve got some muscle. All that protein shake drinking has paid off.
Go show it off at the beach. Go to a club or some other function like that. That’s why you got jacked in the first place, right? Just don’t show off in the gym and put yourself at risk.
I just had to put this in writing because I feel that it sometimes gets out of hand.
When the concept of “Gym” starts to give off the same vibes as “Club” we’ve got a problem. Beat this into your clients heads as well.
Yes, gyms can be communities full of people willing to help each other. Yes, if you’re interested, it can be a place to meet people.
But for crying out loud, it is, first and foremost, the space where a man or woman can go and safely lift some weights to failure.