I've been running into articles lately espousing the idea that overtraining is a myth (or at least extremely difficult to achieve). I tend to agree that it is difficult to overtrain a muscle, but I do believe that it can be easier to beat up your joints.
One of the issues I have with said articles is that they rarely talk about training longevity and the impact that too much heavy volume can have on joints. Now I understand this isn't a sexy topic for the young guys to talk about but I think it's an important one.
In any case, here's an open ended question...how do you feel a lifter should train to maximize muscle, strength and training longevity?
Or posed another way...just because it is hard to overtrain, do you feel a lifter who wants muscle should push the limits and do as much high volume and heavy weight as possible, damn the consequences? Or do you feel they should limit themselves a bit with an eye on longevity?
I will add that sometimes frequency is automatically viewed as overtraining, meaning that training a bodypart more than once per week is automatically overtraining. I do not believe this at all.
My opinion is that frequency can exist as long as you are not trying to do 2-3 hour works 6 days a week. I know some young guys can hang with this, but the jury is out on how they will feel in their 40's.
So again, because of this, one of the important questions ion this discussion is...just because you can, should you?
I want to frame this questions around natural lifting.
There is a strong belief that as a natural you can continue to make big gains, and you can get as big as a steroid user - it just takes longer. This is untrue. Therefore, the more muscle you gain, the less return on investment you receive for beating your body up. Do not interpret this as saying you shouldn't work hard or push yourself. I'm not advocating mediocrity. I'm simply trying to get to the core of hard and smart training.
Far too many lifters don't train hard enough. They use bloated programs that have too many redundant isolation exercises, and they don't push themselves on every set.
So with the reality in mind that muscle gains are finite for natties, if muscle gain is your primary goal, do you need high volume and frequency to maximize your genetic potential...or do you simply need 3-4 training days per week, and hard work on those days?
Well, I am 38. I train 4x a week, one rep day and one max day for both bench and squat/deads. I also attempt to throw in cardio/gpp days as well. I have found out after this last training cycle, with the addition of rep work in place of dynamic work, my upper body joints are screaming. I've entered my deload week, and after the first bench workout, I have found that I feel so much better. I still hit moderately higher weights but with less volume. I never heard of deloads until joining MAB. I have deloaded twice now and fully understand the importance of going easy for a period of time. You wont lose any strength or mass, you get to drag your feet for a bit and your joints will thank you.
I hope that I was able to convey my ideas. I am not a writer by no means, I'm a prison guard. Now if you need someone detained, restrained, verbally assaulted or roughed up and it be viewed as necessary force then I'm your guy....lol
Steve, I am about to take a short answer and make it rather long.
When I was six years old, my idol was the local trash man. He would pull up in front of our house and grab this large silver trash can off the back of the truck. He would proceed to dump our garbage and the neighbors garbage in that container and then with on hand, flip it up and around onto his back. He would walk back to the truck and dump it into the truck. He was huge ... the biggest man in my town. He did this 5 days per week, 8 hours per day and retired after 30 years on the job, when I was 20 years old. So what does this have to do with your question?
There were probably 20 other men that did the same thing for a living. Some lasted a year and then their bodies could not handle it. Some lasted from 1 to 5 years and a couple more even lasted as long as 10 years. My Idol lasted 30 years.
There are so many different ingredients in the mix that I do not believe there is any one or any three answers that would apply to more than 20% of the population at any given time.
Short Answer: There are no shortage of opinions on this topic, but there may not be a consistent answer to it.
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