Gaining strength is no easy feat and requires time and patience. However, one common myth is that you have to keep working out – frequently – to gain strength. Not so. In fact, in this case, less is more. There is science behind this theory and I’ll try to explain it as simply as possible.
You will still have to work-out three times a week but the good news is that you won’t have to do all-body strength exercises all those days you are working out.
You will focus on specific muscle groups and you must take each second seriously. In short, less frequent training but maximum efficiency is the formula. It is also important to note that your genes will play a significant role in your strengthening efforts. For example, some people just don’t develop muscle mass no matter how they exercise.
Studies done in the late 1990s show that with efficient training, a schedule of working out every two weeks will still lead to a 26% strength increase – or about the same pace as one who exercises three times a week. One case was untrained women who were made to do leg presses twice a week. After several weeks, their strength gain was remarkably similar to untrained women who trained every day. Both groups increased squat strength by around 28%, improved lean tissue by 2.2%, and achieved bench press strength of up to 30%.
What kind of exercise routine did they use? They did the same routine as everybody else but less frequently! Instead of 5 sets of leg presses and lunges, they only did one set each – and so on for all the other drills. They just made sure that each one counted and was done 100% properly. They significantly reduced the fatigue factor, their bodies were able to recover swiftly, and they were able to function more than adequately for the rest of the time they were out of the gym.
However, be ready to caution yourself against becoming lazy about exercises and understand that every person follows his or her personal pace based on personal demographics and make-up – physical and mental.
If your muscles are sore afterwards, remember to use a foam roller.