January 17, 2012

WORKOUTS HAVE THEIR LIMITS, recognized or not. “While public health officials bemoan the tendency of most people to do little exercise, if any, physiologists are fretting over the opposite trend: an increasing focus on extreme exercise among some recreational athletes. Weight lifting with no rest between sets and with no days off. Endurance training with no easy days or days off. Competitions that encourage excess.” That kind of weight lifting might work for you, for a while at least, if you’re using anabolic steroids. Otherwise, not.

As Mark Rippetoe notes, if you’re training hard enough to make progress, you’ll be sore, and if you’re training often enough to make progress you’ll wind up using muscles while they’re still sore sometime. I can generally tell when I’ve overdone it because I feel tired all day, instead of for just an hour or so after my workout. Then I lighten up for a few days. Every few months I take a clean week off to let stuff catch up. That’s the formula used by old-timey bodybuilders and lifters and since — like them — I’m not using steroids, I figure it’s pretty good. Then again, my fitness goals are comparatively modest: To be reasonably strong, reasonably fit, and uninjured. Those who want to be competitive lifters or bodybuilders will have to take more risks of injury.

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