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These pages contain information on how to preserve your muscle as you age to prevent many of the diseases and weaknesses associated with aging. Together, we can turn back the clock and redefine aging!
How do I stay young?
How do I lose weight?
How do I gain muscle?
How do I overcome depression?
The answers are all the same. And! It’s never too late! You are never too old!
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Most signs of aging are symptoms of muscle loss!
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Fit Lab Foundation
Aging with limited muscle mass is an express ticket to cognitive decline! Six sets of 30 to 40 second intervals at 100% of VO2 max increased BDNF four to five times more than light exercise for 90 minutes.
There is a drug that exists that boosts memory, mood, brain function, slows cognitive decline and changes the structure of the brain. It’s called BDNF. Learn more below. With only six minutes of high intensity exercise you can dramatically increase it.
The best insurance policy for a healthy brain as you age is muscle mass and high cardiovascular fitness. Unrestricted blood flow and active muscle are the guardians of your brain.
Be a SUPERHERO! Everybody can have the super power of strength! Let us show you how!
We each have genetic super powers. Some put on mass, muscle and size easily. Others remain lean and “cut” with little effort. There are those among us with amazing natural dexterity, agility, speed or flexibility.
Regardless of your genetic super powers, there is one power we can all possess: STRENGTH! This is the most important power for maintaining functional health, vitality, brain placidity, cognitive function, and enhanced hormone health especially as we age.
You can be the a super hero for your family, friends and community simply by harnessing the power of strength. Contact us today!
After 35 years of research coupled with “on the field” trial and error, our 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Fit Lab Foundation, has developed a system for enhancing functional strength and quality of life especially for those transitioning into middle age and beyond.
What are these secrets to health????
Scroll down to peruse a few science based articles revealing many of these details. Contact us on integrating these life changing, age-reducing techniques into your lifestyle.
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These are the keys to maintaining functional strength, health and quality of life as we age.
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Tip: Protein requirements change as we age. Aging bodies process protein less efficiently and require more to maintain muscle mass and strength, bone health and other essential physiological functions.
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Keys to Functional Fitness Success
This is not an article but some of the key ingredients to success we have learned through years of research and training:
- To place the body in an anabolic state of maximum protein synthesis and muscle growth, you need to lift about 75% of your maximum lift for two to three reps. From there, we can customize these percentages for even greater growth.
- Intensity over volume! Once you have achieved an anabolic state in step one, your body will stay in that state for 24 to 36 hours. During this time, you build muscle, burn fat, secret positive hormones, stimulating BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor for brain health, etc. After about 24 to 36 hours, your body returns to a “normal” state as it is always seeking a state of homeostasis. Therefore, you can train those muscle groups again to stay in an anabolic state as long as you did not do too much volume in your first training session. If you did too many sets and/ or reps, you will not feel recovered and will not be able to execute a successful workout. This becomes more critical as you age.
- HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training is more effective for burning fat, building muscles, secreting positive hormones than a slow one hour jog.
- When lifting or conducting high intensity interval cardio training, a 3 to 5 minute break between sets is all that is required for the muscles to recover.
- Stay moving throughout the day. Sitting equals death. Get your steps in. Stay moving whenever possible.
7 Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
While most people know that physical activity is healthy, it’s estimated that about 20% of people worldwide don’t get enough of it each day .
In fact, in the United States alone, that number is more like 80%.
Unless you have a physically demanding job, a dedicated fitness routine is likely your best bet for getting active.
However, many people feel that they don’t have enough time to exercise.
If this sounds like you, maybe it’s time to try high intensity interval training (HIIT).
“HIIT” is a broad term for workouts that involve short periods of intense exercise alternated with recovery periods.
One of the biggest advantages of HIIT is that you can get maximal health benefits in minimal time.
This article explains what HIIT is and examines 7 of its top health benefits.
HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise alternated with low intensity recovery periods. Interestingly, it is perhaps the most time-efficient way to exercise.
Typically, a HIIT workout will be 10–30 minutes in duration.
Despite how short the workout is, it can produce health benefits similar to twice as much moderate-intensity exercise.
The actual activity being performed varies but can include sprinting, biking, jumping rope, or other bodyweight exercises.
For example, a HIIT workout using a stationary bike could consist of 30 seconds of cycling as fast as possible with high resistance, followed by several minutes of slow, easy cycling with low resistance.
This would be considered one “round” or “repetition” of HIIT, and you would typically complete 4–6 reps in one workout.
The specific amount of time you exercise and recover will vary based on the activity you choose and how intensely you are exercising.
Regardless of how you implement this strategy, high intensity intervals should involve short periods of vigorous exercise that make your heart rate speed up.
HIIT not only provides the benefits of longer-duration exercise in a much shorter amount of time but also may provide some unique health benefits.
You can burn calories quickly using HIIT.
One study compared the calories burned during 30 minutes each of HIIT, weight training, running, and biking.
The researchers found that HIIT burned 25–30% more calories than the other forms of exercise.
In this study, a HIIT repetition consisted of 20 seconds of maximal effort followed by 40 seconds of rest.
This means the participants were actually exercising for only one-third of the time that the running and biking groups were.
Although each workout session was 30 minutes long in this study, it is common for HIIT workouts to be much shorter than traditional exercise sessions.
This is because HIIT allows you to burn about the same number of calories but spend less time exercising.
HIIT may help you burn more calories than traditional exercise or burn the same number of calories in a shorter amount of time.
One of the ways HIIT helps you burn calories actually comes after you’re done exercising.
Several studies have demonstrated HIIT’s impressive ability to increase your metabolic rate for hours after exercise.
Some researchers have even found that HIIT increases your metabolism after exercise more so than jogging or weight training.
The same study also found that HIIT could shift the body’s metabolism toward using fat for energy rather than carbs.
Due to the intensity of the workout, HIIT can elevate your metabolism for hours after exercise. This results in burning additional calories even after you have finished exercising.
Studies have shown that HIIT can help you lose fat.
One review looked at 13 experiments and 424 adults with overweight or obesity.
Interestingly, it found that both HIIT and traditional moderate-intensity exercise can reduce body fat and waist circumference.
A range of other studies also indicate that HIIT can reduce body fat despite the relatively short time commitment.
However, like other forms of exercise, HIIT may be most effective for fat loss in people with overweight or obesity.
High intensity intervals can produce similar fat loss to traditional endurance exercise, even with a much smaller time commitment. They can also reduce waist circumference.
In addition to helping with fat loss, HIIT could help increase muscle mass in certain people.
However, the gain in muscle mass is primarily in the muscles being used the most, often those in the trunk and legs.
Additionally, increases in muscle mass are more likely to occur in people who were less active to begin with.
Some research in active people has failed to show higher muscle mass after HIIT programs.
Weight training continues to be the gold standard form of exercise to increase muscle mass, but high intensity intervals could support a small amount of muscle growth.
If you are not very active, you may gain some muscle by starting HIIT, but not as much as you would if you engaged in weight training.
Oxygen consumption is your muscles’ ability to use oxygen. Endurance training is typically used to improve your oxygen consumption.
Traditionally, this consists of long sessions of continuous running or cycling at a steady rate.
However, it appears that HIIT can produce the same benefits in a shorter amount of time.
One study found that participants who performed 20-minute HIIT workouts 4 days per week for 5 weeks improved their oxygen consumption by 9%.
This was almost identical to the improvement in oxygen consumption in the other group in the study, who cycled continuously for 40 minutes per day, 4 days per week.
Another study found that 8 weeks of exercising on the stationary bike using traditional exercise or HIIT increased oxygen consumption by about 25%.
Once again, the total time spent exercising was much different between groups: 120 minutes per week of traditional exercise versus only 60 minutes per week of HIIT.
Additional studies also demonstrate that HIIT can improve oxygen consumption.
High intensity interval training can improve oxygen consumption as much as traditional endurance training, even if you exercise only about half as long.
HIIT may have important health benefits as well.
A large amount of research indicates that it can reduce heart rate and blood pressure in people with overweight and obesity, populations in which high blood pressure is common.
One study found that 8 weeks of HIIT on a stationary bike decreased blood pressure as much as traditional, continuous endurance training in adults with high blood pressure.
In this study, the endurance training group exercised 4 days per week for 30 minutes per day, and the HIIT group exercised only 3 times per week for 20 minutes per day.
Some researchers have found that HIIT may even reduce blood pressure more than the frequently recommended moderate-intensity exercise.
However, it appears that high intensity exercise does not typically change blood pressure in people in the “normal” BMI range who have normal blood pressure.
HIIT can reduce blood pressure and heart rate, primarily in people with overweight or obesity who also have high blood pressure.
HIIT programs lasting less than 12 weeks can reduce blood sugar.
A summary of 50 studies found that HIIT not only reduces blood sugar but also improves insulin resistance more than traditional continuous exercise.
Based on this information, it is possible that high intensity exercise is particularly beneficial for those at risk for type 2 diabetes.
In fact, some experiments specifically in people with type 2 diabetes have demonstrated the effectiveness of HIIT for improving blood sugar.
However, research in healthy people indicates that HIIT may be able to improve insulin resistance even more than traditional continuous exercise.
High intensity interval training may be especially beneficial for those needing to reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance. Research has found these improvements in people with and without diabetes.
8. HIIT improves aerobic and anaerobic performance
While its health benefits are very important, HIIT also improves performance in both anaerobic and aerobic activities.
There are many ways to add high intensity intervals to your exercise routine, so it isn’t hard to get started.
To begin, you just need to choose your activity (running, biking, jumping rope, etc.).
Then, you can experiment with different durations of exercise and recovery, or how long you’re performing intense exercise and how long you’re recovering.
The following tips can help you create your own killer HIIT routine:
- Pick a modality you’re familiar with at lower intensity. For example, don’t go all-out on running if you have not done any jogging lately.
- If you deal with joint pain, begin with a lower impact modality such as cycling or swimming.
- Take long enough rest periods. You can maintain sufficient intensity for HIIT only if you take rest periods equal to or longer than your work periods.
- Keep work periods under 30 seconds. Work periods longer than 30 seconds will be difficult to sustain at the intensity required to count as HIIT.
- Start with just a few cycles twice per week. HIIT training is very demanding, especially when doing higher impact modalities. Adequate recovery between training sessions is a must to avoid injuries.
Here are a few simple examples of HIIT workouts:
- Using a stationary bike, pedal as hard and fast as possible for 30 seconds. Then, pedal at a slow, easy pace for 2–4 minutes. Repeat this pattern for 15–30 minutes.
- After jogging to warm up, sprint as fast as you can for 15 seconds. Then, walk or jog at a slow pace for 1–2 minutes. Repeat this pattern for 10–20 minutes.
- Perform squat jumps as quickly as possible for 30–90 seconds. Then, stand or walk for 30–90 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 10–20 minutes.
While these examples can get you started, you can modify your routine based on your preferences.
Best training methodologies for fighting obesity:
1) Sprint Intervals
2) Resistance Training
3) Endurance Training
Why? Read the following article to discover the science!
Major Scientific Breakthrough!
Scientists have identified a molecule in the blood, created during exercise, that can effectively reduce food intake and obesity in mice.
Researchers have identified a molecule in the blood that is produced during exercise and can effectively reduce food intake and obesity in mice. The discovery improves our understanding of the physiological processes that underlie the interplay between exercise and hunger. Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine and collaborating institutions reported the findings on June 15 in the journal Nature.
“Regular exercise has been proven to help weight loss, regulate appetite, and improve the metabolic profile, especially for people who are overweight and obese,” said co-corresponding author Dr. Yong Xu, professor of pediatrics – nutrition and molecular and cellular biology at Baylor. “If we can understand the mechanism by which exercise triggers these benefits, then we are closer to helping many people improve their health.”
“We wanted to understand how exercise works at the molecular level to be able to capture some of its benefits,” said co-corresponding author Jonathan Long, MD, assistant professor of pathology at Stanford Medicine and an Institute Scholar of Stanford ChEM-H (Chemistry, Engineering & Medicine for Human Health). “For example, older or frail people who cannot exercise enough, may one day benefit from taking a medication that can help slow down osteoporosis, heart disease or other conditions.”
Xu, Long, and their colleagues conducted comprehensive analyses of blood plasma compounds from mice following intense treadmill running. The most significantly induced molecule was a modified amino acid called Lac-Phe. It is synthesized from lactate (a byproduct of strenuous exercise that is responsible for the burning sensation in muscles) and phenylalanine (an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of proteins).
In mice with diet-induced obesity (fed a high-fat diet), a high dose of Lac-Phe suppressed food intake by about 50% compared to control mice over a period of 12 hours without affecting their movement or energy expenditure. When administered to the mice for 10 days, Lac-Phe reduced cumulative food intake and body weight (owing to loss of body fat) and improved glucose tolerance.
The researchers also identified an enzyme called CNDP2 that is involved in the production of Lac-Phe and showed that mice lacking this enzyme did not lose as much weight on an exercise regime as a control group on the same exercise plan.
Interestingly, the team also found robust elevations in plasma Lac-Phe levels following physical activity in racehorses and humans. Data from a human exercise cohort showed that sprint exercise induced the most dramatic increase in plasma Lac-Phe, followed by resistance training and then endurance training. “This suggests that Lac-Phe is an ancient and conserved system that regulates feeding and is associated with physical activity in many animal species,” Long said.
“Our next steps include finding more details about how Lac-Phe mediates its effects in the body, including the brain,” Xu said. “Our goal is to learn to modulate this exercise pathway for therapeutic interventions.”
Reference: “An exercise-inducible metabolite that suppresses feeding and obesity” by Veronica L. Li, Yang He, Kévin Contrepois, Hailan Liu, Joon T. Kim, Amanda L. Wiggenhorn, Julia T. Tanzo, Alan Sheng-Hwa Tung, Xuchao Lyu, Peter-James H. Zushin, Robert S. Jansen, Basil Michael, Kang Yong Loh, Andrew C. Yang, Christian S. Carl, Christian T. Voldstedlund, Wei Wei, Stephanie M. Terrell, Benjamin C. Moeller, Rick M. Arthur, Gareth A. Wallis, Koen van de Wetering, Andreas Stahl, Bente Kiens, Erik A. Richter, Steven M. Banik, Michael P. Snyder, Yong Xu and Jonathan Z. Long, 15 June 2022, Nature.
Starts in Youth! As dangerous as smoking! Ends in death!
Do you have ‘Sitting Disease’?
Is sitting killing you? How many hours do you sit everyday? Stand and read this article!
Fifty to seventy percent of people sit six or more hours per day according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys! Americans’ sedentary lifestyle shortens their life expectancy. It also reduces quality of life. And, is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers (breast and colon).
Cardiologist Martha Grogan at the Mayo Clinic states, “For people who sit most of the day, the risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.” James Levine, PhD, had a similar opinion by observing, “Today our bodies are breaking down from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease.”
Physical activity reduces these health risks by increasing insulin sensitivity and by reducing body fat, inflammation and certain hormonal imbalances.
Are you physically active? Or, are you simply sitting? Is sitting hurting your work?
The Integrated Benefits Institute reports an eye-popping $227 billion evaporates each year from lost productivity due to poor health! While heart disease, diabetes, and even less deadly ailments such as back pain and asthma are obvious hindrances to productivity, an unnoticed drain on a company’s bottom line is from employees suffering with mental disease. Gallup estimates businesses lose more than $23 billion annually due to the effects of depression. Research on health and productivity has concluded that conditions ranging from pain to anxiety and fatigue are more significant drivers of health-related costs than cancer and diabetes. Sitting disease impacts every facet of your life!
Physical activity can remedy negative health conditions. What is your plan? Are you active? The nonprofit organization, Fit Lab Foundation, offers a solution – a customized program to keep you active. You can be active every day everywhere:
· Keep moving throughout the day. Walk, even if pacing back and forth, more steps taken equals more health benefits
· Perform a few short 30 second sprint intervals
· Perform some form of resistance training – use your bodyweight to create the resistance
· A little movement each day adds up. Consistency is the key to success.
· If confined to a small space, stand more than sitting. Perform squats, burpees, etc. Make a stand for health!
No matter where you are in your fitness journey, you can walk. Be the motivation for your family and friends. Inspire them to start becoming healthier by showing them you are active! Pace and distance do not matter. Consistency is the key to health. Whether you walk a block or run for miles, move!
Take standing and walking breaks at work. Add resistance training to strengthen muscles. Physical activity is the secret to healthier and easier living especially as we age. The opportunity to be active is here in your community. Through your actions, you can improve your health, your work, and your impact on family and community. Are you still sitting?
HOW TO INCREASE BDNF, KEY PROTEIN FOR HEALTHY BRAIN CELLS
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) encourages the formation of new brain cells and protects existing ones. Learn how to boost your BDNF level.
Until fairly recently, it was thought that you were born with a finite number of brain cells and could never grow new ones.
But in the early 1980s, researchers discovered and isolated a protein that was found to encourage the growth of new brain cells.
To their amazement, when researchers sprinkled it onto neurons in the lab, they spontaneously sprouted new branches.
They called it brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or simply, BDNF.
EFFECTS OF BDNF
BDNF gets its name from “neuro” (of the nervous system) and “trophic” (growth-promoting).
But this protein does much more than cause new brain cells to grow.
It also keeps existing brain cells healthy via a number of mechanisms.
There’s evidence that it may even play a role in controlling lifespan.
It’s easy to see the value of maintaining optimal levels of BDNF.
Let’s take a look at how you can do that.
CAUSES OF LOW BDNF
A low level of BDNF has been linked to a wide range of brain-related conditions including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- anxiety disorders
- burnout syndrome
- eating disorders
- Huntington’s disease
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- sleep disorders
- suicidal behavior
It’s not clear whether low BDNF causes these disorders or is a side effect of them.
But the evidence clearly indicates that BDNF levels are negatively impacted by an unhealthy lifestyle.
A diet high in processed foods, especially one that combines high levels of sugar and fat, decreases BDNF.
Stress is a disaster for your brain health and mental well-being.
One of the many ways stress causes such damage is by lowering the level of BDNF.
The stress hormone cortisol halts the production of BDNF, resulting in fewer new brain cells being formed.
It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of stressors you are facing, they all reduce BDNF production.
There’s even evidence that if your mother was stressed out when she was pregnant with you, you could have a lifelong propensity to subpar BDNF levels and be more prone to psychiatric disorders.
And finally, like many other things that change as you grow older, BDNF levels naturally decline with age.
HOW TO INCREASE BDNF
With all the significant potential benefits that accrue with BDNF, it would be great if it came in a pill, but this is not a viable option.
When BDNF is taken either orally or by injection, it doesn’t cross the brain’s protective blood-brain barrier.
As you might imagine, researchers are actively looking for ways to help BDNF enter the brain.
But for now, the best ways to increase BDNF involve upgrading your lifestyle by making healthy changes to your exercise, sleep, and dietary habits.
” A review of 29 studies that involved over 1,100 participants found that even a single session of exercise measurably elevates BDNF.
There are also a handful of foods and supplements that will raise BDNF levels.
Let’s start with the most important way of all to encourage the production of BDNF — physical exercise.
INCREASE BDNF WITH PHYSICAL EXERCISE
If you do only one thing to increase BDNF, it should be to engage in regular physical exercise.
Increasing BDNF levels via exercise can make your brain more resistant to damage from oxidative stress, injury, and disease.
A review of 29 studies that involved over 1,100 participants found that even a single session of exercise measurably elevates BDNF.
And if you struggle with insomnia, exercise can also offset some of the negative impact of sleep deprivation on BDNF levels.
The Best Exercises To Increase BDNF
Any type of exercise will help to increase BDNF, but some kinds of exercise are more effective than others.
Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John J. Ratey, MD, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the connection between brain health and physical exercise.
He is the author of the game-changing book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, and, in fact, coined the expression that BDNF is like “Miracle-Gro for your brain.”
He is so convinced of the benefits of exercise for the brain that he makes this thought-provoking statement in his book: “Physical exercise really is for our brains. It turns our brains on.”
He says that as little as 10 minutes of exercise has positive effects on your brain.
Dr. Ratey believes in varying your exercise routine and in performing sprint bursts for maximum cognitive benefit.
Here’s the exercise pattern Dr. Ratey recommends whether you are running, biking, swimming, or doing some other aerobic activity:
- Sprint as fast as you can for 30 to 40 seconds.
- Slow your speed to a gentle pace for the next five minutes.
- Sprint again.
- Repeat for a total of five sprints.
High Frequency Training For A Bigger Total: Research On Highly Trained Norwegian Powerlifters
How would you like to double the effectiveness of your current training plan? No gimmicks, no extra work – just improved results. This was a scientific study with Norwegian powerlifters by Raastad et al. In this experiment, the researchers compared two groups of competitive powerlifters. The only thing that was different was their training frequency.
What makes you so different?
Right now, you are probably on either a full-body routine for three days a week, on a four day per week upper/lower split where you train the squat, bench, and deadlift twice per week, or you’re using a split where you train each major lift once per week. And why wouldn’t you? These programs have been giving powerlifters excellent results for decades. However, it is common for elite Olympic weightlifters to train a particular lift up to six times a week, sometimes even multiple times a day. As you might know, Olympic weightlifting training methodologies are deeply influenced by the methods used by the eastern European countries in the ’60s to ’90s. These countries have developed an understanding of how to train for maximal strength that will transfer to Olympic weightlifting.
I’m sure you have heard about the Bulgarian method and the fact they ruthlessly dominated the sport of Olympic lifting for more than two decades. How about the impact that the old Russian Olympic weightlifting manuals have on modern day powerlifting?
Sure, Olympic lifting is not powerlifting: Weights are heavier and harder to recover from. But I think powerlifting has more in common with Olympic lifting than it may appear at first – and certainly more than it has with bodybuilding, for instance. So, in light of similarities between the sports, should powerlifters train more like weightlifters?
The answer is hiding in Norway.
The Norwegian experiment
Just like you, for years, most Norwegian powerlifters were training three days a week. And, just like you, they were training each big lift (squat, bench press, deadlift) one or two times per week. But around the year 2000, something surprising happened: A German native and former Olympic weightlifter and weightlifting coach was appointed as the new national powerlifting coach – Dietmar Wolf. He used his knowledge and experience from his days as a member of the Western German national Olympic weightlifting team and started to incorporate training methodologies that closely resembled his weightlifting background, although he made sure to make the necessary adjustments to match the demands of powerlifting.
To determine whether high frequency training worked better than the typical three-day program, the Norwegian school of sport sciences decided to do a formal experiment.
Participants in the study had all trained continuously for competitive powerlifting for at least one year. On top of that, they all competed in national Norwegian IPF affiliate powerlifting competitions within the last six months before the start of this experiment – so we’re not dealing with brand new lifters, but rather people with at least a fair amount of training and competition experience.
The experiment group consisted of 16 competitive powerlifters between 18 and 25 years old, squatting between 125kg and 205kg (275-451lbs), bench pressing between 85kg to 165kg (187-364lbs), and deadlifting between 155kg and 245kg (342-540 lbs).
There were 13 male and 3 female lifters in this group.
This is a group of experienced lifters, so results probably generalize better to readers of this blog than most training studies do – that’s what makes this so exciting!
Let’s take a look at was done in this experiment.
All lifters were put on the same 15-week program (same exercise selection, volume, and intensity) before reviewing the results by maxing out in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. All maxing was done without powerlifting suits.
The only difference between these two groups was their training frequency:
- The first group trained a classic three times a week.
- The second group had six smaller training sessions a week.
Everything else was the exactly the same:
- exact same routine
- exact same exercises
- exact same total volume and intensity
This means that the 3/week group needed to do twice as many sets as the 6/week group in each session.
And these are the stunning results after 15 weeks:
- The increase in the squat was 11±6% in the 6/week group vs. 5±3% in the 3/week group
- Bench press increased 11±4% in the 6/week group vs. 6±3% in the 3/week group
- In the deadlift, there was no significant difference when compared in both groups (9±6% vs. 4±6%)
This means that total weight lifted in all three lifts increased about an average of 10% in the 6/week group, as opposed to 5% in the 3/week group. I told you this wasn’t like the many headlines of fitness magazines; these are real results. In addition to looking at the changes in 1RM of each of the lifts, the researchers also looked for increases in muscle mass of the vastus lateralis and the quadriceps as a whole. The average increase in the 6/week group was almost 10% in the vastus lateralis and nearly 5% in the quadriceps as a whole. In just 12 weeks, that is great progress. The 3/week group did not make significant increases in muscle mass.
So the 6/week group got bigger AND stronger, compared to the lower frequency group! I will try to do my best to explain these results in a minute, but first I want to point out that it’s important that when training high frequency, you cannot max out out every time you hit the gym. The Norwegians recognized this, so with the new routines, both the training frequency and the total training volume were dramatically increased, but intensity was reduced. In this experiment, the average intensity was 72% to 74% of 1RM for squat, bench, and deadlift.
You probably can do 10 to 12 reps with that weight, but in this experiment, reps were between 3 and 8 for the big lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift), so the only time the lifters were grinding lifts were when they were going for new PRs at the end of the program.
- This study was done on experienced powerlifters.
- Both groups did the exact same program. The only difference was that one group divided the volume in six sessions instead of three.
- On average, the high frequency group increased their bench and squat by 11% vs. 5 and 6%.
- For deadlifting, high or low frequency does not seem to matter much.
- Their total in the high frequency group increased on average by 10% vs. 5% in the low frequency group.
- Muscle mass increased more in the high frequency group
These are staggering results. Although the experiment didn’t cover it, let’s try and see if there is any science relating to these results. After that, we will try to put these results into practice.
How is this possible?
We know that weight training triggers protein synthesis and muscle building. Research done by MacDougall et al. and Phillips et al. shows that this peaks in the first 24 hours after training.
So my guess is that by training every 24 hours, you can keep muscle protein synthesis and muscle building peaked. In this way, you probably can build more muscle training six times a week compared to training three times a week. More muscle means more strength potential.
But that’s probably not the only factor.
Another important factor could be that if you can start your squats fresh more often, you can work to improve technique. It is quite hard to perfect technique when in a fatigued state. And if you’ve ever done a true 1RM attempt, you know that your technique needs to be perfect. Additionally, because you feel fresh more often when you squat, it’s probable you can produce more force on average. There are actually studies done by Häkkinen et al. and Hartman et al. that show improved neuromuscular activation when training more frequently.
What you should do
Today, the best lifters in Norway typical train 5-6 days a week, some even train two times a day. This is in stark contrast to current conventional wisdom and popular powerlifting programs. Admittedly, the Norwegians have only presented these findings at conferences, but haven’t submitted them to peer-reviewed journals, so I don’t have any more information about the program than I have given you in this article.
Since workout volume is important for triggering muscle growth, it would be great to know the total volumes, for instance. But luckily for you, I can give you a few pointers. The typical Norwegian program has you doing some form of squatting and bench pressing every session. Variation mostly comes from switching up your stance, grip, and tempo. Deadlifts can be done about two times a week, alternating conventional and sumo for instance. Sometimes the frequency and volume of the deadlift is increased by adding some variations like block pulls or deficit deadlifts, or you can add some resistance bands. Furthermore, some basic assistance like OH presses and rows are included. Other than that, it’s dependent on individual strengths and weaknesses.
So there you have it. If you want to be bigger and stronger, you should try to divide your current training program into smaller, but more frequent sessions. It can skyrocket your strength and size. Just make sure to keep your intensity in check.