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Determine the Length of Your Workouts

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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.

To find out more about McCutcheon and his training, click here.

 

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backtrack

Im after a few simple answers, so please anyone start giving any complicated answers.

Firstly I would like to know who here has been aware of any muscle growth that has taken place in their body. And how long did it take you to notice a change.

For example, You noticed a change after one hour? One day? One week? One Month? One year? Or alternatively if you know there has been a change but you dont know when it came, then say that. Or if you are at a particular size and havent noticed any changes to that size, then say that.

The next thing I would like to know...Is if you have noticed muscle growth within a reasonably short time span - say a week. Have you experienced any soreness in that time? Or alternatively how many of you have noticed muscle growth with almost zero-to-zero soreness?

Then one last thing...if you have experienced muscle growth and/or muscle soreness. What do you put it down to? Do you put it down to doing something different to what you have been doing or do you put it down to a gradual progression. Are you disciplined with systematic workouts or do you like to throw in spanners? From time to time? Or Every workout?

Rather than open up debate, I would much rather prefer individual responses to such questions I have asked. Or responses that might involve something I havent addressed. But please...I would rather have responses relating to personal experiences, rather than ones full of scientific theory and what not.

Dan
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coach-jeff

Louisiana, USA

My personal experience is that my eyes often deceive me.

If I go by what I see in the mirror, I often "see" progress that isn't really there. I think men are very susceptible to thinking they look way better than then they actually do.

Photographs give a much more accurate representation of progress (Or lack thereof) than a mirror.

Not to mention tape measures, and accurate body-comp analysis tools such as Bodpods.
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johnbhoy

Armed Forces - Europe

I used to fall for the idea that i could see growth overnight following a good workout. I finally realised that this was just local swelling due to inflammation. Think about how much muscle tissue you can build in 24 hours, not enough to see or measure i would think.

Over the course of 3 to 4 weeks though when training is going well i am definitely aware of growth. Clothes get tighter and and i can feel the added muscle in my shoulders and arms. Probably the best thing would be monthly measurements, first thing in the morning and always with the same tape. I am far too lazy to do this myself of course.
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NewYorker

New York, USA

I generally notice size increases in less than one day irrespective of any soreness. There is also cumulative growth that can take a year or two. After training on and off, for thirty plus years, the growth is not as dramatic.

A few years back I had access to MedX equipment and was surprised to find that my flexed upper arms were about half an inch bigger than I had ever measured them previously, although I didn't notice without measuring. I don't regularly measure my arms...I must have been particularly bored.

I do not take drugs and do not consider myself genetically muscular, but some of my results were pretty spectacular to the point where people in the locker-room asked me what I did to achieve them. That was when I was in my early twenties.
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Hitit

johnbhoy wrote:
I used to fall for the idea that i could see

Over the course of 3 to 4 weeks though when training is going well i am definitely aware of growth. Clothes get tighter and and i can feel the added muscle in my shoulders and arms. Probably the best thing would be monthly measurements, first thing in the morning and always with the same tape. I am far too lazy to do this myself of course.


I second this. With my current workout I could notice with confidence a change in 3 weeks. The muscles are looking thicker and more full. I think if the program is fitting then once a month would seem probably be a good guage for me as well at this time to measure progress.

That is if I wasnt so lazy as well! I feel just fine with just noticing the difference on my own. As you know there factors to progress and they can differ from one person to the next...


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WesH

You should see substantial changes in a month. Example: I went from 15.75 on right upper arm to almost 16 in the first month of lifting to 16.7 12 months later.

To be sure, they were 17" 27 years ago when I quit lifting, so that may be kind of fast. My older son went from 11.75 to 12" in the first month, to 12.75 after another 12 months.

You should start getting comments from people within 30-60 days, unless you're packing a lot of pork.
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pharaoh1063

Dan_The_man wrote:
Firstly I would like to know who here has been aware of any muscle growth that has taken place in their body. And how long did it take you to notice a change.


This depends on how advanced you are, which you did not indicate. If you are beginner you may notice changes within a week or two.

For example, You noticed a change after one hour? One day? One week? One Month? One year? Or alternatively if you know there has been a change but you dont know when it came, then say that.

Or if you are at a particular size and havent noticed any changes to that size, then say that.


First of all, it sounds like your question is about trying to find out when to look for changes in your physique so that you may develop effective benchmarks to determine if you are making good gains or not.

At this stage of my game, having returned to training 6 months, and having been around the business of bodybuilding for 30 years, I know better than to look to the mirror too often for gains.

When I was a kid I used to measure myself almost every day to see if I had grown. This was a mistake.

It only sets you up for disappointment. If your purpose is to evaluate the efficacy of your routine, you should only measure yourself after a sufficient amount of time has expired so that the routine has had a chance to prove itself. A good benchmark is to give your routine 8 weeks.

Second, I am a micro-loader. That means I have made 1/2 pound plates out of wood and I add these, seemingly insignificant, amounts of weight at each workout.

Therefore, each workout is a new rep max! Since we want to emphasize the role of progression constantly in our routines, we can change the premise of your inquiry from one where you are just looking for gains into one where you are looking for gains HAVING already realized a certain amount of weight progression.

For example, I add 1 pound of weight to my barbell curls and tricep presses each week. After eight weeks you can then take measurements and establish your own rate of growth. Strength gains can be evidenced each and every workout, even if it is only by 1/2 lb., whereas size gains cannot because the body grows in spurts.

This is why it is difficult to answer your question. Your body may go many weeks without any visible growth only to spring up a few 1/8" in a matter of days.

If you took your measurements just before this growth spurt and just after, you would have an unrealistic picture of how fast you can grow.

Just as if you measured only before the spurt and too frequently, you would conclude the opposite.

What you should say is, "I've trained for 2 months on this routine. I've increased the weights by X amount in that time. Now let's see how much I've gained as a result." You will have been working with the "strength gains equal size gains" dictum, which will work well for you, though it has its limits.

...Have you experienced any soreness in that time? Or alternatively how many of you have noticed muscle growth with almost zero-to-zero soreness?

Some people report no soreness at all from HIT. Some report quite a bit. I can't go into soreness and its relation to muscle growth without getting into "science" which you are trying to avoid.

Let's just say that muscle soreness and muscle growth are related, but one is not the direct cause of the other.

Then one last thing...if you have experienced muscle growth and/or muscle soreness. What do you put it down to? Do you put it down to doing something different to what you have been doing or do you put it down to a gradual progression.

You've got a lot of different concepts here. Excessive soreness is called DOMS--delayed onset muscle soreness. This is caused by pushing too hard after not training for a while and is NOT merely a more severe version of regular muscle soreness.

Slightly greater amounts of muscle soreness can occur from trying a new exercise, but that's not DOMS. Soreness does not "gradually" progress, if anything, it gets less severe as time goes on.


Are you disciplined with systematic workouts or do you like to throw in spanners? From time to time? Or Every workout?

I don't know what the word "spanners" means, but I think I can guess. No matter what workout I do, 6 exercises always remain the same.

1.calf raises
2.leg curls
3.squats
4.rows
5.bench presses
6.upright rows

Beyond these I can change/add/ subtract any exercise as I see fit. I may change each workout. I can experiment with other things. These may all be incorporated into one routine, or they may be split up into an AB routine. Either way it goes, I will always do at least these 6.

I had a bad experience once that caused me to do this. I barbell bench pressed a certain amount of weight (I forgot how much), then I switched to dumbbell bench presses, and, over time, I added weight to that exercise too. I, then, switched back to the barbell, hoping that my gains in the dumbbell would transfer back over to the barbell.

It didn't, for several "scientific" reasons that you would rather I not go into. But, suffice to say, it didn't. Therefore, I will always keep those 6 exercises in any of my routines, so that I have a benchmark by which to gauge progress.

I have a restless mind and I like to try out new things all the time. Having the opportunity to "play around" with 4-6 other exercises and rep schemes suits me well. In the last month alone, I have been entertaining ideas like multi-angular training, AB routines, specialization routines, trying out new equipment, getting a guest membership in a gym (as I workout at home), Matrix training, high rep training, etc. But I always keep my basic 6 the same.

This gives me discipline while providing infinite variation and freshness within HIT. There are millions of different ways to apply HIT "rules" as it is a system with infinite flexibility.

Hope that helps.





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bobalu1962

Dan,

One simple method to gauge growth is to use a scale and a tape measure. Measure your waist at the navel(or wherever it's largest just measure at the same place each time)and weigh yourself (be consistent use the same scale also).

With these two variables you can tell if you are gaining solid weight. For example if both stay the same no growth. If your weight goes up and your waist stays the same you have gained lean mass.

If your waist decreases and you gain weight however you have lost fat and gained muscle(exactly what you want!). Conversely if you lose weight and your waist goes up or stays the same you have probably lost muscle.
If you lose weight and your waist stays the same you have probably lost fat.

If you lose weight and your waist goes down you have probably lost fat and maybe muscle.
See how it works? It's very intuitive and uses common sense.

But at the same time it's objective---the mirror can be very subjective.
Measure only once a week as muscle growth on a daily basis is too small to notice.

Bob D.

p.s. I can't claim to have discovered this it's in one of Clarence Bass' early books (can't remember which one)
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bobalu1962

Dan,

One simple method to measure growth is to use a tape measure and a scale. Measure your waist at the navel or wherever it's largest just be consistent and measure at the same place each time. Then weigh yourself again be consistent use the same scale.

With these two simple variables you can track your progress.

If both measurements stay the same no growth.
If you gain weight and your waist stays the same you have gained lean mass.

If you gain weight and your waist goes up you have gained fat and maybe muscle.

If you gain weight and your waist goes down you have lost fat and gained muscle (just what you want!)

Conversely if you lose weight and your waist stays the same you have probably lost muscle and not fat.

And worst case scenario is losing weight while your waist goes up that means muscle loss and fat gain!

See how it works? It's very intuitive yet it's objective rather than subjective like the mirror.

Measure only once a week at the same time of day as muscle gains on a daily basis are almost unnoticeable.

I can't claim this method as my own it's in one of Clarence Bass' early books before he started using the more expensive Tanita scales.
Bob

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backtrack

Interesting answers. Thanks.

The waist measurement, to weight measurement seems like a good idea, I like it.

Some of you seem to suggest a certain period in which to allow for growth to take place that seems fairly logical. But we also have to remember that growth is probably not something that happens on a cyclical basis like a menstrual cycle.

I not skeptical about the idea of a beginner yeilding noticeable gains in a short space of time. But it would be interesting if we could put ourselves in a position where we always have a beginners response to weight resistance.

I am skeptical, however about the idea of an advanced trainee...If someone has been training 5 years, does that make them an advanced trainee? Even if their body does not appear what some might call advanced. And if a persons body looks what someone might call advanced...is it really advanced? and are they really an advanced trainee? Advanced seems like a a bit of a paradoxical concept to me.

Also, it may seem a little paradoxical, but might it be true that muscles can grow both gradually, and go boom. Is this possible? Who will argue against this or for it, from their own experiences? The further you get into this Physical culture type lifestyle the more you have to rely on slow progression? As opposed to the rapid results you got from the very first time you started?

In the real world of natural physical culturists do we need to live a more and more sedentary like lifestyle, to allow for gains? or is it just a case of finding a new stimulus like the one when we very first started working our muscles?

Again, I would be interested to find answers based on experience.


Dan


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Waynes

Switzerland

When I started Johns Rogue HIT, as I had relatively small forearms to the rest of my body, I could actually see in the first 10 days that they were growing. {And the rest of my body, but forearms are on view all the time} For weeks/months I felt like a child on Christmas morning, what a buzz I had.

Same happened on the higher set program I am doing now, first several days and you see results.
Thats the magic and another motivational reason of programs like this.

Of both occasions however I resisted to measure until six week, but when I did, there was a pleasant surprise.

If you are not gaining weight by the scales and your BF is staying the same, CHANGE your routine/diet, because you are not growing.

Wayne
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stevecollins33

Dan

My most successful spell resulted in around a 10lb lean tissue gain in 6-8 weeks using a periodization programme - that did induce muscle soreness after every workout.

That said, I have since almost completed my first programme of German Volume Training (GVT). I again experienced decent post-workout muscle soreness after most sessions. I also managed to add reps to most sessions (except legs for some reason).
How stunned I was, then, to discover at last Friday's weekly weigh-in that after my weight previously stalling I had now LOST 3lbs!

I still believe muscle soreness is a sign of growth when one can progress in subsequent workouts. Therefore, I must conclude that I probably did add some muscle during the 2nd programme, while losing fat due to an unwitting negative calorie consumption. The consequence of this belief is that it means I've lost fat AND built muscle at the same time - something that is hotly debated (even by me).
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

I find now at 56 that size growth can seem to be non existant but after a month or two of consistant workouts or so I might see a small increase in size of a muscle, say 1/8th inch on my biceps. But then if I get side tracked with work,family, etc etc ( which always seems to happen to me) and my workout schedule gets messed up I'm back to square one in no time.

I do see increases in strength happen much more rapidly than actual size increases. I've heard it said that strength increases come much faster than size increases.Unless you are genetically gifted or on drugs or both don't expect big gains in size quickly. Take the crap you read in muscle magazines about adding 10 or 20 pounds of muscle on in a few weeks or even months and put them in the trash were they belong.

Unless your just a beginner ( who will probably be able to add weight rather easilly compared to someone who has been lifting for a while)it takes the average guy/hardgainer quite a while to see visible size increases but they will come if you push hard, rest enough to recover and keep at in consistantly.

Scott
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Olddog99

Dan_The_man wrote:
Im after a few simple answers, so please anyone start giving any complicated answers.

Firstly I would like to know who here has been aware of any muscle growth that has taken place in their body. And how long did it take you to notice a change.

For example, You noticed a change after one hour? One day? One week? One Month? One year? Or alternatively if you know there has been a change but you dont know when it came, then say that. Or if you are at a particular size and havent noticed any changes to that size, then say that.

The next thing I would like to know...Is if you have noticed muscle growth within a reasonably short time span - say a week. Have you experienced any soreness in that time? Or alternatively how many of you have noticed muscle growth with almost zero-to-zero soreness?

Then one last thing...if you have experienced muscle growth and/or muscle soreness. What do you put it down to? Do you put it down to doing something different to what you have been doing or do you put it down to a gradual progression. Are you disciplined with systematic workouts or do you like to throw in spanners? From time to time? Or Every workout?

Rather than open up debate, I would much rather prefer individual responses to such questions I have asked. Or responses that might involve something I havent addressed. But please...I would rather have responses relating to personal experiences, rather than ones full of scientific theory and what not.

Dan


I may be able to shed some light on this as I am constantly measuring myself before ever work out: ( dont ask Why, i just do)
here what i noticed and observed:
1, i work out for some time take measurments and truly see no growth, dispite what i see in the mirror or how full i look.
2, I weigh myself every day in the morining, before i eat.
3, i then get discuraged a bit and change the program as i can not seem to get anywhere,
4, since the new year i have been stuck at measurments that are the same. less gaining any fat, waist measurement.
5 here is the real stuff, took 4 days off did a negative and negative assisted work out, then measured, and yes, one day latter i was up by on average 1/8 on an inch on most muscles measurements, then measured the next day same, then the next same, so pump was not it.
6, soreness, plenty the back, chest and arms, little in the shoulders and calves
7 waited 3 more days did another work out very similar , measurments were the same, did the 3rd work out 3 days latter and sure enough increased measurements, 2/8 on arms. 3/8 on chest, 2/8 on legs, 1/8 on forearm, 1/8 on calves all measured before my work out in a relativly cold room as to not have a temp efect my measurements.
8, soreness, every work out
9, strenth increases or feeling that previuos weight seemed very easy, i either was increasing the weight i was using or doing more reps as my stamina was increasing,
10, it appeared to me that the extremly high weights coupled with the intesity of effort produced some sort of growth almost immediatly, that growth immediatly increased my strenth or stamia given a certain weight used.
So the combination of muscle stress by heavy weight and max effort created a growth spurt that was immediate and pernament ( to a certain extent).
This is just me and my experinces but they are real and fairly acurate as I am always on a quest to gian some muscle and lose some fat in the most effective manner.
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backtrack

The use of heavy weight definately seems to be a precurser, to being able to identify some awareness of growth. I have found this with heavy partials also.

Dan
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