I am going to propose something very counterintuitive here. You should strength train as little as possible in order to get the best results.
Sounds crazy, I know. But just hear me out for a second.
You only have a certain amount of mental willpower per day. Once that will power is gone, it is gone. Then you will finally crash. Therefore, it makes sense that you should try to get as much out of your workouts as humanly possible while putting in the least amount of effort. With that said, you should be strength training at least 2-4 days per week.
If this philosophy sounds new and original, it isn’t. It is as old as time, and in fact, it is how your brain is wired. Our very system of economics here in the west (capitalism) is based on this philosophy.
With that in mind, I have coined the term “capitalist strength training”. This is training as little as possible to get as strong as humanly possible.
The good news is, since you are working with the natural hardwiring of your brains, you will have an easy time adjusting to this.
But what exactly does strength training consist of? How do you know if you are really strength training, or just lifting weights?
Strength Training Made Simple
But what’s so funny about all of this is how vague the classification system of strength training is.
If you look in your standard clinical exercise textbook (don’t worry, I did this for you), you will see everyday activities as walking are considered resistance training.
This is where things get confusing. Walking does involve resistance training, but for most of us, this is not really resistance training. But for somebody who is very sedentary, it will be.
So strength training is mostly relative to the individual. Everybody has a different reference point as to what is “heavy” and what is “light”.
If something is heavy to you, then picking it up and putting it down multiple times will lead to new strength gains.
Therefore strength training is picking up anything heavy, relative to YOU, that will result in a strength adaptation.
Fewer Days For More Results
Now you know WHAT strength training is, so HOW MANY times per week should you strength train?
Being a capitalist strength trainer, lifting only about 2-4 days per week is all you need.
Because as you are aware, true strength training is constantly stimulating your body to get bigger and stronger. This means you must constantly lift heavier weights to keep stimulating new muscle gains. Otherwise, you are going to plateau very quickly.
But….. You can only push yourself so far. So you will eventually need time to recover and recuperate from all the heavy lifting.
Having about 48-72 hours off between each strength training workout will allow your central nervous system to rest and it will give enough time to allow for protein synthesis.
If you rest 48 hours between each workout, then you can train 3-4 days per week and if you rest for 72 hours, you can train for 2-3 days per week.
So what do you do on your days “off”? Do you just sit around and relax all day? Well, you can if you want, however, don’t expect your bills to get paid anytime soon.
The best option is to perform what I call small workouts. These are short 20-30 minute workouts with light weight and high reps.
Think of these workouts as conditioning workouts. They serve to increase blood flow to working muscle groups and speed up recovery and also increase your strength.
Typically you would center these types of workouts around weaker muscle groups.
So if your bench press is slacking behind your other lifts, you may need to strengthen your triceps, shoulders and upper back. So you can throw in a small workout after your bench day to strengthen the weaker muscle groups. Plus, you will also help speed up the recovery of your fatigued muscles with the increased blood flow. It is a win-win!
How Often Should You Do Small Workouts?
Do you need to do them every day? No, absolutely not! You can if you want, but it is not necessary.
Remember you are a capitalist. You need to think like a capitalist. Do less to get more.
So with that logic, you only want to do the bare minimum necessary to get the most results. Therefore, you should only perform small workouts if you have an obvious muscle weakness that is severely holding you back.
Let’s face facts, we are all real people who live in the real world. Most of us are not trying to become world-class lifters or Olympic champions. You, like me, probably just want to look good and perform as best you can. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But if you do want to become a world-class lifter, then small workouts should be used every day.
Otherwise, all you capitalists, just stick to the minimum.
It is really tough to figure out what you should do if you are a pragmatist these days. There is so much junk out there online trying to sell you on the idea that you are going to be the next world champion. That is if……… you purchase their products.
I am not about that. I am a pragmatist. Which means I believe in things that actually work down here on Earth.
I assume you are a pragmatist as well. Stick with what you believe really works. If you are reading something and it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Stick with what common sense tells you.
After all, without common sense, you probably will have no sense at all.
If you liked this article please be sure to share it with someone who can use this information. Not only would it make my day, but it would also make my whole month :). Help Barbell Scholar with its mission to bring common sense training back into the mainstream. Thanks!