Abbreviated Weight Training – Why Everyone Should Do It
So many modern weight training routines contain very easy, low-impact exercises. This is because everyone expects quick results for little or no effort. Well, you can’t have both! If you put in little or no effort, you will get little or no result, but you can have very quick results if you are willing to put a little effort in… Whether you want to build muscle or just tone up as quickly as possible, read on…
It amazes me to see real nonsense on the covers of so many “fitness” magazines these days… “Five Minute Leg Workout” or “Increase Those Biceps In Ten Minutes A Week!” It’s just eye catching text to sell the magazines themselves, and once you read the article inside, if you have any real experience of weight training, you will know that such diluted routines will have little or no effect.
On the flip side, bodybuilding magazines are full of such long, strenuous routines, originally designed for professional bodybuilders that would seriously overtrain and damage anyone not pumped full of steroids, and with time for at least 12 hours’ sleep per night.
So, what’s the answer?
Here’s a fact: The quickest way to build muscle is also the quickest way to tone up – just don’t take it that far if you don’t want to look like Arnie!
A lot of people, particularly women, don’t want a lot of muscle, so they shy away from proper weight training, thinking they will become huge overnight. Believe me, there are millions of people in gyms all over the world trying in vain to become huge (usually because of overtraining) who would be delighted if it was that easy… It’s not. It doesn’t happen by accident.
The good news though is that you can make a huge difference to your body, and it’s not just cosmetic! Keeping your muscle mass from wasting away will stand you in very good stead for when you’re older, improve the functioning of your internal organs and keep you fit and healthy and your muscles and bones in good order way into your later years. Abbreviated weight training is the best way to go about it.
During the 90s I used to write for Stuart McRoberts’ Hardgainer magazine, the leading source of abbreviated training wisdom. I was honoured to be writing alongside some of the foremost authorities on abbreviated weight training in the world, and I applied this knowledge to training both men and women at the gym I owned, with astonishing results.
Gentle exercises involving swinging around tiny pink dumbbells just won’t do much for you, no matter what your local gym employee fresh from college might tell you. I found that anyone, male or female, who truly had the courage to start a proper abbreviated weights routine not only reached their goals faster than all the others, but stuck at it and found their training to be far more fulfilling.
The truth is that to make a great difference to your body, you will need to work hard. However, that hard work can, and should, be very abbreviated. You can make the very best gains in toning up and muscle building with just two or three sessions a week, lasting only a maximum of half an hour or so each.
Am I promising what the “Get Abs In Thirty Seconds” type magazines promise? No… This is damned hard work, but very rewarding…
Here are the principles of abbreviated training…
1. Spend a few weeks learning the form of the major multi-joint lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift, shoulder press, chins etc) until you have them perfect, so you can train without injury (this is vitally important). Do not lift heavy until you know exactly what you’re doing!
2. Perform each lift once a week (one set for lower body, two sets for upper body), split into two or three workouts. Go for your maximum set only when totally warmed up (this is also vitally important).
3. Cycle up in weights gradually, adding a little per week, and even less when it becomes very difficult. Be patient. Too much haste causes injury.
4. When you genuinely feel that you have lifted as much as you can in a particular cycle, take a week or two off and then start again at about 70% of your previous maximum, cycling up to, and hopefully beyond, your previous bests, and so on and so on.
On our website we often concern ourselves with gentle Hanna Somatics stretching and Ayurvedic diet and exercise principles. However, if you combine the three-phase Ayurvedic method of training with abbreviated training to minimise the impact, and then stretch out afterwards with Hanna Somatics, you have the most incredible combination of theories, only known to a select few in the world!