After my last post, I was asked what type of routine I do and do I recommend heavy weights vs long workouts.
Actually, I am currently doing a combo of both. Since I work out solo most days, an all-heavy approach isn’t practical or safe. The golden rule is wear the muscle out, which causes micro tears. The micro tears lead to new muscle when the body repairs itself. Right now I’m doing 6 sets of 8. Depending on the day, I do one or two muscle groups. I try to hit at least 4 machines or benches per muscle. For two muscle days, I hit at least 3 for each muscle. And for larger muscles, I tend to focus on just one muscle with slightly longer breaks between different sets. If you are just starting out this isn’t for you. Six sets of 8 reps is a lot. If you insist, start slow. (Maybe do two exercises per muscle and build your way up.)
Basically, the goal is to do enough weight I can complete all the sets/reps. Once I can complete a full set more than once, I up the weight. Different muscles grow at different speeds so sometimes it’s just 5 or 10 lbs. I take 30 seconds between each set of reps and a full minute between different sets.1 Don’t be tempted to cheat by resting more. The longer you rest the lower your heart rate and the more time your muscles have to recover. You don’t want them to recover. They should be burning by the time you finish a full set. If I can’t complete a full rep-set, I go down on the next one. Don’t get so focused on the weight that you don’t get a good burn. The last two rep-sets of a given bench/machine should be harder than the first 4. You should really struggle to finish while trying to keep good form.
Another good workout is doing doubles. Doubles is basically doing two full sets of two exercises either mixed together or back to back with no break. When I can, I like to mix them i.e. one set of first exercise then one set of second exercise.2 You still rest between reps but you do both exercises before you take the longer break. This is also not for beginners. You need to be familiar with body mechanics. The exercises either need to be physically close to each other (for machines) or be able to quickly alternate (barbells/dumbbells) between them. Again, if you’re in a busy gym you should be mindful of not hogging benches or machines.
So that is what I’m currently doing. I’ve found this approach is very effective for me. As long as you overload the muscles, you’re good to go! Hope it helps. If you use the Jefit app, I share my routines so you should be able to see them.