Yeah – I injured myself…
I did not workout at all over Christmas because I was lazy, didn’t have access to a gym (no car), and was too busy eating food.
When I got back into things, I really wanted to get stronger and bigger – fast. Therefore I decided to hop on to my UNIGAINS program and really go for it to make some Unigains!
All was going well at the start; I was getting my strength back, and was feeling strong and powerful – Good! However, me being me, I decided to add even more volume to my program, not take any days off, and had a few days of poor sleep (5-6 hours).. not a good mix.
This toxic mix led to me getting a little injury in the chest, meaning that I will not be able to bench press for at least a week.
It was stupid by me, but I know a lot of you out there may be facing the same issue as me – you just want to build muscle fast! However we keep on forgetting that more volume, more intensity, and more frequency does not necessarily mean more size; it’s all about finding the perfect mix that your body can handle.
The way I see it, you need to find your limit of how much you can push your muscles in a workout which will allow you to recover for your next session.
If I was training chest once a week, I could always go until failure as I would definitely recover by next chest session. However for my program, I train chest 2 to 3 times a week, and so going till maximum fatigue would not let me recover in time, which would not be too smart as my muscles will not be recovering or growing.
The reason my program works each muscles 2 to 3 times a week is because I have found this to be the optimal frequency for training muscle groups when the correct volume is chosen. For me, doing 3 chest sessions of 6 sets each is far more productive than 1 session of 18 sets, and most likely is for you too.
Please learn from my mistakes (that’s what I’m here for); when I felt like I was not coming back to the gym as strong I should have dialled back the volume a little, in order to fully recover for my next session, instead of trying to plough through it. In my case, I could have done with taking more a day off, as that would have given me the necessary break from a pretty hectic week.
If you are on a program and you are finding that on average you feel that you are getting more mentally fatigued over 10 days or so, you may need to consider getting more sleep,or reducing the sets performed in order to allow your muscles to fully recover for when you work them again.
The same applies to my program; one size does not fit all! Your friend could be fine going 6 days a week, but you may only be able to handle 4 – that’s fine! You will be consistently making progress as long as you are pushing yourself whilst being able to recover well for your next workout (make sure your diet is on point too).
Remember that muscle is built outside the gym, and sometimes less is more!
Got any questions? Comments? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @Unigains