strength training to failure and recovery time

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Anemone
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29 Apr 2012, 11:32 am

I have lifted weights at the gym and done bodyweight strength training outside the gym, and when I did Power Factor Training and measured my recovery time, it was ridiculously long. I quickly got to the point where it would take 3-6 months for my muscles to recover and gain strength from one set of an exercise to failure.

I'm wondering if it has anything to do with body composition (I'm a small mesomorph with lowish endomorphy and very low ectomorphy, and a very explosive intense kind of energy - somewhat close to a 2-5-2, I think, but closer to 1 on ecto) or if it has to do with autism (perhaps I'm more focussed when I work out and go closer to failure than others do).

Is it due to lots and lots of fast twitch muscles?

Is it due to lowish endomorphy (since higher endomorphy leads to more endurance, which I think means more slow twitch muscles, or at least more reliable slow twitch muscles)?

I'm going to spend the next few months resting lots and only strength training until I get out of breath, instead of going to failure on things like pushups (where I'm stuck not improving), to see if it makes a difference. I know there are people high in mesomorphy and low in endomorphy who do nothing but cardio and have oodles of strength, so I want to see if I'm one of them (only smaller).

Anyone else find that recovery times are ridiculously long? Or not? And what's your body type (if you know it - check out the Atlas of Men by WH Sheldon et al if you don't and want to find out, true geek style)?



Gravechylde
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29 Apr 2012, 11:56 am

I can't comment on the points you said as I don't know enough about that, but at age 47 it could also be lower testosterone levels.


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Anemone
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29 Apr 2012, 12:14 pm

I'm female, and I was in my late 30s (I think) when I did Power Factor Training.

I don't think testosterone has anything to do with it because they have seniors using this technique and reaching full recovery in a week (or two at most).

This isn't about me being less fit than I used to be. (I'm actually fitter.) This is about me wondering if this method (which works for a lot of people but won't work for everyone) doesn't work for me for a predictable reason.



Kurgan
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29 Apr 2012, 12:18 pm

Actually many old school bodybuilders (from before the great rise in steroid usage) like Bill Pearl and Reg Park discouraged people from training to failure. Not only because of the wear and tear, but also because of the negativite emotions and the difficulties with keeping track of progress because of it. :)



1000Knives
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29 Apr 2012, 12:54 pm

Kurgan wrote:
Actually many old school bodybuilders (from before the great rise in steroid usage) like Bill Pearl and Reg Park discouraged people from training to failure. Not only because of the wear and tear, but also because of the negativite emotions and the difficulties with keeping track of progress because of it. :)


It's hard for me to know when failure is really. I'm sorta good at regulating my emotions and pain levels and whatnot, so I'll keep going despite pain, and the only way I'll know if failure is happening is in the morning. Sometimes too for "failure" it's not "real" failure, it's only psychological failure, if that makes any sense. IE, if I'm easily snatching 105 for 2-3 reps with no issues, why can't I do 110 for 1? There's not really a logical reason why, it's just psychologically I'm not there.

My latest injury's Achilles tendinitis, actually only from jumping rope (though my Achilles may have been killed from prior lifting, not sure.) I wanted to get as much as I could in, so I did 5 minute intervals or so, but I did a bunch. The day before I only did like 30-40 minutes of jumping rope, then the next day I did probably 2 hours worth. What I thought was just my calf muscles being "pumped" was the next day tendinitis. Woot. For me, though, it's those silly tendons and connective tissue that get hurting.

John Broz, an Olympic weightlifting coach says this, though, regarding overtraining, and I'm wondering if he's right.
Quote:
There's no Such Thing as Overtraining
Broz believes that there's no such thing as being overtrained, just undertrained.

If you got a job as a garbage man and had to pick up heavy cans all day long, the first day would probably be very difficult, possibly almost impossible for some to complete. So what do you do, take three days off and possibly lose your job?
No, you'd take your sore, beaten self to work the next day. You'd mope around and be fatigued, much less energetic than the previous day, but you'd make yourself get through it. Then you'd get home, soak in the tub, take aspirin, etc. The next day would be even worse.
But eventually you'd be running down the street tossing cans around and joking with your coworkers. How did this happen? You forced your body to adapt to the job at hand! If you can't' squat and lift heavy every day you're not overtrained, you're undertrained! Could a random person off the street come to the gym with you and do your exact workout? Probably not, because they're undertrained. Same goes with most lifters when compared to elite athletes.

– John Broz 2002


To me that seems right, and I used to lift everyday with zero issues, but only doing squats/lower body stuff, and now I seem to be hurting more since I've been lifting less. Who knows.



Anemone
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29 Apr 2012, 1:08 pm

Interesting.

I know that barefooters talk sometimes about the barefoot Indian rickshaw drivers who have very sore feet their first week or so of work but then adapt. And I remember when I split core one summer (swinging a sledge hammer to break rock). I was sore as heck the first week but I did improve mightily by the second week. (The guys were nice enough to leave me by myself the first couple of days to spare me the worst embarrassment.) And before long I was well over quota! (I was 19 that summer.)

For me training to failure means when I can't do another rep, or it takes too long to rest to do another one, or my body screams no more, or something. I guess that's not very scientific, is it? With Power Factor Training, you calculate how much weight you lifted per minute, as well as per minute squared (which takes into account how many minutes were involved) and see if you've gone up or down since the last time. Going up means good! Going down means not enough recovery time. And it's true that waiting long enough makes the same load much easier. But for me it's a really really long wait.

Traditionally, I've assumed it's my fault I don't recovery as quickly as others do, because I'm autistic, or have PTSD, or aren't eating properly enough (though I could climb mountains on that diet!), or something. The only thing that has consistently caused improvements, though, is reducing intensity while increasing frequency, and giving up caffeine and sugar (but I climbed mountains on that stuff!). So I'm wondering if I don't need to train fast twitch and need to concentrate on training slow twitch (which is what the garbage man would be training). Hmmm.



1000Knives
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29 Apr 2012, 1:27 pm

Well, for some context, John Broz trains Pat Mendez, who's a pretty strong dude by possibly just genetics. Pat's also been busted for steroids, and was disqualified from the Olympics for HGH use. Broz was a Bulgarian weightlifter, and his method is "watered down" Bulgarian method. A lot of the Bulgarian lifters were crippled because of their training. That video is Pat Mendez, btw.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK7m6I5m6gY[/youtube]

That said, I can see where Broz is coming from, but only on specific movements. IE, if you squat everyday until "failure" then it might work well, but if you're trying to change things up everyday, and sorta try to run some weird bodybuilding split routine off that, it might not work out well. So basically under that thought process, you'd need the same routine, everyday.



Gravechylde
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29 Apr 2012, 4:17 pm

Anemone wrote:
I'm female, and I was in my late 30s (I think) when I did Power Factor Training.

I don't think testosterone has anything to do with it because they have seniors using this technique and reaching full recovery in a week (or two at most).

This isn't about me being less fit than I used to be. (I'm actually fitter.) This is about me wondering if this method (which works for a lot of people but won't work for everyone) doesn't work for me for a predictable reason.

Sorry about that I should have checked.


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Anemone
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30 Apr 2012, 9:09 am

1000Knives wrote:
That said, I can see where Broz is coming from, but only on specific movements. IE, if you squat everyday until "failure" then it might work well, but if you're trying to change things up everyday, and sorta try to run some weird bodybuilding split routine off that, it might not work out well. So basically under that thought process, you'd need the same routine, everyday.


When I was slinging that sledge hammer, I was very close to my upper limit the first couple of days, but taking lots of breaks between swings, and somehow I managed it. But in general, for me, closing in on failure leads to failure overall. It seems to work better if it's just hardish. A couple of months ago I started standing all the time at home (when I'm not lying down) to fix my posture and the first couple of days my feet were really sore, but by the end of the second week I could feel my thighs getting bigger and my posture has improved a lot. So that was a situation where I just went at it until I got used to it. But using heavy weights to failure? I never tried to do it every day. I wonder what would have happened?

I'm currently doing ten squats at a time spread out over the day, trying to strengthen my hamstrings/glutes, and we'll see how that goes. I'm not going to mix it up just because that would mix my head up.



Pondering
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30 Apr 2012, 1:04 pm

I find when using 30+ lbs kettlebells and doing only bodyweight exercises some with extra weight that my recovery time is a lot better than the work out I do with the 45lb bar and heavy weights attached. I stopped using the Olympic bar and weights and I feel better because of it. I'm not as strong, but that's because I'm getting used to using kettlebells at lower weights first. There are a lot of exercise routines you can find on kettlebells, some go to failure, I like the ones that tell you to do as many reps as you can within a certain time frame, take a break, then switch exercises and repeat. It's a major burn with less recovery time when I got used to it.


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