Courtesy of Paul Townsend at The Heavy Duty Legacy Facebook page.
Thank You, Sir!
Question: I've been following your Heavy Duty advice for several months now -- training to failure, doing only a couple of sets per bodypart, and working out three days a week -- and I've been happy with the results. I was wondering, however, if maybe I should be doing some stretching before and after workouts and do some form of aerobics a few days a week?
Mike Mentzer: Assuming that your primary goal is to gain maximum muscle size in the shortest period of time possible, my answer is an emphatic NO!
The high intensity type of training required to stimulate an optimal increase in muscle size is extremely demanding, which is why it should be engaged in for only very brief periods.
The performance of any more exercise than the least amount required to stimulate growth is counterproductive in that is uses up physical resources that would have otherwise been utilized in the recovery and growth processes. Overtraining, by definition, means that exercise performed beyond the least amount required to stimulate a desired result causes more of the body's resources to be used up to overcome the merely exhaustive effects of the exercise, i.e., for recovery, with that much less available for overcompensation, which, for a bodybuilder, would be an increase in muscle mass.
Many people who exercise with weights stretch because they believe it will prevent the "bounding" effect that is alleged to result from weight training. Despite the fact that the muscle-bound myth has been debunked in repeated studies, that false notion apparently still persists.
The idea that aerobic activity should be an integral part of a weight-training program because it somehow assists the growth process is of more recent origin and patently false.
Stretching and aerobic activity should never be an integral part of a serious bodybuilding program. While neither stretching nor aerobics are intense forms of activity, both are still exercise, and thus use some percentage of the body's resources -- resources that would serve better in the recovery and growth process.
Enjoy Your Lifting!