Effectiveness is about doing the right task,
completing activities and achieving goals.
Efficiency is about doing things in an optimal way.
When you're a little obsessed with something, you tend to get carried away - sometimes to the point of illogical practices. Bodybuilding is no exception.
Look around any gym and you'll see the training ritual being carried to irrational, often dangerous, extremes. This isn't as likely to happen in a home gym - at least not as quickly - because there are fewer bad habits going on around you for you to absorb. It can still happen, however, especially with all of the mega-routines propagated by many of the bodybuilding magazines.
Considering all of this contagious irrationality, some 90 percent of all bodybuilders, home trainers included, might do better by injecting some training contemplation into their schedules. In other words, sit down and think about what you're doing, why you're doing it and if you're doing it as efficiently as possible. In most cases you'll find things that you can improve on and that, in turn, boost your workout productivity.
Productivity through efficiency is one of the best rules to train by. It helps eliminate waste and can assist you as you motor down the road to continuous gains. For the bodybuilder who is always searching for the quickest drug-free solution, productivity through efficiency should be the backbone of your training philosophy and the idea that governs all training brainstorming sessions.
With that in mind, you might consider mulling over the following suggestions the next time you're thinking about your training.
1) Regulate your intensity. It's a physiological fact that you can't go all out in every workout. If you try to do this, you'll more than likely kill yourself, of if you don't kill yourself, you'll be so stressed out and so obnoxious that even Roseanne Barr would have a hard time hanging out with you. It's best to alternate a few weeks of intense training with a week or two of moderate intensity workouts. This technique is called phase training, and if you're interested in the fastest gains possible, you should employ it throughout your training career.
2) Count your sets. Overtraining runs rampant in bodybuilding circles because, quite frankly, everybody has unique tolerance levels. You may be able to handle more sets than I can, which means your recovery ability is stronger and you will be less likely to overtrain. We're not, however, trying to establish how much work we can tolerate, but rather how much work is necessary in order to make the best gains. On average, anything over 30 sets per training session is pushing it, even for advanced bodybuilders. Harder gainers should be advised to do even less. You must constantly fight the urge to do more.
3) React and contract. Exercises that impose resistance in the contracted position are called peak-contraction movements. These are excellent for finishing off a bodypart and arousing the deep muscle fibers. Examples of peak-contraction movements include concentration curls, chins, and leg extensions. Unfortunately, many trainees waste the contraction; they simply don't emphasize it enough. When you're doing one of these exercises, two seconds per repetition should be the minimum amount of time that you spend in the contracted position. When you've got resistance in the contracted position, don't waste it; squeeze, contract and flex to get the most growth stimulation.
4) Deemphasize the negative. Many of us have been taught the rule of two seconds up, four seconds down - two seconds for the positive, or lifting, and four seconds for the negative, or lowering. If you think about how your muscles work, however, you'll realize that they are much stronger during the negative portion of a rep - lowering 50 pounds is much easier than raising 50 pounds. Even on your last rep of, say, barbell curls, where you can barely get it through the sticking point, lowering the weight isn't all that difficult.
Because the weight is so much easier to lower, you should be deemphasizing this portion of the rep. Lowering a weight for four seconds that is not heavy enough to tax your negative strength is simply a waste of time. The more logical rule is, two seconds up and two seconds down - the two seconds down being more for control than anything else. There is simply no reason to overemphasize negatives that are too light to stimulate growth.
5) Keep arm work to a minimum. Big arms give you a certain significance; however, arems are the easiest bodypart to overtrain. Think about it. You use your arms for all rowing, pressing and chinning, so your direct arm workout should merely supplement all of this indirect arm work. For better results do less direct arm work for arms than you do for other bodyparts.
6) Tris before bi's. When you do work arms, however, be sure to do your triceps before your biceps. If you reverse this order and do biceps first, the pump in your bi's could limit your triceps' range of motion - with pumped biceps you won't be able to go all the way down in exercises like overhead and lying extensions. This translates into less efficiency.
These are ideas I have come up with during my own training brainstorming sessions. If you think logically, you'll probably be able to add your own rules to this list.
Remember, don't follow blindly - no matter how big and ripped your adviser may be be. Think things through, and you'll reach your bodybuilding goals faster than you thought possible.
Enjoy Your Lifting!