In this installment of how to lift more than your girlfriend we will discuss the 4th principle in maximizing your strength. Stimulus Recovery Adaptation is essentially the amount of time needed between workouts to optimize results. Once the body is stimulated performance will initially decrease until recovery takes place, which returns you to your baseline. After this adaptation has the opportunity to occur, which is where one actually gets stronger. However, if you wait too long to train then you lose that adaptation.


It essentially looks like this poorly drawn graph, just so you can have a visual.

There are four systems that have their own SRA curves that we average to get an optimal curve. 

  1. Nervous System- pretty much practice makes perfect. You can train a muscle group 4-6 times a week.
  2. Muscle Hypertrophy- give your muscles enough time to recover so they can grow optimally. You can train a muscle group 2-4 times a week.
  3. Nervous System Force Output- how much force you can produce under heavy weight. This has to do with how many muscle fibers/motor units fire during said lift. You can train a muscle group 1-3 times a week.
  4. Connective Tissue Integrity- tendons, ligaments and bones take damage due to heavy lifting. This curve is the one that takes the longest to recover, therefore, it’s the one we worry the least about. However, this doesn’t mean that we don’t worry about it eventually.

So what does all of this kind of useless information mean when we put it together? Well we now know how often you can train technique, hypertrophy and strength in dedicated phases. The more volume you have per session the les sessions you get to have.

However, before you get to apply these to your program you must master technique. So now that I’m a broken record, develop good technique, make sure it’s safe, then capitalize on neural gains with your new form. 

You also need to understand what your primary muscle fiber is. If you are more fast twitch you need less frequency, and if you’re more slow twitch then you need higher frequency. The same principle applies to muscle size, if you’re jacked then you will take a lot longer to recover.

Now on to movement volume. You can train your lats, rear delts, shoulders, arms, calves, etc. can be trained almost every workout. You can train your squat up to 3 times a week or more if you’re really new. Your bench takes a long time to recover from so two times a week is about what you need. Deadlifts and OHP take the longest to recover from because of all the stabilizing muscles you have involved. You probably shouldn’t deadlift more than once a week, but you can probably OHP twice if you aren’t very strong.

The take home story is that you need to test your limits out, and try to stay within the constraints of what you can recover from. 

Until Next Time,

Don’t do high frequency deadlifts 

Sources:

Israetel, M., & Smith, C. (n.d.). Scientific Principles of Strength Training.

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