How I’m Achieving Rapid Gains on a Grown-Up’s Schedule

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I started weight training in high school and enjoyed it immediately.  When I was a teenager I would just lift weights for fun.  If I was awake, even if it was 2am, and I had energy, I figured why not?  But as an adult, it can be harder to stay up on your fitness with jobs, families and all the responsibilities that come with life.

So, since the time I truly started to grow up and have real responsibilities, I’ve gone through stages.  Some stages where I was focused and dedicated to my fitness, others where I fell off on those responsibilities, and mostly many stages of tweaking workout routines to best suit my schedule and precious time.

The Best Routine I’ve Ever Tried

I’m not sure where I came up with the idea.  I remember reading about it, but I cannot remember where, otherwise  I would give credit where it is due.  In any case, I am talking about something called “Training to Failure”.

Now, bear in mind, I’ve been doing this for a little over a month.  I have no idea as to the long-term safety viability of this routine and I am testing it out on my own body without that knowledge, as I often do.  Always consult with your physician before starting any exercise regimen.

How Does My Routine Work?

They say that gains and growth do not come until your muscles are fatigued.  I read somewhere that you don’t know what a workout is until you train to failure, which means you perform as many reps as you can until you just can’t do another.  This appealed to me for two reasons:

  1. I want gains and growth.
  2. I want something simple that I can easily follow.  Training to failure tells me exactly how many reps to do – no guesswork.

See, it’s possible that I have a very short attention span.  In fact, this article is already a little long for me.  That is why things like long distance running never appealed to me.  I get too bored.  It’s also likely why my “Five Minute Rule” is appealing to me.  It fits my makeup.  So, short workouts that I can fit in wherever I have openings in my schedule are right in my wheelhouse.

However, you do not get results without hard work, so I also need something that requires the effort needed to achieve strength gains.  I thought this idea fit both of my major needs, so here is what I came up with for myself.

I identified a few different resistance exercises and scheduled them to no more than two per day.  For each exercise, I would only do one set until I could not do another rep.  That’s it.  Not time consuming and easy for a short attention-spanner like me to squeeze in on the go.  Now, I recommend using resistance bands or cable machines to anyone trying this as training to exhaustion holding barbells over your body can be dangerous if you lose your grip.  I think the reasons why are fairly obvious.

To measure the strength gains, I did not increase the resistance over the course of this period so I could see by how much the max number of reps I could do would increase (or not).

One-Month Results

After a month of training in this style, I noticed strength gains I did not know were possible in such a short time.  Here are some of the results:

Exercise Day One Reps Day 33 Reps
Chest Fly 20 36
Overhead Shoulder Press 28 38

As you can see, these results over just a one month time frame are ridiculous.  Interestingly, the chest fly reps increased at a much greater rate than the overhead should reps.  My hypothesis is that while I had been doing shoulder presses for a while before I started this routine, chest flys were a new addition.  In any case, those are spectacular one month results in both cases.

So the verdict is in for me.  I am definitely going to continue with this routine.  I will change up the exercises from time to time as I love to tweak things to perfection, but I love how this routine fits in with my life.  Most days I do one exercise in the morning and one after work.  This fits in seamlessly, does not require me to devote large chunks of my time, and has produced the most rapid gains I have ever experienced.    The future is very exciting indeed.

To whoever inspired this, thank you thank you thank you.

What are your thoughts?  What workout routines work best for you?  Please let me know in the comments below.

Important Safety Note

Lower body exercises like squats may be too intense for some using this type of routine.  There have been times where I have found my heart rate to get pretty high after doing deadlifts to failure and have gotten a little light-headed.  My personal advice is to stop short of your max reps when working your lower body, which recruits more muscles and energy than most upper-body exercises do.

Remember to always consult your physician before starting an exercise program.  Not all exercises are appropriate for everybody.  The results shared here are mine alone.

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