Bottomline Bodybuilding

ULTIMATE INTENSITY - Is It Necessary For Muscle Growth?

No one ever built an impressive physique without hard work. Persistence towards handling progressively heavier weights is the only way to grow. You know it, I know it, everyone who has or wishes he had a hard muscular body knows it. The question I'll attempt to address in this chapter is just how much intensity is really needed for maximum muscle?

This is such a hard one to call. Unlike the "one size fits all" precept that some well meaning marketers wish to promote, the benefits of "all out" training intensity is determined by many factors, not excluding the training experience of the individual. The very term "maximum intensity" is impossible to determine as well. How many times have you seen a novice struggle with a given weight for 8 to 10 reps and then while providing an encouraging spot you find they were able to complete 15 reps? This is an example of someone not approaching the muscle promoting stress in which they are capable. Although it has become unfashionable lately, the expression "NO PAIN-NO GAIN" still rings true. As in all things in life, be it developing a business, learning to play an instrument, excelling in a sport or building a better body, it is imperative to go through a stage where you are absolutely, passionately obsessed with improvement if you want to be great.

But where does it stop, and when does the point of diminishing returns begin? Again, this is exclusive to the individual. As an example to illustrate the intensity factor, let's examine someone with a proclivity towards wickedly fierce workout sessions, the inimitable Tom Platz. No one can ever accuse Tom of "doggin it" in the gym. The man was a veritable symbol of near maniacal, gut-bursting training intensity! A few years back Tom was featured in a training video proclaiming a high intensity training system which received a lot of attention. Tom looked every bit as good at age 40 than he did at age 30. But therein lies the dilemma. After thousands of hours of inflicting insanely torturous punishment upon his body, he looked the same. All that talk about "doing whatever it takes to GROW", or "shocking the body into GROWTH" is a moot point. How much more size has Tom really accumulated using these methods? Rounding the bend at 50 it's doubtful he's put on more muscle. This is not meant to disparage his attempt. I find it noble. But the truth is the truth. The same level of conditioning could most probably have been achieved without a near psychotic fervor towards reaching ultimate intensity.

The lesson here may be that once one's maximum potential has been reached, it is no longer lucrative to persist in a training protocol that provided the accomplishment. But what if your genetic potential has yet to be realized? Is maximum intensity the most efficacious approach? Proponents of the HEAVY DUTY style of training insist that it is. Mike Mentzer professed that the intensity reached in a single set is what

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