When you’re training for long-term youth and vitality, you want to stimulate protein synthesis while triggering a cascade of beneficial hormones throughout your system—hormones that fight aging and promote cellular repair. “At the same time, you still need to be able to recover properly post-workout,” says Jim Brown, a trainer in Tampa, FL.
To achieve this, Brown suggests what he calls a Forged Training program—a hypertrophy-focused protocol that hits every body part twice a week and still allows for optimal recovery. By lifting for high reps, just short of failure, and having a flexible attitude about your training stimulus (weights lifted, reps performed, etc.), it’s easier to adjust your training according to how you feel—and how you feel matters.
“The amount of stimulus you use should match your recovery rate,” Brown says. “For example, if your recovery isn’t optimal—you aren’t sleeping or eating well—balance that out by training with less stimulus. On the contrary, if you’re recovering well, the stimulus can go up.
Before performing the sets and reps prescribed for each day, perform three warmup sets of 15 reps for each exercise. Then complete two working sets, leaving one or two reps in the tank to prevent form breakdown. On your first set, shoot for 15 to 20 reps. Rest for two minutes, then do another set. You’ll most likely hit eight to 13 reps. If you get fewer than eight reps, use less weight, and if you get more than 25 reps, up the weight.
If you’re able to do more work, direct that energy toward improving a lagging body part. Simply add a rest-pause set—in which you rest for 10 to 20 seconds after reaching failure, then squeeze out a few more reps, or one more exercise for that muscle group. The whole workout should take roughly 35 to 40 minutes—any longer than that will cause a counterproductive cortisol spike.
Record your exercise, weights lifted, and reps. This way, you have a better gauge of how to progress through your workouts weekly.
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