Functional Hand Strength

Functional Hand Strength

John Wood's Blog of hard training and unusual strength development


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2.08.2007

Mysteries of The 30 Minute Workout

'Is it possible to get a great workout in 30 minutes or less?'

Thats the question I was recently asked and the answer is 'of course, but only if that workout performed a certain way'

See, a lot of people seem to be under the impression that training success has some kind of scalability factor - as if a one hour workout in the gym equals 'big,' two hours equals 'bigger,' and three or more hours equals 'biggest.'

'The more-is-better technique' can be useful , but only up to a point - and that point comes much sooner than people realize. Assuming this were true - the question then becomes 'how long 'should' you spend training if you want to reach your goals'

The answer, of course, can only be 'only as long as is necessary' since anything beyond 'what is necessary' is, by definition, a waste of time.

Now, one thing that also happens quite frequently is that most dont quite understand the actual purpose of their workout - what they are trying to do when they train.

And since the goal dictates the necessary action, 'Training' for the sake of training will not get you very far.

In its most simple terms, the goal of any workout is to create the necessary conditions for improvement.

Some people define 'improvement' as skill development, others define it as muscle growth - the processes for each of these differ a bit but there is always going to be a little bit of both regardless of what type of training you do.

There are three reasons why you have to make your workout 'work' in 60 minutes or less:
The first reason is simple time management:

The fact of the matter is that it doesnt matter who you are, where you are or what your training goals might be, you still only have 24 hours in the day. Somewhere in that 24 hours, along with school, work family and who know what else - you have to fit in the kind of training that is going to fill those requirements.

'Training as long as possible' is simply unreasonable, regardless of the actual potential physical results (or lack thereof.)

The second factor is physiological in nature - they say that testosterone levels drop roughly 45 minutes or so into a workout.

Therefore, the most efficient use of available time, is and will always be a primary requirement of a successful workout. I cant say if thats true or not but it probably is.

Even if its not, the other factors are more than important enough to make up for it which brings me to my last point:

Your ability to concentrate will decrease sharply beyond the 60 minute mark - and since Concentration one of the most, if not THE most important factor in your training Success, this is a problem.

Like I said earlier, 'just training' is, for the most part, a waste of time.

Well, like most things, as you gain training experience, you learnto do more with less. - the definition of efficiency.

You can always tell a real pro because they make it look easy - regardless of the actual difficulty level.

It should be clearly understood that what Im talking about -the ability to get the most out of what you do - is something that can be learned.

The best 'textbook' I know of for this information, can be found right here.

The truth is, when you know what to do and can apply all of your effort and concentration into it, your workouts Shouldnt need much time. Now, I cant tell you exactly how long your workout should take but I can say that most people do a lot of screwin around when they 'train.' (and I use the term loosely)

Heres what it often looks like:

Do a warmup set, get a drink of water, shoot the breeze, do another warmup set, tighten lifting belt - theres 10-12 minutes gone right there - and thats only for one exercise.

You can choose to believe or not believe what I am about to say but a handful of exercises, done well and performed correctlyin 30 minutes or less will beat a bunch o exercises performed sloppily over two hours every time.

Train hard.
John Wood

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