Muscles grow larger in response to high intensity overload. This is a very
simple element of human physiology that has been in operation for (according to anthropologists) over three million years…before fancy exercise equipment, before training “systems” and before nutritional supplements.
The muscles of the human body respond to the intensity of overload in a
similar way that skin responds to the intensity of sunlight. Muscles adapt to the stress of overload by getting larger; skin adapts to the stress of over-
load by getting darker.
Each of the 600+ muscles in your body is accustomed to operating at a
certain level of output during normal daily activities. To cause new muscle
to grow you have to force your muscles to operate beyond their normal level of output. That’s why we lift heavy weights to build muscles….it delivers a higher intensity of overload.
Building new muscle is actually nature’s way of keeping you healthy. A demanding, high intensity workout sends a message to the central nervous system that says, in effect: “This much work is so draining that our existing
muscle strength can’t sustain it…we better build some new muscle so work
at this intensity isn’t so taxing.” And after the new muscle appears, you can
repeat the process with a new, higher intensity workout and build even more muscle.
Once you realize that all muscle-building progress stems from high intensity overload, you’ll begin to understand why I’ve had such a fixation on trying to quantify it. For example, which is more intense: two reps with 150 pounds or three reps with 135 pounds? What about one set that takes one minute versus three sets that take five minutes? Which has more intensity?
Trying to find a way to quantify this all-important intensity of muscular out- put is what led to Power Factor Training, then to Static Contraction Training and ultimately to the Precision Trainer, which can do all the calculations automatically. Anyway…the first thing you must know if you want to make mass and strength gains is that high intensity overload is absolutely indispensable!!