We know that high intensity muscle overload is the key to building new muscle. But how do you know if today’s chest exercise really has a higher intensity than last week’s chest exercise? If you train the way most people do, you can’t know for sure. The same is true for every major muscle group of your body.
But there is a way. The Power Factor number allows you to see each muscle’s intensity. The Power Index number allows you to see how far you went at that intensity. These two measurements, used together properly like a speedometer and an odometer, are what allow you to deliver unprecedented power, endurance and size gains to your muscles.
I’ve worked for years to create brief, efficient workouts. But I’ve heard from many people who tell me they don’t care as much about quick workouts as they do about building more muscle power, endurance and gaining as much muscle size as possible. Even if that means longer workouts or more trips to the gym.
The Power Factor Workout is the answer to people who need – or just want! – more volume in their training. It is the first rational, measured workout designed to give you bigger muscles with maximum sustained power and functional endurance.
It’s easy to create a high-volume workout, you just throw every exercise plus the kitchen sink into the program. Trainers tell people to do three or four different exercises for each muscle, three or four sets for each exercise and to keep coming back every few days to repeat all of it. The obvious result is people burn out because those programs are not sustainable. That always becomes obvious. But the invisible problem is their intensity is not high enough to trigger the real power, endurance and size gains they seek.
The Power Factor Workout solves both problems by balancing your performance on the fine line of true high-intensity of output for specified length of time that does not allow the intensity to drop off into the useless zone. That is the holy grail of power/endurance training; working muscles as hard as you can for as long as you can without overtraining. It’s crazy to do that blindly when the Power Factor Workout gives you a simple, easy way to monitor both things and clearly see your performance.
This Power Factor Workout builds power, endurance and size in ten major muscle groups. It monitors two critical parameters for each. That’s twenty measurements. How can anyone believe that he or she can visit the gym and “feel” that while his triceps power/endurance is up 12% his lats are down 6% in peak intensity and even more in power/endurance? So his triceps are progressing but he’s overtraining his lats – without measurements he’s not aware of either fact. So he’ll plod along until his performance is so lopsided and he is in such an overtrained state he has no hope of reaching his goals no matter how often he trains or what nutritional supplement he gets talked into trying. Sound familiar?
The following three principles are not controversial, they are well-settled principles that have caused humans to grow muscle for thousands of years. If you obey all three principles every workout you will make incremental gains in muscle strength and size every workout.
If you’ve read anything about weightlifting you’ve come across the term “high intensity.” Many books have been written with those words in the title and uncounted magazine and web articles are the same. It’s a valid concept that states muscle growth must be stimulated by a high intensity of output. That’s why we lift weights – to create a load for our muscles. When muscles are forced to work at a high intensity of output they signal the brain to grow more muscle tissue. Want to hear the biggest mistake in conventional High Intensity Training? There is no measurement! None. All of those people who talk about the intensity of an exercise do not have a unit of measure. The intensity of sound is measured in decibels, the intensity of light is measured in lumens, there are many different units of intensity in science. In 1992 I innovated two measurements of the intensity of muscular output, the Power Factor and Power Index. When you have a meaningful measurement of the intensity of every exercise you perform it means you can spot progress, plateaus and regression from day one. That absolutely guarantees the first principle is respected – true high intensity overload.
The second principle is that the overload must be progressive from workout to workout in order to keep growing. If the progression stops, the muscle growth stops. If you lift at the same intensity of overload on every workout there is no reason for your body to grow new muscle. The wrong way to train is to never know exactly what the overload is on each exercise from workout to workout. That’s called training blindly. And that’s just crazy. The smart way to train is to know the percentage of increase you achieved on each exercise last workout and what goal weight would be appropriate for today’s workout. That absolutely guarantees the second principle is respected – true progressive overload.
When your body is subjected to any stress its first priority is always to recover. When we do an intense workout many waste products are created in the body and they need to be processed and expelled. That takes time. Only after that process is complete will the body spend its energy building new muscle tissue. It’s also easy to understand that a very light and easy workout would require less recovery time than an very intense and difficult workout. In addition, your level or conditioning affects recovery time. So does the amount of general stress in your life outside the gym. In fact there…