When you think of getting fit and strong, an image that comes to mind is spending a copious amount of time in the gym. But that mindset may soon change. Whether you’re too tired, busy or even lazy to exercise, this news may be music to your ears: you don’t need to train for a long time to get strong.
How To Get Strong Quickly
A new study was conducted to find out just how much time is required in the gym to get stronger, and the results are quite promising. In the study, 34 healthy men (who did resistance training regularly) were recruited and put into three different groups, where they did separate supervised weight training routines.
These weight training routines consisted of exercises that Men’s Health readers should be familiar with: flat barbell bench press, barbell military press, wide grip lateral pulldown, seated cable row, barbell back squat, machine leg press, and unilateral machine leg extension. But why these ones specifically? They were specifically chosen due to how common they were in bodybuilding and strength training programs.
The first group did a single set of eight to twelve reps (or failure) each session, lasting around a brisk 13 minutes per session. A second group did three sets, lasting about 40 minutes each session. Lastly, the third group did five sets for a total workout time of around 70 minutes. The participants were tasked to do these exercises three times a week, for a duration of eight weeks. Alongside exercise, their diet was also monitored via MyFitnessPal, with their calorie intake, protein, fats and carbs as the focus.
How Much Exercise Is Enough?
The results were probably not what you expected. The first group were as strong as the other groups who spent more time training. No matter how many sets were done, the results were the same. Muscular endurance was also shown to be similar across the various groups.
Well, there goes all the “busy” excuses for not exercising. 13 minutes is much easier to fit into a busy schedule than a full hour-long workout does. Just eat a little faster or wake up a little earlier. It’s for your own good! After all, we all know the numerous benefits of exercise.
However, the various groups did differ in one aspect: muscle size. While they all were relatively equal in strength, those who did five sets had much bigger muscles than the other groups. If you’re training for bulging muscles rather than strength, stick to your regular routine.
According to a report in the New York Times, Brad Schoenfeld, human performance program at Lehman College and the study’s lead author said the results suggest “there is a separation between muscular strength and hypertrophy.” The key was to strain the muscles till exhaustion for each set, known as failure.
“It looks like 13 minutes in the gym can lead to significant improvements” in strength, he says. “That’s less than a fourth of someone’s lunch hour. Most of us can probably find that much time in our day.”
By Muhd Farhan