Increase build-up success? Everyone reaches their limits at some point. Many then turn to hormonally effective aids in frustration. However, if anabolic steroids are out of the question for you, then you should definitely take a closer look at your regeneration.
Is regeneration really that important?
In our shouty world, we are confronted countless times a day with claims that are supposed to make us give away our money. Often, a situation that is actually completely normal is stylized into an individual problem that can supposedly be eliminated quite easily by buying certain products. Is that also the case here? Is regeneration deliberately inflated to a topic because someone just wants to get their hands on your money? Or does it really play a central role when it comes to giving your muscles more strength or more mass?
Here’s my suggestion: Let’s approach this legitimate question systematically and step by step.
Why regeneration based build-up training at all?
Why should you even take the time to look into the subject? The answer is quite simple:
You are absolutely no exception if you notice that your muscle building leaves something to be desired.
Most athletes will be able to confirm the following statement: Natural muscle building is not only extremely lengthy, but also very tedious. It is not easy to get the body to afford the luxury of an above-average musculature. And if you also want to avoid directly intervening in your own hormone balance, then it becomes difficult: When the first rapid progress wears off, many throw in the towel in frustration.
For most of them it could have continued without dubious substances, because: Often, the body refuses to build up further simply because it doesn’t get the rest it needs to do so. It simply can no longer cope with the heavy loads it is confronted with far too often. Especially beginners with a few months of training experience or slightly advanced athletes simply expect too much from their body with the enthusiasm of the first successes.
The result? Overtraining.
What it means to train regeneration-based
Regeneration-based training means orienting your training to the ongoing recovery of the previously trained muscle groups. Why is this important? Quite simply, your hard build-up training with relatively heavy weights puts an intense load on your muscles. So intense that tiny injuries occur during the workout. These injuries are called ” micro trauma ” and are basically nothing bad, but: If you do not let them heal, they can reduce your performance over time.
So, base your training on which of your muscles should be reloaded today.
These muscles should already have recovered sufficiently from the last workout. But what’s more: The last training load should also not be too long ago. This is because the period of so-called “supercompensation” does not last forever: it begins with the completed regeneration and then lasts for a certain time, during which the muscle group is particularly powerful – even somewhat more powerful than before. If this time passes without a new training stimulus, the muscle again shows the same performance as before the last training.
Regeneration-based training therefore means: train today those muscles that have recovered sufficiently from the last load stimulus. And use suitable exercises in order not to stress other muscle parts through assisting stress, which are not yet ready for a new training stimulus.
How do you benefit from regeneration based build-up training?
This sounds kind of complicated to you? It doesn’t have to be. Here’s a quick list of benefits that you too can achieve with regeneration based build-up training:
- more mass and strength due to complete regeneration processes (rebuilding after catabolic processes caused by the training load)
- optimized training by better meeting the supercompensation phase of each muscle part
- improved chance to avoid injuries (acute as well as chronic)
- more variety in your workout, because every workout will be different (different exercises, matching the different load states of your muscle groups)
Especially if you already have enough weight training experience, you will probably want to optimize your training. You will probably try to train each muscle again exactly when it has reached a performance peak after the previous training load. It sounds logical that such a high will only be possible if the muscle recovers sufficiently beforehand.
On what does regeneration based build-up training orient itself?
To make the matter clearer, we want to show the course of load and recovery of a muscle in a diagram here. We distinguish the following phases over time (from left to right):
- The normal state: your physical processes are more or less in balance, the muscle under consideration has its “normal” level of performance. This is also the level to which the muscle will fall back after an unused supercompensation phase.
- The load (training stimulus): The muscle is intensively loaded as part of a build-up training. Within minutes or hours, it is stressed to such an extent that its performance is reduced. In the microscopic area, tears in the muscle fibers can be seen, which originate from the hard stress.
- Recovery (regeneration): The muscle is restored as degrading (catabolic) processes remove damaged structures and anabolic processes repair the muscle fibers. This process takes several days, depending on the severity of the previous exercise.
- Supercompensation: The regeneration processes of the previous phase do not necessarily end when the previous performance level is reached, but usually (and up to a certain extent) go beyond this: The regeneration thus becomes “overshooting” and leads to a (minimally) increased performance capacity, which should ideally be used for setting the next training stimulus. This phase can also extend over several days.
Notes on the diagram: The author is aware that the concept of supercompensation does not meet with unrestricted approval. For example, scientists rightly criticize that the dimension of the vertical axis is not defined by an unambiguous and quantifiable measurand. Therefore, some brief comments at this point:
- It is explicitly stated that this diagram is in no way intended to capture or suggest biochemical processes or events at the cellular level. The main purpose is rather a deliberately abstracting approach, which should help the user in the sense of a heuristic approach to make concrete decisions in the context of his training design despite a lack of knowledge of a large number of existing influencing factors.
- The diagram tries to capture the everyday experiences of athletes (in weight training) associatively and to provide them with a rough orientation and a subsequent pragmatically oriented training/workout planning, which seems to be sufficiently possible with the term “performance” in many cases.
- The basic requirement of the diagram is to convey to the viewer the importance of adequate recovery after intense training loads and thereby reduce the risk of an emerging overtraining condition.
How can you make your own regeneration based build-up training?
In principle, the matter is quite simple. You only need answers to the following questions:
- How intensively did I train which exercises today?
- How is the load distributed among the different muscles during these exercises?
- How fast does which muscle part recover, and therefore how does the load or recovery state of these muscles change over the course of the next few days?
- Which muscles are in what shape today (before the workout)?
- What exercises suit this condition without interfering with other muscles in their still ongoing build-up process?
If you can answer these questions, you can also train based on regeneration. You just have to determine day by day in which condition which muscle is at the moment.
What do you need to train regeneration-based?
So you need …
- Knowledge of anatomy (muscles involved in different movements)
- Knowledge about the different recovery times of the muscle groups
- Assessment of which of your muscles are currently in which condition
- Knowledge about exercise variations (suitable for the day’s condition)
To make your training regeneration-based, you also need a record of your workouts that shows when which muscle is loaded and to what extent. In 2010, I had a very simplified paper version of such a record on squared paper in use: If a muscle was loaded, the curve went down one box (yellow) – after intensive use even two (red). The regeneration curve was drawn one box to the right and one box upward for each day until the curve arrived one box above the baseline. This crossing of the baseline upwards (green) should mark the supercompensation phase, in which in the best case the next training of this muscle group should take place.
This type of recording took into account the level of intensity, but unfortunately not yet the different recovery times of the individual muscle groups. Furthermore, it was only estimated at the end of the workout how intensively which muscles had been loaded – there was still no table that showed which muscles were assisted in which exercises and to what degree. These improvements were to come many years later, when I began programming an online tool for regeneration based build-up training together with my daughter Julia.
Your booster for regeneration based build-up training
Let’s dare some completely uninhibited wishful thinking:
How would it be if you had an assistant who could tell you day by day exactly which of your muscle parts should already be trained again? Or, in other words, which muscles you should take it easy on so that they can do what you worked so hard on in training: grow and get stronger? And of course, it would be great if this training buddy could also give you tips on which exercises are suitable for your current load condition, right?
Granted: A service like that – and every day if needed – would probably be priceless. For this reason, everything probably remains as it is: You try to schedule sufficient breaks for all muscles with a well thought-out split program.
But what if your everyday life doesn’t stick to your plans? What if you can’t keep to your scheduled training days, but on the other hand there are sometimes opportunities for unscheduled training sessions?
The online tool we mentioned earlier, which we actually developed just for ourselves, is called myTRS – My Training Regeneration Status. It’s a kind of “programmed assistant” that knows which exercises you’ve done and when. It then also knows which of your muscles were loaded when – and how intensively. And from this information, it estimates on which days your muscle groups are in which condition. What remains at the end is: every day a selection of suitable exercises that do not interfere with any muscle in the ongoing build-up.
So if you want to do something good for your body, make your build-up training regeneration based! And give it the opportunity to give you what you train hard for: more muscle mass and more strength.