The margin of time that determines muscle building success or failure in the gym is a heck of a lot shorter than you might think.
Just as fraction-of-a-second moments during a 100 metre dash will make or break a sprinter's race, fraction-of-a-second moments will also make or break your body's muscle growth response in the gym.
In fact, your entire margin of success in the gym can ultimately be reduced to just a short time span of 60 seconds. That's correct, how you choose to handle a short 60 second time period during your workouts will translate to either poor, mediocre or significant muscle building results.
Although each entire workout will last for about an hour, only 60 seconds of that actual time will determine what kind of gains you achieve.
You may be scratching your head right now and wondering what the heck I'm talking about, but allow me to explain…
You see, every individual set that you perform in the gym is ultimately being performed for the benefits that will be achieved on the last 1-2 reps.
Muscles respond to stress, and the only truly stressful reps that actually trigger your body's muscle building mechanisms are those at the end of each set when the body is on the brink of muscular failure.
If a given set consists of 6 reps, then reps 1-4 are only performed in order to get to reps 5 and 6. Reps 1-4 will do very little in terms of stimulating muscular growth, but are necessary to perform in order to overload the muscles on reps 5 and 6.
In other words, it is only the very last 1-2 reps that will ultimately yield a muscle building response from the body. The longer you can push yourself to battle the weights during this small time frame at the end of each set, the greater results you will achieve.
Any of you who have read my articles know that I'm a big advocate of training to muscular failure. There is simply no better way to trigger your body's adaptive responses than to train until your muscles cannot move the weight another inch.
The closer and closer that you can come to muscular failure, the more dramatically your body will respond. This time frame is literally measured in single seconds. If you drop the weights 5-6 seconds earlier than the next guy (the margin is probably even smaller than this), you'll be significantly sacrificing your muscle growth.
So, where did the 60-second time frame come from?
Well, if we assume that you perform 10 total all out sets per workout and have a margin of 6 seconds between success/failure per set, this gives you 60 seconds of total time per workout to either battle through with full effort or to surrender and settle for mediocre results.
It really is true; your bodybuilding success is literally measured by the short, precise moments at the very end of each set and the amount of effort you are willing to exert during this time.
If you can force yourself to train to all out muscular failure, you'll achieve the best results possible. If you drop the weight 3 seconds before muscular failure, your growth will be compromised. If you drop the weight 8 seconds before muscular failure, your growth will be compromised even further.
If we multiply our 60-second figure by my recommended number of 3 workouts per week, this means that your bodybuilding success in the gym will literally be measured by how you choose to handle one short 3 minute long period per week.
I bet you never thought of it this way before!
You must train hard and with full effort at all times. When the weight feels heavy and your muscles ache and burn with discomfort, you must push through and continue until true muscular failure is reached.
If you stop short, even a second short, your gains will be compromised.
Keep this in mind at all times in the gym and you'll experience better results than ever before.
If you want to learn some awesome psychological techniques for breaking through the pain barrier and “mentally numbing” the discomfort associated with hard training, make sure to for details.