Forget ‘no pain-no gain’ and get muscles this easy way
Strong muscles are important… and not just if you want to look buff. If you have decreased muscle strength, you’re less mobile and more likely to fall, which means you can’t be as active and independent as you want to be.
Not to mention the fact that having weak muscles increases your odds of spending time in the hospital and dying prematurely.
So ideally, you want to keep your muscles as strong as you can for as long as you can. But that’s not always easy…
As you get older, keeping your muscles healthy becomes an uphill battle. You begin losing muscle mass like crazy in your 40s and beyond because your body can’t make muscle as quickly as it did when you were young.
For most people, the solution to this problem is simple: Stick to a regular weight training schedule. But let’s face it, not all of us are natural-born body builders.
In traditional strength training, you lift heavy weights, engaging your muscles in slow, grinding contractions that are not exactly a walk in the park.
But luckily, you have another option… one that gives you a lot more bang for your buck than traditional weight training…
Researchers from Loughborough University in England found that short, explosive muscle contractions were the most efficient way to strengthen your muscles. That’s because these type of contractions were significantly less exhausting than the longer, sustained contractions, yet still helped build muscle in a major way.
So, in other words, the easiest path to a muscle-bound body is through quick and painless muscle contractions rather than the long, drawn-out kind…which is especially good news for those with any physical restrictions, like disability or old age, who have a hard time holding weights for sustained contractions.
Just as a point of reference, the sustained contractions researchers used in the study lasted for three seconds and the short, explosive contractions lasted for one second.
You can try this explosive-style muscle-building trick yourself by grabbing some weights and doing a few quick reps in a row. Hold each rep for one second… which is essentially as long as it takes you to lift the weight up and down.
And if you do try some of these explosive reps, you may find that the old saying “no pain, no gain” no longer holds water for you… because you’ll be gaining a lot more muscle with a lot less pain.
G. Balshaw, G.J. Massey, T.M. Maden-Wilkinson, N.A. Tillin, J.P. Folland. “Training-specific functional, neural, and hypertrophic adaptations to explosive- vs. sustained-contraction strength training.” Journal of Applied Physiology, 2016; 120 (11): 1364.