Recovery Time

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by Old and Grey, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    After a strength training workout, we experience a temporary reduction in the ability to produce force.

    This reduction in force is caused by 3 factors: central nervous system (CNS) fatigue, peripheral fatigue (linked to metabolite accumulation), and muscle damage.

    Only the effects of muscle damage last for more than a few hours post-workout, and is therefore the only factor that contributes to our ability to perform another, similar workout within a few days of the original one.

    Some lifters find this difficult to believe, because they experience a lack of motivation and readiness to train for several days after a workout, which they attribute to CNS fatigue.

    However, this study showed that our personal perceptions of being ready for the next workout are linked to muscle damage (and therefore probably not CNS fatigue).

  2. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Ah that's interesting O&G! I would have thought that CNS fatigue would be more of a contributor actually... I know I've definitely been still very motivated to train even when I'm quite sore all over, unless they're referring more to muscle damage (internally) rather than the subjective experience of localised soreness?

    As I know when my whole system feels fatigued that's when I'm sluggish with wanting to train, rather than a specific localised soreness..
  3. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    What was the methodology for measuring/quantifying muscle damage?
  4. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    Jester, according to the summary, the actual damage was measured by blood levels of free and total testosterone, cortisol, c-reactive protein and creatine kinase. I can pull the full study if you would like more detail. It did not do any cross-section of muscle fibers as it was not measuring growth but just actual recovery versus perceived recovery. Obviously a very subjective indicator and one that the study concludes is quite inaccurate.
  5. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    O&G - yes I read that earlier, cheers. I’m more curious about how those measurements are normalised and made into an objective recovery scale.

    Recovery is a lot like dark matter - we know it’s there, it’s important, but measuring it and making it work (better?) for you is still a ways off.

    At least they didn’t do biopsies.
    adpowah likes this.
  6. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    I agree, it is a murky area.

    I believe that the blood results were compared to before training and then at various times up to the 48 hour period afterwards. So that each person would have his own personalized normal starting point as opposed to a lump sum group range for the total population.
  7. k_dean_curtis

    k_dean_curtis Member

    IMHO, the absolute earliest you can train again is not the best question to ask.
    The best question is, after recovery is complete, how long does one keep said gains before they start to deteriorate?
    Those 2 values are not the same. And the latter is the one that matters most in the long run.

    IOW, if you could train again in 48 hours, but did not have to (before gains subsided) train again till 6 days later, and the long term results are the same, it is obvious which option is the best.

    That is why many studies show better results for twice a week as opposed to more.
    Some studies on older lifters showed once a week was just as good as 3x.
    Any feedback welcome.

    Here is a relevant article:
    Old and Grey likes this.
  8. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    Good point and one I often have wondered about as I grew ancient.
  9. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    The conclusion also fails the ‘eye test’, in my experience. Still, interesting to see how they attempted to measure recovery.
  10. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Hmmm that's interesting! If long term results were same that would make sense.

    However, if one could train earlier (more frequently), wouldn't that boost protein synth more often and elevate your potential gains more rapidly? I just think waiting until that threshold where gains would start to deteriorate would make for slower gains overall...

    Just some thoughts!
  11. k_dean_curtis

    k_dean_curtis Member

    MPS is only part of the story. Marathon runners take months to recover from a race due to extreme damage. When training for hypertrophy, much of the new research is showing that all elevated MPS is doing is getting you back to baseline. IOW, it has very little to do with actually putting on any new muscle. Do a search for "wound healing model" to get an idea. All these studies fretting about small changes in MPS are not useful, have almost zero relevance for actually gaining muscle in the long term. Elevated MPS is not a goal in our training. It is a necessary evil to get us recovered, but does not indicate any "super compensation", i.e. growth above baseline.

    As Bryan has pointed out since the beginning, load is the primary driver of growth. Fatigue, metabolic waste products, inroad, muscle damage contribute very little to growth. Tension is what it is all about. Once you hit your volume threshold for a given level of tension, go home. Any thing else will not give you faster results, but it will give you chronic inflammation and sore joints.

    Don't know how old you are, and certainly no disrespect intended, but think about this for a moment. I have been lifting for almost 40 years. O&G for even longer.

    Let's say you are 25. Even if theoretically, you could speed up your gains by 10% or even 50%, does that increase your final results. NO!
    At 35, or 55, or 75 years old you will look exactly the same.

    The program that has the least cost and injury potential is the best in the long run.
    Old and Grey and Blade like this.
  12. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Thanks mate appreciate your reply! Yep makes sense, and I guess what you're saying in the long run is that you can't force muscle to grow faster than its max rate. That any changes after a workout are to help repair and return to baseline, but that keeping MPS elevated alot isn't really the goal, nor going to produce faster gains, is that sorta right?

    So to focus on load, and not elevated MPS (which is just a byproduct, or consequence).

    I guess I'm just wondering about the whole frequency thing, just in light of alot of Borge's findings and so on (that a higher frequency may be a more fitting way to progress. But can't remember if that's more to do with elevated MPS much of the time or whether it's moreso because of the opportunity to increase load more frequently as the driver).

    (I'm 31 and been lifting for maybe 13 years or so. No way near 40 years, nice!)
  13. k_dean_curtis

    k_dean_curtis Member

    If you are 31 and this in to your training, that is a very good life habit that will give you great returns as you get older. Keep it up, don't quit!

    It would be great if Bryan or Borge could weigh in here, but O&G is here to help us not get too far off course ;)
    That is correct, increasing load over time is the goal.
    Frequency wise, Tot had a nice post a while back explaining how frequency is just another tool to get in your weekly volume.
    Do download and read his HST FAQ, it is really good. The split does not really matter, what ever works for you.

    Where frequency gets muddy is due to training and biological age. Beginners frequency just does not matter that much. As Bryan has pointed out before, just about any study on newbies shows that ANY frequency, load, volume works because their threshold is so low. Up until 6 to 12 months of training, you can do just about anything. Rippetoe has a funny talk where he showed that a couch potato can increase his bench press by cycling. But only for 2 weeks. After that, specificity sets in. After years of training, you had better be very specific in your training for any desired improvement.

    You young guys can handle more junk volume (see Blade's recent posts). But O&G, me, all us older guys cannot handle the volume. That is why we have to cluster /myo rep to keep the number of effective reps the same, but with lower overall volume. So, our frequency can be 2 to 6 times per week per muscle, and as long as the weekly volume of effective reps is met, you are good. However, the individual workout volume has to hit a minimal threshold. So from a practical standpoint, those of us not on drugs come out to about 2 or 3 times per week per muscle.

    Old and Grey likes this.
  14. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Thanks for that, yeah that's interesting using frequency as a way to get in your weekly volume... will have a reread of Totz FAQ.

    It is hard with the mishmash of alot of info about keeping MPS elevated more often (which I thought was pretty critical), but if that were the case you may as well do a lift every 4 hours or so to make sure hehe ;). To keep long term in mind makes sense
  15. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member


    OK wait...
    I have seen that IF there is damage, some of the MPS is going toward that.. but when there is no damage, MPS 'must' be for growth aka occlusion training or training within RBE levels?

    I think fatigue (mostly mechanical fatigue, physical fatigue of structures) is the primary driver and load is the primary method to induce more 'work per time' unit, may be a subtle difference....
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018

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