The human body can achieve huge feats of strength, endurance, and athleticism. But no one can beat time and with growing age, recovery and progress become relatively difficult. But it’s not the end of the world as a smart approach can help us maneuver around and enjoy performance longevity. In a recent video on his YouTube channel, Lee Labrada shared essential tips to improve performance.
Lee Labrada is a retired professional bodybuilder who competed in the 1980s and 1990s era of bodybuilding. He is considered among the greatest bodybuilders that never won the prestigious Mr. Olympia title.
However, his greatness can be measured by the fact that he finished in the top four at Mr. Olympia for seven consecutive years and won 22 bodybuilding titles including the IFBB Mr. Universe.
30 years into his retirement, Lee Labrada continues to stay in excellent shape and has continued to work in the fitness industry. He has authored a nutrition and exercise book and also runs a successful business. The 63-year-old has a strong social media presence and routinely shares bodybuilding knowledge through his YouTube content.
Lee Labrada explains the benefits of continuous muscle tension for sustainable growth
In a recent video on his YouTube channel, the veteran bodybuilder highlighted the limitations of traditional intensity techniques like superset, increasing weight, and shorter rest periods between sets.
For instance, it’s not possible to indefinitely increase the amount of weight. Non-sustainable increase in weight can also lead to training injuries and long-term joint damage.
The 62-year-old then addressed an effective method to stimulate long-term muscle growth and conditioning that is also sustainable and carries the least risk of injury – The Continous Tension Method.
“When we look at muscle physiology, muscle contraction is all about cross-bridging or two key proteins – Actin and Myosin. When training, we want to stimulate as much cross-bridging as possible in the targeted muscle in order to stimulate growth.”
Labarada said that by moving the weights slowly in the positive (concentric) and the negative (eccentric) parts of an exercise, you can increase the training intensity while minimizing the risk of training injuries.
“Try this working to failure for a set and you’ll see what I mean. It improves the mind and body connection.”
Increased intensity calls for reduced volume
Labrada cautioned that when training intensifies, the duration of training has to be reduced. Energy expenditure increases with the level of intensity. Which, by default, means that you need to make your training concise and reduce training volume.
“A couple of sets per exercise with a few exercises per body part can yield amazing results.”
“The goal of training is to create a stimulus for growth and conditioning. Once that stimulus is delivered, get out of the gym. Growth and recovery happen outside of the gym, not in the gym.”
Labrada opined that this technique allows to train with higher intensity with relatively lesser stress on the joints and connective tissues. However, Labrada admitted that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to a complex problem like sustainable muscle growth.
So if you are having difficulty with sustainable growth and recovery, head out to the gym and give continuous muscle tension a try!
Watch Lee Labrada’s full video below, courtesy of Labrada Nutrition YouTube channel: