1 hour rule

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Matt Z

1 hour rule

Post by Matt Z » Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:51 pm

I've read many times on this site that individuals should limit their workouts to 1 hour or less, because longer workouts lead to muscle breakdown and/or overtraining. However, I've gotten good results with workouts that vary from about an hour to an hour and a half. This leads me to believe that the one hour rule is more of a general guideline than a concrete rule.

Anyway, I'm currious what insights others might have on this subject. For example, what factors might effect the optimal duration of a workout? Do individual factors like age and level of training change the equation? Would performing two short workouts in the same day (1 morning/ 1 evening) have the same negative effects as a single long workout?

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Post by TimD » Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:15 pm

I would use it as a guideline. You mentioned some of the reasons, i.e muscle breakdown, but from what I've read (while muscle breakdown occurs from it) it's basis was the hormonal peaking, being that testosterone and gh peak in, give or take, an hour in most individuals, and after that the body starts spitting out cortisol (muscle beakdown-it's a catabolic hormone). Now, individual's vary, and in some very highly conditioned athlete's, they may be able to get away with it, especially if they're going at a slower pace. I know that many of the National Weightlifting teams train multiple sessions daily, but usually limit sessions to about 45-60 mins, and monitor the loading and intensities very carefully.
Tim

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:26 pm

For the record, I am a 24 year old male, and have never used steroids or any other performance enhancing drug. I weight train 4 days a week using a split routine in which chest, triceps and abs/obliques are trained on Mondays, back, biceps and forearms are trained on Tuesdays, delts, traps and abs/obliques are trained on Thursdays, and quads, hamstrings and calves are trained on Fridays. Also, I only do two or three heavy compound movements per workout, and these are always performed early on.

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:32 pm

PS.) While I'm neither a competetive powerlifter, nor a competetive bodybuilder, I train for a combination of strenght and asthetics. My goal is to build muscles that are big AND strong (not just one or the other), while maintaining good symetry and proportion. I also want to lose a little weight around my midsection.

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Post by Ironman » Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:54 pm

While you would probably get better results going shorter, going over an hour is not going to totally cancel all your results. I would think twice a day is ok as long as you space it out. As for what affects it, steroids are the only thing really. For us the levels of hormones and our recovery abilities are important, where as for steroid users it is a simple case of more is better.

By the way I don't think the one hour thing is going to affect the strength part of your goals.

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Post by George G » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:10 am

Matt,

I am not going to argue one way or another. But I just want to say this - just because you got good results going over an hour doesn't mean you could not get BETTER results keeping it under 1 hour. Of course it is also possible that results would be worse.

For me anythin beyond 1 hour is a waste of time.

I would suggest limiting your workouts to 1 hour and seeing what happens.

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Re: 1 hour rule

Post by Stephen Johnson » Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:07 pm

Matt Z wrote: For example, what factors might effect the optimal duration of a workout? Do individual factors like age and level of training change the equation?
Age definitely plays a factor in workout duration. Recent studies indicates that cortisol levels rise markedly in trainers over 40 after 60 - 75 minutes of moderate to heavy exercise. They recommend drinking carbohydrates (sports drinks and the like) to blunt the rise in cortisol. The cortisol levels also rose in younger trainers, but not nearly as much.

But in both cases, testosterone and growth hormone output dropped sharply after 60 - 75 minutes. And since the hormonal environment mediates potential muscle growth, that is significant

If you enjoy working out, by all means, go for it. It beats watching TV. But be aware that at best you might be engaged in needless effort and at worst you could be increasing your likelihood of injury

mes

Post by mes » Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:08 pm

I never use the weights themselves for more than an hour (that's about all it takes to do what I want in a day), but I've sometimes played racquetball or basketball immediately after a weight session.

Is that likely to be a problem? I'm surprised by how much energy I have after doing weights. Even though my muscles are very tired, my cardiovascular system feels like I've been doing fairly light exercise (like easy hiking).


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Post by Stephen Johnson » Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:22 pm

mes wrote:I never use the weights themselves for more than an hour (that's about all it takes to do what I want in a day), but I've sometimes played racquetball or basketball immediately after a weight session.

Is that likely to be a problem?

Michael
If you're a hard-core lifter looking to bulk up, yes. But if you're a fitness buff who weight trains to better his performance in sports, no. You might have trouble rebounding in basketball if you've done a lot of squats and military presses in the weightroom, though ;-)

Ironman

Post by Ironman » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:08 am

I have played tennis shortly after and it caused no problems.

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Fri Mar 31, 2006 4:56 pm

Do you think bodytype makes a difference? I would consider myself an Endo-Mesomorph, since it's a lot easier for me to build muscle than it is to stay lean.

Also, I would imagine that 1 1/2 hours of nothing but heavy compound movements would be different than 1 hour of heavy stuff followed by 30 minutes of leg curls and calf raises (or 1 hour of lifting followed by 30 minutes of cardio). Am I wrong to assume this?

Ironman

Post by Ironman » Fri Mar 31, 2006 6:07 pm

I don't think it makes a difference. I am the same body type as you. You just don't want to be wasting your time. The stuff at the end isn't going to be as effective. What takes so long anyway? Like if you are doing your chest just do a couple sets of flat and a couple incline. There is really no need to do that plus 3 sets of flys and a couple sets each of low mid and high cable. If you really want to do all that stuff you could just throw it in at the end after you get the main part of the workout done.

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Fri Mar 31, 2006 6:25 pm

My chest workout is usually pretty short. I can train chest, triceps and abs/obliques in about an hour. Delts, traps and abs/obliques takes a little under an hour. Back, biceps and forearms takes about 1 1/2 hours. Quads, hamstrings and calves also takes about 1 1/2 hours.

Ironman

Post by Ironman » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:51 pm

Well first it sounds like you are a bit obsessed with abs. I do 1 direct set a week for abs. Most of their traing comes from straight legs, squats and deadlifts. My abs are so big I have increased the reps on the 1 set I do just to keep their growth minimal. Abs are made of muscle tissue, they aren't some kind of magic wonder muscle. What do you do for the rest of the workouts? That sounds really long. I do back, biceps and forearms in like 40 minutes.

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Sat Apr 01, 2006 10:17 am

I do 4 sets of abs and 2 sets of obliques twice a week. I'm not too worried about overdeveloping my midsection. I have kinda narrow shoulders, wide hips and a barrel chest, so a pronounced V-taper isn't really in the cards for me. Plus I kinda like the Roman statue look.

Lately I've been doing Hammer Strength Pulldowns and Rows for back (3-4 sets each). However, I train one side a time, so it takes longer. For example, I'll do a set with my right arm, rest, and then do a set with my left and rest again. After back I do 7-8 sets of biceps (3-4,2 and 2), followed by 6 sets of forearms (2,2 and 2).

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