How Long Should My Workouts Be?

Dr. Mike discusses the optimal workout duration for different training goals, considering the theoretical maximums and practical limits.

Summary

  • Workouts should stop when performance falls below the desired intensity threshold for the specific goal, like strength or hypertrophy.
  • For strength, the limit is when weights fall below 75% of 1RM, indicating a shift away from strength gains towards endurance or hypertrophy.
  • For hypertrophy, training should stop when systemic fatigue surpasses local muscle fatigue, making it the limiting factor in workout quality.
  • Fat loss cardio should end when the stimulus to fatigue ratio becomes too low, suggesting a better use of time would be another, fresher session later.
  • Sport cardio (e.g., for triathlon) should stop when performance falls below the target intensity threshold, which is often pace-based.

Chapter 1

Introduction to Workout Duration

0:00 - 19 sec

Dr. Mike introduces the topic of workout duration, including upper and lower limits for various exercise goals.

Dr. Mike introduces the topic of workout duration, including upper and lower limits for various exercise goals.

  • Dr. Mike will discuss optimal workout durations for strength, hypertrophy, fat loss cardio, sports cardio, and sport practice.
  • He will cover what defines a workout as too long or too short.
  • The discussion will include theoretical perspectives and practical advice.

Chapter 2

Theoretical Maximums for Workout Duration

0:19 - 2 min, 42 sec

Theoretical maximum workout durations are outlined for different training modalities.

Theoretical maximum workout durations are outlined for different training modalities.

  • For strength training, the theoretical maximum is until performance falls below the strength intensity threshold (below 75% 1RM).
  • Hypertrophy training can theoretically continue until target muscles are no longer the limiting factor in the workout.
  • Fat loss cardio's theoretical end point is when the stimulus-to-fatigue ratio becomes too low for efficient calorie burning.
  • For sports cardio, the end point is when performance can't maintain the desired pace or intensity.
  • Sport practice should end when technique is no longer crisp due to fatigue.

Chapter 3

Practical Limits for Strength Workout Duration

3:01 - 4 min, 14 sec

Practical limits for strength training are discussed, including total work sets and total workout time.

Practical limits for strength training are discussed, including total work sets and total workout time.

  • Realistic upper limit for strength workouts is between 10 to 20 total work sets to avoid excessive fatigue.
  • Strength workouts should generally not exceed two hours for efficiency and recovery purposes.
  • Over two hours of training per session could indicate inefficient training or unnecessary volume.

Chapter 4

Practical Limits for Hypertrophy Workout Duration

7:14 - 2 min, 23 sec

Limits for hypertrophy workouts are provided, focusing on muscle targeting and systemic fatigue.

Limits for hypertrophy workouts are provided, focusing on muscle targeting and systemic fatigue.

  • Hypertrophy training should stop when systemic fatigue overwhelms local muscle fatigue, affecting workout quality.
  • Workouts should ideally not exceed two hours to prevent the accumulation of 'junk volume'.
  • Training beyond two hours may indicate a need for splitting the workout into additional sessions.

Chapter 5

Practical Limits for Fat Loss Cardio Duration

9:37 - 3 min, 20 sec

Fat loss cardio duration limits are based on maintaining an effective stimulus-to-fatigue ratio.

Fat loss cardio duration limits are based on maintaining an effective stimulus-to-fatigue ratio.

  • As fatigue increases, the benefit of continued cardio diminishes due to the rising cost in fatigue.
  • Sessions typically should not exceed one hour to minimize fatigue and maintain the quality of subsequent sessions.
  • Splitting total weekly cardio into more frequent, shorter sessions may be more beneficial than fewer, longer sessions.

Chapter 6

Practical Limits for Sports Cardio Duration

12:57 - 3 min, 4 sec

Sports cardio training duration should align with target paces and intensities for specific sports goals.

Sports cardio training duration should align with target paces and intensities for specific sports goals.

  • Endurance sports training should end when the athlete can no longer maintain the target pace.
  • There is no skeptical cutoff for sports cardio as training can vary greatly depending on the sport and athlete's level.
  • If pace cannot be maintained, it indicates a need for rest and recovery before the next session.

Chapter 7

Practical Limits for Sport Practice Duration

16:02 - 6 min, 28 sec

Sport practice should end when fatigue leads to a decline in technique quality, impacting skill development.

Sport practice should end when fatigue leads to a decline in technique quality, impacting skill development.

  • Persistent technical mistakes due to fatigue suggest the need to cut the session short.
  • Subjective feelings of tiredness combined with deteriorating technique are a clear indicator to end practice.
  • Quality of practice is crucial; overtraining with bad technique can lead to skill regression.

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