The Primary Objective Of Exercise

I wanted to take a moment to share an incredibly powerful concept with you that lies at the core of our approach to training: the “Primary versus Assumed Objective of Exercise.” This concept, originally introduced to me by Ken Hutchins, has become an integral part of our training philosophy and has profoundly influenced our understanding of fitness.

In his book, “The SuperSlow Technical Manual,” Hutchins delves into the primary versus assumed objective of exercise. Simply put, the primary objective of exercise is to stimulate the body’s adaptive response, specifically targeting strength and muscle growth. This means that our main goal during exercise is to create a stimulus that triggers the body to adapt and enhance its physical capabilities.

While we have previously discussed the benefits of strength training, the “Primary versus Assumed Objective” takes a closer look at how we can create this stimulus safely and efficiently. Let’s review the key mechanisms and stressors we focus on to achieve this stimulation:

1. Mechanical loading: Applying resistance to the muscles.
2. Micro trauma: Creating tiny muscle fiber tears to initiate repair and growth.
3. Metabolic stress: Stimulating metabolic pathways within the muscles.
4. Motor unit recruitment/MMF (momentary muscular failure): Fatiguing muscle fibers to their optimal capacity.

In our approach, we emphasize training to the point of momentary muscle fatigue (MMF). By fatiguing and stimulating an optimal number of motor units and corresponding muscle fibers, we engage both slow and fast twitch fibers. To achieve this, we advocate slow and controlled movements, selecting a resistance that leads to momentary failure between approximately 60 to 120 seconds.

Moving in a deliberate manner not only allows us to effectively stimulate muscle fibers but also provides additional benefits, such as:

– Reducing the risk of joint and connective tissue injuries by mitigating high impact forces.
– Minimizing momentum and keeping muscles continuously loaded, promoting efficient fatigue.
– Establishing a stronger mind-muscle connection for enhanced training efficacy.

Another way to think about MMF is as the temporary weakening or “inroading” of the muscular system. By directing our focus and intention towards this state, we can train in an effective, efficient, and safe manner.

It’s important to recognize that reaching this state requires us to overcome our instinctual aversion to fatigue. Although it’s human nature to avoid it, this is precisely where the stimulus for growth and improvement occurs.

Unfortunately, what often becomes the assumed objective in strength training is simply lifting the weight. This external focus can lead us away from our primary objective, resulting in detrimental practices such as:

– Utilizing momentum, which unloads the targeted muscles.
– Employing jerking or heaving motions that increase the risk of injury to joints, muscles, and connective tissue.
– Sacrificing proper range of motion to complete more repetitions.

While progression in terms of lifted loads and completed reps is desirable over time, it is crucial not to sacrifice technique and form solely for the sake of increasing numbers.

Mastering this concept will yield significant dividends, allowing you to exercise effectively and mindfully in the long term. It empowers you to prioritize the adaptive response of your body and make informed choices during your training sessions.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this concept further, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are committed to your success and look forward to guiding you on your fitness journey.