Doing Squats of 20 repetitions in a row to failure appears to be a type of exercise that creates the heaviest toxic load. The toxins produced appear to be 1. oxygen debt, or a low oxygen environment in the blood and body, 2. Excess hydrogen ions from lack of oxygen, 3. Excess CO2, which cannot be exhaled fast enough, 4. Excess “lactic acid” which some researchers are now saying is only lactate, and not lactic acid at all. The difference is that lactic acid is 10 times more acidic than vinegar, and the body therefore does not make it, but rather makes lactate, which is a mild base, which helps to absorb the excess hydrogen ions, which are acidic. 5. Other, as yet unidentified toxins, which might be released from muscles, tendons, fats, the liver, the kidneys, or other body parts and/or organs in response to an over burdened body with blood rushing everywhere.
I sort of accidentally discovered a new way to train. The opposite of that: REST AFTER EACH REPETITION.
I would squat, without weights, and breathe, then stand, and take a second breath. The squat took about 3 seconds, the long slow breath took about 7 seconds, for a total of about 10 seconds per squat. The first time I did this was about a month ago.
I sort of intuitively went to this method for a few reasons. I wanted to do more reps. I was tired of “exhausting” myself. I saw something similar in “the five tibetans” a form of yoga-like exercises, where people would simply take an extra breath after each rep of leg raises.
This is like the “rest pause” method in bodybuilding. The difference is that what is called the rest pause method is typically done at or near the end of a set, as a method of squeezing in a few last reps, and pushing a normal set beyond the range of “failure”. Instead, I rested after each rep, starting at the very beginning of the set. I found a name for this, too: “Redistributed Rest Training”, as described here: https://www.stack.com/a/redistributed-rest-training
Unfortunately, that study appeared quite limited, limited to only one workout. Later work by the same author appears similarly limited. In this next study, he notes that resting in between reps make exercise easier, and limits actual muscle fatigue. Yeah. I realized that immediately, and did not need a “study” to tell me that.
What I noted was that when I first tried resting in between reps, while doing bodyweight squats with no weight, was that it was easier, and I could do 60 reps with less effort than doing 30 with no rest in between. With no rest, I would feel fatigue and burning in my legs, and in my lungs, and in my gut, and my head would be sort of swimming/dizzy with fatigue. With resting after each rep, it was hard to pinpoint where I was feeling fatigue. A bit of extra stretching in my knee joints, maybe?
And am I not doing twice as much actual work, twice the reps, with far less effort? It has to be better for my muscles. Why work the lungs and muscles at the same time? Why work the liver so hard, too.
After that first workout, I was surprisingly sore. So, it was good I intuitively stopped while it was still easy.
The big surprise happened after my second workout. In my second workout, I think I did 150 reps, but I did not count. Maybe I squatted for 10-15 minutes, but I did not time it, either. That was quite the improvement in rep count. Triple?! BUT ALSO,I WAS NOT SORE!!! WOW!
In my third workout, I went for 35 minutes for 210 reps?! Next workout, I squatted for 45 minutes for 270 reps. Then 50 minutes for 300 reps.
And then it hit me. Why am I still struggling to hit some sort of “failure point”? A few other things hit me. My joints got “hot” afterwards. And I felt very very strong and in shape. My quads were suddenly very hard, and felt strong, like they could contract very hard, quite easily. And I felt like I was recovering much faster.
But it did feel like I was over working my knees by going for a full squat, ass to heels, so many times. So, next, I tried partial reps. Since these were so much easier, I decided to simply stop immediately, and rest as soon as my legs began to burn, or if my breathing quickened. I ended up doing about 12-16 reps, and resting for about 20 seconds, and starting again. And I would do anywhere from 8-12 sets of that. Again, this kind of training was much, much easier, and took all the pain and misery out of the workouts.
So it was both super easy, and super effective.
After doing a bit of research into this “rest after each rep” method, I found it was used by a powerlifter who would do “singles” and do about 6 of them, resting for about 30 to 60 seconds in between each. How interesting! So this method, of resting after each rep, can be used for both endurance, and strength!
So, the last two weeks, I’ve used heavier weights. I settled initially on two reps, then rest, and then moved to three reps, then rest. I did three simply because this still prevents getting out of breath, and also because it takes a bit of time just to get into position with weights, whether with barbells, or a machine, or into a squat rack, and the principle is the same: to lift in a way so as to avoid getting totally out of breath. And, 3 rep sets are used by powerlifters, too!
What I have noticed is that I’m much less sore. And it’s far easier, and way more fun.
I also seem to require more rest, and more sleep, but the problem here is that I’m also trying to lose a bit of belly. Doing two things at once tends to muddy the waters as to the results, and makes it harder to determine what is causing what. I could be more tired because I’m eating less.
What I like the most about this new way of lifting is that it appears to be far less toxic, and far healthier. Healthy is my goal. And it feels so much better and is so much easier.