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So I've been working out for about a year now, and I'm stronger than some of my friends who have more overall body mass and lower body fat percentage which means they have more muscle mass. Because of this I've been confused as to the science to working out and building muscle and increasing performance in any event, such as more muscle is not neccesarily strength. However, how much of a role does intensity play? I know that recovery is needed in working out, especially with the anaerobic exercises like sprints and heavy weights, but is it accurate to say that working out more intensely more often will lead to overall performance gains more so than following a heavy day/light day routine where you never have consecutive days of heavy lifting/ or heavy exercise or anything that requires 90% and above effort levels. I guess what im asking is what science can say so far about exercise and working out in general for anything that is weight bearing or of high intensity--im not talking about long distance running or biking or anything. I'm talking about short distance track, 50-200m swims, and weight lifting.

And how do performance enhancing drugs play into this such as steroids and HGH?

Thank you

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I think this is actually several questions, or one overly broad question. "What does science have to say about sports and strength" is enough material for a book (or three). If narrowed down significantly this would be a lot more answerable. –  Dave Liepmann Aug 10 '12 at 14:01

1 Answer 1

Science has a lot to say about this, and it's been incorporated into the most popular and successful strength training programs around.

After heavy training, there is a recovery period, where you are less strong, and a supercompensation period, where you are stronger.

The most successful beginner strength training programs take advantage of this fact and schedule full-body workouts every two days. Each workout prescribes a lift performed with as heavy a weight as you can use for 3 sets of 5 reps. If you succeed at this, the next workout is done with a heavier weight, and so forth.

It's been shown that if you lift heavy, your body will adapt and get stronger, so to cause further adaptation, you need to lift heavier.

It's also been shown that if you don't leave time for recovery, you will not be able to lift heavier each workout, and you will suffer the effects of overtraining.

Strength has been shown to be correlated with sprint times and vertical jump height.

Steroids and HGH can help to increase a person's strength faster than without.

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An interesting answer, though for this kind of information I think a couple a source links would be nice –  musefan Aug 8 '12 at 9:59
@musefan What kind of source would you be satisfied with? Usually when people ask for scientific facts they're quite picky about what they'll accept as an answer. –  Robin Ashe Aug 10 '12 at 18:54
@RobinAshe "Usually when people ask for scientific facts they're quite picky about what they'll accept as an answer" this is the scientific method in work! –  Rodrigo Thomas Aug 16 '12 at 3:04
@RodrigoThomas sure, but when you start getting that picky, you end up with nothing. You could tell someone about progressive overload, but unless that's supported by some double blind controlled study, they'll reject it, which is an appeal to science that fails. –  Robin Ashe Aug 16 '12 at 3:46
@RobinAshe ow, now I got your point... That's a trouble, for sure! –  Rodrigo Thomas Aug 16 '12 at 3:50

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