A short high intensity strength training once a week is enough to ensure maximum fitness and health. Fortunately massive adaptations don't require massive time investments. Learn what we got wrong in 1968.
The answer is quite simple and based on a growing body of research: Intensity is key. Our body is lazy. This tendency to conserve energy has served us well throughout our evolution. But it comes with a catch, if we want our body to stay fit and healthy we have to give it a friendly reminder that the world is a dangerous place once in a while.
But today we live in an era of unprecedented caloric luxury and absence of direct physical threats to our survival.
So what if we want it all? All the calories and the healthy body that is able to give that sabertooth tiger a good fight or run for its dinner? We have to simulate these maximum intensity events on our biology in fairly regular intervals.
Biologically speaking your body cannot understand the difference between a fight and a workout. Both lead to an acute stress response. It's this stress response that signals our body to adapt. In the case of our 6 Minute workout this adaptation takes the form of more muscle, which in turn has to be supported by a stronger heart and bigger lungs, which want to be attached to better blood vessels and finally more muscles signal the body it needs stronger bones and a faster central nervous system to make good use of this new found strength.
The maginitude of this adaptation ist exponentially correlated with the magnitude ot the stressor, or, more practically speaking, with the intensity of the training. The supra-maximal intensity efforts prevalent during our exercises cannot be sustained longer than one minute by the target muscle. This is why High Intensity Training leads to extraordinary results with little time invested.
What would the ideal workout for humans look like? Firstly, it would have to be intense, as we learned in the previous paragraph. Secondly it would have to be safe. The problem is, high intensity often comes with high risk of injury due to the heavy weights, jerky movements and fast speeds involved. Thirdly, it would have to improve all biological systems making up a human body at once. In 1968, the aerobic revolution took hold of our societies. Regular running at medium intensity was long considered the best workout to ensure longterm health. Today more and more people understand that only intense strength training using specialized equipment can not only train all aerobic systems but muscles, central nervous system, bone and fatburn on top. If you want optimal health, High Intenstiy Strength Training is the number one tool for the job.
The act of training puts your body in a so called catabolic state. This means you are breaking down molecular structures and consequently tissues in your body to free energy at a rapid rate. This is essentially the fatigue you feel after a workout and the soreness the days afterwards. Your body doesn´t like this at all, so he soon enters a so called anabolic state. The goal of which is not only to restore the metabolized tissue but to increase the stores to be better prepared for such a catabolic event next time arround. This is the hypothetical process of becoming stonger and fitter. Now the big mistake is to assume that all body tissue finishes their respective anabolic states in the same timeframe. After High Intensity Strength Training the slowest to recover are Central Nervous System, the fast-twitch muscel fibers and bone mineral structures taking up to seven days. They form the critical path, which needs to be finished before the next training in order for you to reap the maximum benefits.
"With a total of 30 minutes in and out, this concept suits my full work schedule really well. I am able to gain strength and build muscles in netto 6 minutes a week, and got the time for family and other sports activities."
You don’t need to be a scientist to understand how the AURUM 6 Minute Workout gives you more strength, more energy and more quality of life. You just need to be a member :-) Nevertheless, you can discover our seven guiding science principles below and read more on our blog.
All organisms respond to changes in the environment by adapting to stressors. The stressor in strength training takes the form of muscular fatigue and signals our body to adapt in response. Intensity does matter though. The more a stressor pushes us to our limits the higher the ensuing adaptation response in order to prepare for a similar stressor in the future. The intensity of the stimulus in strength training is defined by the amount of muscle fibres recruited and fatigued during the workout. Through our Muscle-Mind Isokinetic Technology we can push our muscles and energy systems to their natural limits and ensure deep muscular “inroading” for all muscle fibre types reaching from the lower order slow twitch up to the highest order fast twitch muscle fibres. As the isokinetic technology only responds to your force input it’s possible to apply the maximum load on your target muscle in any given moment. The maximum load and maximum fatigue levels for your muscles and energy systems will trigger exactly what you want. Maximum stimulus and adaptation. The exposure to high resistance causes desired microscopic cellular damage that initiates the muscular adaptations and is essential for increasing both muscle and bone mineral density. While your body perceives the 6 Minute Workout as a “threat” and a “need for survival” as if you were fighting a bear, the experience represents a profound stimulus, to which your body responds by enlarging its strength reserves so that it is prepared for the next time. Knowing this shall encourage you to employ more resistance during your next 6 Minute Workout. Remember: by doing so, you stimulate your body to produce another round of metabolic adaptation.
Strength gain happens, when total muscular fatigue is achieved and your body is given sufficient recovery time to respond to such an exhaustion by enlarging its strength reserves. For such positive muscle fatigue to occur, the intensity of resistance must be optimal and safe at each moment of the exercise, which is only possible with technology. If resistance is too light, your muscles will recover at a faster rate than they fatigue, with the result that no desired fatigue or “inroading” and thus no desired stimulation for more lean muscle growth, weight loss or bone density increase will occur. The higher the workout intensity, the more cellular fatigue and micro traumata caused. Mostly, the microscopic damage of the muscle fibers occurs during the negative part of the movement (eccentric movement). Since we know that this phase generates more cellular fatigue than the shortening of the muscle, which is called concentric movement, we at AURUM purposefully focus more on the lengthening of the muscle by setting the time the muscle has to resist at double the time compared to the shortening phase of the muscle. Only with our Muscle-Mind Isokinetic Technology can you increase the work of the muscle up to your absolute maximum in a safe and quantifiable manner. So, at AURUM you can achieve the desired ultimate resistance and reap all the benefits of a strength training in the safest and fastest way possible. You will notice that with each passing second under load, your strength diminishes (your force output is starting to drop), and your rate of fatigue and muscle fiber involvement increases. Your body will urge you to stop exerting so much force as a result of rapidly emptying energy stores. The last 20 seconds count. With the encouragement and supervision of your AURUM Coach, you won’t quit too early.
It doesn’t matter how many reps you can achieve. It matters how much tension over a certain period of time you can maintain. How do we measure tension? Force applied on the machine. Therefore, in contrast to traditional strength training, we pay attention to the duration from the moment the exercise begins until the moment it ends and the exact load which you achieve by resisting (exerting and contracting with no breaks in between), which is called “time under load” or “time under tension.” At AURUM, you won’t need to count anything: Our software will do it for you. You will see the exact tension you’re performing throughout the entire training. You will start to develop a skill set to deeply fatigue your muscles and a better tolerance for discomfort.
Why perform exercises slowly and not explosively? Research in strength training, in particular by Dr. Doug McGuff suggests that moving faster diminishes strength gains because the momentum contributes to the movement of the weight, as opposed to the muscle fiber involvement. Meanwhile performing strength training in a super slow fashion to muscular fatigue can result in up to 20% more strength gains than training the conventional, ballistic way and the same cardiovascular effects caused by a long run. At AURUM, the Muscle-Mind Isokinetic Technology ensures slow and smooth execution of each exercise. Therefore, when performing the 6 Minute Workout, your goal is not just to lift from A to B (pull and push) but to resist at a slow pace in order to achieve "inroading," the ultimate muscle fatigue. In fact, the more effectively you can load a muscle, the more efficiently you will bring it to fatigue, and so the more effective your training will be. Slower and technology controlled training also reduces any risk of injury. Therefore, in terms of both safety and efficacy slower is better.
If you achieve total muscular fatigue, you should perform the 6 Minute Workout only every 7 days. Doing the 6 Minute Workout once a week has been confirmed by research and our own client data to be the optimal frequency. With one exception: athletes should do the 6 Minute Workout once a week in their off-season only. You will know the frequency is just right for you if you see your performance increase from workout to workout. Once you stop gaining strength or experience a plateau, that is an early indicator that you need to start adding more recovery days. That means 9 days instead of 7 for more active rest: swimming, walking, yoga or whatever is your favourite leisure activity. When you take enough time in-between training sessions, you will be able to get out of an inflammatory process, which is created by the workout, into a process that is called anabolic, the process of building the new muscle tissue. In the anabolic process, the body not only builds the new muscle but is also able to work at a higher level. The upgrade of your strength level after a sufficient recovery phase is called a supercompensation – so at this point, you are getting stronger! 7 days to fully recover and gain strength, really? Yes. Here’s what happens during this period physiologically:
In the first 24 hours post AURUM-Training, your body says essentially: "We are under attack, mobilize the army!" Which are the white blood cells. The analogy to an army is not too far fetched as white blood cells are indeed organized with reconaissance units (basophiles) that signal other white blood cells to join the fight by releasing histamin and telling capillaries to open up and let other white blood cells and plasma enter the muscle tissue. As muscle tissue suffers these completely harmless micro-traumata, Cytokines are released, which are chemical instructions that direct immune response to the tissue. All of this causes some swelling, which is the reason for that nice muscle soreness the day after. At the same time, the body produces enzymes called lysosomes, whose job it is to split up and metabolize the damaged tissues. This process of cleaning up and having white blood cells present is called the acute inflammatory response and its very good for you. Don´t mistake it with its nasty cousin chronic inflamation.
Throughout the next 1-3 days macrophages, also a type of white blood cells, are creating neurotransmitters that help increase the number of lysosomes. One of the synthesized messengers is the hormone prostaglandin E2, which is causing a greater sensitivity to pain. This to tell you: "don´t you dare hitting the gym now". This increase of sensitivity is one additional reason for the all to well known muscle soreness. The increased sensitivity of the muscle lasts typically for about 24 to 36 hours, but in some cases even up to a whole week (also depends on the genetically given muscle fiber composition of FT and ST muscle fibers). Throughout the acute inflammatory response the fatigued muscle is going to get even more fatigued because of the cellular breakdown process cleaning the microtraumata for something new and better. So only after this process is completed, the building process of muscle cells can start.
In the building process, the damaged muscle grows back into its original size and after some more time, in which you resist stopping the anabolic phase by training again and instead relax - gets even bigger (hypertrophy). This will not happen before the 5th day of recovery, often its rather likely to take between 5 and 7 days. Therefore, a new stimulation of the muscle fibers with a high intensity training such as the AURUM 6 Minute Workout does not make sense before the end of the re- and better- /building process. If we do so despite this fact, we interrupt the healing and growth process and the muscle is not able to perform like in the last training (we are not able to put as much load onto the muscle and see it in the app by a drop of 10% or more in output).
In fact, when we challenge our body with High Intensity Training too often (at a high frequency), it is all the time in the catabolic process and therefore permanently inflamed. Whereas building muscle can only happen after but not during an acute inflammatory process. Training too often is thus counterproductive because positive adaptation of our body stops and we reach an artificially generated plateau in muscle strength and risk overtraining. Training at optimal intensity with the result of the desired ultimate muscle fatigue and enough rest between trainings brings a cascade of positive fitness and health benefits. Good things come to people that can wait, it can´t be too hard in this case.
The breaks between the 6 exercises are just 1 to 2 minutes so that your cardiovascular system remains challenged throughout the workout and the desired muscular fatigue, or “inroading” can be maximized. Here is where the HIIT element comes into play. As much as it is tempting to chat to your coach and secretly rest in-between, consider the metabolic conditioning benefits you gain when moving briskly from one exercise to another. As you accumulate the relative degree of “inroading” (the desired muscle fatigue), the amount of resistance that you can employ decreases, so the relative degree of inroad (the desired ultimate muscle fatigue) is increased, and that’s great because that’s exactly what you want: muscle fatigue for positive change. If you manage to increase your output in the same time, you know you’ve gained strength. You will see this on the screen every time you perform the 6 Minute Workout. The goal is to maximize the output and minimize the rest period. It's also an indicator that your mitochondria work more efficiently and your body can recover faster from intense challenges. Higher strength output also means your lactate threshold is higher. In other words, your endurance increases. Why is that great? Well, you can ski, swim, work in the garden, play with your grandchildren and make love longer.
Psychologically, we need a goal that we are working towards. During the 6 Minute Workout, your goal is to exceed the output of your last training. Everytime you compete with your last personal best, you see a visual representation of your goal and the performance you are achieving at every moment on the screen. With data clearly displayed in front of you and the time under load (see Principle 1), you cross your mental borders that you thought are fixed, and you do it again and again. If you are able to do this, it is because all the three elements are in sync: the sensual, the cognitive and the physical. What happens in the brain? The visual input to your eyes “I had a better performance in the first repetition last time” acts as a stimulus to your nervous system. Your brain processes it and acts upon it: You might feel at this moment that this is not everything that you can give, so your brain tells you via the nervous system to give a little more. In this case more motor units - nerves and muscle fibers - are engaged. This leads to more power generated, instantly visible on the screen. In other words, we use our eyes to gather feedback on our performance, which leads to an increase in power thanks to the communication between the nervous system and the different organs. Over time, this not only leads to constantly crossing your mental borders, but also to a higher connectivity between the nervous system and the muscle tissue. Both lead to higher stimulation on the muscle and therefore, to greater adaptation of your motoric units. Thanks to our Muscle-Mind Isokinetic Technology your always face the perfect opponent. Yourself. Your own muscle strength is the optimal training resistance by design. No weights or other means could ever achieve this optimal load.