The Dangers of Excessive Strength Training

I didn’t experience the problems I did because I lifted with poor technique or didn’t eat enough; rather, my body didn’t function optimally because I did too much resistance exercise, too often. This downward spiral began a little over a decade ago, as I started getting “obsessed” with strength training. I trained multiple times every week, did almost every set to failure, blasted each muscle group once or twice a week, and rarely left the gym with much energy left in the tank.

In retrospect I obviously see that this type of program is anything but balanced, but back then, I didn’t recognize the inherent problems with my high-volume, high-intensity workouts. Most fitness competitors, bodybuilders, and even average Joes at the gym seemed to follow this type of approach, so why shouldn’t I? I just wanted to get big and strong. I also wanted to be healthy; but the problem was that I thought my heavy training regime was enhancing my health, while in reality, it was actually undermining it.

It wasn’t until after many years of adhering to this type of bodybuilding-style program that I finally realised that the way I was doing things wasn’t working for me. Today, I still work out, but not like before. I don’t split the body into separate muscle groups and hit the major ones with 20 sets once a week and the smaller ones with 10-15; I don’t do every set to failure; I don’t strive to do as many sets and repetitions as possible; and, perhaps most importantly, I’m no longer obsessed with getting as strong and big as possible.

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