Cumulative Fatigue – the Real Secret of Fast Muscle Growth

Fast muscle growth – is it really possible? If you ask most people who try working out for a few months without actually achieving anything, fast muscle growth is just hype.

If you focus part of your workouts on this kind of training you will experience very fat muscle growth, especially if you haven’t been training in this way before. As strength coach Charles Poliquin likes to say, the best workout is the one you haven’t been doing.

What he means is that we adapt to a certain kind of training so changing something in the workout every few weeks or months ensures continued progress.

Fast Muscle Growth with Cumulative Fatigue?

I first heard the term cumulative fatigue from my friend Rusty Moore, author of the Visual Impact Muscle Building workout. What this technique means is to gradually exhaust the muscle more and more throughout the workout by using relatively short rest periods.

Both bodybuilders and athletes use this kind of training to grow muscle fast. In fact, cumulative fatigue training was one of Vince Gironda’s (pictured below to the right) favorite techniques. He practically implemented it in almost all of the workout routines he created, including 6 sets of 6 reps, 8 sets of 8 reps and 10 sets of 10 reps – all done with relatively small rest periods.

Charles Poliquin (in the picture to the left) introduced this kind of training with what he called German volume training. This was essentially a workout of 10 sets of 10 reps of a single exercise with less than a minute of rest.

How to Train for Fast Muscle Growth

  • Mind muscle connection – focus your mind on the muscle. Imagine it contracting and relaxing while you are lifting.
  • Short rest periods – rest between 15 and 60 seconds. You will eventually get fitter and be able to rest less, even if 15 seconds seem too little time at first. And when you are able to rest less while lifting the same amount of weight, you’ll be bigger.
  • First sets set the tone – with this kind of training the first set or two might feel too easy, but it just sets the tone for the series of sets. Think of cumulative fatigue training as one giant set done by doing a few smaller sets with very small rest periods.

The Big Picture

I just want to make this point clear, when it comes to fast muscle growth or any muscle growth, in the long run you got to get stronger. So whatever workout you are doing, if you want to get more muscle, you have to work with increasingly more challenging workouts.

Probably the best workout that features a phase focused on fast muscle growth through cumulative fatigue is Visual Impact Muscle Building. Visual Impact is a balanced workout focused on both size and strength gains.  to dramatically changing their body.

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