Fatigue Very Quickly



Hello, I'm 5'5" and weight 164lbs with 28% body fat.

I would like to thank you for creating such a useful website that provides accurate information. I have already benefited so much by following several of your exercises and diet advice.

I am an overweight (~30lbs) male ectomorph, 29 years old, and I have been lifting on and off over the years.

I have been pretty consistent over the past year now. I go the gym about 3 days a week.

Monday consists of triceps and chest, Wednesday biceps and back, and Friday legs, abs, and shoulders.

I also try to do a little bit of cardio afterwards to help with the fat loss.

I have seen very little progress in the last year, though I have made some strength gains.

My goal is muscle hypertrophy and to lose the excess fat.

From my CSCS fitness instructor at work I have learned that for a hypertrophy focus it is best to do 10 - 15 reps at 70 - 80% of 1RM.

My problem is that I can do the first set no problem, but then on the next set 60 seconds later, I find that I can only do

 about half the number of reps as before.

And it continues to go downhill from there on following two sets. So can't make the full number of reps even when I decrease the weight significantly.

All of my muscles seem to fatigue very quickly compared to other people I work out with who are of similar body composition.

I try to eat a balanced diet with the right amount of carbs, healthy fat and protein. I also supplement my diet with a whey protein powder and take creatine and glutamine powders before and after I work out.

I can't understand why my muscles would get fatigued so quickly. If you have any ideas or suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it.

Part II.

I also have another question with regards to lower back pain. I assume that I have a very weak core because when I do abdominal exercises I really start to feel pain in my lower back. (I also have the posture where the butt sticks out and the spine curves inward.)

However, since I started drawing in my core more and contracting my glutes after following your exercise principles, I have noticed the pain diminish somewhat and a much stronger burn in my abs.

I still feel the pain quite a bit when doing the plank core strengthening exercise, especially when doing it on a an exercise ball.

And the V-ups exercise totally kills my back and I don't feel it in my abs at all.

I want to strengthen my core so that I have better posture and no back pain. Do you have any other suggestions?  Thank you again for your highly insightful and BS free website.

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question


At your body composition your focus should be doing cardio every single workout session. The most effective weight training split for your goal if you train 3 times per week is a full body weight training workout followed by cardio.

This will allow you to work your muscles enough to increase your metabolism. With a full body split you can superset opposing muscle groups which will help you build muscular endurance while you build strength.

Your problem with your posture where you feel your lower back pain during abdominal and core exercises is most likely due to overly tight hip flexors. If your hips are tilted anteriorly too much it will put your whole body out of alignment.

Your tight hip flexors may also be one of the reasons you fatigue very quickly. Tight hip flexors are often the root of a whole mess of postural distortion patterns which lead to synergistic dominance.

Synergistic dominance is when your helper (synergist) muscles compensate for prime movers which are not recruited properly due to poor alignment.

The moral of the story is, get your posture thoroughly checked. Identify your muscle imbalances and really focus on correcting them before you really hit the gym hard to try to get the best results you can get in the time you exercise.

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