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    The Muscle Factor Model

    Muscle Factor Model
    How muscles function during and adapt to training

    by Richard Gibbens



    In the early 1970s a man named Arthur Jones introduced a revolutionary strength training method to the bodybuilding and strength training world. Jones had been studying muscle physiology for about 30 years and had long understood that the standard training methods of the day were not completely consistent with what was known about how muscles function during exercise or how they adapt to exercise. Many of the training practices of the day were rooted in tradition and contradictory to known physiological facts. Jones, a lifetime strength trainee himself, believed that training would be more effective if it were modified so that it worked in accordance with what was then known about muscles. He figured that a training program based on how the body really functioned would produce much better results than those training methods that ignored, denied, or were ignorant of the true workings of the body.

    Utilizing his understanding of muscle physiology Jones spent many years testing and experimenting with different training methods, constantly seeking to discover training methods that produced the best results. Being independently wealthy afforded Arthur both the time and money required to test his ideas and he ultimately spent 20+ years and millions of dollars in his quest. The end result of all his work was a revolutionary training method - High Intensity Training - and a completely new type of exercise machine - Nautilus Training Equipment.

    However, there was a problem; Arthur's high intensity training method was not just revolutionary; it was contradictory to the conventional training wisdom of the day. Humans, being only human, are usually reluctant to abandon long-held beliefs and so many were resistant to Arthur's methods. Controversy broke out about Arthur's high intensity training method and two opposing camps formed - one group supporting high intensity training and one supporting conventional (high volume) training. These two groups spent lots of time and effort defending their methods and attacking those of the opposing camp. Even today, 35 years after Arthur first introduced high intensity training, the two camps still exist and the debate still rages. In fact, the primary debate in the bodybuilding world is still centered around which method - high intensity or high volume - is best.

    Of significance is that Arthur's high intensity training method was basically the first time that exercise physiology was used as the foundation of a training program. Before Arthur, training was mostly based on tradition and what the top champions of the day were doing. Arthur completely ignored tradition and the training of the top champions of the day and focused on designing training based completely on the functioning of muscles. The fact that his methods continue to be widely used today is a testament to the effectiveness of his physiology-based training method.

    The Problem of Two Opposing Theories

    All this is not to say that the entire world has embraced high intensity training. As noted above, today the strength training and bodybuilding world basically consists of two opposing training methods - high volume and high intensity. Both methods are currently used and promoted as the best training method by their respective proponents.

    The reason both training methods still exist is because both are known to work, at least for some number of people. And therein lies the problem. In science, anytime a theory is shown to be contradicted by even a single observation, then, by definition, that theory is inaccurate. When a theory is shown to be inaccurate it must be abandoned or modified. High volume training and high intensity training are, in essence, opposing theories as to how the body works. Since these two theories contradict each other it means that both theories are wrong, at least to some degree.

    The body works in one way, not in two contradictory ways. Or, said another way, there is one set of principles/laws by which the body functions, not two contradictory set of principles/laws. We know that both training methods produce results for some people. We also know that, by definition, both theories are wrong to some degree since they contradict each other. What all this tells us is that we are missing some important information as to how muscles function during and adapt to training. Once this missing physiological information is filled in, both of the competing theories will be assimilated and replaced by a new training theory. The missing physiological information is what has allowed the two competing training theories to continue to exist for the past 35 years and has prevented further advances in training methods.

    Enter the Muscle Factor Model

    In 2006, while conducting background research for an article on strength training for endurance runners, I came across a strength training study whose results were quite startling. The study compared a non-traditional training method to a standard periodized training program and found that the non-traditional method produced 50% greater increases in strength than did the periodized program. The researchers themselves were unable to explain why the non-traditional program produced the best results and noted that the results were contradictory to both current beliefs about the functioning of muscles and classical training methodology.

    That particular study caused me to rethink some of what physiology currently teaches about muscle activation during exercise and its adaptation following exercise. In turn, this led to a breakthrough in muscle physiology; a breakthrough I have termed the Muscle Factor Model. I suggest that this new model more accurately explains how muscles function during and adapt to exercise. Furthermore, this new model suggests some significant modifications in training methods for any sport in which strength, power, or endurance is important. I believe the muscle factor model is a key piece of the missing physiological information and will ultimately result in the integration of high volume and high intensity training. The muscle factor model may lead to the most significant changes and refinements in training since the introduction of Periodization back in the 1980s. I realize those are bold claims, so let’s have a look at this new model. We begin with a discussion of muscle contractile properties.

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    The Muscle Factor Model

    continuing on...


    Muscle Fiber Contractile Properties

    Physiologists generally divide muscle fibers into three basic types - Slow Twitch, Fast Twitch A, Fast Twitch B - each with its own distinct contractile properties.

    Slow twitch fibers are the weakest of fibers, contract relatively slow, and have very high levels of endurance.

    Fast Twitch A fibers are stronger than Slow Twitch fibers, contract relatively fast, and have high levels of endurance.

    Fast Twitch B fibers are the strongest of fibers and have the fastest contraction speed but have the least amount of endurance.

    The above description of the contractile properties of each muscle fiber type might lead you to believe that each type of fiber has distinct contractile properties. Nothing could be further from the truth. Muscle fibers of any type are not all alike; they don't all contract the same; they are not homogenous. Instead there is a broad continuum of contractile properties in all the muscle fibers of any type. Physiologists have measured up to a 129x range of contractile properties in muscle fibers of the same type. What this means is that in any specific fiber type you will find fibers that contract much slower or faster than other fibers of the same type; fibers that contract much more or much less forcefully than other fibers of the same type; fibers that possess much more or much less endurance than other fibers of the same type. For example, physiologists measured the time to exhaustion in a group of fast twitch fibers and found some of the fast twitch fibers fatigued in as little as 16 seconds while other fast twitch fibers were able to contract for 34 minutes before reaching fatigue. The contractile properties discussed early tell us what the average contractile properties are for each type of muscle fiber. The average Slow Twitch fiber is slower, weaker, and has greater endurance than any of the Fast Twitch fibers. The average Fast Twitch B fiber is stronger and faster but less enduring than other fiber types. But the broad range of contractile properties across all muscle fibers means that fibers of the same type do not all have the same level of strength, endurance, or speed.

    A very important point about muscle fiber contractile properties is that there is a strong inverse relationship between a muscle's strength and its endurance. The stronger a muscle fiber the less endurance it has and vice versa. Weaker fibers possess much greater endurance than do strong fibers. Stronger fibers possess much less endurance than weaker fibers. This point is critical to understand.

    Muscle Activation During Exercise

    Not all muscle fibers are activated during exercise because the body only activates the minimum number of fibers required in order to get the job done. Muscle fibers are activated in a very specific order, from weakest to strongest. Physiologists have termed this the size principle of activation. Basically, muscle fibers are recruited based on the amount of force required to complete the task at hand. Recall that there is a wide variation in the strength of muscle fibers; every whole muscle has fibers with different levels of strength, from very weak all the way up to very strong. The weaker fibers are recruited first with the strongest of fibers only being recruited during the heaviest of tasks. Fibers are generally recruited in the following order based on the level of force required to perform the task:

    Slow twitch - Fast Twitch A - Fast Twitch B


    There are 2 important points to understand about muscle fiber activation - 1) it is a team sport and 2) total force is the sum of the force of all the active fibers.

    1. It's a team sport: Muscle fiber work together. Activation proceeds from Slow Twitch - Fast A - Fast B. It is NOT the case that Slow Twitch fibers exclusively handle the easy tasks, Fast Twitch A exclusively handle the moderate tasks and Fast Twitch B exclusively handle the heavy tasks. Instead, as the load increases from easy to moderate to heavy an increasing number of fibers are activated and all are working together to complete the task.

    2. The total force produced by a whole muscle during a task is the sum of the force of all the individual fibers. All active fibers, whether Slow Twitch, Fast A, or Fast B, contribute force during movement and the total amount of force generated by a muscle is the sum of the force of every active fiber. During a really heavy lift, even though the Fast A and Fast B fibers are activated and doing the bulk of the work, active Slow Twitch fibers are producing force and helping lift the weight.

    In practical terms this is what it means:

    If you pick up a light weight, then only Slow Twitch fibers will be activated because little force is needed to pick up the weight.

    If you pick up a heavy weight then both Slow Twitch + Fast Twitch A fibers will be activated because more force is required to lift the weight. Note that the Slow Twitch fibers are still active during this exercise, but since they are unable to generate enough force to get the job done by themselves, some Fast Twitch A fibers are also required to help out.

    Pick up an even heavier weight and now you are using Slow Twitch + Fast Twitch A + Fast Twitch B fibers to lift the weight. The Slow Twitch and Fast Twitch A fibers did not possess enough strength to lift the weight by themselves, so the strongest of fibers, the Fast Twitch B fibers, were activated.

    The same thing applies to any activity. For example, running at a slow pace activates only Slow Twitch fibers because the force required to run slowly is small enough that the Slow Twitch fibers are strong enough to handle the job themselves. Running at a faster pace activates Slow Twitch + Fast Twitch A fibers because running faster requires more force to be generated. Very fast running (i.e. intervals and sprints) and fast or steep uphill running activate the Slow Twitch + Fast Twitch A + Fast Twitch B fibers due to the high level of force required to run at very fast paces.

    Muscle Fiber Activation at Exhaustion

    As an exercise proceeds it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a set amount of force production because of fatigue. The first repetition of an exercise might be reasonably easy but repetition 20 with that same weight might be an all-out effort. Are all fibers activated during the hard to all-out effort that athletes routinely reach during intense workouts? Only in some cases; in most cases not all fibers are activated.

    During exercise as a person's active muscle fibers fatigue some inactive muscle fibers are recruited to assist those active fibers that have fatigued. However, there is a limit to the amount of additional fibers that are recruited. Not every muscle fiber is activated during exhaustive exercise. Instead, the person reaches exhaustion or terminates the exercise About the only time that all fibers are active is during the heaviest of tasks, such as during very heavy weight lifting. Less forceful tasks, such as high rep strength training or distance running, do not result in 100% activation of all available muscle fibers, even at the end of the exercise when the trainee is working as hard as they can in that particular exercise. For example, one study found a little less than 70% leg muscle fiber activation while running to exhaustion on a level treadmill and a bit more than 70% activation during exhaustive running up an inclined treadmill.

    Overload and Intensity

    One of the primary principles of training is the overload principle. Exercise physiology generally describes overload like this - the application of an activity specific overload in order to cause physiologic improvement and bring about a training response. What this means is that muscles must be trained with a sufficient level of intensity in order to cause adaptation to occur. There is nothing earthshaking in the concept of overload as it has been a principle of training for more than a century.

    However, we need to carry the concept of overload a bit further and apply it to individual muscle fibers; what is true for a whole muscle is also true for individual muscle fibers. In order to cause a training response in any individual muscle fiber that muscle fiber must be trained with a sufficient level of overload, with a sufficient level of intensity. This is accomplished by training a fiber reasonably close to its maximum capacity. Or said another way you must sufficiently fatigue a fiber in order for it to adapt and improve. This point is critical in understanding how muscles fibers work and adapt to training.

    Let's examine this principle in training terms.

    You put weights on a bar so that you are only able to lift the bar a maximum of 10 times. Since the bar is very heavy you will activate Slow Twitch + Fast A + Fast B fibers while lifting it. After 10 reps (about 30 seconds of lifting) you are no longer strong enough to lift the weight an additional repetition so you set the bar down, ending the exercise. Which fibers did you overload?

    You only overloaded some of your Fast B fibers. Specifically, you overloaded those Fast B fibers that fatigued in 30 seconds or less.

    There were a whole bunch of fibers that you didn't overload. Which ones? Those fibers that take longer than 30 seconds to fatigue were not fully overloaded when the set ended.

    At the end of the set your Fast B fibers were exhausted and couldn't continue to contract. On the other hand, your Fast A and Slow Twitch fibers were not exhausted at rep 10 because they posses more endurance than the Fast B fibers. The reason you terminated the exercise at rep 10 is because the whole muscle lacked the strength to lift the weight, but only the Fast B fibers were fatigued.

    This set fatigued, and therefore overloaded, your Fast B fibers and they will get stronger. But your Fast A and your Slow Twitch fibers were not particularly overloaded and will adapt little to none.

    When your Fast B fibers adapt you will be stronger, but you will not be as strong as you could get. Why? Because lifting a heavy weight is a team effort and your Fast A and Slow Twitch fibers contribute to the total strength of the muscle but you didn't adequately train your Fast A or Slow Twitch fibers to get stronger. Only when you train all your fibers to overload will you get as strong as you are genetically capable of getting.

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    The Muscle Factor Model

    continuing on...



    Putting it All Together = Muscle Factor Model

    When we put all the above facts together, we arrive at the Muscle Factor Model. In order to cause an adaptive response in a muscle fiber, that muscle fiber must 1) be active and 2) be overloaded; failure to accomplish both of these results in little to no adaptation in that muscle fiber.

    Recall the inverse relationship between a muscle fiber's level of strength and its endurance capacity - the higher the strength the less the endurance, the lower the strength the greater the endurance. If you are going to overload a muscle fiber you must work it to a reasonable level of fatigue. Considering that muscle fibers posses widely varying levels of endurance, this means that only a relatively few muscle fibers are fatigued at the end of any normally conducted exercise session.

    In training terms this means:

    In order to overload weak muscle fibers with abundant endurance requires long training sessions conducted at low levels of force production.

    In order to overload stronger muscle fibers with moderate levels of endurance requires moderate duration training sessions conducted at moderate levels of force production.

    In order to overload the strongest of muscle fibers with poor endurance requires short duration training sessions conducted at high levels of force production.

    If you want to maximize your performance, then you have to train all the muscle fibers that contribute to force production during your chosen activity. You have to train your weak fibers, your moderate fibers, your strong fibers, and your strongest fibers. Since force production is a team effort any untrained fibers detract from the overall performance of the team (in this case the team is the whole muscle).

    Summary

    The muscle factor model provides a more complete explanation for how muscle fibers work during and adapt to exercise. Only muscle fibers that are active and overloaded during exercise will adapt and grow. The only way to overload a muscle fiber is to train it to a sufficient level of fatigue. Normally performed exercise programs usually do not train all or most of the fibers in a whole muscle due to the way muscle fibers are activated during exercise and because muscle fibers have widely varying levels of endurance. The only way to maximize performance is to train all the muscle fibers that are active during the event; any untrained muscle fibers prevent the athlete from reaching his/her maximum potential.
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    How To Benefit From Planned Overtraining
    By: Kelly Baggett


    One of the biggest debates among coaches and trainers that always arises every few years is the topic of recovery. Some say you need to be beating yourself up week in and week out and always increasing your work capacity by simply doing more, more, and more work over time. Others in the HIT (high intensity) camp emphasize recovery with a mantra that says, "less is always more". So who's right? Are you gonna get better results by constantly training yourself into the ground or will that approach leave you chronically overtrained? Is that overtraining maybe a good thing? Or will you get better results by sitting on your butt 5 days out of every 7 and attacking your workouts with ferocity when you do?? Or will that approach leave you undertrained and so inactive that you pile on enough fat to make Warren Sapp look like a GQ model??
    Well first lets define some terminology. What most of us call overtraining is really over-reaching. Overtraining is more like a disease then a temporary state. For 95% of us, "over-reaching" is what we're really referring to when we say overtraining.

    Over-reaching-is pushing yourself into a mild state of fatigue with your training. Regression in performance sometimes does occur during an over-reaching period, yet performance rebounds back very quickly, usually above and beyond it's previous level, with a short period of rest or lowered volume (within days). It can be good or bad depending on how you use it.

    Overtraining- occurs when you chronically over-reach for months or years on end. This leads to performance regression that can take months to recover from and is associated with multiple and sometimes permanent endocrine disruptions. Although there are some athletes who are chronically overtrained and don't realize it (distance runners, bodybuilders, and some basketball players come to mind), most athletes don't ever reach a true overtrained state.

    Another important term is Under reaching.

    Under-reaching- occurs when you intentionally "take it easy". This is like taking your foot off the gas in your training intentionally. It also can be good or bad depending on how you do it.

    Now let's start with a few key claims I'm going to make. First, let me state that from my observations, the reason many people train hard and consistently and don't make the gains they feel they should, is because they spend too much time over-reaching and not enough time under-reaching. Notice I said "consistent hard trainees" there. That statement doesn't apply unless you train both hard and consistent.

    Next, let me state that if you have to choose, you're almost always better off under-reaching then over-reaching unless you really know what you're doing. With those comments you would probably think that over-reaching is a bad, bad, BAD thing. Well, in truth it's quite the opposite. Over-reaching by design can be a very good thing. Notice that I said "unless you know what you're doing". That's what I intend to help you do in this article.

    Recovery and Supercompensation

    Recovery can be defined as - regaining what was lost - however, for the athlete this is not enough as it returns them only to where they started. Adaptation can be defined as the process of long-term adjustment to a specific stimulus. This process of adaptation can include adjustment in a number of factors such as the athlete's physiology, psychology and mechanics. These alterations can ultimately lead to improved performance - which is a more satisfying goal. We train to get fitness. We want to jump higher, run faster, get stronger, run longer etc. In order to get fit we must stimulate some fatigue so that our body adapts. We must push ourselves beyond our limits some of the time - which is fatigue. Let's call a training cycle a 30-60 day "period" of training. All good periodized training answers this question: What is the optimal amount of fatigue to induce over the course of the next training cycle in order to optimize the fitness that results from it?

    Example

    In other words, if I want to run faster and jump higher 30 days from now, how tired should I make myself this week and next week so that when I test myself in 30 days, I'll run faster and jump higher? All things being equal, if I do no training (assuming I'm not in an over-reached state) then I likely will not improve at all, and in fact may slip back. On the other hand, if I work out daily and intensely and continue adding volume, I'm also likely to slip back.

    So there must be an optimal blend of both fatiguing myself or over reaching (in order to improve) and resting myself or under reaching, so that I can see the gains from the over reaching I've done. Under reach too much and you won't get the results you want because you haven't forced your body to adapt; over reach too much and you won't get results because your body is shot.

    The rest of this article is about how to solve this puzzle and determine how to intelligently over reach at the beginning of a training cycle, under reach at the end of a cycle, in order to boost the overall results of each training cycle.

    Walk or Run But Don't Do Both

    The basic point I want to make in this article is that you should either be training a little harder then what feels comfortable or a little less then you think you should. This is an implementation of the 2-factor theory model of stress and adaptation. Let's talk a little bit about the 2-factor theory.

    The 2 factors represent the relationship between fatigue and fitness. One factor is fitness the other factor is fatigue.

    2-factor theory-A stress adaptation model that bases a training plan around the long term relationships between stress and fatigue.

    When you train you accumulate both fatigue and fitness. That observation itself should be worthy of a nobel prize. However, what many people don't realize is that the fatigue that accumulates over the course of a training cyle itself "masks" the fitness gains that you make. However, fitness persists about 3 x longer then fatigue. This means that when all traces of fatigue are gone from a bout of exercise or a cycle of training, the fitness gained will persist for 3 x as long as the fatigue. That's why most people make gains when they take a few days off from time to time. What I want to do is show you how to make this process predictable.


    Before we get into how to implement the 2-factor theory you first need to understand the one factor theory.

    The one factor theory- Is the basic stress adaptation model that is usually taught in high school, bodybuilding, and is the grand de jour model used to explain high intensity training. With this theory you look at physical ability as one short term factor. You load, recover, load, recover - always recovering fully before loading again.
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
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    The problem with this approach is you are left with the problem of timing workouts to correspond to the supercompensation wave. Anything sooner or later will lead to a bad workout. Another problem is there is only so much systemic stress that can be thrown on the body in one workout. If you prolong the length of the stress (loading and fatigue) period in the above chart by days or weeks, instead of a single workout, you increase the overall stress. Therefore, providing you do allow recovery to take place after prolonged loading, you increase the height of the supercompensation curve as well.
    More on the 2-Factor Theory

    You will often here training according to the 2 factor theory called many different things. You'll hear it called concentrated loading, load/unload, step-type loading or any number of other things. It's nothing fancy and most of you are probably already using it to an extent.

    Comparing the One-Factor Approach to the 2-Factor Approach

    Let's start off by comparing a "one-factor" training approach to a "2-factor" approach. We have 2 four week training schemes. One we'll call "A" and will be the one factor approach. The other we'll call "B" and is the 2-factor approach. Here's what they look like.

    A: Here we train according to the traditional supercompensation curve. We train then fully recover, train then fully recover etc. Let's say we train once every 4-5 days and recover completely between workouts for 4-weeks.

    B: Here we train hard for the first 3 weeks three times per week so that we never ever are completely recovered from any workouts. Then, on the 4th week we train only once or twice the entire week at a low intensity and low volume. During the 4th week we're allowing fatigue to dissipate so that we can display the fitness we've gained from the previous 3 week's of training. During this low intensity/low frequency week, the physiological indicators we've stimulate the previous 3 weeks "rebound" back up and above where they were before.

    Ok. Now if you were to compare those 2 schemes we would find that version B will actually bring about greater gains particularly for intermediate and advanced athletes - That is providing the athletes are in a well rested state prior to initiating the 4 week block of training. Homeostasis is disrupted and prolonged during the 3 week loading period. Although we won't see a whole lot of progress during this 3 week phase itself, when we pull back on the volume during the reduced loading period the functional indicators will then rebound back above baseline. The ultimate "rebound", or performance increase, in scheme B will be greater then the summation of smaller rebounds from scheme A.

    So what we're doing is building up fatigue and fitness by over-reaching slightly and then pulling back on the fatigue by under-reaching. Nothing really complicated about it.

    Most Athletes Are Already Implementing the 2-Factor Theory and Could Benefit by "Under-Reaching" For a While

    Ok. Now the important thing to note is that most athletes are already over-reaching slightly even though they don't realize it! They never allow recovery to take place and some haven't been fully recovered in years. Basketball players are among the worst here. They are never recovered daily, they never allow recovery to fully take place, and thus they don't make gains due to chronic over-reaching. Therefore, I almost always start athletes off with more recovery so that they can allow all the fatigue they've been acumulating during their previous months or years of training to dissipate.

    It's also important to realize that recovery doesn't have to be "complete" between training sessions in order for one to experience gains. People are rarely ever 100% completely recovered but still make gains. Athletes in most sports are always experiencing some level of constant fatigue. What you want to do is maximize those gains which you can do by intentionally manipulating the relationship between fatigue and fitness.

    Intentionally Creating a Regression in Performance

    The magnitude of the incomplete recovery you create during a loading period will vary. In fact, the practice of "shock" concentrated loading is practiced by many countries for different sports. In a traditional concentrated loading phase, the goal IS simply to beat the body into an over-reaching state where the actual goal of the training is a DECREASE in performance. Loading of any primary emphasis may be used (strength work, speed works, jumps etc.)

    The lower that performance falls during the loading period (within acceptable limits of 10-15% or so), the greater that performance rises during the unloading period. I don't recommend intentionally loading to the point that performance falls off noticeably due to injury risk, but you can still incorporate and benefit a less intense version of the same process.
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
    Lynn Larsen
    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

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    How You Can Apply and Benefit From Planned Over-Reaching

    The basic tenet is that instead of always looking at each workout as a seperate "fatiguing" session, followed by a seperate "recovery" session of a day or two of rest, begin thinking in terms of weeks. In other words, you have one, two or three weeks which are "fatiguing." Think of this time period the same way some people think of one workout. you accumulate fatigue the whole time, you never "completely" recover. You might make gains but you're never really completely recovered. Then you have another one or 2 weeks in which you train with reduced frequency, volume, or intensity and allow recovery to take place. I favor keeping intensity fairly high, cutting volume by at least half, and slightly lowering frequency. in any event the overall training stress is lower.

    The main benefit of the higher volume phase isn't the gains you make on it, but the gains you make when you switch to a lower volume phase.

    Accumulation and Intensification

    You can also alternate between cycles of incomplete vs complete recovery which is often called accumulation/intensification. Version A I described above (training with full recovery), will work wonderfully when transitioning from a period of increased loading. In other words, accumulate fatigue and train frequently for a while and then transition into a period of time where you train with full recovery between sessions for a while. Say you train 3 x per week for 3-4 weeks and then once every 4 days for 4 weeks. Your gains will be out of this world during the 2nd phase because you heighten your ability to adapt in the first phase. That works very well.

    Examples

    There are numerous ways we can incorporate a loading/unloading scheme. At it's most basic level a loading period of 2 or more consecutive workouts will be followed by an unloading period of one or more days. An example of this is a simple "block loading" scheme often practiced by endurance athletes that can also be used successfully by others. In fact this is a scheme used in many university team sports. Here we might train hard with weights, sprints, plyos, etc. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and do conditioning on Tuesday and Thursday. We then rest completely on saturday and sunday. By Friday the athlete will be worn down and performance very well may have regressed over the course of the week. Yet by having 2 consecutive days off (Saturday and Sunday), we allow a lot of that fatigue to dissipate. Thus, the body supercompensates and the athlete goes into Monday with enhanced ability - for a few weeks anyway.

    Generally speaking, anymore then 3-4 weeks consecutive loading will fail to bring about gains unless a one week unloading period is inserted. The body will tolerate 3 such 3/1 blocks of loading/unloading before a longer recovery period is necessary. This means that we'd do 3 consecutive 3/1 cycles before taking 2-3 weeks of training at a lower intensity.

    Should I Seek Out Performance Regression?

    The intensity of the loading period will vary as well. During loading periods it's ok for some regression to take place but no more then 10%. That means if your vertical jump is 30 inches you can train yourself to a 3 inch decrease and when you recover fully it'll rebound back up above 30. The same thing goes for your strength etc. Remember, the greater the decrease in function the greater the rebound above baseline during the unloading period. There is one caveat here however. The more regression that takes place the longer your unloading period will need to be. If you train to the point of big time (10%) regression, you will need a 2 week rather then 1 week unloading period.

    Specific examples:

    Here's an example of an accumulation/intensification cycle for the squat. This is the old 5 x 5 routine first written by Bill Starr and popularized by Glenn Pendlay. Here we train the squat 3 x per week for 4 weeks then twice a week for 4 weeks.

    Volume Phase 4 weeks - Deloading Period 1 week - Intensity Phase 4 weeks. Sets and reps for the intensity phase is in parentheses.

    M:
    Squat 5x5 (3x3)
    Bench 1x5 (1x3)
    Row 1x5 (1x3)

    W:
    Squat 5x5 with 15-20% less than Monday (drop this lift)
    Deadlift 5x5 (3x3)
    Military 5x5 (3x3)
    Pullups 5x5 (3x3)

    F:
    Squat 1x5 (1x3)
    Bench 5x5 (3x3)
    Row 5x5 (3x3)


    Volume Phase - Weeks 1-4:

    Use 5 sets of 5 reps with the same working weight for all sets. Increase the weight week to week and try to set records in weeks 3 and 4. For exercises you do twice a week you have a separate day which you perform a single set of 5 reps with the goal of setting records on the 3rd and 4th week for your best set of 5. Don't start the weights too high. Lower the weight if need be but get the sets and reps in - except where you are setting records.

    Deloading Week - Week 5:

    On week 4 drop the Wednesday squat workout, begin using the Intensity set/rep scheme (in parentheses), and keep the weight the same as your last week in the Volume Phase.

    Intensity Phase - Week 6-9:

    Everything is the same principal except that you use 3x3 and 1x3 setting records on week 8 and 9. No Wednesday squatting. The important aspect of this phase is the weight increases. If you are so burned out that you need an extra day here and there that's okay. If you can't do all the work that's okay too. Just keep increasing the weight week to week.

    Example of Volume Phase Transitioning Into Intensification Phase for a Football Player

    Here is a setup I used recently for an athlete preparing for several football tryouts and combines. His lower body strength levels were more then adequately in place but he was coming off a mass gain phase and needed quite a bit of specific on the field speed work, wanted to drop some fat, and needed to increase his upper body strength.

    Phase I- high volume/high frequency

    This phase consisted of 2 consecutive 3 weeks load/ 1 week unload schemes. The loading portion looked something like this:

    Mon- AM: starts, short sprints, agility drills, position specific drills - ~500 yards total. PM: Weights- 3 x 3 at 80% squat, RDL.

    Tues- Conditioning- 100 yds x 15 with 30 second rest intervals

    Wed- AM:Plyo- speed drills- 4-6 sets depth jumps/ 1 position specific agility drill/ 4 sets straight leg sprints/ 4 sets 60 yard buildups- PM: Maximum Strength Upper Body Training mainly on the bench press

    Thurs- Conditioning- 100 yds x 15 with 30 second rests

    Friday- AM: start technique, maximum speed sprints and flying 20's, agility drills, position specific drills- 500 yards total. PM: Strength Training - Clean- 3 x 3 85%/Squat 3 x 3 85%/ Glute Ham- 3 x 3

    Saturday- AM- Agility technique, buildups, Upper Body strength enduance focusing on the bench press

    Sunday- Off

    He'd follow that for 3 weeks and then unload for 1 week. The unloading period consisted of 1/2 the volume of on field work on Monday and Friday and elimination of plyo, speed, agility work on Wednesday.

    After about 6 weeks of training, it was obvious to me he had got about all he was gonna get from this scheme. He seemed a little burned out and he complained of sore joints. I knew that this just meant he was slightly over-reached and his perfomance would rebound up big time once we tapered into a lower volume phase. He's always been able to transfer functional ability into technical ability. From experience we knew that as his vertical jump goes so does everything else and as his shoulder press and incline press goes so does his bench press. We ended up dramatically lowering the overall lower body volume. On upper body we got him away from the bench press for a while and worked on his weak points. The routine ended up looking like this:

    Phase II - Low Volume Intensification

    Session 1- LB
    Depth Jump, standing triple, one leg hops unto box, - 4-6 sets each x 3-5 reps

    Session 1- UB
    incline DB Press, Row, Heavy Tricep, Rear delt - 4-6 sets of 5-8 reps each

    Session 2 LB
    on the track with 60 yd build ups to 90%, 50 yd bounding, lateral hurdle hops, squat runs x 10 seconds. 4-6 sets each

    Session 2 UB
    Push Press or Push jerk, Pull-up, Bicep, Tricep- 4-6 sets of 3-8 reps each.

    Setup

    Session 1 LB

    off

    Session 1 UB

    off

    Session 2 LB

    off

    Session 2 UB

    Therefore, he was getting 4 days rest between bodypart workouts and 8 days between like sessions. This allows him near full recovery and he was able to set records nearly every workout for a month long period which coincided perfectly with the timing of his workouts and tryouts. EMS was also used on his legs to maintain his strength. It's important to note that the gains from this phase weren't just made from this phase itself, but they were made and set-up in the previous phase as well.

    Conclusion

    Those are a couple of examples how to set things up. Hopefully you can begin implementing some of these ideas into your training. Stay tuned for a future article on the same topic in which I'll cover how to stimulate that same adaptation by simply engaging in cyclical eating patterns.

    -Kelly
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
    Lynn Larsen
    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

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    Lift Fast, Get Big
    by Chad Waterbury


    Accelerated Strength and Size

    The three-year anniversary of my first T-article has come to pass. I look back on my articles much like a proud father watching his son score a third consecutive touchdown in a college football game. But I think a few stones have been left unturned. Mainly, I don?t think readers have caught on to the importance of fast training.

    So, I?m here to clear up any issues relating to this subject because it?s too damn important to be left alone.


    The Science of Fast Training

    Muscle physiologists have discovered an important law of motor unit recruitment: the faster the tempo, the greater the recruitment of motor units. This is important because the more motor units you recruit, the greater the strength and muscle gains you?ll achieve.

    Our nervous system is designed with an inherent, orderly recruitment of motor units. In other words, low-force tasks such as walking around your living room do little to induce muscle growth. Why? Simple: walking requires very little recruitment of motor units.

    Jumping and sprinting, on the other hand, induce huge amounts of motor unit recruitment that leads to substantial muscle growth. What?s the primary difference between walking and jumping? Speed of muscle action, of course! The proof is clear when you observe the lower-body musculature of a gold-medal 100 meter sprinter compared to a hair stylist (i.e., someone who?s merely standing and walking all day long).

    The benefits of fast training are:

    1. Improved High-Threshold Motor Unit Recruitment

    Quicker high-threshold motor unit recruitment occurs with super-fast tempos since you improve the recruitment of the motor units that have the most potential for growth. What I?m referring to are the fast-fatigable (FF) fast-twitch motor units that possess Type IIB muscle fibers. These motor units are capable of inducing huge amounts of strength and hypertrophy increases.

    2. Improved Rate Coding

    Rate coding is also enhanced with fast training. This relates to a change in discharge frequency of motor units with faster tempos. In other words, the firing rate increases with increases in speed (power) production.

    3. Enhanced Synchronization of Motor Units

    The last scientific element improved with fast training is enhanced synchronization of motor units. As you increase the frequency of fast training sessions, motor units improve their synchronous activation during maximal voluntary efforts. This leads to more strength and enhanced neuromuscular efficiency.

    The three aforementioned variables (recruitment, rate coding and synchronization) all work in concert to enhance intramuscular coordination. But I?m not finished yet! A few more advantages of fast training are:

    4. Improved Intermuscular Coordination

    When you apply maximal effort to a load (attempt to lift it as fast as possible), you?re improving your body?s ability to maximally activate many different muscle groups simultaneously. This coordinated effort enhances intermuscular coordination which, in turn, improves your strength levels.

    5. Altered Muscle Fiber Characteristics

    With a consistent execution of fast training speeds, the skeletal muscle and nervous system adapt by converting many slow-twitch (Type I) muscle fibers to fast-twitch (Type IIA and IIB) characteristics. This is another perfect example of the specific adaptations to imposed demand (SAID) principle.


    The Missing Link

    I can?t even begin to name all of the misleading advice that?s been dished out by newsstand muscle magazines, but one of the biggest misconceptions is slow training. I don?t know why in the hell trainees think they should lift a load slowly, maybe because it?s easier to lift slowly, or maybe because they can "feel" the muscles working. Either way, it?s pure bull**** that leads to inferior results.

    If you want strength and size, you better learn to start lifting fast. How fast? As fast as humanly possible without compromising form!


    Stuff You Didn?t Expect

    The first characteristic of fast concentric training that you?ll probably notice is a relative lack of fatigue. In other words, you should feel supercharged at the end of your workouts, not fatigued. That?s a good thing! As my friend and colleague, Charles Staley, has stated many times, "Don?t seek fatigue!"

    My clients extol the benefits of fast training because they constantly feel motivated to train throughout the week. In fact, I often have to "hold back" my clients when training in this fashion because they often feel they can train the same exercises the very next day. You?ll feel like your nervous system is constantly revved up!


    Beginner?s Mission

    If you?ve been in the iron game for less than a year, I?m going to make this as simple as possible. I don?t care what program you?re on or what parameters you?re following; all I want you to do is start performing the concentric (i.e. lifting or shortening) phase as fast as you possibly can.

    In addition, I don?t want you to think about tempo, at all. Here's your new tempo recommendation for all lifts:

    Eccentric (negative or lowering part of the exercise) = controlled

    Concentric (lifting part) = fast!

    In other words, I want you to perform the lowering phase under control (1-2 seconds) before exploding the weight up with lightning fast speed. Merely adding this element into any training program will be enough to accelerate muscle and strength gains.

    The reasoning relates to science: fast concentric tempos lead to the greatest recruitment of high-threshold motor units that possess a huge potential for muscle growth and strength increases. In addition, fast training improves the factors that compose intramuscular coordination: rate coding and enhanced synchronization of motor unit firing.


    Veteran?s Mission

    For those of you who?ve been inside the iron haven for an appreciable amount of time, my advice is a little different. I want you to keep in mind three primary methods to accelerate strength and size gains through fast concentric tempos. They are:

    1. Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC) Training: Utilize a 20X tempo for all lifts. In other words, lower the load for a full count of two seconds before immediately pressing up the load as quickly as possible. This method takes advantage of the stretch-shortening cycle that leads to greater force and power production. (1)

    As P.V. Komi stated in the phenomenal text, Strength and Power in Sport, "The purpose of SSC is to make the final action (concentric phase) more powerful than that resulting from the concentric action alone." (2) In other words, training your SSC improves your ability to develop incredible strength.

    2. Dissipation of SSC Effect: This type of training is the antithesis to SSC training. Just like it?s necessary to train in different rep ranges, it?s also sometimes necessary to offset the SSC effect.

    In order to offset the SSC, you should hold the load in the stretch position for four seconds. This will dissipate any stretch-reflex that?s commonly known as the elastic potential of muscle. In other words, your muscles can store energy, much like a rubber band, and sometimes it?s beneficial to negate this effect to improve strength and size.

    The hypothesis behind holding the muscle before performing the concentric phase is to minimize any energy that?s stored within the series elastic component (SEC). Dissipation of this energy source could potentially force the muscles to work harder to perform the lifting phase (i.e., more motor units are recruited since elastic potentials are no longer available).

    3. Resting the Load: The last example relates to the advantages of unloading a weight before performing the concentric phase. When a weight is unloaded between the eccentric and concentric phases, the elastic potential of a muscle dissipates. Therefore, it forces you to build starting and accelerating strengths.

    Explosive strength consists of three important components: starting strength, accelerating strength and maximal strength. By unloading the weight between reps, you?ll improve two of three vastly important strength qualities that build explosive strength.

    In order to obtain optimal strength and hypertrophy training results, all three methods should be periodized throughout your mesocycles.
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
    Lynn Larsen
    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

  8. #8
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    Faster = Bigger and Stronger

    For those of you who want to totally revamp your program, I?ve got the ticket. The following program is based upon scientific research, along with my own successes with clients in all walks of life. It works, and it works incredibly well for strength and size. Here?s what you should do for six weeks:

    Day 1

    Sets: 6
    Reps: 3
    Load: 6RM (rep max)
    Rest: 50 seconds between sets
    Exercises: Dips, Front Squats, Chin-ups, Leg Curls and Seated Calf Raises*





    Day 2

    Off: Perform 10 minutes of medium-intensity aerobics, if desired. Rope jumping and jogging are excellent choices.


    Day 3

    Sets: 5
    Reps: 5
    Load: 8RM
    Rest: 60 seconds between sets
    Exercises: Flat Bench Presses, Deadlifts, Bent-Over Rows, Skull Crushers, Donkey Calf Raises and Barbell Curls.





    Day 4

    Same as Day 2


    Day 5

    Sets: 4
    Reps: 6
    Load: 9RM
    Rest: 70 seconds between each set
    Exercises: Incline Dumbbell Bench Presses, Back Squats, Upright Rows, Close-Grip Bench Presses, Standing Calf Raises and Preacher Curls





    Day 6 and 7

    Off (Perform aerobics on one of the two days if desired.)

    * These exercises are excellent choices, but feel free to substitute with a similar movement.


    Explanation

    For the greatest benefit, all three of the aforementioned speed-training methods should be used. The following periodization works extremely well:

    Weeks 1-2: Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC) training method. Tempo: 10X (That's a one second negative with no pause. "X" means to explode, to lift as fast as possible.)

    Weeks 3-4: Dissipation of SSC method. Tempo: 14X

    Weeks 5-6: Resting the Load method. Tempo: 21X

    Increase the load 2.5% whenever possible. The workouts in this program shouldn't induce large amounts of fatigue. If you feel like you could perform half of the workout again, you?re on the right track. Leave the gym fresh and motivated ? that?s the key to long-term success with weight training!


    Conclusion

    Hopefully I?ve done a good job at elucidating the benefits of fast training. If you learn to train fast without inducing failure and excessive fatigue, you?ll accelerate your hypertrophy and explosive strength gains. Let science be your new training partner.

    Try it! I bet you?ll like the results!


    References

    1. Zatsiorsky V.M. Science and Practice of Strength Training. Pg. 45, Human Kinetics, 1995.

    2. Komi P.V. Strength and Power in Sport. Pg. 169, Blackwell Science, 1992.
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
    Lynn Larsen
    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

  9. #9
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    Nervous Muscle
    Understanding the Nervous System
    by Chad Waterbury

    [Editor's note: This article is complex, but it's kinda' like licking through a
    Tootsie Pop. If you're diligent, you'll get to the tasty Tootsie Roll filling.
    Similarly, if you furrow your brow and work your way through this article,
    you'll not only understand the nervous system a little better, but you'll also
    pick up a couple of neat training methods and some bits of information you can
    use to humiliate the average personal trainer or self-anointed gym guru. In
    other words, this is an article well worth licking through.]

    It's very apparent to me that there are many coaches and fitness writers who
    don't understand the nervous system. I'm not the least bit surprised because
    your nervous system is arguably the most complex and ambiguous system in your
    body. If it wasn't as complicated as I claim, many of these "experts" wouldn't
    be falling all over their words when the topic comes up.
    Now, my statements should not be considered spiteful or disrespectful. No one
    can be an expert in everything ? especially when it comes to the human body. But
    the nervous system is my thing. I have a master's degree in Physiology, but my
    transcript is dominated by courses that analyzed how the nervous system controls
    muscle.


    I was lucky enough to talk the head of the physiology department into letting me
    stay beyond my M.S. requirements so I could take many of the courses necessary
    for a PhD in Neuroscience. But even though the nervous system is my area, I'll
    be the first to admit that the more I study it, the less I feel like I know!
    This is because each piece of research that's demonstrated often leads to a
    dozen other questions that no one can answer.
    My point in telling you all of this is to iterate how complex the nervous system
    really is. I'm constantly studying it, and I still feel like I'm climbing a
    mountain that's getting taller with each step I take. So when I think about the
    fitness people who haven't even studied it, but drop neuroscience terms like
    first-period French, I get very, very scared.
    Admittedly, such blatant ignorance can be rather amusing (to me, anyway).
    By necessity, I now categorize most people who talk about the nervous system
    into two groups. Here they are:
    1. The Well-Intended Group: This group consists of people who understand the
    importance of the nervous system, but they don't really know how it works.
    2. The Insecure Group: This group often drops money words in their articles and
    lectures. These are words that they hope will somehow solidify their status as
    an expert. Unfortunately for them, many of the nervous system terms I often hear
    were obviously lifted out of watered-down texts from fitness authors who didn't
    know what in the hell they were talking about. Once the Insecure Group starts
    throwing around terms like "posttetanic facilitation" I immediately know they're
    doing their damndest to make themselves sound smarter than they really are. It
    ain't working.

    Nervous System 101
    Before I get to the nitty-gritty of the terms that I want to clear up, let me
    first give a brief overview of the nervous system (okay, it might not seem
    brief, but relatively speaking, it really is). Specifically, what is the nervous
    system?
    There are two primary components of the nervous system known as the central
    nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system(PNS). The CNS is
    comprised of seven major divisions. Six of these divisions make up the brain.
    They are the medulla, pons, cerebellum, midbrain, diencephalon, and cerebral
    hemispheres. The seventh division of the CNS is the spinal cord. The PNS is
    divided into somatic and autonomic divisions.
    Here's an elementary breakdown of each division that makes up the entire nervous
    system.
    Brain: regardless of what your significant other sometimes tells you, you do
    have one. As mentioned, your brain consists of six divisions. Here are some
    basic functions ? that we currently understand ? of each brain division.
    1. Medulla ? relays early information involving taste, hearing, balance, and
    control of neck and facial muscles.
    2. Pons ? relays information pertaining to movement and sensation from the
    cerebral cortex to the cerebellum. It's also involved in respiration, taste, and
    sleep.
    3. Midbrain ? links up your motor system with various parts of your brain. It
    also contains components that aid the auditory (hearing) and visual systems;
    along with regions that control muscles involved in eye movement. One important
    area of the midbrain that controls movement is the basal ganglia (more on this
    later).


    4. Cerebellum ? this is an extremely important component of your brain that
    contains more neurons (ie, nerves) than any other brain structure. It receives
    sensory input from the spinal cord; motor information from the cerebral cortex;
    and information pertaining to balance from the inner ear. Also, it's important
    for maintaining posture; in addition to coordinating head and eye movements.
    Furthermore, it's helps you fine-tune your movements when you learn a new motor
    skill. Finally, it's also involved in language and other cognitive functions.
    5. Diencephalon ? this brain division consists of the thalamus and hypothalamus.
    The thalamus transfers sensory information from the periphery (limbs, for
    example) to the cerebral hemispheres. Think of the thalamus as a relay station
    that determines whether or not sensory information reaches conscious awareness.
    The hypothalamus controls many vital functions such as growth, eating, drinking,
    and maternal behavior by regulating hormonal output from the pituitary gland. In
    addition, the hypothalamus is a key component that controls motivation and
    rewarding sensations.
    6. Cerebral Hemispheres ? these are the largest regions of your brain. Some of
    the roles of the cerebral hemispheres are memory, emotion, social behavior, and
    control of fine movement. In addition, it contains structures with neurons that
    link similar regions of the right and left sides of your brain (yes, you have
    two similar sides of your brain that must be linked together).
    (Importantly, none of the six aforementioned areas work independently. The
    nervous system is integrated on many, many levels. One such example is the
    association cortex. The association cortex consists of various motor areas that
    work together as a "committee" before any voluntary movement takes place.)
    7. Spinal Cord - this structure extends from the base of your skull to the first
    lumbar vertebra. It receives sensory information from your skin, joints, and
    muscles of your trunk and limbs. In addition, it contains the motor neurons that
    are responsible for both voluntary and reflex movements. As a basic example,
    when you voluntarily curl a barbell, the information starts in your brain and
    travels down your spinal cord and out to your muscles where they dump the
    neurotransmitter acetylcholine that leads to contraction.
    However, involuntary movements also exist. A good example of an involuntary
    movement is a reflex. This can be understood when the doctor taps your knee
    tendon to check your monosynaptic reflex (spinal reflex). The quick stretch of
    your quadriceps tendon sends sensory information into your spinal cord (from
    your knee joint) and quickly returns a motor signal back to your quadriceps so
    they'll contract. In other words, many reflexes don't "check in" with the brain
    before contraction occurs.
    Take a deep breath because I'm almost finished with the overview.
    The last component of the nervous system is the peripheral nervous system (PNS).
    This consists of the somatic and autonomic divisions. The somatic division is
    comprised of sensory neurons that innervate your skin, muscles, and joints.
    These peripheral neurons supply information to the CNS about your muscles and
    the position of your limbs. The somatic division is important to us
    weight-training types because it also consists of the neurons that innervate the
    muscles (motor neurons) that cause movement.
    The autonomic division is much less exciting, but no less important than any
    other nervous system component. This division can be further broken down into
    the sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric systems. You've probably heard of
    the sympathetic system. It's also referred to as the "fight or flight" system.
    This is due to the release of hormones such as epinephrine that accelerates your
    heart rate.
    The parasympathetic system can be thought of as the counteractive system to the
    sympathetic response. The parasympathetic system is often described as the "rest
    and digest" system since it aids in both. Finally, the enteric system causes
    your gastrointestinal tract to contract and relax to move foodstuffs through
    your digestive system ? boring!
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
    Lynn Larsen
    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

  10. #10
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    Moving Forward
    So when you hear the term "nervous system" thrown around, in actuality, these
    are the components that make it up. Yikes, eh? And I can't stress enough that
    each system is integrated across many levels. In other words, virtually every
    division is constantly talking to the other (with the exception of that crazy
    enteric system).
    Alright, so why did I put you through this review? First, I wanted to help you
    understand how complex that damn nervous system really is. Indeed, there's
    virtually no action that isn't in some way connected to the nervous system:
    motivation, pleasure, movement, digestion, hormonal secretion, etc, etc. But all
    you care about are your muscles right? Okay, I can live with that.
    So let's say that I told you to perform a barbell curl. Now that you've been
    given an overview of the nervous system, you'll appreciate how many different
    areas work together before any movement takes place. Here's a graph that depicts
    what areas are working before you can curl that piece of iron.


    Since each of these areas work in concert before your muscle contracts, it can
    be assumed that it's possible to improve muscle function by enhancing any of the
    areas depicted in the graph. What I'm trying to say is this: you could
    potentially increase or decrease the function of your biceps by toying with your
    basal ganglia. The same is true with your cerebellum, your association cortex,
    your upper motor neurons, your reflexes/motor programs, or your lower motor
    neurons.
    But, believe it or not, most people aren't willing to have their brain or spinal
    cord split open ? and subsequently hooked up to electrical devices ? while
    performing a biceps curl. So we really don't know how some of theses areas can
    potentially change the action of your muscles.
    Most research started at the endpoint of the above graph: the muscle. Hell, it's
    easily accessible and we know quite a bit about the components that cause your
    muscles to contract. But again, most people don't want to put themselves through
    muscle biopsies, and most don't want to have an electrode jammed into their
    lower motor neurons. So that's where those handy little mice come in.
    Unfortunately, most mice and men are not created equal. So what might work great
    in mice for strength and size is much less likely to work for you or me. I
    digress.
    Okay, I put you through this long-winded, albeit simplistic, overview of the
    nervous system so I could spend the next section laying to rest some serious
    nervous system mishaps that are becoming more ubiquitous than ever.
    Honestly, this list could ? and probably should ? be much longer. Nevertheless,
    here are two terms and phrases that I frequently hear from the "not-so-informed,
    but I wanna sound smart" club.

    Mishap #1. Post-tetanic Facilitation
    I'm sure most of you have heard of wave loading. Basically, it consists of using
    varying levels of maximal loads in an effort to cause immediate strength gains.
    An example of wave loading looks like this:
    Wave 1
    Set 1: 5 reps with 300 lbs.
    Set 2: 3 reps with 320 lbs.
    Set 3: 1 rep with 340 lbs.
    Then, with the neural enhancements that occur, you're able to repeat the above
    sequence with somewhere around 2% more load for each set. In other words, your
    5RM, 3RM, and 1RM are enhanced so you can do this:
    Wave 2
    Set 1: 5 reps with 305 lbs.
    Set 2: 3 reps with 325 lbs.
    Set 3: 1 rep with 345 lbs.
    Pretty cool, eh? Yep, it's a very effective method. Many have extolled the
    virtues of this method by giving credit to a nervous system response called
    post-tetanic facilitation. But apparently, post-tetanic facilitation isn't
    limited to just wave loading, I've heard it used in relation to holding a
    supramaximal load (ie, a load greater than your 1RM) in order to cause immediate
    strength gains, among many other methods.
    So what's the problem? Well, when they use post-tetanic facilitation in
    reference to wave loading, supramaximal holds, or some other maximal strength
    method they don't know what in the hell they're talking about!
    The first problem is the word tetanic. This term actually describes artificial
    electrical stimulation of the motor neuron that innervates your muscles
    (actually, it can be any neuron, but we're talking about the muscle).
    If I wanted to get a tetanic response, I would either need to shock your motor
    neuron with an electrode, or use some type of electrical muscle stimulation
    (EMS) on the surface of your muscle. So when you hear the word tetanic, the
    person better be talking about electrical muscle stimulation (EMS). But 99.9% of
    the time, they aren't. But it doesn't end there.
    The second problem is the word facilitation. This is just a fancy way of
    describing some type of neural enhancement. So what's the big deal? Simple, do
    you know how long the effects of facilitation last? About 20-200ms (yes, that's
    milliseconds).
    If a neuroscientist saw a flyer for an upcoming lecture titled "Post-tetanic
    Facilitation," he would expect to hear information pertaining to artificial
    electrical nerve stimulation that lasts, at most, a few hundred milliseconds.
    So what should they call this neural enhancement that leads to immediate
    strength gains? Post-activation potentiation. This is the correct term because
    activation describes a maximal voluntary contraction (ie, lifting or holding a
    maximal load) and potentiation refers to an effect that lasts for minutes, not
    milliseconds.
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
    Lynn Larsen
    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

  11. #11
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    Post-activation potentiation is one of the most effective maximal strength
    building methods I've ever used. Not only will it cause immediate increases in
    maximal strength, but it can also be a great tool for building more muscle since
    you'll be able to recruit more motor units after the supramaximal hold. I even
    designed a program based on this outstanding method titled Primed For Muscle.
    link to http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....-082-training]
    If you want to jump right into supramaximal holds, you should give this method a
    try during your next squat or bench press workout. Here's what you should do.

    Warm-up
    Set 1: 5 reps with 70% of your 1RM
    Rest 90s
    Set 2: 3 reps with 75% of your 1RM
    Rest 90s
    Set 3: 3 reps with 85% of your 1RM
    Rest 120s
    Supramaximal Hold to Induce Post-activation Potentiation
    Set 1: Hold 120% of your 1RM just short of lock-out for 10s.
    Rest 45-60s
    Set 2: Perform as many reps as possible with 90% of your 1RM
    Rest 240s
    Set 3: Hold 120% of your 1RM just short of lock-out for 10s.
    Rest 45-60s
    Set 4: Perform as many reps as possible with 90% of your 1RM
    You'll gain both strength and size with this method. Perform it once each week
    for your heaviest workout. Your other weekly workouts should consist of
    submaximal loading protocols such as 4x8, 3x15, or 2x20, for example.
    So if you ever hear a strength coach or fitness writer throwing around
    "post-tetanic facilitation" in relation to resistance training, you can be sure
    that their neuroscience studies were limited to the back of a Wheaties box.

    Mishap #2. Recruitment of a Specific Motor Unit Pool
    I love it when I hear a coach tell me how "Method X" recruits a specific motor
    unit pool. I mean, I'm quite entertained by it. How? Because I usually respond
    to such statements by saying, "Which motor unit pool and how are you identifying
    the motor unit pool?" At that point, the coach gives me a blank stare and takes
    off in a dead sprint.
    Okay, let me give you a refresher. The motor unit consists of a motor neuron and
    all the fibers it innervates. If our muscles were a huge cartoon, a motor unit
    would look like this.


    Motor units are classified into three primary categories. The first, and
    smallest, motor unit is the slow-twitch (S) variety that produces small amounts
    of force for long periods of time. Think of curling a pencil.
    The second type is the fast-twitch, fatigue resistant (FR) that produces
    moderate amounts of force for moderate amounts of time. Think of curling a
    dumbbell for 100 reps. The third type is the fast-twitch, fast fatigable (FF)
    that produces large amounts of force for brief periods of time. Think of curling
    a dumbbell that represents your 1-3 repetition maximum (RM).
    Importantly, each motor unit type can't be perfectly categorized. Indeed, there
    are hybrids of each motor unit type just like there are hybrid muscle fiber
    types (precisely the reason why there's hybrid motor units).
    And based on the research by Denny-Brown, Pennybacker, and Henneman, we seem to
    know that there's an orderly recruitment of motor units. In other words, if you
    lift a small load, your S motor units will fire first; and if you lift a maximal
    load, your S motor units will fire first followed by the FR and FF motor units.
    This is known as the Size Principle.


    Nolte J. The Human Brain. Mosby, Inc. pg 451. 2002
    The above graph depicts what we think is happening at certain levels of force.
    What we do know is that there exists an orderly recruitment pattern of motor
    units from S to FR to FF. But what we don't know is how to differentiate when
    the shift occurs.
    You see, we simply haven't developed the technology to measure specific motor
    unit pools during force production. Sure, there's the completely outdated
    electromyogram (EMG) that measures electrical activity from the surface of the
    muscle. But the practical application of EMG is basically limited to motor
    control and muscle disease. Other than those two situations, it results in
    nothing more than ambiguous pieces of data. Don't believe me? Here's what you'll
    typically get from an EMG analysis.


    So the only information that a neuroscientist can derive from this graph is how
    the muscle recruits motor units during force production. The left side of the
    graph depicts the first motor units (apparently, the smallest motor units) that
    come into play.
    With increasing levels of force, more and more motor units are recruited (hence,
    the plethora of lines that's measuring surface electrical activity). But it in
    no way differentiates between different motor unit pools. Anyone who tells you
    that a certain training method recruits a specific motor unit pool is banking on
    your lack of neuroscience knowledge. Now you're well-suited to fire back.
    If you're training to improve maximal strength and size, then you need to
    recruit as many motor units as possible while training (you need to reach the
    upper right spectrum of the Size Principle graph). There are three ways to do
    this based on Zatsiorsky's Science and Practice of Strength Training.
    1. Lift a maximal load.
    2. Lift a submaximal load as fast as possible.
    3. Lift a submaximal load to failure.
    Most of my internet programs revolve around the first two methods, while some
    others use all three. But I usually limit the failure training to the concentric
    phase only. This is because isometric and eccentric failure can induce very high
    levels of fatigue. Generally speaking though, the risks associated with failure
    training rarely outweigh the benefits. So stick with the first two methods for
    the majority of your workouts.

    Conclusion
    Well, I've taken you through the nervous system and I've given some key pieces
    of information to use against gurus who try to overwhelm you with recondite
    language. Make no mistake about it, the nervous system is one complex monster.
    Now, I've got to get back to the books!
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
    Lynn Larsen
    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

  12. #12
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    Neural mechanisms are the most important determinants of strength adaptations.

    Introduction
    This debate addresses factors influencing an increase in muscle strength. This debate can be simply affirmed by the fact that we have all witnessed improvement in performance of a repeated strength test without evidence of muscle hypertrophy. Two definitions to clarify any misunderstandings are:

    Strength
    "The greatest amount of force that muscles can produce in a single maximal effort" (Lamb, 1984).
    Neural mechanisms
    "motor unit activation (recruitment, discharge rate), synchronization, and cross education" (Enoka and Fuglevand, 1993).
    Literature suggests that physical training causes adaptations in the brain and spinal cord and that the ability of humans to recruit motor units increases with training (Lamb, 1984). Neural factors involved in muscle strength are: activation of motor units (frequency and quantity), involvement of afferent and efferent pathways, synchronization, and cross-education.

    In addition to neural factors, we must consider other factors involved in muscle strength. Increased muscle cross sectional area (CSA) has a strong relationship with muscle strength (Lamb, 1984). Muscle length, rate of change of muscle length, and the alignment of the muscle with respect to the axis of joint rotation (Enoka and Fuglevand, 1993) are also involved in determining the strength of a muscle upon testing.

    Background Knowledge
    MVIC
    Considering all factors influencing muscle strength, it is important to ensure that a standard test procedure is used to evaluate muscle strength. As such, a maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) is the preferred option (Rutherford and Jones, 1986, cited in Enoka and Fuglevand, 1993). This minimizes the influence of neural components associated with muscle co-ordination, and removes influence from rate of change of a muscle. It also requires that muscle length and joint position are the same for each test. Mechanical and electromyographic (EMG) measurements are taken during the contraction to evaluate changes to the neuromuscular apparatus. EMG measurements are used as an indicator of motor unit activity, which gives an indication of the muscle force generated (Enoka and Fuglevand, 1993. Komi (1986) points out that the EMG recordings do not indicate whether the increased motor unit activity comes from the cortical or reflex sources, or from both.

    EMG
    Lawrence and DeLuca (1983, cited in Enoka and Fuglevand, 1993), suggest that EMG measurements during a MVIC are known to be somewhat unreliable. Howard and Enoka (1991, cited in Enoka and Fuglevand, 1993) found that on three repetitions of a knee extensor MVIC the average EMG varied substantially while the force remained constant. The authors therefore cautioned against using EMG as a direct representation of the activation of motor units of a muscle at high forces such as during an MVIC. The EMG recordings from surface electrodes are a result of summation of randomly occurring action potentials from numerous motor units. According to an unpublished dissertation by Fuglevand (1989, cited in Enoka and Fuglevand, 1993, p222), a motor unit action potential is influenced by:

    the number and size of fibers innervated by the motor unit,
    the spatial orientation of the fibers relative to the electrode,
    the electrode configuration and dimensions,
    the conduction velocity of the fiber action potential,
    the spatial relationship of the electrode to the innervation zone, and the length of the muscle fibers.
    Neural Mechanisms
    Figure 1 (Plowman and Smith, 1997) Figure 2 (Lamb, 1984)

    The motor unit consists of the motor nerve cell (neuron) that originates in the spinal cord (indicated by '3' in figure 1) and all the muscle fibers it supplies. All fibers in a motor neuron are of the same fiber type and are distributed throughout the muscle (Lamb, 1984). Slow twitch fibers are usually recruited first, and once a motor unit is activated, all muscle fibers in that unit are activated equally. To modulate muscle force, motor units change their firing frequency, and the number of active motor units changes. The motor units do not all fire in unison, except under conditions of maximal stimulation. "The CNS remains capable of fully activating all motor units to respond with maximum force under conditions of extreme contractile failure" (Thomas, Woods, and Bigland-Ritchie 1989, p. 1835, cited in Enoka and Fuglevand, 1993).

    A motor unit is influenced by reflex pathways, muscle spindle input, input from higher and lower spinal cord levels, and from nerves on the opposite side of the cord as shown in figure 2 (Lamb, 1984). According to Enoka and Fuglevand (1993) many authors suggest that facilitation of the MVIC is due to the descending command being supplemented with afferent feedback. Komi (1986) suggests that training intensity must be periodically varied and/or progressively increased to maintain an increase in maximal neural activation. During detraining, or immobilisation, the neural input is decreased resulting in a decreased force production and muscle atrophy.

    Research Findings
    Muscle Strength
    Significant gains in muscle strength have been shown following short periods of resistance training, which are generally regarded as being too short to elicit morphological changes in the muscle (Moritani and deVries, 1979). It would therefore seem that this strength increase is due to an ability to better activate the muscle. Over time the muscle activation plateaus and CSA increases, suggesting that after a time, hypertrophy is the more significant factor in increased strength. Various suggestions regarding these two factors are explored below. (See Figure 3).

    Neural Adaptation
    "Neural adaptation after resistance training has been inferred on the basis of several studies reporting increases in muscle strength with little or no change in cross sectional area of the muscle." (Bandy et al, 1990, p.252). Most research into neural adaptations after resistance training looks mainly at motor unit activation by using EMG. It is widely accepted that increases in EMG is a result of increased firing frequency of motor units in combination with an increased recruitment of motor units.

    Cross-education
    Cross education is evidenced by an increased strength in the contralateral limb and is likely due to cross talk between nerves in the spinal cord from one side to the other. Moritani and deVries (1979) reported an increase in MVIC force of 36% in isometrically trained elbow flexors versus a 25% increase in the contralateral untrained limb. The changes in the untrained limb occurred without changes in CSA or enzyme activities. Butler and Darling (1990, cited in Enoka and Fuglevand, 1993) found an increase in EMG in the contralateral untrained limb. Subjects have exhibited a lower single limb MVIC when both limbs are active simultaneously than when tested in isolation (Howard and Enoka, 1991, cited in Enoka and Fuglevand, 1993). It could be postulated that this is due to cross talk from the contralateral side during a single limb effort that is not present to the same extent during a bilateral task.

    Research Update - New Findings
    Central Nervous System
    Increases in strength have been shown when a subject shouts during exertion, or if a pistol is fired near the subject shortly before the test procedure (Ikai and Steinhaus, 1961, cited in Lamb, 1984). Similar strength changes have also been noted when the subject is given hypnotic suggestions of strength (Morgan, 1972, cited in Lamb, 1984). Yue and Cole (1992, cited in Enoka and Fuglevand, 1993) observed an increase in MVIC and EMG following imagery.

    Electrical stimulation
    It has been shown that a voluntary contraction is not a strong as a contraction stimulated electrically (Ikai and Yabe, 1969, cited in Lamb, 1984, and Stephens and Taylor, cited in Lamb, 1984).

    Electrical stimulation - training
    It has been shown that strength development can be achieved through electrical stimulation of a muscle, however the strength gains from this method of training are less than those noted in a voluntary training program (Massey, 1964, cited in Moritani and deVries, 1979, and Nowakowska, 1962, cited in Moritani and deVries, 1979). This is likely due to the lack of involvement of the motor pathways in electrically stimulated training. Lyle and Rutherford (1998) however, found no significant difference between strength gains in adductor pollicis of voluntary versus stimulated contractions. The large gains shown in stimulated training argues against central adaptations as a major contributor to the strength increases following training.
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
    Lynn Larsen
    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

  13. #13
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    EMG
    In most studies, the EMG/force slope initially remained the same as in the pre-trial testing with an increase in muscle activation (EMG values). After a few weeks resistance training the EMG slope started to decrease, indicating muscle hypertrophy gradually becoming integrated in the strength increase and the rapidly increasing muscle activation slowed to a lesser rate. (See figure 3)

    Disproportionate CSA increase
    After a number of weeks of resistance training, an increase in CSA can be measured. This increase is proportionally smaller than the increase in MVIC (Narici et al, 1989, cited in Enoka and Fuglevand, 1993). Nonetheless, CSA is the single best predictor of muscle strength. Larger muscles have a greater amount of actin and myosin, therefore a greater number of cross bridges, which results in a greater potential for force production during contraction.

    Motor Unit Synchronisation
    Strength training can increase motor unit synchronization. Friedeboldet et al (1957, cited in Komi, 1986) was among the first to suggest that, in particular, the early part of strength training is associated with an increase in motor unit synchronization. Komi goes on to suggest two possible explanations for this increased synchronization.

    The dendrites of alpha-motor neurons receive increased input from sensory fibers, and
    The higher motor centers increase their descending activity.
    Specificity
    Rasch and Morehouse (1957, cited in Moritani and deVries, 1979) demonstrated strength gains from a six-week training program in tests where muscles were used in a familiar way, but not when unfamiliar test procedures were involved. This suggests that larger test results were mainly due to skill acquisition.

    Muscle Hypertrophy
    Muscle hypertrophy seems mostly to result after training periods greater than six weeks, and is predominantly related to fast rather than slow twitch fibers (Bandy et al, 1990). Komi (1986) suggests that the increased alpha-motor neuron activation with motor neuron synchronization may stimulate hypertrophic factors that are expected to result after a period of progressively increasing strength training.

    Figure 3 (Plowman and Smith, 1997) Figure 4 (Moritani and deVries, 1979)

    Clinical Implications
    When considering a resistance training program, it is important to understand what you are improving at various stages of the program. Initially improvement will be due to neural adaptation. To maximise this potential, the program needs to be modified and/or progressed regularly so that neural adaptation does not plateau too soon. It is also necessary to consider the phenomenon of specificity. The muscle will improve in performing the task it is trained to do, there is minimal crossover to other tasks, and so a variety of contraction modes and joint positions will need to be employed for a more comprehensive program. Ensure that the task that is being trained will have functional relevance for day-to-day living. After a time hypertrophy will become evident. To maintain muscle strength and bulk, the training program needs to continue and be progressed and modified.

    The phenomenon of bilateral deficit needs to be considered. A muscle can generate a greater force if worked in isolation. Unilateral training will therefore result in a more rapid strength increase than a bilateral task. Considering specificity, it may be necessary to train both ways.

    Conclusion
    Initial changes to muscle strength are due to neural factors (motor unit activation, firing frequency, input from the opposite side of the spinal cord, input from muscle spindles and reflexes, input from lower and higher spinal cord levels). Over time, the increased rate of neural activation decreases to a slower rate and muscle hypertrophy commences (this is postulated to be stimulated by the neural system). The muscle CSA increases with continued training. This also results in increased strength. The CSA does not increase to the same extent as the muscle strength. The total strength increase is a combination of increased neural activation and muscle hypertrophy.

    References
    Bandy WD, Lovelace-Chandler V, and McKitrick-Bandy B (1990)
    Adaptation of skeletal muscle to resistancetraining. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 12(6):248-255
    Enoka RM and Fuglevand AJ (1993)
    Chapter 8: Neuromuscular basis of the maximum voluntary forcecapacity of muscle. In Grabnier MD (Ed): Current issues in Biomechanics.Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Books.
    Komi PV (1986)
    Training of muscle strength and power: interaction of neuromotoric, hypertrophic, and mechanical factors. International Journal of Sports Medicine 7:10-15
    Lamb DR (1984)
    Physiology of Exercise: Responses and Adaptations (2nd ed). New York: MacMillan Publishing Company.
    Lyle N and RutherfordOM (1998)
    A comparison of voluntary versus stimulated strength training of the human adductor pollicis muscle. Journal of Sports Sciences 16(3):267-270 (Abstract only viewed)
    Moritani T and deVries HA (1979)
    Neural factors versus hypertrophy in the time course of musclestrength gain. American Journal of Physical Medicine 58(3):115-130
    Plowman SA and Smith DL (1997)
    Exercise Physiology: For Health, Fitness, and Performance. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
    DeschenesMR, Maresh CM, and Kraemer WJ (1994)
    The neuromuscular junction: structure, function, and its role in the excitation of muscle. Journal of Strengthand Conditioning Research 8(2):103-109
    Higbie EJ, CuretonKJ, Warren GL, and Prior BM (1996)
    Effects of concentric and eccentrictraining on muscle strength, cross-sectional area, and neural activation.Journal of Applied Physiology 81(5):2173-2181
    Enoka RM (1988)
    Musclestrength and its development. New perspectives. Sports Medicine 6(3):146-168
    Seger JY, Arvidsson B, and Thorstensson A (1998)
    Specific effects of eccentric and concentric training on muscle strength and morphology in humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology 79(1):49-57
    Zhou S (2000)
    Chronicneural adaptations to unilateral exercise: mechanisms of cross education. Exerciseand Sports Science Reviews 8(4):177-184
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
    Lynn Larsen
    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

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    Quickness and Absolute Speed vs Sports Speed and Explosiveness


    By: Kelly Baggett


    In order to fully understand the relationship between quickness, absolute speed, and their relationship to the demonstrations of speed, leaping ability, and athleticism as we see in sport, it helps to view the body as 2 separate systems. An internal system and an external system. The internal system refers to the nervous system and the external system refers to the muscles, tendons etc.
    The Internal System


    To keep it simple, all movement first starts with a neural impulse which is triggered by either a voluntary command or a reflexive one. This command is sent down the spinal cord to the appropriate muscle motor units. These neural impulses have 3 distinct characteristics which will vary in relative importance depending on the type of action needed.

    The first characteristic is:

    A. How fast can the motor impulse travel from the central nervous system to the muscles and from the muscles back up the spinal cord. This is responsible for quickness, very rapid firing muscular contraction, very rapid bouts of muscular relaxation, and the ability to move rapidly in absence of loading.

    Examples of this include:

    Hand speed

    Foot speed while lieing on your back or standing in place

    It should be noted that the ability to relax muscle is very important for rapid movements, especially in cyclical actions. To verify this for yourself simply tap a finger on your desk as fast as you can. Most people will tend to cramp up or lose rhythm due to insufficient and incomplete relaxation in between contractions.

    One key characteristic of great sprinters isn't necessarily the magnitude of force they are able to produce in a very short time, or the speed at which their limbs move. Instead, it is their ability to relax completely in between strides that is key. It has been found that muscle relaxation time improves markedly as the athlete's skill improves. In some sprinters, improvement in performance is largely a consequence of strength increase while the ability to relax muscle remains much the same, whereas some talented sprinters improve solely because of an increase in their capacity for efficient muscle relaxation.

    The primary role of quickness is to produce high speed movement which does not encounter large external resistance or require great strength, power, or energy consumption.

    Quickness may be referred to as the ability of the central nervous system to contract, relax or control muscle function without involvement of any preliminary stretch. It is measured as the time interval or reaction time between voluntary stimulation and the initiation of movement. This time should be distinguished from absolute movement speed, which is the interval from the beginning to the end of movement.

    The average movement time of a simple task of unloaded movement of an extremity is .3 seconds, which can decrease by more than 50% in the case of highly trained subjects. Movement time is strongly influenced by motor coordination or precision of movement.

    Quickness can involve simple or complex tasks, as well as single versus repeated actions. In boxing or martial arts, quickness would involve thrusting out a fist from rest to execute a punch. Examples of quickness in repeated actions are dribbling in soccer, hitting a rapidly returned shuttle in badminton, or a flurry of offensive blows in boxing. In the latter examples, quickness would refer to the frequency of repeated movements.


    The 2nd characteristic of the neural impulse is:

    B. How long the motor impulses keep the motor units activated. This is responsible for strength, which requires a muscle be activated for a fairly long time.

    The 3rd characteristic of the neural impulse is:

    C. The level of the neural impulses being sent. The greater the level of impulse, the more motor units get activated. This is improtant for either great displays of strength, power, or sports type athletic displays. It should be noted that very fast sprinters are distinguisehd by a high level of neural discharge from the central nervous system. If your nervous system was a battery the level would refer to the amount of "juice" the nervous system is putting out.

    Now, when you put "A" and "C" together you get motor impulses that are being sent very quickly and at a high level. This is characteristic of athletic displays such as acceleration, jumping, sprinting, etc.

    The amount of juice the system puts out is related to nervous system excitability and also tends to be well correlated with emotional excitability, temper, etc., - which is probably why there are lots of potentially good athletes in the prison system! The more juice the more muscle recruitment. During competition the ability of the system to put out this type of energy is a huge advantage but during life it can things complicated.

    Someone with an excellent "internal" system might have the following characteristics:

    1. Excellent ability of the system to get aroused and send clear and efficient signals to the muscles.

    2. Excellent hand speed as shown by the ability to tap a finger against a pad 20+ times in 2 seconds, throw a quality 6 punch combination under a second, type 100+ words per minute, throw a baseball faster than what would be indicated by size and limb lengths, etc.

    3. Excellent "unloaded" foot speed as demonstrated by the ability to sprint or tap the feet quickly in place or throw a high speed kick.

    4. Quick reflexes.

    5. Emotional excitability. Succeptible to outbursts as well as apathy. May have the ability to yell very loud.

    Now let's see how this relates to the "external" system. Remember the internal system is the nervous system and the external is the muscles, tendons, joints. etc.

    The External System

    The internal system is the message and the job of the external system is to "display" that message. Without the "display" then nothing happens. Remember, only muscle produces movement. You can have the best battery in the world but without a motor to start you're not going anywhere! In much the same way you can have the best nervous system in the world but you will need a muscular system in order to "display" that nervous system or you're not going anywhere either!

    Now, the displays I mentioned above regarding quickness don't require very much muscle at all due to the absence of force, and thus are related nearly entirely to the speed and efficiency with which the nervous system can send messages. Quickness is displayed fully only when the external resistance does not exceed 15% or more of max strength. When you add force to the movement you also add the extent that the external or muscular system is involved. It should be noted that bodyweight adds a substantial amount of force to be overcome. If you weigh 100 lbs and squat 200 lbs then it requires approximately 35% of your max strength just to move your own bodyweight.

    For example, cycling your legs when you lie on your back is mostly a display of internal nervous system proficiency, quickness, and absolute speed of movement. When you add force to that same movement by standing on the ground and running, then not only must you cycle your legs, but you must cycle your legs while moving your own bodyweight off the ground. This means that you add force. In this situation the limiting factor becomes how efficiently your external system (musculature) can carry out the signals your nervous system is sending while dealing with that force. If that weren't the case then you would be able to sprint down the track just as easily as you sprint when you lie on your back sprinting against the air. Or you would be able to get down in a pushup position and move your hands just as quickly as you do punching against the wind. The more force you add, the more that external muscular factors become limiting.

    So not only must you be able to get your muscle turned on but you have to have some horsepower and strength to turn on when you do. You can have the best internal system in the world, but you need the right external system to display it. In other words, you need strong muscles and all that.

    There are many women who fit the characteristics of having a proficient nervous system I described above yet would get smoked in a sprint by most men, because they're muscles are weaker.

    This just goes to show you that you don't necessarily have to be so called "quick" or "speedy" in order to be explosive and powerful. It also goes to show you that just because someone may have "quick" feet or "quick" hands doesn't necessarily mean that they will be able to run fast, have great agility, or have a spectacular vertical jump.

    The Quickness/Strength Deficiency Evaluation

    Now, one way to evaluate how to train someone is to evaluate their relationship between quickness and strength. This is one such observation I make when evaluating an athlete. Sometimes you will need to focus on the efficiency of the nervous system to increase the "level" of the impulse being sent and the display of such. This is typically what plyometric and power training methods do. The focus on these methods is on putting out a whole lot of neural energy in a very short period of time.

    Sometimes you will need to increase the body's ability to better "express" the messages from the nervous system. This is what strength or hypertrophy training does. Usually it's not too difficult to identify the deficiency in an athlete and train accordingly. I promise to get more specific with the specifics of it in the future but let's run through a couple of scenarios:

    Athlete A:

    quickness: slow

    Strength: strong

    Needs: Focus on increasing explosive muscle recruitment (increase level of internal neural impulse) - Power training, plyometrics etc.

    Athlete B:

    quickness: fast

    Strength: Strong

    Needs: More raw material in which to express his already good internal and external systems. - Hypertrophy training. More muscle = more raw material.

    Athlete C:

    quickness: slow

    Strength: weak

    Needs: Everything. - A general all around program with a focus on low level movement efficiency and general strength.

    Athlete D:

    quickness: fast

    Strength: weak

    Needs: Strength and hypertrophy followed by Power - This type of athlete represents the type that can progress overnight and suprise people with startling improvement. Once his strength levels are boosted up, then power work can be used to intensify his ability to quickly recruit motor units, the results often being spectacular. Often this type of athlete will have to work extra hard to maintain muscle size and strength.

    Athlete E:

    quickness: Decent but not outstanding

    Strength: Decent but not outstanding

    Needs: This athlete would require further evaluation on the relationship between his power and his max strength. A depth jump test could be used to assess his reactive ability. If he's more explosive from a standstill then power training would predominate. If he jumps a lot higher from a runup or depth jump then strength training followed by power work. If nothing else the progression might go like this:

    Block 1- high volume low intensity movement efficiency work + basic strength

    Block 2- high volume strength work + low volume movement efficiency

    Block 3- high volume power work (jumps squats/acceleration runs) + low volume drop jumps

    Block 4- high volume intense plyometric work (depth jumps)

    Each block would run 4-7 weeks in duration with a frequency an average of 2-3 times per week for both upper and lower body.

    As you can see there it's not too difficult. Most people will have an observable deficiency somewhere. The athletes who are already quick and strong will already be good athletes.


    -Kelly







    References:

    Siff, M. "Supertraining." 2003
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
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    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

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    I have a lot more of these.

    and I do mean A LOT!!!
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

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    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

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    Originally Posted by all pro View Post
    I have a lot more of these and I do mean A LOT!!!
    I appreciate you posting the articles you've posted so far, but since they are off-topic in this thread I think they may distract from the main topic of this thread (i.e. the muscle factor model). Perhaps you could post your other articles in threads whose topics pertain to your articles (or, maybe you could even start new threads).
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    Originally Posted by Richard99 View Post
    I appreciate you posting the articles you've posted so far, but since they are off-topic in this thread I think they may distract from the main topic of this thread (i.e. the muscle factor model). Perhaps you could post your other articles in threads whose topics pertain to your articles (or, maybe you could even start new threads).
    With all do respect sir, anyone that reads your 3 post introduction in it's entirety, which I did, will see that what I've posted so far is EXACTLY on topic. The 2 factor model also called duel factor periodization covers everything that you've touched upon and many things that you haven't.
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
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    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
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    Originally Posted by all pro View Post
    With all do respect sir, anyone that reads your 3 post introduction in it's entirety, which I did, will see that what I've posted so far is EXACTLY on topic. The 2 factor model also called duel factor periodization covers everything that you've touched upon and many things that you haven't.
    I didn't see any mention of the muscle factor model in any of your posts or any discussion of the physiological and training implications of varying contractile properties across different muscle fibers, so your posts seemed to me to be off topic. My apologies.
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    Originally Posted by Richard99 View Post
    I didn't see any mention of the muscle factor model in any of your posts or any discussion of the physiological and training implications of varying contractile properties across different muscle fibers, so your posts seemed to me to be off topic. My apologies.
    Apology accepted and I apologise for assuming that you were here to sell everyone the new UBER program. Two factor has been available since the collapse of the Soviet union. The late Mel Siff's book Super Training is an excellent source in English otherwise, well how's your Russian? It's all there. Very heavy reading. Bodybuilders for the most part have ignored it but because of the success of West Side in power lifting, those of us that train for performance have studied the material....until my eyes bled. As you said in your intro, the information has been there the entire time. The Soviets were simply the first to recognize it and turn it into a programing methodology.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding.
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
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    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

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    2 factor training is high volume training

    2 factor training is a variation of traditional high volume training. The thing that mostly distinguishes the 2 factor program from other high volume programs is its unique 2 factor physiological explanation for the effects of training on the body. One factor is fatigue - a workout induces fatigue - and the other is fitness - a workout stimulates improvements in fitness. Aside from that, 2 factor training is very similar to standard periodized training in that it consists of a set period of higher volume / higher intensity training followed by a period of lower volume / lower intensity training.

    2 factor training and every other traditional training program I've encountered in 25 years of strength training all fail to take into consideration the training implications of the physiological fact that different muscle fibers have varying contractile properties.

    The muscle factor model takes the physiological facts about muscle fibers that have been overlooked by physiologists, coaches, and trainees and incorporates them into an updated model explaining muscle function during exercise and muscle adaptation to exercise. To the best of my knowledge, no previous model of muscle function has included these physiological facts, nor has any training program I've ever encountered considered these facts in program design.
    Last edited by Richard99; 06-02-2008 at 12:43 PM.
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    Originally Posted by Richard99 View Post
    2 factor training is a variation of traditional high volume training. The thing that mostly distinguishes the 2 factor program from other high volume programs is its unique 2 factor physiological explanation for the effects of training on the body. One factor is fatigue - a workout induces fatigue - and the other is fitness - a workout stimulates improvements in fitness. Aside from that, 2 factor training is very similar to standard periodized training in that it consists of a set period of higher volume / higher intensity training followed by a period of lower volume / lower intensity training.

    2 factor training and every other traditional training program I've encountered in 25 years of strength training all fail to take into consideration the training implications of the physiological fact that different muscle fibers have varying contractile properties.
    From the Soviet's, dual factor, mixed qualities. Heavy low rep and lite high rep trained concurrently with 3 different types of maximum speed training and waved volume. It is very different from traditional western linear periodization. In fact they have almost nothing in common.
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

    R.I.P.
    Lynn Larsen
    5/17/86 - 9/14/06
    Bridgeport Ct.

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    Got to agree with all pro the soviets are way ahead of the game

    I been using ME, RE and DE and conjugated periodization for some now.

    Richard99 what is so different about your claims of periodization between high volume/intensity and low volume/intensity and what all pro has touched on? Dual factor training? Which has been around for YEARS
    Last edited by britlifter; 06-02-2008 at 01:27 PM.

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    I'm not familiar with actual Soviet training as I don't read Russian, so I am unable to comment on what their training consisted of.

    In one of your posts above you provided the following training example of 2 factor training (planned overreaching):

    "Specific examples:

    Here's an example of an accumulation/intensification cycle for the squat. This is the old 5 x 5 routine first written by Bill Starr and popularized by Glenn Pendlay. Here we train the squat 3 x per week for 4 weeks then twice a week for 4 weeks.

    Volume Phase 4 weeks - Deloading Period 1 week - Intensity Phase 4 weeks. Sets and reps for the intensity phase is in parentheses.

    M:
    Squat 5x5 (3x3)
    Bench 1x5 (1x3)
    Row 1x5 (1x3)

    W:
    Squat 5x5 with 15-20% less than Monday (drop this lift)
    Deadlift 5x5 (3x3)
    Military 5x5 (3x3)
    Pullups 5x5 (3x3)

    F:
    Squat 1x5 (1x3)
    Bench 5x5 (3x3)
    Row 5x5 (3x3)"

    Assumming this program is an accurate representation of 2 factor training that is recommended in English speaking countries, it is clearly a basic variation of high volume training set in a periodization program.

    It is possible that the Soviets or some other country have previously incorporated the physiological facts that form the foundation of the muscle factor model or have recommended training that coincides with the tenets of the muscle factor model and I'm unaware of it because I am an English only speaker. However, if this is the case it hasn't been incorporated into any English language physiological or training model I've ever encountered.
    Rich
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    Originally Posted by Richard99 View Post
    I'm not familiar with actual Soviet training as I don't read Russian, so I am unable to comment on what their training consisted of.

    In one of your posts above you provided the following training example of 2 factor training (planned overreaching):

    "Specific examples:

    Here's an example of an accumulation/intensification cycle for the squat. This is the old 5 x 5 routine first written by Bill Starr and popularized by Glenn Pendlay. Here we train the squat 3 x per week for 4 weeks then twice a week for 4 weeks.

    Volume Phase 4 weeks - Deloading Period 1 week - Intensity Phase 4 weeks. Sets and reps for the intensity phase is in parentheses.

    M:
    Squat 5x5 (3x3)
    Bench 1x5 (1x3)
    Row 1x5 (1x3)

    W:
    Squat 5x5 with 15-20% less than Monday (drop this lift)
    Deadlift 5x5 (3x3)
    Military 5x5 (3x3)
    Pullups 5x5 (3x3)

    F:
    Squat 1x5 (1x3)
    Bench 5x5 (3x3)
    Row 5x5 (3x3)"

    Assumming this program is an accurate representation of 2 factor training that is recommended in English speaking countries, it is clearly a basic variation of high volume training set in a periodization program.

    It is possible that the Soviets or some other country have previously incorporated the physiological facts that form the foundation of the muscle factor model or have recommended training that coincides with the tenets of the muscle factor model and I'm unaware of it because I am an English only speaker. However, if this is the case it hasn't been incorporated into any English language physiological or training model I've ever encountered.
    What I posted is a short peaking cycle. You can read up on West Side or WS4SB to see a power lifting application or a sports performance application. No one has really adapted it to bodybuilding.
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    Originally Posted by britlifter View Post
    Richard99 what is so different about your claims of periodization between high volume/intensity and low volume/intensity and what all pro has touched on? Dual factor training? Which has been around for YEARS
    I don't see a big difference between periodization (high volume/intensity and low volume/intensity) and dual factor training. As I understand it, dual factor training is basically one variation of high volume, periodized training.

    The muscle factor model and the training based on this model is, IMO, markedly different from current training beliefs, principles and practices. For example, what part of dual factor or periodization training specifically focuses on training the Fast Twitch B fibers? Which part is specifically designed to train the Fast Twitch A fibers? Which part specifically targets the Slow Twitch fibers? The muscle factor model explains the necessity for training all the different muscle fibers and it offers a method specifically designed to train the different muscle fibers.
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    Originally Posted by Richard99 View Post
    I don't see a big difference between periodization (high volume/intensity and low volume/intensity) and dual factor training. As I understand it, dual factor training is basically one variation of high volume, periodized training.

    The muscle factor model and the training based on this model is, IMO, markedly different from current training beliefs, principles and practices. For example, what part of dual factor or periodization training specifically focuses on training the Fast Twitch B fibers? Which part is specifically designed to train the Fast Twitch A fibers? Which part specifically targets the Slow Twitch fibers? The muscle factor model explains the necessity for training all the different muscle fibers and it offers a method specifically designed to train the different muscle fibers.
    2Bs are trained first will the CNS is fresh and ATP stores are full. Heavy weights, 1-6 rep range, from 1-5 sets. This covers the full range of all of the fibers in the 2B group and trains the CNS for RFD. Explosive Olympic lifts are also used because they produce the highest degree of CNS activation and motor unit recruitment.
    2As are attacked after 2Bs so that they don't get any help. Sets are done in the 8-12 rep range. Type ones are attacked through the combination of total volume and those 10 rep sets during the first work out for the assistance work and on a second work out later in the week for the primary lifts. Plyometrics are employed to train the SSC. So far YOU have yet to explain how YOUR program trains the CNS and the GOLGI Tendon Organ or RFD or starting strength or explosive strength or the SSC.
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    and down your throat.

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    Hard gainer = under eater
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    The range of fatigue in fast twitch fibers has been measured between 16 seconds and 34 minutes (yes, 34 minutes) (1). Think about that for a moment - some fast twitch fibers fatigued in as short a time as 16 seconds. Some fast twitch fibers took 34 minutes before they fatigued. All the other fast twitch fibers fatigued between 16 seconds and 34 minutes.

    Slow twitch fibers can take hours to fatigue.

    How many fast twitch fibers are overloaded during a set that lasts 5 seconds (1 rep)? 18 seconds (about 6 reps)? 36 seconds (about 12 reps)? 1 minute (12-15 slow reps)?

    How do you train to overload those fast twitch fiber that take 2 minutes to fatigue?

    How should one train to overload those fast twitch fibers that take 4 minutes to fatigue? 8 minutes? 10 minutes? 20 minutes?



    A properly designed program should produce strength and size gains minimally in all the fast twitch fibers, if not all the muscle fibers. Do most bodybuilding program produce hypertrophy in all the fast twitch fibers? A study (2) comparing bodybuilders to active but non-strength training controls provides some insight on this question.

    The study found that the bodybuilders Fast B fibers were significantly larger (50% larger) than those of the control subjects. No surprise there.

    However, the difference in the size of the Fast A fibers was much less. The bodybuilders did have larger Fast A fibers than the controls but the difference was much less than that in the Fast B fibers. Why wasn't the size difference in the Fast A fibers larger? I submit it is because the Fast A fibers were relatively untrained in both groups.

    There was no difference in the size of the slow twitch fibers between the two groups. I suggest this is because the slow twitch fibers in both groups were untrained. Slow twitch fibers can and do increase in size with training as studies of master endurance runners have found slow twitch fibers to be larger than the fast twitch fibers.

    As I wrote in my summary of the muscle factor model - a muscle fiber has to be both active and overloaded before it will adapt. No overload = no adaptation. It is a fact that different fibers posses vastly different contractile properties. I believe this fact has significant training implications. The training that overloads one fiber is unlikely to significantly overload a different fiber that possess vastly different contractile properties.

    References:

    1. Botterman B, Cope T., Maximum tension predicts relative endurance of fast-twitch motor units in the cat, J Neurophysiology, 1998, 60(4), 1215 ? 1225

    2. D?Antona G, Lanfranconi F, Pellegrino M, Brocca L, Adami R, Rossi R, Moro G, Miotti D, Canepari M., Skeletal muscle hypertrophy and structure and function of skeletal muscle fibres in male body builders, J Physiol, 2006, 570, 611-627
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    Originally Posted by Richard99 View Post
    The range of fatigue in fast twitch fibers has been measured between 16 seconds and 34 minutes (yes, 34 minutes) (1). Think about that for a moment - some fast twitch fibers fatigued in as short a time as 16 seconds. Some fast twitch fibers took 34 minutes before they fatigued. All the other fast twitch fibers fatigued between 16 seconds and 34 minutes.

    Slow twitch fibers can take hours to fatigue.

    How many fast twitch fibers are overloaded during a set that lasts 5 seconds (1 rep)? 18 seconds (about 6 reps)? 36 seconds (about 12 reps)? 1 minute (12-15 slow reps)?

    How do you train to overload those fast twitch fiber that take 2 minutes to fatigue?

    How should one train to overload those fast twitch fibers that take 4 minutes to fatigue? 8 minutes? 10 minutes? 20 minutes?
    Fibers DON'T hypertrophy due to fatigue. They hypertrophy due to damage. 2Bs are fueled by ATP. ATP is depleted in 5-10 seconds. 2As are fueled by glycogen. Glycogen stores are depleted in 45-50 seconds.
    The bottom line, who gives a damn about fatigue. This isn't an endurance event.
    Bodybuilder, n. A weight lifter too weak to be a powerlifter.
    Powerlifter, n. A weight lifter too fat to be a bodybuilder.
    HIT Jedi, n. The fitness equivalent to Al Qaeda, except
    rather than fly planes into buildings, devotees fly
    steaming piles of dogmatic horse**** into your ears
    and down your throat.

    Every thing works..........for about 6 weeks.
    Hard gainer = under eater
    _____________________________________________

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    I think where some people go wrong about dual-factor is that they expect it to be some VERY high volume programme. It isn't, nor, for the majority of guys who lift, should it be. The idea of doing more and more is firmly entrenched in the training world, and that is a step in the wrong direction.

    What IS needed is a sensible approach to it all. Since the body cannot continually adapt to the single factor linear progression model indefinitely, the dual factor approach "solves"--for the most part--this problem. (No, it is NOT perfect--if there WERE a perfect model we'd all be doing it). By cycling up and down the "intensity road" you can trick your body, so to speak, into expecting more and more workload (reasonable workload) and then provide the CNS and the muscle systems a rest with a deload phase. How long a rest? Good question; as long as it takes, although it shouldn't be THAT long.

    Technically speaking, we're all in the process of recovery every single day, whether we work out or not. There is never "perfect" supercompensation--it all varies due to age, previous injuries, hormonal profile, food intake, and, yes, genetics. Having said that, IMHO, the dual-factor approach is the best system which will give the athlete (or gym rat, i.e. me) the best overall gains. Is it time-efficient? Maybe not. But what we are talking about is overall growth, and that is agonizingly slow, even under the best circumstances. The linear approach, while good, cannot adjust itself continually; the dual-factor approach, if planned out well, will.

    Just my opinion on all this.
    Last edited by GuyJin; 06-02-2008 at 05:39 PM. Reason: grammar and spelling
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    Originally Posted by all pro View Post
    Fibers DON'T hypertrophy due to fatigue. They hypertrophy due to damage...
    The bottom line, who gives a damn about fatigue. This isn't an endurance event.
    We appear to have a fundamental difference of beliefs about what causes adaptation in muscle fibers.

    Fatigue is not specific to endurance events. All fiber types experience fatigue regardless of their level of endurance.

    Fibers that are overloaded adapt. Fibers that aren't overloaded, don't adapt. There is a reason it's called the overload principle, not the damage principle.

    How do you overload a fiber? You overload a fiber by training it close to its maximum capabilities.

    What determines a fiber's capabilities? A fibers capabilities are determined by its contractile properties (i.e. its ability to produce force, its ability to resist fatigue, and its rate of contraction).

    All fibers posses different level of contractile properties, which means the training load that produces overload is different for all fibers.
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