Doug Brignole and I were discussing training sets to failure and the body’s response to that.
The common belief is that training a set until you can’t get another rep activates the most fast-twitch fibers possible.
That comes from the Size Principle of Muscle Fiber Recruitment, which basically states that during the early easy reps you’re engaging primarily slow-twitch…
As the set progresses, the reps get harder; therefore you begin calling in the intermediates and finally the fast-twitch fibers on the last most difficult reps.
But researcher Chris Beardsley says that the final rep or two contribute less than the reps right before those last-gasp ones.
In fact, he says that the systemic cost on the nervous system as well as muscle damage triggered by the final all-out two significantly impedes recovery.
While that may not matter too much to young bucks, it tells us older dudes that we may need to back off a bit.
Brignole, who is my age at 62, said that he began gaining muscle faster when he pulled back to around 95 percent on most sets. He keeps about two reps in reserve.
I’ve been doing all of my sets to failure for as long as I can remember. And it has worked…
I made fairly spectacular progress during my 10-week transformation last summer with three to four all-out sets per muscle, as outlined in Old Man Young Muscle.
But could I have done better using mostly sub-failure sets instead? Less intensity for more immensity? Stay tuned.
New: Get the ideal exercise for each muscle, the best add-on moves for ultimate mass, complete 35-minute workouts, exercise start/finish photos, and details on building muscle fast and efficiently in Old Man, Young Muscle.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
Former Editor in Chief, Iron Man Magazine
Ripped Muscle Now: Harvard Research
Harvard researcher Dr. Dimitrios Stamou discovered an enzyme that eats bodyfat. It’s helping women and men lose up to 21 pounds on average in less than 28 days.
Plus, it can help bodybuilders get freaky ripped faster than ever (see the pic of the 69-year-old who is shredded at the link below).
Remember, when you’re leaner, you look bigger than ever… And best of all, your body can MAKE this fat-blasting enzyme by eating these specific foods… and they taste GREAT.
Our colleague, the man who owned the gym that Lou Ferrigno trained at in “Pumping Iron,” turned us onto this. He’s using it himself to shed fat faster than ever, and he’s in his 50s. Get the details and see his photo HERE.