Q: I feel as though I need to train all of my sets to failure to get a good muscle-building workout. In Old Man Young Muscle, you take all of your sets to failure, but you’ve backed off of that. Why? [Read more…]
The Size Principle of Muscle Fiber Recruitment tells us that on a standard-tempo set of lifting in one second and lowering in three, the slow-twitch fibers dominate on the earlier, easier reps of a set… [Read more…]
Let’s pick up the Speed Set discussion with more from neurophysiologist Chad Waterbury:
To produce more force, the nervous system must recruit more motor units. Think of each motor unit as being a football player, and imagine your car is stuck in a ditch. The more football players you have to pull the car out, the easier the task will be.
The same is true with the nervous system: the more motor units recruited, the greater the force you’ll be able to produce. So to lift the largest load or to lift any load as fast as possible, you must recruit as many motor units as possible.
So again, speed equals force. You can NOT lift a weight faster by recruiting fewer motor units. That means the more motor units you recruit, the faster you’ll move…
Arnold knew that instinctively and did many of his sets with controlled explosive reps…
Of course, you don’t want to start jerking the weight, as that can cause you to get injured. But by doing some of your sets in Speed style, with 1.5-second controlled reps, you will stimulate more muscle mass at each workout…
Back to Waterbury…
Make no mistake about it, speed is the omnipotent ruler. Indeed, the most reputable research has demonstrated time and time again that a faster tempo leads to the greatest hypertrophy and strength gains. And I’m not just talking about the concentric (shortening or lifting) phase of muscle contractions; I’m talking about both phases.
But what about the Size Principle of Muscle Fiber Recruitment? It tells us that the slow-twitch fibers dominate on the earlier, easier reps of a set, gradually giving up and giving way to the fast-twitch fibers toward the end of a set.
At least that’s how it works on standard slower-rep sets: slow-twitch domination early leads to fast-twitch domination late…
But what about a Speed Set, which creates high force early? Could that be key in accelerating hypertrophy? We’ll delve into that tomorrow.
Your Efficient Mass-Building Handbook: For more mass-building tips like the above plus complete workouts that include the ideal exercise for each muscle and the best stretch and contracted add-on moves, get your copy of Old Man, Young Muscle.
Q: I really blew up when I went to your 20-second rests between sets. Pump was crazy for me. I’m not sure I can reduce it to 10 seconds before my last set. Is that really necessary? I’m not a wuss. I just want 10 extra seconds of rest. LOL [Read more…]
Q: I can’t wrap my head around lighter weights getting me as big as heavy weights. Wouldn’t fatigue from high reps cause you to stop a set short before you get enough fibers involved? [Read more…]
I’ve been putzing around with my workouts, trying to put more mass on this 62-year-old body while staying healthy and injury free. The older I get, the more elusive extra muscle becomes…
Mechanical tension, or mechanical loading, is resistance stress on the muscle fibers. It’s the big key to hypertrophy.
And for the purpose of muscle growth, we want mechanical loading that targets fast-twitch engagement. That occurs optimally with a cascade effect, activating slow-twitch fibers first followed by fast-twitch… [Read more…]
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. [Read more…]
We harp on the Size Principle of Muscle Fiber Recruitment a lot. Why? Because it explains how to get the most muscle growth possible—in both the fast-twitch as well as slow-twitch fibers… [Read more…]
If you want to pack on the most mass with efficiency of effort, the Size Principle of Muscle Fiber Recruitment is key…
The principle says that [Read more…]