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Thread: -Intensity techniques vs straight sets-

  1. #1
    ryhypnol posterchild Qea's Avatar
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    -Intensity techniques vs straight sets-

    I've been using straight sets in all my workouts for the past few months with steady and good progressions on my strength, but my mass hasn't seemed to to increase much.

    Which leads me to think that it isn't so much how much weight you lift (i.e strength = size) but rather how hard your muscle is worked that stimulates hypertrophy.

    How effective are the various intensity techniques out there? e.g. super-sets, compound sets, drop-sets, pre-exhaust, etc etc

    And how often do you guys employ them?


    My experience using them has shown that although it doesnt allow you to lift maximal poundage, it does hit your muscles harder.

    Please feedback or comment on this! Thanks!
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    I did "straight sets" for 8 years and enjoyed decent steady gains. I'd go to the gym and plan on doing 3 sets of 8 reps with a weight and train like that. When I adopted failure and beyond failure training a couple years ago, I noticed the best muscle and strength gains in 10 years. So, whatever science is behind it doesn't matter to me. I have had a lot of time for trial and error with training and diet, and believe "the proof is in the pudding." It worked the best for me, therefore it is the best for me. Damn, pudding sounds good right now.
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    Senior Member Gavan's Avatar
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    my opinion about hypertrophy

    ok MAN !! Here is my opinion ! First Strenght has NOTHING to do with hypertrophy !! If Size is your goal then strenght is just a POSSIBLE consequence of getting bigger !

    If it was not the case then STRONGER men should be the BIGGERS ! It's not the case -!!! I know many guys who are stronger than me !! and not bigger sometimes even smaller !! The same for powerlifters and bodybuilders. You can become bigger and not very strong or become very strong and not big at all ! Exemple guys who curls for 130 pounds for 6-8 reps when I use 5x20x50-60 pounds ! My arms are bigger they are stronger ! Both training are HARD one is hard for CNS one is hard for muscles.

    When you train for size you don't have to train for strenght ! I mean you don't have to train to failure or to use HEAVY load ! This will promote strenght gains ! Because of CNS adaptation ! Failure is the best way for strenght because it's the biggest stress the biggest demand for CNS !

    If you want to be big you must train for BURN and maximal PUMP ! This is TETANIZATION. You don't have to lift to the limit of your strenght.... 1 set to failure 10 set to failure.... this is not the way to train !!!

    You must train to muscle's limit not strenght limit. No regard to the load just train your muscles to their limit not your CNS !

    Good form + adapted breathing + heaviest weight possible***=> burn(and pump) = maximal Hypertrophy !


    *** if you can curl 10x100 to failure ! It's not enough for muscle it's enough for strenght for CNS. I think MENTZER was right Heavy Duty's principes are 100% right if STRENGHT is your goal. But for hypertrophy is not failure which must be your goal but tetanization.

    Failure = CNS limit Tetanization = muscle limit

    So for hypertrophy AFTER your 10x100 or 5x120 on curl you have to reduce the weight and do as much sets as you can with this weight until you reach tetanization (maximal burn). If the weight is still to heavy, no problem just reduce it !!! Reduce weight until you can do as much VOLUME as yo need to be tetanized !

    You can use sets of 5 or 10 or 20 no problem. Sets of 5 will be better (higher load) but I doubt you could reach a maximal burn with 5 reps.... TUT is certainly too short. I think sets of 10 (and 20 for certain bodypart like biceps and back) will be more appropriate !

    what about frequency ? I noticed that after 1-2 weeks of intense training (2-3x tetanization per muscle in a week) your muscles are no more responding ! They need a deconditioning period (7-15 days) to be receptive to training !!!

    My suggestion for size : train to tetanization no regards on weight/volume and train each muscles 2-3 times a week. NOTE your results and try another week. I think that after 2 weeks (maximum 3 weeks) you won't grow anymore and need a deconditioning period.

    What about diet ? I know you don't need a surplus of calories for big muscles. surplus of calories = more fat tissues. All you need to grow is enough protein (1.5 to 3g per kilos) and some carbs and fat to have energy. For fat loss you need a deficit of calories...

    Sorry it's very long and my english suxxx ! But I so passionate
    Last edited by Gavan; 03-13-2002 at 12:32 PM.

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    MA's Bionic Creation syntekz's Avatar
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    Intensity and weighted lifted go hands and hand for me. The heavier the weight (the closer it is to my max), the more intense a set is.

    If I do say 100lbs on the bench for x amount of reps. It's pretty damn easy and it's just going through the motions.

    So than, if I put 200 lbs on the bench and do x amount of reps. This weight is much closer to my max and therefore 10 times harder. This is going to cause me to work 10 times harder and the set will 10 times more intense...

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Of course, doing curls with a 5lb dumbell will get intense eventually. But doing 100 reps doesn't do much for me...

  6. #6
    MACHINE
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    I think if you go to failure, that doesn't apply though, because you don't use a stationary "x" amount of reps. If you do 2 sets of squats, one set you fail at 10 reps and the other you fail at 20 with less weight, which one is harder/more intense?
    "He's the best damn rollerskater that ever lived...probably in the whole town" - Chris Pontius

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    Personally I employ straight set principals w/varying rep. schemes every 4 - 6 weeks.

    For example:

    5-7 reps. w/maximal amounts of weight
    7-9 reps. w/10% less weight than the previous cycle
    9-12 reps w/15% less weight than the previous cycle (I employe drop sets in this scheme)

    The lower count rep. schemes seem to produce the strength it takes to do the maxial amount of reps. in the latter rep. scheme with the drop sets.

    As it stands I do obtain the greatest PUMP with the higher rep. (drop set) scheme, but I feel all are important to my overall fitness goals.

    (if you've never tried DROP-SETS give 'em a go, the intensity is unbelievable if done properly)
    Last edited by MRJ; 03-13-2002 at 02:31 PM.
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  8. #8
    MA's Bionic Creation syntekz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by gino
    I think if you go to failure, that doesn't apply though, because you don't use a stationary "x" amount of reps. If you do 2 sets of squats, one set you fail at 10 reps and the other you fail at 20 with less weight, which one is harder/more intense?
    I agree. I think taking sets to failure makes working out so much better as well as more intense. I went back to my gym so I could have a partner and start training to failure once again (Felt like I haven't made any gains in the 2 months that I've been away from the gym).

    I think your set is as intense as you make as well. It's a mind - muscle connection I think.
    Last edited by syntekz; 03-13-2002 at 03:23 PM.

  9. #9
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    Judge the intensity of your squat workout by how many new hemmorhoids you have after the workout. If you didn't get any, you might as well have stayed home on the couch and ate cheesypoofs.
    "He's the best damn rollerskater that ever lived...probably in the whole town" - Chris Pontius

    If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

    5'10" 215 lbs
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  10. #10
    ryhypnol posterchild Qea's Avatar
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    So what techniques would you guys employ to increase the intensity of a workout?

    Drop sets, pre-exhaust, what?

    Do they really work or are they simply a product of muscle magazines' hype factories?
    Don't eat the yellow snow

  11. #11
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Re: my opinion about hypertrophy

    Originally posted by Gavan
    ok MAN !! Here is my opinion ! First Strenght has NOTHING to do with hypertrophy !! If Size is your goal then strenght is just a POSSIBLE consequence of getting bigger !

    If it was not the case then STRONGER men should be the BIGGERS ! It's not the case -!!! I know many guys who are stronger than me !! and not bigger sometimes even smaller !! The same for powerlifters and bodybuilders. You can become bigger and not very strong or become very strong and not big at all ! Exemple guys who curls for 130 pounds for 6-8 reps when I use 5x20x50-60 pounds ! My arms are bigger they are stronger ! Both training are HARD one is hard for CNS one is hard for muscles.

    When you train for size you don't have to train for strenght ! I mean you don't have to train to failure or to use HEAVY load ! This will promote strenght gains ! Because of CNS adaptation ! Failure is the best way for strenght because it's the biggest stress the biggest demand for CNS !

    If you want to be big you must train for BURN and maximal PUMP ! This is TETANIZATION. You don't have to lift to the limit of your strenght.... 1 set to failure 10 set to failure.... this is not the way to train !!!

    You must train to muscle's limit not strenght limit. No regard to the load just train your muscles to their limit not your CNS !

    Good form + adapted breathing + heaviest weight possible***=> burn(and pump) = maximal Hypertrophy !


    *** if you can curl 10x100 to failure ! It's not enough for muscle it's enough for strenght for CNS. I think MENTZER was right Heavy Duty's principes are 100% right if STRENGHT is your goal. But for hypertrophy is not failure which must be your goal but tetanization.

    Failure = CNS limit Tetanization = muscle limit

    So for hypertrophy AFTER your 10x100 or 5x120 on curl you have to reduce the weight and do as much sets as you can with this weight until you reach tetanization (maximal burn). If the weight is still to heavy, no problem just reduce it !!! Reduce weight until you can do as much VOLUME as yo need to be tetanized !

    You can use sets of 5 or 10 or 20 no problem. Sets of 5 will be better (higher load) but I doubt you could reach a maximal burn with 5 reps.... TUT is certainly too short. I think sets of 10 (and 20 for certain bodypart like biceps and back) will be more appropriate !

    what about frequency ? I noticed that after 1-2 weeks of intense training (2-3x tetanization per muscle in a week) your muscles are no more responding ! They need a deconditioning period (7-15 days) to be receptive to training !!!

    My suggestion for size : train to tetanization no regards on weight/volume and train each muscles 2-3 times a week. NOTE your results and try another week. I think that after 2 weeks (maximum 3 weeks) you won't grow anymore and need a deconditioning period.

    What about diet ? I know you don't need a surplus of calories for big muscles. surplus of calories = more fat tissues. All you need to grow is enough protein (1.5 to 3g per kilos) and some carbs and fat to have energy. For fat loss you need a deficit of calories...

    Sorry it's very long and my english suxxx ! But I so passionate


    Now, no offense, but there are so many errors to this line of reasoning, I don't know where to being. I am of limited time this week, so I may have to respond on a different day.

    One note to ponder, if training to failure was not highly beneficial for size, then how do you explain the fact that Mentzer was one of the biggest bodybuilders of his day. Or how about Dorian Yates? Tom Platz was know as an intensity freak, often taking his sets beyond concentric failure by using partials (or burns). I'll elaborate about this and other points soon.
    Last edited by chris mason; 03-13-2002 at 07:05 PM.

  12. #12
    bien bueno! Marcel's Avatar
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    When I read that post by Gavan I thought oh shiat I can't wait for Chris or Paul to read that stuff!!!
    "In the grand scheme of things, both things are quite superficial(obsessed with being muscular&ripped and incredibly strong). And yet lifting can teach you so much. My time at the gym--at least when I'm lifting--is invariably the high-point of my day. There aren't any questions; I almost don't even think. I go into an almost meditative trance-like state. Day-to-day worries become insignificant. I'm focused solely on the weight, and my reason for existence is clear. To move the bar and to improve on what I accomplished last time. Seldom are things so simple." - Blood&Iron

    "Most people cannot understand what burns in our blood, the gym is our addiction and iron is our drug. People don't understand why we commit hours a day to a goal where progress is so small it seems immeasurable, why we do cardio instead of watch TV, why eat 6 meals a day, why we insist on ordering diet soda or how we can drink skim milk. Most people will simply never grasp why we refuse to settle for a mediocre body." - Severed Ties

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    Re: Re: my opinion about hypertrophy

    Originally posted by chris mason

    One note to ponder, if training to failure was not highly beneficial for size, then how do you explain the fact that Mentzer was one of the biggest bodybuilders of his day.
    Correlation does not equal causation Chris. What Gavan said made a lot of sense. I do not think he mentioned anything about notching down the intensity.

    Looking forward to your response.

  14. #14
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    strength and size are two different things. they do correspond with each other though. size comes from intensity, strength comes from progression, increase both, youll get bigger AND stronger.

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    MA's Bionic Creation syntekz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Zalxder
    strength and size are two different things. they do correspond with each other though. size comes from intensity, strength comes from progression, increase both, youll get bigger AND stronger.
    size and strength come from both intensity and progression...

  16. #16
    Senior Member hemants's Avatar
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    Qea,

    I know where you're coming from. I had many questions when I started as well. But my suggestion is that you pick a rep/set scheme and try to stick with it for 4 weeks.

    Make sure you progress with EVERY workout (either reps or weight or both) however small.

    When you're progress stops, take a few days off and then start again but incorporate a small change (if you were doing low reps, try higher reps, try negatives or drop sets).

    The advice you get here will be valuable but not as valuable as your own trial and error. Have patience!

    And keep asking questions too by all means.

    But the bottom line is progression. If you are progressing, then it is working.
    If the only thing you are holding is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Gavan's Avatar
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    Intensity

    Muscles need a certain amount of intensity to grow and your Central Nervous System too ! But it's not the same. Or if you are very lucky it could be the same

    If you can bench press for 10x200 pounds to failure. Then you did enough for your CNS. If you wait long enough to CNS's full recovery you'll be able to lift more weight next time. Because your goal is to lift more and more and as Mentzer said you don't need to tell your body 2 times that you want him to lift more weight.

    If you do 10x200 to failure then 10 minutes after 10x200 to failure your CNS will be taxed too much and for the same message : "I want to be albe lift more than 10x200". So a second set (If you did your MAXIMUM on the first set, the work set) is the worst thing like Mentzer stated.

    But this is only for your CNS, your capacity to lift more, your strenght. You probably didn't give to your muscles enough intensity. You didn't tell them : "I want to be BIGGER".

    SO here is my conclusion : if your goal is strenght then do only 1 set per bodypart. If you want to be strong on many exercices for exemple barbbel curls and cable curls then you should use a routine with a day A and B.

    Now for size you must reduce the stress on CNS to be able to do as much as your muscles need. perhaps it will be 1 set ! Perhaps it will be 10 sets or more ! As for strenght you have to go to your limit (limit of your muscles (Tetanization) not CNS) to get your body understand that he has to adapt.

    The problem if you train to failure is that you won't perhaps be able to do as much as your muscles need because of CNS fatigue. So I think it could be better for size to train 1-2 reps before failure and be able to do enough volume to be tetanized. You'll discover another way of intensity/effort. Resistance to pain. Because going to maximal burn (tetanization) is very painfull !! It's not the same style of effort/pain than working to failure but it's VERY hard too mentaly and physiqualy.


    it's just my opinion I'm not an expert and I'm not telling you : it's the best way to train ! I just think it

  18. #18
    Senior Member Gavan's Avatar
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    to answer to Chris :

    "One note to ponder, if training to failure was not highly beneficial for size, then how do you explain the fact that Mentzer was one of the biggest bodybuilders of his day. Or how about Dorian Yates? Tom Platz was know as an intensity freak, often taking his sets beyond concentric failure by using partials (or burns). I'll elaborate about this and other points soon."

    Mentzer Dorian and Platz are geneticaly gifted and use drugs. If you use drugs you'll grow, 1 set 10 sets 100 sets you'll simply grow. Plus Heavy Duty and HIT promote only 1-3 sets per body part. This !could! be sufficient if you have a predominance of FAST twitch fibers. I think theses monsters that are Mentzer and Dorian have a lot more of FAST twitch than average JOE. So they need less volume than average guy to get tetanized or to be near to tetanization.

    And it seems that they didn't use 1 set per body part them self. You posted Mentzer routine which was more close to Weider's routine than HIT's. The same for Dorian who do "heavy warm up" so more than 1 work set per body part.

    I should ask you how do you explain that Arnold, Weider himselfs, and all the pros who use weider's volume routine are big ?! ;D

    Drugs has a lot to do !! I think you don't need a "perfect" traning when you use drugs. anything will work quiet good ! But for the freedrug amateur this is not the same... He needs to train in the right direction, to train for his goals, he needs an individual routine too. An error = no gain. If you are on juice : an error = less gains.
    Last edited by Gavan; 03-14-2002 at 11:48 AM.
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  19. #19
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    this goes agaisnt how most people advise to trian.
    most of the powerlifters like powerman say you do not always need to go to faluire for strenght trianing, while bbers faluire is more important.
    I would go into further but I feel chris M will be more than willing to word it better than me.
    my exprience - joined gym 10 years ago, 6 1/2 years hard weight training exprience.

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