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Thread: High intensity questions?

  1. #1
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    High intensity questions?

    Can someone explain the various high intensity techniques or point me to a place that defines them?

    I'm talking about things like:

    Drop sets
    Supper sets
    forced sets
    compound sets
    etc...

    Thanks
    Thomas

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    Genetic Experiment GeneticallyGifted's Avatar
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    Re: High intensity questions?

    Originally posted by devhuman
    Can someone explain the various high intensity techniques or point me to a place that defines them?

    I'm talking about things like:

    Drop sets
    Supper sets
    forced sets
    compound sets
    etc...

    Thanks
    Thomas
    Well let see....

    Drop sets are when you do the heaviest weight then after you can't push that any more you drop the weight without any rest...and you do this for however many reps...just keep dropping the weight when you can't do anymore of the weight that you are at. (usually works best with partners that can help or on machines.)

    Super Sets is a exercise that you do with muscles like Chest and Back or Bi's and Tri's. EX: BB Curls move to Tricep Pushdowns. Limited Rest.

    Forced Sets are basically self explanatory. When you can't push anymore you have someone spot you to help you FORCE out more reps than you can do.

    Compound Sets are the same thing as Super Sets but you are doing the same muscle....EX: BB Curls and Preacher Curls.

    I hope that helps you. If you have anymore questions please ask.
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    O.K....not really mesmall's Avatar
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    Intensity has nothing to do as you have mentioned. When lifting it has to do with pushing your body beyond where it wants to stop. For an example, doing squats....when you think it's time to rack it......no way....1 more....focus...strain like hell....time to rack it now....no way, 1 more. Eventually, you will collapse. That would be intense.....get the idea.
    " Eat to grow, Progression to get stronger " - mesmall

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    Thanks AFreakinMutation! Good explanation.

    Mesmall... I agree with your coment. I try to lift "intensly" as well.

    -Tom

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    Senior Member Gavan's Avatar
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    As Jones said : you can't train too hard just too much !
    Gain Muscles ? Overload !
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    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Intensity is the % of your 1RM used in a lift. It has nothing to do with perceived effort of training.
    Vin Diesel has a fever.. and the only prescription is more cowbell.

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    This is true

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  8. #8
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    Originally posted by PowerManDL
    Intensity is the % of your 1RM used in a lift. It has nothing to do with perceived effort of training.
    actual effort VERSUS percieved effort.

    i think poeples percieved effort on squats/leg press is a lot more than there actual effort, very hard to go to 100% intensity for those exercise.
    while bench pressing I find it easy to trian intensly.
    Last edited by body; 03-18-2002 at 04:26 PM.
    my exprience - joined gym 10 years ago, 6 1/2 years hard weight training exprience.

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    Senior Member Gavan's Avatar
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    that's the definition of non-hiters ! But I agree that Jones definition is not exact.

    Because what's more intense a 5 reps to failure or 10 ? Will both sets have the same effect on CNS ?! I don't think so because of the load's difference.

    5 reps to failure will be more taxing for CNS. And 10 reps perhaps more productive for size, because of longer TUT and much more negatives repetitions (and sufficent load to induce microtraumas).

    your opinion ?
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  10. #10
    Magically delicious Shane's Avatar
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    Originally posted by PowerManDL
    Intensity is the % of your 1RM used in a lift. It has nothing to do with perceived effort of training.

    Damn, you beat me to it.
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  11. #11
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    Originally posted by Gavan

    Because what's more intense a 5 reps to failure or 10 ?
    both have the same level of intensity, just the results are different. if you did a 1,000 reps to faluire, the intensity is still the same, just be using different energy ratios etc and get a different adaption.
    my exprience - joined gym 10 years ago, 6 1/2 years hard weight training exprience.

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    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Gavan
    that's the definition of non-hiters !
    No, that's the definition of intensity in all disciplines of exercise science. HIT always likes to reject science, though, because that makes things too complicated for them. Even when they do use science, they mess it up.

    If I just up and decided to rename the color green "red," I could do it, but it would result in a lot of confusion. The same principle applies here. Intensity is NOT the momentary inability to complete a rep; intensity is NOT going to failure. Intensity has a single, well-defined meaning. You can give it all the other meanings you want, but it won't change what it means.
    Vin Diesel has a fever.. and the only prescription is more cowbell.

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    galileo: hate

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  13. #13
    O.K....not really mesmall's Avatar
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    Most people do not know what their 1RM is so therefore my definition by example stands.
    " Eat to grow, Progression to get stronger " - mesmall

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    Senior Member Gavan's Avatar
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    ok but then work to maximal intensity (1RM) won't produce great results, at least for size !

    So we have to reduce intensity to the minimum (something like 10 to 30RM for hypertrophy and 3-5RM for strenght) which will produce result (hypertrophy or CNS adaptation) and work as much as we can with this weight ?!

    This is the theory of low intensity training. See Kazimir Majorinc's site : http://chem.pmf.hr/~kazimir/LIT.htm

    High Volume and Low Intensity (relatively light weight). Perhaps it will works for size...

    But I think the understanding of muscular's cells is more important. After all, perhaps (?) all we need for size gains is microtraumas. How much volume/intensity or total tonnage is necessary for microtraumas ? How do we know that we made microtraumas ?

    Jones stated that an "anormal" level of pump is an indicator of a futur growth. And some experts say that a maximal pump/burn = tetanization is what will make them (muscles) grow at best.

    In my opinion training to failure will produce maximal strenght gains and training to the maximum of your muscle's capacity (tetanization) will make them grow. But maximal capacity of a muscle is not "just" training to failure. This is probably not enough. You need a to tetanize your muscles. Your muscles should not be able to flex anymore. I guess Jones noticed size result with his "high intensity training" not only because of training to failure but because of moving on exercices [= time factor] then muscles will get enough density of work (volume per unit of time) + intensity (maximal effort) to be tetanized (MAXIMAL pump and burns)

    my conclusion : 1 set per exercices or muscle if you want maximum strenght gains. AND as much set as you need to get a maximal pump (so probably maximal burn too) for size gains.

    a way to go for arms could be like this : Chins up to failure immediately follow by Dips to failure immedialtely follow by barbbel curls to failure then french press to failure. (sets of 8-12) I think that if your train with maximal effort it should be enough for maximal size and strenght gains ! (at least for arms) if you can do more.... do it

    density is High and Effort is maximal => High TUT with certainly load heavy enough to induce micotraumas => maximal pump/burns => maximum size + strenght gains.

    sorry my english is very bad

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    but your use of smileys is excellent.

    bravo!
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    Senior Member Gavan's Avatar
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    that's superb __ I'm a genius ( >_)> <(_<)
    Last edited by Gavan; 03-19-2002 at 07:31 AM.
    Gain Muscles ? Overload !
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    Party of "No." Tryska's Avatar
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    is that a pokemon?
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    Senior Member Gavan's Avatar
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    {O<>}O @(^_^@ ) yes they are monsters !!
    Gain Muscles ? Overload !
    Lose Fat ? Input < Output
    Genetic determines your potential
    Chins : 10x106kg Dips 10x109kg

  19. #19
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    hee hee. very cool. i'm gonna stop degenrating this thread dnow tho. sorry about the interruption.
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  20. #20
    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    Not too long ago I had a 'discussion' on another board with someone who is a Mentzerite (AND a super slow guy!). Just getting through the dogmatic refusal to listen to anything was the first challenge... the second is this:

    No one, ever, has been able to explain why or how Mentzer's training (HIT) is superior to any other method using physiology.

    A couple of points in Gavan's post:

    But I think the understanding of muscular's cells is more important. After all, perhaps (?) all we need for size gains is microtraumas. How much volume/intensity or total tonnage is necessary for microtraumas ? How do we know that we made microtraumas ?

    ** We don't know, without a biopsy. I'm not going to volunteer.

    Jones stated that an "anormal" level of pump is an indicator of a futur growth. And some experts say that a maximal pump/burn = tetanization is what will make them (muscles) grow at best.

    ** Jones was wrong in this case. None of these experts can explain this using physiology.


    In my opinion training to failure will produce maximal strenght gains and training to the maximum of your muscle's capacity (tetanization) will make them grow.

    ** Maybe.

    But maximal capacity of a muscle is not "just" training to failure. This is probably not enough. You need a to tetanize your muscles. Your muscles should not be able to flex anymore. I guess Jones noticed size result with his "high intensity training" not only because of training to failure but because of moving on exercices [= time factor] then muscles will get enough density of work (volume per unit of time) + intensity (maximal effort) to be tetanized (MAXIMAL pump and burns)

    ** Interesting. Ignoring the pump and burn, this isn't a bad idea.


    my conclusion : 1 set per exercices or muscle if you want maximum strenght gains. AND as much set as you need to get a maximal pump (so probably maximal burn too) for size gains.

    ** Again, ignoring the pump and burn - this works for a lot of people. But not everyone.


    sorry my english is very bad

    ** If you are ESL, your English is very good.
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    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Hey Powerman, we have had this debate in the past, no? I think it is better to say that there are two different definitions of the word intensity in weightlifting/scientific circles. The first being yours, and the second being the one used by advocates of HIT. Perhaps due to my past, I think the HIT definition is a good way to decribe level of effort expended. Either way, it is just semantics and as long as we get the point of what is trying to be said, it should not present a problem.

    As for techniques to increase "intensity", or level of effort expended on a set, I think Mutation answered the question quite well.

    As for Jones' observation about the pump and future growth, it was an empirical observation and while no one may be able to conclusively prove it scientifically (yet), no one can has disproven it (conclusively) either, so one cannot say that Jones was incorrect. He may have been, I suppose time will tell. I can say this much, the times when I have gotten the best pumps from my training (assuming I wasn't just doing endless sets of high reps to get a pump), are the times when I have experienced the best growth. Therefore, my empirical observations concur with Mr. Jones'.

    Training to failure is the absolute best way for beginners and intermediates to train (in my opinion). In the last year or so, I have come to a new conclusion, that non-failure training interspersed with failure training may be optimal for more advanced trainees. I have been experimenting (successfully) with this in my own training as of late.

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    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    While my emperical observation differs from Chris - pumps and burns didn't always accompany growth, and often accompanied not growing... we DO come to similar conclusions.

    I agree that low volume to failure - regardless of how you define falure - is a great way to go for most people.
    Squats work better than supplements.
    "You know, if I thought like that, I'd never put more than one plate on the bar for anything, I'd never use bands or chains, I'd never squat to parallel or below, and I'd never let out the slightest grunt when I lift. At some point in your lifting career (assuming you're planning on getting reasonably strong and big), you're going to have to accept that most people think you are some kind of freak." -Sensei
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    Senior Member Gavan's Avatar
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    Thanks Paul ! I'll continue a little bit :o


    1) In my opinion training to failure will produce maximal strenght gains and training to the maximum of your muscle's capacity (tetanization) will make them grow.

    ** Maybe.

    ---- yes maybe but it's a fact now that strenght is mainly (not totaly) neuromuscular. Training to failure is a stress for CNS and when he has recover from this stress he will be more efficient (can lift more weight). Plus many studies show us that 1 set is equal to 3 sets or more for strenght gains. But remember it's not ONE SET per body part but ONE SET per exercice. Anyway it's impossible to do one set per muscle group or you need a so low volume... 1 set of chins + 1 set of curl = 2 sets for biceps ! One set of bench press + 1 set of military press = 2 sets for chest and shoulders and triceps... I think one set to failure per exercices is the best way to become more efficient (stronger) on these exercices. Too much exercices will be too much stress on CNS => overtraining.


    2) But maximal capacity of a muscle is not "just" training to failure. This is probably not enough. You need a to tetanize your muscles. Your muscles should not be able to flex anymore. I guess Jones noticed size result with his "high intensity training" not only because of training to failure but because of moving on exercices [= time factor] then muscles will get enough density of work (volume per unit of time) + intensity (maximal effort) to be tetanized (MAXIMAL pump and burns)

    ** Interesting. Ignoring the pump and burn, this isn't a bad idea.

    ----OK pump and burns are just an indicator that the muscle is working. But what's the limit ?! For Central Nervous System the limit is maximal effort : FAILURE and certainly heavy load. I mean a set of 3 reps will be more stressful (on CNS) than a set of 20. After that you can do a second set but the "message" will be the same you can't do better. And one set to failure with maximal weight possible (so perhaps more than one "work" set if you have slow twitch) seems to be the best way for strenght gains in a specific exercice !!! => HIT theory.

    Now what's the limit of muscle's capacity.... of FIBERS capacity ?! We have to look at muscle's fonction : Flexing. So we could imagine that when a muscle can't flex anymore it reached his limit. How to work a muscle which cannot flex anymore ?!

    This status is called tetanization.

    Let me do an analogy : If training to failure with heavy weight = [[[working to Central Nervous System's limit ]]] is sufficient and optimal for strenght gains. Then working to tetanization is sufficient and optimal for size gains.

    I think the best way to go nearest to tetanization is maximal effort. But maximal effort is limited in time. It's only the last or 2 last repetitions of a set. So we have to increase this MET (maximal effort time) until we get a maximal pump. It's why Jones routine worked because he did for example : CHINS, DIPS then Rowing then Bench Press then CURL without REST ! I guess that at least your forearms + biceps + triceps get fully pumped after that

    And... when muscles are pumped to iron they (nearly) cannot flex so we reached their limit => they will grow fast, faster than with a little pump/stress on fibers ! Perhaps this example of routine is not complete. Chest and Shoulders didn't get enough "stress". Perhaps lateral raises + l-fly could have kill your chest + shoulders and make them totaly pumped.

    There is a problem : why not do 100 reps with light weight ?! Perhaps it'll works. But this will not produce great strenght gains. And it's perhaps a too long time under tension, don't forget that marathon runner's muscles are atrophied because of very long activity of muscles. I'm not an expert and don't know a lot about ATP and acid lactic, ions etc... but I guess 100 reps is too long and not heavy enough to recrut many fibers or perhaps it'll recrut just a certain category of fibers... not the god one for hypertrophy.

    I think 5 to 20 reps is good dependant on fiber's type and also your favorite reps range. And don't forget that high reps = less stress on CNS = less strengt gains. And progressive load being an absolute condition to continue to progress.... I'll suggest doing ~10 reps perhaps more for legs because they are made mainly of slow switch.... walking hours per days...

    It's my actual theory !


    3) sorry my english is very bad

    ** If you are ESL, your English is very good.

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    Last edited by Gavan; 03-19-2002 at 01:47 PM.

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    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Gavan
    1) In my opinion training to failure will produce maximal strenght gains and training to the maximum of your muscle's capacity (tetanization) will make them grow.

    ** Maybe.

    ---- yes maybe but it's a fact now that strenght is mainly (not totaly) neuromuscular. Training to failure is a stress for CNS and when he has recover from this stress he will be more efficient (can lift more weight). Plus many studies show us that 1 set is equal to 3 sets or more for strenght gains. But remember it's not ONE SET per body part but ONE SET per exercice. Anyway it's impossible to do one set per muscle group or you need a so low volume... 1 set of chins + 1 set of curl = 2 sets for biceps ! One set of bench press + 1 set of military press = 2 sets for chest and shoulders and triceps... I think one set to failure per exercices is the best way to become more efficient (stronger) on these exercices. Too much exercices will be too much stress on CNS => overtraining.


    Ok, first things first-- training to tetanization is VERY difficult to do, and requires more than I think you realize. In fact, I'm not even sure it can be done via voluntary muscular contraction. You'd literally have to take an electrostim device to reach that level of fatigue.

    Secondly, those studies you're quoting regarding 1 set vs. 3 sets aren't exactly the best of references.

    Thirdly, many on this site, including myself, have made rather dramatic strength gains doing a bit more than one set per exercise.

    2) But maximal capacity of a muscle is not "just" training to failure. This is probably not enough. You need a to tetanize your muscles. Your muscles should not be able to flex anymore. I guess Jones noticed size result with his "high intensity training" not only because of training to failure but because of moving on exercices [= time factor] then muscles will get enough density of work (volume per unit of time) + intensity (maximal effort) to be tetanized (MAXIMAL pump and burns)

    ** Interesting. Ignoring the pump and burn, this isn't a bad idea.

    ----OK pump and burns are just an indicator that the muscle is working. But what's the limit ?! For Central Nervous System the limit is maximal effort : FAILURE and certainly heavy load. I mean a set of 3 reps will be more stressful (on CNS) than a set of 20. After that you can do a second set but the "message" will be the same you can't do better. And one set to failure with maximal weight possible (so perhaps more than one "work" set if you have slow twitch) seems to be the best way for strenght gains in a specific exercice !!! => HIT theory.


    A set of 3 will be more taxing on the average than a set of 20, but provided the sets are taken to concentric failure, the actual stress applied won't be that much different, except regarding how and when the high-threshold MU's are recruited.

    The best way to increase strength in a specific exercise over the short term is to perform multiple sets of heavy weight (1-3 reps) with that exercise.

    At any rate, you're talking two different games here. Development of hypertrophy and maximal strength don't tend to correlate very well over the short term.

    Now what's the limit of muscle's capacity.... of FIBERS capacity ?! We have to look at muscle's fonction : Flexing. So we could imagine that when a muscle can't flex anymore it reached his limit. How to work a muscle which cannot flex anymore ?!

    This status is called tetanization.


    Again, training to this level is VERY difficult to do voluntarily. And the recovery periods required by training to such a level are prohibitive.

    Let me do an analogy : If training to failure with heavy weight = [[[working to Central Nervous System's limit ]]] is sufficient and optimal for strenght gains. Then working to tetanization is sufficient and optimal for size gains.


    Ok, I think I see where you're going with this, though for the reasons I mentioned above, training to true tetanization isn't going to be very practical.

    I think the best way to go nearest to tetanization is maximal effort. But maximal effort is limited in time. It's only the last or 2 last repetitions of a set. So we have to increase this MET (maximal effort time) until we get a maximal pump. It's why Jones routine worked because he did for example : CHINS, DIPS then Rowing then Bench Press then CURL without REST ! I guess that at least your forearms + biceps + triceps get fully pumped after that

    And... when muscles are pumped to iron they (nearly) cannot flex so we reached their limit => they will grow fast, faster than with a little pump/stress on fibers ! Perhaps this example of routine is not complete. Chest and Shoulders didn't get enough "stress". Perhaps lateral raises + l-fly could have kill your chest + shoulders and make them totaly pumped.


    I must say that I like where you're going with this.

    There is a problem : why not do 100 reps with light weight ?! Perhaps it'll works. But this will not produce great strenght gains. And it's perhaps a too long time under tension, don't forget that marathon runner's muscles are atrophied because of very long activity of muscles. I'm not an expert and don't know a lot about ATP and acid lactic, ions etc... but I guess 100 reps is too long and not heavy enough to recrut many fibers or perhaps it'll recrut just a certain category of fibers... not the god one for hypertrophy.


    You've about hit it. There's always a trade-off between rate of protein degradation (a function of muscular tension) and total time of protein degradation (a function of length of time under tension). Then you have to consider the other factors: which MU's are recruited, and effects of eccentric action.

    The MU's most likely to engage in hypertrophy are the highest threshold units, the ones that are recruited when a heavy weight is lifted or when a submaximal weight is lifted to failure. In 1-3 rep sets, the rate of protein degradation is high, but the time is low. In 12+ rep sets, the time is high, but the rate of degradation is low. The optimal range seems to be between 5RM and 10RM for hypertrophy. Not surprisingly, this also seems to correlate with the most positive hormonal responses.

    The effects of eccentric action on muscular growth and adaptation are also pretty important, since the microtrauma imposed is thought to be one reason for the accomodating adaptations, and also results in positive hormonal actions.

    Really, all three of these factors come into play regarding hypertrophic effects. It also means there's more than one way to skin a cat, regarding max growth.

    I think 5 to 20 reps is good dependant on fiber's type and also your favorite reps range. And don't forget that high reps = less stress on CNS = less strengt gains. And progressive load being an absolute condition to continue to progress.... I'll suggest doing ~10 reps perhaps more for legs because they are made mainly of slow switch.... walking hours per days...

    It's my actual theory !


    Not bad, once you get past the confusing speech.
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  25. #25
    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    ESL = English as Second Language.

    Good stuff.
    Squats work better than supplements.
    "You know, if I thought like that, I'd never put more than one plate on the bar for anything, I'd never use bands or chains, I'd never squat to parallel or below, and I'd never let out the slightest grunt when I lift. At some point in your lifting career (assuming you're planning on getting reasonably strong and big), you're going to have to accept that most people think you are some kind of freak." -Sensei
    "You're wrong, and I have a completely irrelevant pubmed abstract that may or may not say so." - Belial
    I has a blog.
    I has a facebook.

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