The article on Key Principles to Growth was very helpful to me. I had a question about understanding the science behind the differences in lifting strategies. I wanted to know what the difference is between doing this 6 rep approach incrementally increasing the weight over 6 sets before reaching your true 6 rep max weight, compared to any other approach, like say, doing lighter 10-12 rep max warm up sets and then immediately jumping to your max 6 rep weight, for 2-3 sets, and then finishing with the rest/pause +2 +2 +2. Why or in what way is doing 6 reps of lighter weights beneficial before you reach your 6 rep max set over the alternative approach? Or, what happens to your muscles when you're doing this compared to the alternative, I guess is what I'm asking. Or I guess another angle of the question would be is that I understand why the number 6 is the magic number, but why does that number apply to more than just the max weight you can do at 6 reps? If my questions don't make sense, I'll try reasking them another 7 or 8 ways. Thanks.
Last edited by HawkmanJaY; 05-11-2010 at 05:14 PM.
Good questions! I'll try and answer each variation!
Doing lighter sets i.e. 12RM before a 6RM effort would a) introduce too much fatigue negatively impacting the weight you could use for 6 and
b) would need some guesswork about what weight to use for your 6RM. By warming up and ramping up in sets of 6 (or less if you want to further conserve energy) you get an accurate gauge for what weight you'll be using for 6RM that day.
This is the autoregulation aspect. You can of course plan what weight to use in advance (as in your 12RM example) but that's not to say your body'll play along.
This way prepares you to lift the best/most on any given day (good, bad or indifferent) and get the most out of any training session.
So we avoid too much fatigue before our top set but introduce it with rest-pause afterwards to get the requisite tension (primary stimulus for growth) and fatigue (secondary stimulus for growth) combo.
Last edited by Daniel Roberts; 05-12-2010 at 01:31 AM.
I had the very same question as Hawk, now I get it. Thank you for putting this together and answering a lot of questions. I'll be making my way over to ALN again here pretty soon...
"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." ~ C.S. Lewis
Thanks again Daniel, for the response. Let me see if I understand. So the purpose of the 6 reps in the work sets is to assist with the autoregulating process of finding your 6 rep max weight, rather than doing low weight warmup reps and hopping right up to your 6 reps weight, in large, guessing what that weight is (and also possibly prematurely fatiguing the muscle). I think I understand that part pretty well. Now let's just say hypothetically that you could accurately guess your true 6 rep max weight any given day every single time you walked into the gym. Would there be an advantage to still ramping the weight up in 6's compared to doing 2 very low weight reps and then jumping right up to your 6 rep weight doing 3 sets of 6 reps with the final set of the three ending with the rest/pause, rather than just doing the one max rep set? Would that have a different effect on the muscle growth, and how so?
Good question again.Now let's just say hypothetically that you could accurately guess your true 6 rep max weight any given day every single time you walked into the gym. Would there be an advantage to still ramping the weight up in 6's compared to doing 2 very low weight reps and then jumping right up to your 6 rep weight doing 3 sets of 6 reps with the final set of the three ending with the rest/pause, rather than just doing the one max rep set? Would that have a different effect on the muscle growth, and how so?
Essentially you're asking what benefits are there to ramping up vs straight sets. In your example you have 3 sets of 6 with clusters at the end of the 3rd set. Good mix of volume and load but you wouldn't be using 6RM for all sets (fatigue would prevent that if rest periods were sensible), so the absolute load/weight (tension) would be lower.
Given that tension is the primary factor and fatigue second we look to maximise our working loads and fatigue the muscle using rest-pause. as for why this is significant look up 'How Heavy Should the Weight Be' in the Principles article.
Will do. Thanks.
Any follow up questions after that, fire away.