The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Its no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Raleighwood's Avatar
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    Heavier weights feeling "lighter" or easier as the work out progressess...

    I've been experiencing this phenomenon lately and would hope for some insight...

    I recently began adding in some auto-regulated singles at the end of my work sets for my main lifts. In other words, depending on how I performed on my last work set, I'll add a certain amount of weight to the bar and perform 1-3 singles.

    What I've begun to notice is that these singles are easier to complete then my sets at a lighter weight. It even seems easier than parts of my warm up....

    What is going on here? Nerve potentiation? More of a warm up? A temporary increase is perceived strength after maximal rep sets?

    any ideas?
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  3. #2
    I Wanna Be Strong(er)
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    Wow,im not the only one that feels this way lol..
    Been wondering the same thing for awhile..
    Last edited by T o m m Y; 01-07-2011 at 10:17 AM.
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  4. #3
    Skinny Feet Kiff's Avatar
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    I get this, i dont know why but i do, I tried to pull 130KG the other day after one warm up set and the bar did not even move, at the end of my session i pulled it easy so i dont know :P
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  5. #4
    Senior Member GazzyG's Avatar
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    Yup, have that too. I often find with my HCT-12 that I can really struggle with the work set of 6, but my clusters then fly up and I feel like I've somehow cheated, haha!

  6. #5
    Skinny Feet Kiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GazzyG View Post
    Yup, have that too. I often find with my HCT-12 that I can really struggle with the work set of 6, but my clusters then fly up and I feel like I've somehow cheated, haha!
    You cant cheat clusters mate
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Raleighwood's Avatar
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    I am currently reading the monster and legendary book of Super Training by Siff. He discusses a phenomenon called post-tenatic potentiation.

    The best way I can describe or explain this is that after you complete a near-maximal set (where you are taking a multi-rep set to failure or almost failure) you'll have a temporary spike in performance, or perceived performance, when attempting an easier movement. Easier meaning less volume and/or intensity.

    Perhaps as you work circa-maximally you being recruiting more muscle units or begin coordinating them more efficiently. When you go to perform a single, or lower rep set, the weight seems lighter because your muscles are primed to work maximally.

    I'd have to conclude that this is significantly affected by the law of diminishing returns... In other words, this isn't something you can rely on frequently, or significantly, for boosts in strength.
    Last edited by Raleighwood; 01-07-2011 at 10:38 AM.
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  8. #7
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    happens to be me all the time. I've noticed this in a lot journals. Seems that as the weights get heavier (especially on major, multi-joint movements) this happens somewhat regularly.

    I'd say it's a combo of:
    Warming up adequately
    Getting your CNS going
    As the weight gets heavier you "stay tight" better
    And for me my form tends to get better in the 80%+ range.
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  9. #8
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StLRPh View Post
    happens to be me all the time. I've noticed this in a lot journals. Seems that as the weights get heavier (especially on major, multi-joint movements) this happens somewhat regularly.

    I'd say it's a combo of:
    Warming up adequately
    Getting your CNS going
    As the weight gets heavier you "stay tight" better
    And for me my form tends to get better in the 80%+ range.
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  10. #9
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    Ya, i'd think its something to do with getting your CNS fired up. Maybe something to do with adrenaline, or maybe just singles are less psychologically daunting.

    I also read some research that suggested that after accumulating lactate, it can be used as a fuel, but that was talking more with endurance type events.

    Interesting though, ive never noticed this. Although ive never tried it. I always experience the same when going from heavy singles to lighter reps, but i'll give it a try sometime.

    EDIT: This could also add some merit to what some other poster recently said about ME days. He said something along the lines of building up to a 3-5RM FIRST, and then building up to a 1RM. It sounded backwards to me at the time, but maybe there is something going on here.
    Last edited by Dan Fanelli; 01-07-2011 at 02:53 PM.

  11. #10
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    Right now I am doing Texas method with alot of 5x5 for volume.

    The first set is awkward and leaves doubt in my mind.
    The second set is a little tighter as I have gotten used to the set but the weight is heavy.
    The third set I nearly fail it seems.
    The fourth set its like I am numb. I can only focus on form and try my hardest but it goes up easier than the third set.
    The fifth set is when my hit what I consider a true near failure if all goes as planned. Its hard, but its not awkward like the first two sets. Its just solid lifting.

    So yes, every week I know that below a certain amount a reps it seems as if the 2nd or 3rd set will be the most taxing on my psyche.

    Also, when I am warming up, anything over 225 honestly feels the same until I go down in weight.
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  12. #11
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Also...
    Notice as you warm up, the weights seem heavy. After your work sets, the marmup weights seem really light. For instance:

    200 x 5 (heavy)
    250 x 5 (heavy)
    300 x 5 (really heavy)
    350 x 5 (super heavy)
    400 x 5 (absolute maxed)
    followed by...
    300 x 20 (feels light as a feather)
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  13. #12
    Senior Member colinS3's Avatar
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    I've read about routines that focus on 1RM and never going higher than 3-4 reps with high weights. I think what makes these incredibly heavy weights feel easier on your body is that you're not tearing apart your muscles for as long as you would be with hypertrophy, or whatever your routine revolves around with lighter weights and more reps. True, you're putting a lot more stress on your body with high weights, but the time to complete your set with 1-3 reps is MUCH less than 10-12 reps. You don't work yourself long enough to get a huge lactate acid buildup, so fatigue affects you less and you feel stronger. That's my take on this.

  14. #13
    Skinny Feet Kiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    Also...
    Notice as you warm up, the weights seem heavy. After your work sets, the marmup weights seem really light. For instance:

    200 x 5 (heavy)
    250 x 5 (heavy)
    300 x 5 (really heavy)
    350 x 5 (super heavy)
    400 x 5 (absolute maxed)
    followed by...
    300 x 20 (feels light as a feather)

    20 rep squat flag for the win!

    Personally i think that adrenaline plays a massive part
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