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

Itís 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
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    Rest between sets - shorter with rotation?

    I am firm on using 3-5 minute rest periods between sets. Well, sometimes even longer than 5 minutes if it's a large muscle group or it's a weight I've never done before.

    However, I thought about it and wondered about rotating muscle groups and taking shorter rests? I know there are some training programs where people go into the gym and lift weights almost non stop.. and they still gain muscle. I never understood why, but maybe they are rotating muscle groups. I thought it was just the steroids, but there must be some reason why people can work out non stop in the gym and still gain muscle.

    So my question is:
    Do you think or know that rotating muscle groups and taking shorter rests, would allow you to gain just as much muscle, or almost, or more, than doing nothing for 3-5 minutes between sets?

    What I mean is this:
    -instead of waiting 3-5 minutes between sets, you could rotate muscle groups and take shorter rests
    -you might wait 1 minute between sets, but after 1 minute, do a different excersize. I.e. after doing bench, do leg extension. SO effectively you are waiting 3-5 minutes between muscle groups, but only 1 minute between sets.
    -When doing a full body excersize like a squat, it would be hard to find a muscle that isn't used, to do next. However, you could calculate which muscle was used the least amount and work that muscle group. Or you could make an exception for that particular excersize, and do nothing between sets on that one.

    But what I am really keen to know, is whether the muscle gains are much MORE if you do nothing between that 3-5 minutes compared to rotating. The thing about rotating, is you'd have to have some your weights pre-set up, because 1 minute does not give you very much time (or however long the rest is).

    This would allow you to get more done in the 45 minutes, if after 45 minutes there really is a cortisol problem in long rest weight lifting.

    If there are still about the same muscle gains to be got, I'd like to train this way. If there is a really big advantage, and the muscle gains are moreso when doing "nothing at all" between sets, and letting "the full body rest", then I'd stick to that method.

    Advantages:
    -more work done in less time
    -make more use of the cortisol problem after 45 minutes.. if you aren't done your session within 45 minutes when waiting 3-5 minutes between sets, at least shortening the rest period would help get the session done in less time
    -more sets could be done in a session, working more of the whole body. If you take only 45 minutes for a session with long rests, it is really hard to get done in 45 minutes. Sometimes you can only do one excersize, if the rests are long, OR you end up going beyond 45 minutes.
    Last edited by ps101; 06-08-2004 at 11:19 PM.

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  3. #2
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    I know I'm replying to my OWN post (BUMP) but I had to make a comment:

    Ok, I tried this routine of rotating for my first time yesterday.

    I have always waited 3-5 minutes between sets.. yesterday I tried rotating.

    What did I notice?
    -1 minute was not enough.. 2-2.5 minutes was OK. It just takes me too long to run around rearranging the weights and what not, for the next excersize. Also 2.5 minutes seems to be a better recovery time so I can lift more weight.. see below for more
    -I could still lift my rep max's on the muscle group with rotating! So for example: I can still do 1 rep of 200 on Excersize A if I wait 5 minutes between muscle groups, with one 2.5 minute excersize inbetween. I notice a tiny bit of energy loss, but no significant loss.
    -heart rate and sweat was much greater doing the rotation. Not sure if this is a good thing. I am not interested in losing any weight... so for me I don't know if this is a good thing.
    -2.5 minutes gives me a bit of saftey.. since all excersizes involve a lot of muscles.. it's hard to completely separate muscle groups. If I wait 2.5 minutes, at least that still gives me the safety of almost being 3 minutes. If I only wait one, I risk not making use of the ATP recovery. It's a compromise/advantage.
    -it definitely cut down on my worry about going over 45 minutes (cortisol). When I wait 5 minutes between sets without 2.5 minute rotation, I just can't get enough done in 45 minutes-1 hour. WHen I do the rotation, it's easy to get More done in less time. 2.5 minutes versus 5 means Twice as much within the same time frame.


    This is my experience with the rotation, but in no way does this mean I am going ahead and stick with this routine until I find out if it's going to bring maximum gains!

    The problem also I find with waiting the full 3-5 minutes between sets with doing "nothing", is that if you are in a cold room.. you cool down. This rotation helps keep you warmed up.
    Last edited by ps101; 06-10-2004 at 02:50 PM.

  4. #3
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    Try doing 1 set of each exercise. Do the set, rack the weight, move to the next exercise. Instead of 2 sets of flat bench, do 1 set of flat, and then a set of flyes.

    How many sets do you usually do per muscle? I think you should give 1-2 sets per muscle a try. But also work each muscle 3 times a week.
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  5. #4
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    Supersetting is a great way to work. I have been supersetting for a few weeks now...maybee 3 or 4 now i think about it. The workout i do on sunday is a heavy workout with low reps and maximal tension.

    As you say....it was recomended to wait 3-5 mins (5 was better) between sets. Supersetting those sets with other sets was suggested in an alternate fashion. One set bench...one set rows for example. then go back to bench.

    The rest period between the supersets was about 2-2.5 mins for me and it worked perfectly. By the time i got back to the "original" exercise it had been 5-6 mins since the set, but i wasnt "cool" i was warm, wired and ready to go.

    I actually find supersetting better for me personally. I feel a lot more pumped and my energy levels and motivation are really high becasue you are always busy. Between supersets im normally setting up the bar or chaning a weight or watever. The time flies.

    Lastly...you get your ass out the gym a LOT faster. A 2 hour workout is done in an hour and a quater - hour and a half. everyone is different and responds differently but i personally love this method. Basically pushes get supersetted with pulls. Chest with rows and pulldowns. Squats with calfs...etc etc.

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  6. #5
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    Time is another way to intensify your workouts, which is a great thing in my opinion.

    Taking longer rest periods to lift more weight demonstrates strength, it doesn't necessarily mean it's a better way to increase strength.

    ps101--

    What you described was written about extensively by Arthur Jones in the '70s. He called them 'cycles' and he trained people in that manner for almost every bodypart.

    For example, an arm cycle (he used full body routines, so this was only a portion) would be something like:

    barbell curls 1x10
    dips1x12
    nautilus curls 1x8
    tricep extensions 1x8

    All done with no rest in between sets, to complete failure. That would be one cycle, sometimes it would be performed twice, with a rest period in between the first and second cycle.

    You can read about it for free online (Nautilus Bulletins).

    His point was that you'd be able to work a given bodypart harder and the short amount of time just happened to be the best way to do it.

    When I try it, my arms blow up like balloons, so you could say I'm a little more than partial to this type of training.

  7. #6
    On Auto Pilot:******* Huge Alke's Avatar
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    for me 3-5 minutes break is NOT an option, I do a LOt of exercises (specially on a bulk) but if 5 minute breaks work for you then keep doing it. If you break that long, then I would agree that doing other exercises during your 5 munte break could be a viable option for you.

    I could never do it like this, my breaks are a minute, minute 30 seconds maximum.

    just me thinking out loud, and I am open to new stuff, but I would have to pass on this....
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  8. #7
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    What I like to do (sometimes) is train one bodypart with only one exercise with only one minute rest in between sets. I found this type of training to add strength but not much size.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Augury
    Supersetting is a great way to work. I have been supersetting for a few weeks now...maybee 3 or 4 now i think about it. The workout i do on sunday is a heavy workout with low reps and maximal tension.

    As you say....it was recomended to wait 3-5 mins (5 was better) between sets. Supersetting those sets with other sets was suggested in an alternate fashion. One set bench...one set rows for example. then go back to bench.

    The rest period between the supersets was about 2-2.5 mins for me and it worked perfectly. By the time i got back to the "original" exercise it had been 5-6 mins since the set, but i wasnt "cool" i was warm, wired and ready to go.

    I actually find supersetting better for me personally. I feel a lot more pumped and my energy levels and motivation are really high becasue you are always busy. Between supersets im normally setting up the bar or chaning a weight or watever. The time flies.

    Lastly...you get your ass out the gym a LOT faster. A 2 hour workout is done in an hour and a quater - hour and a half. everyone is different and responds differently but i personally love this method. Basically pushes get supersetted with pulls. Chest with rows and pulldowns. Squats with calfs...etc etc.

    Augs
    Ahh new term for me! Supersetting.. that's what it's called, eh.

    I noticed the same results as you. A lot warmer, more motivated. When I rest a full 5 minutes I can actually go into a tiny bit of a cold sweat - nothing drastic. Little or no chance of this happening if I do the 2-2.5 minutes though - body is warm almost constantly - and feel more warmth in the face.


    And for the 2 hour workout bit... I am assuming the cortisol issues are correct so with supersetting you also get the advantage of not going over an hour.. when cortisol levels are high.

    I've been doing the supersetting now ever sicne I posted this, and I haven't gone back to the full 5 minute style. I do take 5 minutes imbetween sets during the superset style workout if I am really feeling like the set took a lot out of me, but generally not.


    On a humorous note:
    I'd be interested to see if an extremely long workout would be good with very long rests in between (like one bench press every half hour or something) just for kicks. I can't see how farmers can be big if they are working all day long .
    Last edited by ps101; 06-22-2004 at 08:11 PM.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alke
    for me 3-5 minutes break is NOT an option, I do a LOT of exercises (specially on a bulk) but if 5 minute breaks work for you then keep doing it. If you break that long, then I would agree that doing other exercises during your 5 munte break could be a viable option for you.

    I could never do it like this, my breaks are a minute, minute 30 seconds maximum.

    just me thinking out loud, and I am open to new stuff, but I would have to pass on this....
    Do you rotate musclegroups or excersizes between the rests.. or do you do say all the muscle groups in one shot?

    I have the advantage of being able to set up my weights so that I can rotate.. I know in some gyms you'd look like a fool running around doing rotation, but it works if you can set it up (I am doing it at home and it's easy for me).

    I am open to trying new stuff too and would willing to try the 1 minute rest.. but whenever I do 1 minute rests, I can never figure out what my next weight amount will be. If I do say 200 pounds on Exercise A for the first set... the next set will be 200 pounds or 195 if I rest 3-5 minutes. If I rest 1 minute, I have no idea what it will be... 180, 170, 185 etc. SO I spend too much time figuring out what the weight should be, which can cause too little weight to be lifted if I guess too low. I figure it's simplist and easiest to keep the excersize at or near 200 all the way through (not including warmup) rather than dropping it down with shorter rests.
    Maybe you are able to keep your weights the same even with 1 minute rest though? Could be just a much better recovery that you have.
    Last edited by ps101; 06-22-2004 at 08:20 PM.

  11. #10
    Senior Member geoffgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Augury
    Supersetting is a great way to work. One set bench...one set rows for example. then go back to bench.
    Augs
    huh?
    Weider/Arnold would challenge that interpretation of a superset I'd think.

    Perhaps another term should be used as what ur doing doesn't really fall under (what I think is) the accepted definition of supersetting, per the Arnold & Weider bodybuilding bibles.

    In any case, my comment is just semantics.
    Last edited by geoffgarcia; 06-22-2004 at 08:30 PM.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jww13
    Try doing 1 set of each exercise. Do the set, rack the weight, move to the next exercise. Instead of 2 sets of flat bench, do 1 set of flat, and then a set of flyes.

    How many sets do you usually do per muscle? I think you should give 1-2 sets per muscle a try. But also work each muscle 3 times a week.
    I can do a lot of sets if I have not done any physical work during the day. That means if I sit on my ass all day and don't walk much. Sometimes, I am able to do 5-7 sets of bench press doing 1-2 rep max.

    I risk a post shoulder soreness though if I do 7 sets...if this post soreness in the shulder does come to me I then have to wait about a week or a week in a half to go away- rather than the regular 2-3 days rest when I do 3-4 sets. I think it's the CNS getting way too shot, or a tiny shoulder strain.. not sure which one. But it isn't TOO bad since it does go away after a week.. not like a month or anything, like an injury would be.

    If I keep my sets per excerize to below 5-7. I usually never get the noticeable post- shoulder soreness/pain. So I reduced to about 3-4 sets now. I do find it interesting that I can hack the 5-7 sets though, doing a 1rep max.I wait 5 minutes I am so replenished that I can do 5-7 sets if I want to. All of a sudden though, I cannot do any more work after that 7th set, or 6th set, whenever it's ends. It's like a drastic drop (this must be failure). Failure is hard to define though, because really, I could reduce the weight to 50 pounds, and keep going, so how is that a failure?

    On days where I have done physical work throughout the day, I sometimes can only do 1-2 sets. So point being that I can have a variation in the number of sets just depending on what I've done throughout the day.

    So you recommend 1-2 sets and more activity in the week (slightly shorter day rests, less work per session)....

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExtremeAnabolic
    What I like to do (sometimes) is train one bodypart with only one exercise with only one minute rest in between sets. I found this type of training to add strength but not much size.
    one exercise per session?

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ps101
    one exercise per session?
    Yes. For an example let's use chest. I'd pick a weight that I would reach failure at 10-12 reps. I would do six reps, then rest one minute (and only one minute) then do another six reps and continue on in this fashion until I had completed six sets.

  15. #14
    Senior Member Doobs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geoffgarcia
    huh?
    Weider/Arnold would challenge that interpretation of a superset I'd think.

    Perhaps another term should be used as what ur doing doesn't really fall under (what I think is) the accepted definition of supersetting, per the Arnold & Weider bodybuilding bibles.

    In any case, my comment is just semantics.
    Yeah, that ain't a superset. With supersets there is no break between exercises.


    Quote Originally Posted by ps101
    Failure is hard to define though, because really, I could reduce the weight to 50 pounds, and keep going, so how is that a failure?
    That's called a drop set. Do a set with regular weight to failure, and then drop some of the weight and keep lifting it (no rest).

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by geoffgarcia
    huh?
    Weider/Arnold would challenge that interpretation of a superset I'd think.

    Perhaps another term should be used as what ur doing doesn't really fall under (what I think is) the accepted definition of supersetting, per the Arnold & Weider bodybuilding bibles.

    In any case, my comment is just semantics.
    Well if we are going to use the "Arnold & Weider bodybuilding bibles" than Mr. Augury is correct. A superset is simply one set say for chest with another set for back. You do not rest in between exercises, but you can rest in between supersets .
    One set of bench done with one set of rows IS a superset. At least according to the FLEX Feburary 2003 edition in which they have a article on Arnold (in his bodybuilding heydays) talking about how he built his chest. The bench/row superset was one of these "supersets" he used.

  17. #16
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    It wasnt my intention to start an argument about the semantics of what is and isnt a superset. I used the term loosely to simply show that one set of muscles is "resting" whilst i work an antagonist group.

    In reality in the gym i tend to do exactly what EA said...I will do a set of bench say with a set of rows with no rest and then take a min-min and half break and head back to bench and rows again. I dont know what the technical term for this is but "superset" felt like a pretty close approximation. If this style has a name I would be curious to know it

    Otherwise Im patenting the name "augsetting" and you will all be talking about me in hushed tones in 20 years. And ill be the govenor of a state whos economy is based entirely around pretending and have a terrible and oft repeated catch phrase.

  18. #17
    Senior Member geoffgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExtremeAnabolic
    Well if we are going to use the "Arnold & Weider bodybuilding bibles" than Mr. Augury is correct. A superset is simply one set say for chest with another set for back. You do not rest in between exercises, but you can rest in between supersets .
    One set of bench done with one set of rows IS a superset. At least according to the FLEX Feburary 2003 edition in which they have a article on Arnold (in his bodybuilding heydays) talking about how he built his chest. The bench/row superset was one of these "supersets" he used.
    I do remember reading that in his big book about the chest/back thing...but I can't for the life of me wrap my mind around it...what possible benefit can u get from taking a 2-4 second pause and going between chest then back?
    U've already blown ur energy, ur heart rate is up...what the heck is the point??

  19. #18
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    There are lots of benefits-- improved metabolic condition is one.

  20. #19
    Senior Member geoffgarcia's Avatar
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    assuming a person is lifting to increase muscle size or strength...and not improve metabolic condition...

  21. #20
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    You would not be lifting maximal weights in a superset, so you would not have "blown all your energy."

    A superset is simply performing two seperate movements as one complete set. Do one exercise, than right to the next, rest and repeat. Pretty simple.

    You can increase strength-endurance via this method, or simply have a more time efficient workout.

    If I'm doing some light shoulder work I'll generally superset lateral and front DB raises to simply get it over with quicker.
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  22. #21
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    "assuming a person is lifting to increase muscle size or strength...and not improve metabolic condition..."

    It would still work for building size and strength, if the work is done progressively. Some might argue it would work better.

    As muscles fatigue during a set, hitting them again by following up with another set, or another exercise, with little or no rest, will hit them harder, all things being equal.

  23. #22
    Senior Member geoffgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmanderson
    "assuming a person is lifting to increase muscle size or strength...and not improve metabolic condition..."

    It would still work for building size and strength, if the work is done progressively. Some might argue it would work better.

    As muscles fatigue during a set, hitting them again by following up with another set, or another exercise, with little or no rest, will hit them harder, all things being equal.
    this sounds like a quick way to reach muscle failure (per my understanding of muscle failure) which is undesirable...

  24. #23
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    Geoff, did anything come of that thread you started on muscle failure. I have e-mailed my physiology lecturer (and got nothing back yet) and have asked on several boards and everyone is being mysteriously quiet.

    I actually dont think anyone knows when you ask more than 2 or 3 "why's?"

    Augs

  25. #24
    Senior Member geoffgarcia's Avatar
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    yah some dude did over at the hst forum...his responses seemed appropriate and confident and nobody else responded...I agree though about the "whys" I have to learn to be more succinct in my questioning.
    I'll post the responses back in the original thread so as not to get this one off topic

  26. #25
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    "this sounds like a quick way to reach muscle failure (per my understanding of muscle failure) which is undesirable..."

    ...according to Brian Haycock! don't tell me you've found 'the one' method and now hitting failure is vewy bad.

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