Designing a weight lifting program is probably one of the most confusing things when you start out. You have to consider exercise selection, sets, reps, rest and thats just for starters.... Jimmy breaks things down for us and also throws in a sample routine!
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Can I have some lean muscle & strength please? – My Training Journal
Looks really good man!
I actually learned a lot more than I expected too.
NOTE: I am considering using his routine, any disagreements?
Freshmen at Baylor College of Medicine
Current status: Bulking
email@example.com if you have any questions.
Jimmy, the numbers you use for rep ranges and TUT are figures I've seen pop up on various boards. The TUT figures are usually attributed to Charles Poliquin. Do you have any rationale for them other than "it's what everybody uses"?
And what are your feelings on muscle fibre composition with regard to the rep ranges and training volume that will promote growth?
Yes that table is from Charles. Charles and Ian King are largely responsible for introducing time under tension to the masses. I believe they even authored a very hard to find article on the topic. Is it because "everybody uses it"? Yes and no, the table is very general. I use a wide range of TUT with my clients, I would say that I go out of the box with my number more than I stay in the box. The key factor though is that to induce hypertrophy we need to have a certain amount of tension. Training with low reps and multiple sets will only lead to results for so long. I'm not even speaking of adaptation, we simply need to have our muscles loaded under a significant amount of tension to induce growth.
I've done a lot of thinking with regards to fiber composition lately so it's funny you should ask that. I think it's just another tool in the box. For example, we know that our hamstrings are going to be primarily fast fibers and our quads are going to be slow fibers. A client of mine who competes in figure contests was told that she needed to bring up her hamstrings. Before she came to consult with me she had traditional trainined hamstrings with the pure hypertrophy measures. 3-4 sets with 10-15 reps.
Again ignoring tha fact that I changed her training, we were able to bring up with hams nicely while she was in a caloric deficit going into her contest. Like anything else it needs to be cycled. Knowing that the triceps will generally respond better to lower reps, I'll be more inclined to hit them with more sets and lower reps. That not to say that every 9th week, I may add in higher rep ranges.
Hopefully that answers your question. If not let me know and I'll go deeper.
This is exactly what I was getting at, thanks.
I have done the opposite of your figure client - most of my work has been in the 5-8 rep range for years, and although I have excellent hamstring development, my quads are lagging. Having read more on this topic recently, I've started hitting my quads with longer TUT, higher rep ranges and more volume and I *think* I'm finally seeing development in them.
One thing I'd like to understand is the difference between longer rep ranges and slower tempos with regard to muscle growth.
For example, what's the difference between the following strategies:
A 10-rep set with 40 seconds TUT (say, explosive (1 second) concentric, 2 second eccentric, 1 second pause)
*10 seconds of explosive concentric
*20 seconds of eccentric
*10 seconds of pause
A 5 rep set with 40 seconds TUT, (explosive (1 second) concentric, 6 second eccentric, 1 second pause)
*5 seconds of explosive concentric
*30 seconds of eccentric
*5 seconds of pause
I do realize the loading may very well be different here too. But still, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Now the other thing I'd be interested in is finding out which muscles in the body tends to be predominantly fast, and which tend to be predominantly slow-twitch. Knowing how motor units recruitment happens, and that the muscles with predominantly slow twitch concentrations require higher rep ranges to fully activate the fast twitch muscles, my thinking is that lagging parts may very well have a higher than normal predominance of slow twitch muscles. But surely there are generalizations, yes?
For example, hams, tris, rectus abdominus and gastrocs tend to be fast-twitch dominant, where quads, side delts, and soleus tend to be slow-twitch dominant.
How about bis, lats, pecs ... ?
To induce gains we need to both breakdown and synthesis of protein. The rate of protein breakdown is a function of the weight lifted. The heavier the weight, the higher the breakdown. Different reps will effect the breakdown differently.
Will lagging bodyparts have a higher than normal slow twitch breakdown? It's a good theory but if it was true then we would see more common lagging bodyparts. Granted fiber ratio will vary from individual to individual but we do know that the majority will have common ratio's. Biceps and Triceps are primarily fast twitch but mine were always my strongest body part even when I traineed them exclusively with higher reps. Many individuals complain of small traps, yet they have more androgen receptors than other body parts.
The majority of research I see on the pecs shows that they are a pretty even break-up. Lats are going to respond better to slow twitch training.
Jimmy, i really liked that article but i have to bring up an argument because i am a stubborn italian.
is all this slow movement, TUT stuff really going to change the growth this much? ive put on a ton of size training like a mad man strongman/powerlifter and eating alot.
im not saying it doesnt work because it works for people, but i just dont see how any of this is better then just the old fashion heavy lifting.
once again, very informative stuff.
2000 or bust
Is TUT going to change growth? Yes! The goal of strength training is actually protein degradation, we want to break muscle down to trigger new growth(protein synthesis). The muscle damage can be caused two ways. The amount of muscle damage is dependant on load and time under tension.
Lifting heavy weights or heavy weights fast is going to create a good amount of tension within the muscle. The problem is the total amount of muscle damage is going to be small.
The other side of the coin is time under tension is going to allow us to load a muscle, especially during the eccentric (which will recruit fewer MU's) for longer. We will have more breakdown.
Is it better than heavy lifting? No. Is heavy lifting better than TUT? No. It's just a matter of your goal and where you are trying to go. You will get big if you load a muscle with heavy weights but that can only work for so long.
Thanks for the kind words.
How does the higher rep range cause more mechanical damage than the lower rep range with slower eccentrics? Sorry to bug you - I usually go looking through the references before asking an author when I read an article, but you didn't include any so I can't check. Would you be able to point me to some of your sources for the information you're providing?
Here's some research studies:
Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1991 Nov;72(12):976-83. Links
Relative metabolic efficiency of concentric and eccentric exercise determined by 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
Aviat Space Environ Med. 1991 Jul;62(7):678-82. Links
Influence of eccentric actions on the metabolic cost of resistance exercise.
International Journal of Rehabilitation Research. 26(1):47-49, March 2003.
Rooyackers, J.M. *; Berkeljon, D.A.; Folgering, H.T.M.
Sorry no title for this one
Eccentric exercise training in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Functional, structural and molecular consequences of eccentric muscle work
Don't worry about bothering me, I enjoy it lol
<scurries off to pubmed>
Now, while I do that, what is the difference in effect between the mechanical damage due to more reps (ie more concentric contractions) vs slower negatives (ie fewer concentric contractions but slower negatives)?
I understand that explosive concentrics and slow eccentrics preferentially recruit fast twitch fibres, which makes me happy, of course.
Can you point me toward anything that references the effects of various tempos, other than simply listing them like we so often see? For example, I've been reading recently about how fast eccentrics can be extremely effective, but that this effect is attenuated by having performed slower eccentrics in a preceeding exercise.
And what is the benefit, if any, of doing slower concentric work? Now I'm not talking SUPER slow here, just not explosive.
Is there any preferential muscle fibre recruitment that occurs under this circumstance?
The difference between more concetric reps and slower negatives? We have to realize that while eccentris may be easier they will cause more microtrauma. So it's less mechanically challenging but if we take that point of view and do more eccentric reps, we are going to induce more DOMS. We have to pick and choose our battles.
. The thing with time under tension research is that very little has been done. We are just starting to get researchers to use trained clients in experiments so asking for TUT research is goingn to take a long time. That's not to say that we can't play with some varilables. I don't necessarily stay within the prescribed tempos. I've used 7 second eccentrics to induce strength and size gains. It all comes down to recovery from the tempos.
Fast eccentris can be good but we must remember that research has shown it takes 3-4 seconds to decrease the strength of the stercth shortening cycle.While e should primarily train with explosive concentrics, slower concentrics may have their place. Will it lead to greater fatigue substrate accumulations? Maybe. We do know that slow concetrics will increase muscle glycogen, CP, ATP,ADP and Krebs cycle ensyme activty.
The research about the stretch-shortening cycle - you're referring the work of Australian Greg Wilson (et al) , correct? I was reading up on this recently - I incorporate these long pauses into my calf work.
Now, I rarely get DOMS. I seriously have to destroy myself to feel ANYTHING the day after a workout, and I believe this is somehow related to higher estrogen levels, yes? ( Yeah me. )
So, given this lack of DOMS, what are you suggesting?
And what benefit is there to increasing muscle glycogen, CP, ATP, ADP and Krebs cycle enzyme activity with regard to physique enhancement? Are there any?
Interesting jimmy, this might be why there are people with 18 inch arms and yet my puny 16's are 2x stronger! lol.
there are many powerlifters and strongmen who are very large though, i dont see how doing 135 on bench press for 10 reps with a 2/2 TUT is going to damage the muscle more then pushing the limits with a 185 bench for 3 grinded out reps, but this is deffinatly an interesting topic.
i DO notice however, unless i do 4-6 sets of 1-3 absolute grinded out close to failure reps, that the high rep work with slow movements and short rests DOES make me very sore.
2000 or bust
It's a different kind of damage. Grinding out 3 reps is going to be a neural stimulus while going higher reps with tempo is going to be a mechanical stimulus.
High rep work with slow movements and short rests are going to result in different energy system activity than heavy weight with lower reps, we'll produce more fatigue substrates , microtears etc etc.
Could you please provide some references for the data on your TUT conclusions?
I use higher rep ranges when I bulk - with the extra food/carbs available, glycogen isn't so precious.
I was surprised to see you reference higher rep ranges for fat loss at the top of your pyramid in your article. Is this how you cut down your clients?
With bands, you set them up so that the force either increases or decreases non-linearly with ROM, at least I think this is how the forces work.
For example, self-assisted chins - load increases at the top of the concentric, decreases at the bottom.
Or bench press: load increases at the top of the press, decreases at the bottom.
With chains, you're linearly increasing the load on the concentric, and linearly decreasing it on the eccentric.
I would like to hear more on how to incorporate these into a mesocycle. Would this work well for two consecutive lifts, or should one method be applied for say three weeks, then the other for the next? And what physique benefits are entailed with either?
What I'm not at all clear on is how this affects hypertrophy.
Oh, and while I'm asking, you mentioned in your article the importance of timing rest between sets. I'd like to hear more on this.
Last edited by Built; 01-04-2007 at 06:37 PM.
Hey, no worries. I wasn't suggesting training to induce DOMS lol - I'm a pussy and hate pain. You brought up DOMS so I felt I should address it.
Now, I'm not at all clear on how these chemicals or their associated enzymes serve to create an anabolic environment (although I'm well-aware of the "christmas cookie effect" lol!), but what I'm trying to get a handle on is this:
Under what circumstances would slower concentrics be beneficial to hypertophy?
PS great thread! I'm really enjoying this discussion.
Slow concetrics like everything else have a place and a time. While they may lead to more fatigue substrate build up they also can serve as a great way to induce hypertrophy. When working with physique clients I may use it for 3 weeks out of a 12 week block ( keep in mind I periodize my training in 3 week block). It simply allows for different adaptation.
Athletes should always use a fast concentric. The general publich and physique competitors should always use a fast cocentric. That is not to say that a slow concentrics does not have its merits. Would I use both a slow concentric and a super slow eccentric? No. We know that concentric and eccentric contractions cause different metabolic rises in the body. I have the study somewhere, I will try to dig it up.
It's a good discussion, feel free to keep it going.
Ok, im understanding, now let me bring up this, you take that 4 rep max and after that you have the spotter slowly help you bring the weight up, and you slowly bring it down, IE negitives, would this bring in the higher rep factor, yet still stimulating the strength factor?
2000 or bust