Training

Physique Tip #03 – Work Every Angle

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Like most other things in life, training is most effective when you learn to work all the angles. In this case, we’re talkiScreen Shot 2017-01-14 at 6.21.45 PMn’ both literally and figuratively.

 

Working body parts (especially large body parts like back, quads, glutes, and pecs) through an abundance of different exercises stimulates the muscles from a variety of angles to maximize fiber activation and overall density.

 

Better still, change up the repetition and resistance range by performing higher reps with lighter weights for certain lifts during one workout followed by heavier weight and fewer repetitions on other days.

 

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The combination of different angles, exercises, and resistance levels helps keep the muscles guessing (resistance training is something you never want to get too proficient at) and has the added benefit of keeping workouts from getting stale.

 

 

 


Physique Tip #02 – Get Your Priorities Straight

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

 

You say you want to add more lean mass in 2017? Then you should to prioritize your training for size.

 

screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-8-58-54-pmPerforming aerobic exercise before resistance training depletes muscle glycogen and increases intramuscular acid concentrations, both of which compromise your ability to lift maximally.

 

Conversely, hitting the iron before cardio is favorable to improving strength, power, and hypertrophy (muscle growth). The weights-first sequence also appears to potentiate greater caloric expenditure and fat utilization in the cardiovascular session to follow.

 

Take Away: Start with weights and finish with cardio. Alternatively, perform cardio workouts on different days than you resistance train.


Lift Heavy. Lift Light. Just Lift!

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

 

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-9-15-45-amWhen it comes to building muscle strength and size, the amount of weight used during training appears to have little effect.

 

Researchers previously observed that higher load (lower reps with heavier weight) and lower load (higher repetitions with less weight) workouts resulted in similar muscle improvements in inexperienced lifters. However, trained individuals exhibit different muscle adaptations than their untrained counterparts, so the aim of this study was to determine if comparable findings would be observed in an experienced lifting population.

 

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Study Design

  • Three month study period
  • Forty-nine men with > 2 years weight training experience.
  • Participants randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first group used heavier weights 60-90% of their one rep max (1RM) for 8-12 reps per set. The second group used lighter weights (30-50% 1RM) for 20-25 reps per set.
  • Both groups trained 4 times per week and performed 3 sets of 5 different exercises. All exercises to failure with 1-minute rest between sets.
  • Dietary intake was monitored to help rule out the possibility that macronutrient or total energy intake might influence the results.
  • Body composition was analyzed using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) – a noninvasive way to measure bone density, body fat, and lean muscle mass.

 

Key Finding: Both low and high load resistance-training programs were comparably effective at stimulating muscle hypertrophy (size) and improving 1RM (strength).

 

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-9-19-48-amWhile it is unclear how training load affects muscle power, it does not seem to have much impact on size or strength. If your primary goal is to build bigger muscles, using more modest weights for higher repetitions may be a better approach for preserving long-term joint health. As this study suggests, the key to greater hypertrophy appears to be training to failure; not how much weight you use.