8 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MUSCLE BUILDING + 12 PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS FOR INCREASING MUSCLE MASS

As I begin the bigger, faster, stronger program with my clients and athletes, the first phase of training is “functional hypertrophy”.

Here I outline a portion of the science behind why I program and lift the way I do.

For me this refers to building as much “functional muscle” as possible, and by “functional muscle” I mean trying to target growth of type 2 fibres in a balanced and well-designed program along with increasing speed, agility, mobility and work capacity.

 

 ****YOU'RE ONLY AS STRONG AS YOUR WEAKEST LINK****

 

ABBREVIATED WORDS LIST / WORD MEANINGS (FOR THE LAYMAN)

·      RM= REPETITION MAX

·      BCAA= BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACID

·      MPS= MUSCLE PROTEIN SYNTHESES

·      GH= GROWTH HORMONE

·      ATP= ADENOSINE TRI-PHOPHATE

·      POSTERIOR CHAIN: BACK OF THE BODY

·      ANTERIOR CHAIN: FRONT OF THE BODY

·      ECCENTIC=MUSCLE LENGTHENING

·      CONCENTRIC= MUSCLE SHORTENING

·      TUT= TIME UNDER TENSION

·      CSA= CROSS SECTIONAL AREA

 ONLINE SLANG

·      IMO= IN MY OPINION

 

1. WHAT ARE TYPE 2 FIBRES ?

·      Type 2 (Fast twitch-high intensity-short duration) vs. Type 1 (Slow twitch-low intensity-long duration)

·      There are actually 7 different muscle fibre types but lets just stick to type 1 & 2 for ease of explanation.

·      Type 2 fibres have been shown to have a higher potential for development in comparison with type 1 (Increased CSA and hyperplasia).

·      They produce higher force/strength outputs.

·      Higher ratio of type 2/1 fibres have been correlated with elite athletes (In general strong, powerful athletes have a higher proportion of type 2/1).

 

2. LOADING PERCENTAGE %

·      Loads lower than 75% 1RM have been shown to target type 1 fiber hypertrophy (slow twitch, useless IMO).

·      Loads above 75% 1RM have been shown to target type 2-fiber hypertrophy (fast twitch, awesome).

·      What’s the endocrine response to this?

 

2. TIME UNDER TENSION (TUT)

·      Eccentric contractions have the ability to handle 20% more force than concentric contractions.

·      Eccentric training damages fibers to a higher degree than concentric training.

·      Slowing the eccentric portion of a lift increases time under tension.

·      Time under tension has been strongly correlated with hypertrophy gains.

 

3. VOLUME

·      Is calculated by reps x sets x resistance (weight) (example: 4s x10r x 100kg=4000kg)

·      Studies have shown workout volume is strongly linked to hypertrophy increases.

·      What’s the best way to increase volume? Compound lifts.

·      Want to most bang for your buck? Compound lift.

·      Time poor? Compound lift.

·      Compound lift.

·      CL

·      Multiple sets has been correlated to increases in hypertrophy

·      Reps between 8-12 have been correlated with hypertrophy

 

4. NUTRIENT TIMING

·      Leucine is a branch chain amino acid (BCAA) that has been shown to be vitally important in muscle protein syntheses (MPS)

·      Studies suggest that a certain leucine threshold needs to be met in order provide the appropriate stimulus for muscular development

·      This number is proposed at 20g for young individuals and 40g for older individuals.

·      The ingestion window for protein is indeed short, the most time you should wait to ingest is 30minutes

·      Carbohydrate ingestion has also been shown to inhibit post resistance training cortisol increase

·      Cortisol has been shown to be detrimental on MPS

More information of leucine can be found here. I don't usually use Wikipedia but for ease of explanation here's a brief round up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leucine

 

5. ENDOCRINE RESPONSE

·      Nothing can beat the hormone response of getting under a bar and grinding it out. No treadmill, bike, foam roller or bicep curl will get you that.

·      Naturally women produce 10% of the testosterone that men do (Key word: naturally).

·      Heavy compound lifts have been correlated to the highest production of anabolic hormones

·      Greater levels of GH secretion can be seen post heavy resistance training.

 

6. EXERCISE PAIRING

·      Super setting agonist and antagonist exercises has been shown to produce the higher strength outputs.

·      Push & pull.

·      The world bench press record was set straight after a heavy barbell row.

·      Is there something to be said for that?

·       Its all about motor unit activation

 

7. REST PERIODS

·      88% of ATP regeneration occurs after 90 seconds of rest post set.

·      You need ATP to maintain exercise intensity, judge your rest periods wisely.

·      In most literatures 90 seconds seems the most optimal for inducing a positive endocrine response (GH, testosterone).

·      Kraemer et al. showed that performing a 10 RM with 1 minute rest between sets showed greater GH response than performing a 5 RM with 5 minute rest periods

·      5 minutes rest is a long time for hypertrophy, does that remind you of somebody in the gym? The over the top phone user, diminishing gains my friend

·      That may seem like yeah duh science but it does have validity in practical application

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS FOR FUNCTIONAL HYPERTROPHY

1.      Do things right, be on time.

2.    Know what you’re training for, stick to it, stay the course.

3.    Stop doing so many push movements, generally the posterior chain in most clients/athletes I work with is severely under developed in comparison with the anterior chain.

4.    Supplement creatine (See my supplements article here for why: http://www.helixsp.com/our-blog/4supplementsyouneed)

5.    Find out your max and lift to the percentages % (safely, there’s nothing like the gut check of actually doing it and not using an estimator)

6.    Lift with adequate weight (get a partner, know your weight and stick to it)

7.     Focus on time under tension (Example bench press 4-0-1-0. Four seconds down, 0 at the bottom, 1 second up and 0 second pause at the top).

8.    Get your protein & carbs in your system STRAIGHT after a workout (shake + banana).

9.    Time your rest periods.

10.  Understand that there’s a lot more than just going to the gym and doing a workout.

11.    Understand that there may be a better way of doing things (many ways to skin a cat).

12.  Compound exercises are key, curling your 10kg dumbbells has its limitations.

13.  Don’t ego lift and don’t slingshot weights around for the hell of moving it.

 

 

By TIM FREY MS.c

 

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