210518 Muscular strength-continued from last week

210518 Muscular strength-continued from last week

Here is the bottom line for those of you who don’t have the time to read it all. This is akin to eating your dessert before your meal and before you get too full to actually enjoy it.

Excellent nutrition guidelines are followed after each training period

Concentrate on the separate exercises each time
Ten to twelve sets of one to two repetitions working up to 90% 1RM over a forty-five minute time span in the morning and up to 100% of the mornings lifts in the afternoon and late afternoon.

Reminder: Afternoon sessions follow a similar path with the exception that the lifter moves on up to near 100% 1RM of the morning training periods with one to two reps for ten to twelve sets

Late afternoon sees a lifter going up to 95% 1RM of the afternoon schedule, same reps and sets as before.

These are grueling training schedules and are not for everyone. Use caution if you decide to give this schedule a ride.

140518 Muscular strength-continued from last week

140518 Muscular strength-continued from last week

Here is the bottom line for those of you who don’t have the time to read it all. This is akin to eating your dessert before your meal and before you get too full to actually enjoy it.

Successful overload occurs by increasing these components above the normal:
1. The load on the bar
2. The frequency of lifting
3. The duration of time under the load.

The load on the bar must be high enough that it creates a maximal muscular tension, or nearly so, on the body. Train at these intense levels by using low repetitions and more sets. For example, an effective form of high intensity strength training uses load levels between 85-100% of the one rep max (1RM) for two repetitions for six to twelve sets.

Lifting frequency is increased according to a periodized plan based on the desired outcome. A method that has produced excellent results for many years is one that has multiple lift times a day. These training plans are for elite or highly trained athletes. Heavy lifts performed up to four and seven times a day are possible under these strictly controlled situations.

Each session emphasizes just ONE exercise per period in this type of a sequence throughout the day. The following five exercises depict an example of such a daily lifting schedule.

  1. Squats, rest and recovery
    2. Military presses, rest and recovery
    3. Deadlift’s, rest and recovery
    4. Bench presses, rest and recovery
    5. Front squats, rest and recovery

Here are the prerequisites for the schedule.

Warm ups are required for each session
Rest periods from fifteen minutes up to one hour in duration between each lift period (morning (2)-afternoon (1)-late afternoon sessions (2))

Separate the morning sessions from the afternoon ones by up to three hours.

The afternoon is separated from late afternoon by the normal fifteen minutes to one hour

Recovery methods are used between each session

070518 Muscular strength

070518 Muscular strength

By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A.CSCS

Here is the bottom line for those of you who don’t have the time to read it all. This is akin to eating your dessert before your meal and before you get too full to actually enjoy it.

Aerobic activities have very little carry over into muscular strength or muscular endurance.
Aerobic fitness can alter the muscle fibers from a fast twitch characteristic to a modified slow twitch fiber.

A complete fitness program will entail the three main components of cardiovascular, flexibility and strength development. Focusing on one part, to the exclusion of the other two, will adversely affect them. But that is exactly what we are going to do here; we are going to discuss strength, not cardiovascular or flexibility, but just plain strength.

Strength comes in many forms from absolute to endurance, from speed to special strength. Moderate intensity training which is high enough to develop and then maintain muscular fitness while also increasing lean muscle mass is an effective means of exercise. It is not an effective means of raising levels of strength and power for those who want to become competitive or want to be a LOT stronger than the average lifter. In order to do that, heavy weights have to be used on a regular basis.

The overload principle applies to this type of training. And it means just what it says. You WILL NOT get stronger lifting ‘soup cans,’ no matter what the infomercial’s say! Lifting a soup can is about as effective as lifting a bag of air. Unless you are extremely out of shape, move on to a weight that will challenge your body in a positive way.

300418 Physiological factors affecting strength gains

300418 Physiological factors affecting strength gains

The organism rapidly adapts to the load or intensity due in part to ‘an enhanced level of to neural facilitation’… which ‘probably accounts for the rapid and significant strength increase early in’ the ‘training, which is not necessarily associated with an increase in muscle size and cross-sectional area’.

These neural adaptations are thought to be by-products of improvements in the efficiency of the neural recruitment patterns, increased activation of the nervous system, greater enhancements in the motor unit synchronization capabilities of the muscle fibers, a lowered inhibition of the neural reflexes and an inhibition of the Golgi tendon organs. Taken in order then we have the following psychological neural factors that are thought to influence the development of strength in the human body.

Improvements in the efficiency of the neural recruitment patterns

The central nervous system and the muscles will adapt to the load imposed upon them during the training process. Employing the greatest possible loads within tolerance levels (maximal effort training) evokes the greatest rewards. During this time the maximum amounts of motor units are recruited and the central nervous system inhibition, if it exists in the athlete is thereby reduced with this approach. The highest number of motor units, activated with the greatest discharge frequency within the “biomechanical parameters of movement and intermuscular coordination are similar to the analogous values in a main sport exercise”.

An athlete must have the ability to learn to magnify and memorize these changes in the motor recruitment patterns and firing order in order to succeed in the strength sports. These changes have to come at a subconscious level of thinking. Proper training cycles and intensity of effort will develop this subconscious thought process.

230418 Physiological and muscular effects on the expression of strength

230418 Physiological and muscular effects on the expression of strength

So you just bought the latest greatest training program and are making phenomenal gains. Congratulations on your progress, but have you considered just why the new training schedule is working so well? Let me explain the process a bit. The factors that affect and modify the expressions of strength in the human body have been extensively studied and written about.

The research concerning the body’s response to strength training regimens consistently refers to two major identified contributors in this enhancement process. Some of these studies are directed at and lie within the physiological and muscular systems of the human organism.

The early developments of strength are a direct result of neural adaptations to the training schedule. It is interesting to note that the majority of strength training studies examining programs claiming outrageous results involve short term training programs. In fact, most changes in a training program, unless they are wildly off the chart, will be able to produce measurable outcomes of a positive nature simply because of the phenomenon of neural adaptation to the new stresses on the organism.

This is a further adaptation of the SAID (specific adaptation to imposed stress) theory as first proposed and stated by Hans Selye back in the mid 1950’s. The crux of the theory is the body will adapt to the stress placed upon it. If this training stress, i.e. load volume or intensity is set at the right level, the body will overcome it and become stronger in anticipation of encountering the same in the future. In the beginning of the training program this is generally easily accomplished so no harm comes to the body. If, however, this stress is at too great of an intensity or volume the body breaks and fails to properly recover.

160418 Adrenaline[1] lifting

160418 Adrenaline[1] lifting

Lifting more than normal is not unusual under certain circumstances. This is frequently seen on the platform by athletes who make excellent use of their powers of generating positive result producing psychological and physical energy. In the gyms though, unless testing for a one repetition maximum, this is not a good training method.

The release of adrenaline, a hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla when stimulated by the central nervous system responding to stress, comes with limitations. It is not produced in great quantities and what is there is in limited supply until the body manufactures more over a period of time. If this is used too often, and excessively, it will eventually cause the body to use it but not realize the benefits.

This happens because the body begins to tolerate the initial stress response that caused the secretion in the first place and then disregards it. But the substance has still been released into the system. An increase in heart rate, blood pressure, carbohydrate metabolism and greater heart output results. All of which are stress responses. Essentially the body habituates to the influx of adrenaline and the energy that it provides is no longer realized by the lifter.

Left unattended these cause high blood pressure and heart problems.

[1] A hormone secreted in the adrenal gland that raises blood pressure, produces a rapid heartbeat, and acts as a neurotransmitter when the body is subjected to stress or danger

090418 Motor unit recruitment

090418 Motor unit recruitment

The size principle states that slow fatigue resistant motor units are recruited first. This theory serves to demonstrate the relationship between the motor unit twitch force and the recruitment threshold of the fibers.  For example these first muscle fibers are not able to sustain a lasting power output and give out rapidly. They do not have the ability to produce great force. Thus after lifting a certain number of repetitions the original fibers are fatigued and not producing the necessary force to continue. New fibers are then called upon to lift the weight. These new fibers are faster and much more powerful but also fatigue much quicker than the original fibers. These soon become exhausted and of limited use in the lifting process. But the advantage of this recruitment process is the majority of the muscles’ fibers have contributed all they can to the lift.  In other words the fibers have all been exhausted and will have to repair the damage caused by the lift in order to become stronger and better able to tolerate the resistance. The next time this load is placed upon them, they will have accommodated and grown stronger.

Training hint:

Training in such a manner as to inhibit the weaker fibers and going straight to the fast acting powerful ones is the key to instant and explosive force and power. Conditioning the CNS to bypass the non-power fibers occurs in some of the elite strength athletes. This takes the body a long time to make this adaptation and requires a deep dedication to the strength sport-more so than many people have at the lower levels of participation.