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.

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

100417 Acute Hormonal Responses to Varying Protocols in Men and Women

A recent study by William J. Kraemer and associates showed the hormonal response benefits of three separate types of maximum heavy resistance training protocols. This group examined the response effects from the bench press, sit up and bilateral leg extensions exercises based upon percentages of the maximal ten repetition, five set scheme with a two minute rest between each set.

The three exercise program variances were:

Heavy maximal 10 repetition maximal (10 RM) loads of five sets of ten repetitions with a two minute rest in between the sets.

Submaximal heavy resistance 70% of the 10 RM.

Maximal Explosive resistance of 40% 10 RM

The results were pretty clear after the study was finished as to which protocol released the greatest amount of growth hormones. There was a significant increase in the serum growth hormone after the heavy maximal ten rep/five sets were completed. And, this was true in both men and women, but more so for the men than the women. Serum testosterone significantly increased in the men, but not the women and only while engaging in the heavy maximal sessions.

Since these two substances are critical to long-term adaptations of strength and power this study may help in the long-term process of inducing greater muscle hypertrophy and maximal strength development.

Adapting the heavy loading hypertrophic type of exercise sessions appears to foster growth in the muscle mass for men if they use the heavy maximal load for ten reps and five sets with the suggested two-minute rest in between sets. These hormonal responses seem to be related to the amount of muscle mass activated in the exercises. Using the submaximal and the explosive maximal loads did not elicit increases in the release of these hormones, as it was not strenuous enough to the organism.

Neural control and the achievement of higher rates of force development are fostered, at least in the men, with the explosive maximal loads. Whereas in the women the responses after exercising with explosive maximal weights did not seem to be that clear cut. For women it would seem best to train with the explosive maximal and the heavier maximal loads.