The Science of Strength: As easy as 1 – 2 – 3

The Science of Strength

As easy as 1 – 2 – 3

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1. Progression: Making the workout or exercise more challenging over time. This could be adding weight to strength exercises, or running faster or longer with cardiovascular training. Either way if you are not challenging your body no improvement will happen.

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2. Overload: Is when the body is challenged through intense exercise and the muscles are worked passed their current capacities. This training “environment” is what sets the scene for improvement.

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3. Recovery: After the muscles have been overloaded they need time to adapt and get stronger. This process takes between 48* – 96 hours +.

So the science of getting stronger is as follows:

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1. Train as hard as you can on each exercise to make sure overload takes place.

2. Allow the body to rest and recover. You can’t rush improvement.

3. When you return to the weight room try to add weight or repetitions to each exercise.

The science of getting stronger is really easy to understand. It is the application that is challenging. There are no secret routines or special exercises, just simple things that need to be done a certain way, for an extended period of time.

Train Hard!

PAU for NOW

TAKU

(*minimum recovery period for athletes with optimal recovery ability).

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Perspective on Proper Strength Training

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I am not sure how many times I need to say this stuff…Okay, maybe just one more time.

Strength training programs should be comprehensive in nature with the emphasis placed on exercising the major muscle complexes throughout their fullest range of functional motion. The selected movements should include a variety of multi-joint and single-joint exercises, utilizing a good mix of machines and free weights whenever possible, and be safe and relatively easy to perform in terms of technique.

Muscle overload can be applied with a variety of tools: barbells, dumbbells, machines, manually applied resistance, body weight, sand bags, etc. Anything that can create high tension in the muscles can be used.


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A variety of exercise prescriptions can be used provided muscle overload occurs, such as heavy resistances / few repetitions, lighter resistances / more repetitions, minimal exercise bouts (i.e., 1 to 3 sets per muscle group) and / or varied rest time between sets and exercises (i.e., 30 seconds to 3:00+).

Set and repetition schemes may be varied, but the program should strive for intense efforts, accurate record keeping, a system for progressive overload and time efficiency.

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The short version is: 1.) Select exercise tool(s), and resistance / repetition schemes that reflect your current goals. 2.) Perform as many perfect repetitions as possible with the selected resistance. 3.) Write it all down. 4.) Next time attempt to do more than you did last time.

YES!! It’s really that simple.

Now get to it!

PAU for NOW

TAKU

TAKU’s NOTE: Movements requiring excessive momentum for the execution and/or completion of the lift should be avoided. (More specific information is available upon request.)

 

 

TEN TRAINING TIPS:

Below you will find ten basic tips that will help you get the most out of your strength training program.

1) Train with a high level of intensity.

Intensity is not yelling loud, rather it is the ability to exert maximal effort, and focus on each repetition. At times this may require the ability to train past your comfort zone.

2) Attempt to increase the resistance used or repetitions performed every workout.

This is the application of the Overload Principle. The muscles must be challenged gradually and consistently in order to grow stronger.

3) Ideally, perform one set of each movement to the point of muscular exhaustion.

(There is very little evidence to suggest that multiple sets of each exercise are superior to a single set for strength gains.)

4) Reach concentric muscular failure within a prescribed number of time / repetitions.

If you reach failure well below the recommended time / repetition range the weight is too heavy, and potentially dangerous, it should be lowered on the next workout. If you reach failure above the time / rep range the weight is too light and you should gradually increase the resistance on the next workout.

5) Perform each repetition with proper technique. (see four rep rules)

The workout is only as good as each individual repetition. For maximum muscle-fiber recruitment and safety you should use a slow and controlled rep speed. We recommend a minimum 3-5-second concentric movement (raising) and 3-5-second eccentric movement (lowering). Note: Slower rep speeds are acceptable, and may be quite effective for some.

6) Strength train for no more than thirty minutes per workout.

We find it counter-productive to train with high levels of intensity for over 30 minutes.

7) Strength train 2-3 times per week on non-consecutive days.

To keep the body fresh and to avoid over-training you should take time to recover. As long as your strength continues to increase your rest is adequate. Should your strength plateau or slip you may need additional rest, not additional work. Counter intuitively stronger athletes require more rest than beginners.

8) Keep accurate records of performance.

This is the only way we can determine your gains in strength. This also is how coaches can help you individualize the workout for you, as no two athletes are exactly alike.

9) Safety above all things.

We are in the weight room to supplement your athletic skills with strength training. We do not want to risk an injury preparing for our sports. Non-athletes also do not want to risk injury in the attempt to improve their overall heath. Rule of thumb: If a movement is too fast or unorthodox do not perform it

10 To gain weight, consume more calories… to lose weight consume less.

Obviously the calories you put into your body should be healthy ones and the calories you cut from your diet should be done gradually. If you are serious about this concept please contact me for safe tips on weight gain and loss.

*THE FOUR rep rules.

Rule # 1 – Raise and lower the weight through the muscles full range of motion.

Rule # 2 – Eliminate momentum during the raising phase of each exercise.

Rule # 3 – Pause momentarily (stop for a count of 1001) in the muscle’s contracted position and then make a smooth transition to the lowering of the weight (no sudden drop).

Rule # 4 – Emphasize the lowering of the weight (take longer to lower the weight).

PAU for NOW
TAKU

The above inspired by the excellent work of the folks at www.strongerathletes.com

RECOMMENDED READING

I have mentioned all of the books on this list at one time or another, but decided they were so good that they deserved a single post where you can find them all. Just as my previous post about coaches I admire and appreciate, these books are presented in no particular order. Although this list is not a top ten, for aspiring strength coaches I would highly recommend the work of my friend Tom Kelso as an excellent starting off point.

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NAUTILUS TRAINING PRINCIPLES No. 1-3

This Three-Volume set contains Nautilus Training Principles: Bulletins No. 1, 2 and 3. These high intensity training classics by Nautilus inventor Arthur Jones cover every aspect of training from the specifics of exercise performance to the general principles of program design.

Drew Baye combined and edited these with Arthur Jones’ permission (October 11, 2006) to improve readability and created one table of contents and index for each of the three Bulletins.

Whether you’re a bodybuilder, athlete, or just want to lose fat or improve your general health and fitness, the information you need is covered here.

e-book: FREE

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  A PRACTICAL APPROACH TO STRENGTH TRAINING

4th edition by Matt Brzycki

About “A Practical Approach” 4th edition

From the Inside Flap:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgements
1 Basic Anatomy and Muscular Function
2 The Physiological Basis of Physical Training
3 Genetics and Strength Potential
4 Strength Training
5 Strength Training for Females
6 Strength Training for Youths
7 Strength Training for Older Adults
8 Free-Weight Exercises
9 Machine Exercises
10 Manual-Resistance Exercises
11 Designing and Varying the Strength Program
12 Rehabilitative Training
13 Flexibility Training
14 Aerobic Training
15 Anaerobic Training
16 Metabolic Training
17 Power Training
18 Skill Training
19 Nutritional Training
20 Nutritional Supplements
21 Nutritional Quackery
22 Weight Management
23 A Primer on Steroids
24 Strength and Fitness Q&A

Appendix A: Summary of Free-Weight Exercises
Appendix B: Summary of Machine Exercises
Appendix C: Summary of Manual-Resistance Exercises

 

 TAKU’s NOTE: I have several copies of Matt’s (3rd edition), and it is one of my favorites. I am a big fan of Matt’s work and have read everything of his I can get my hands on. He is a masterful writer with an excellent grasp on the intricate workings of Evidence based strength and conditioning protocols. The new fourth edition is not merely a slightly revised update, but a totally new book which is even more comprehensive then the last edition. Matt, you did what you set out to do. Well done. Thanks!

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MAXIMIZE YOUR TRAINING

is a collective effort of more than thirty leading experts in the strength and fitness field. These respected professionals share their insights on a variety of topics and issues related to training and exercise, including:

  • The history of strength training
  • Program design
  • High intensity training (HIT)
  • Motivation
  • Strength training for specific populations (including women, older adults, and prepubescents)
  • Bodybuilding
  • Powerlifting
  • Flexibility
  • Nutrition
  • Steroids

Maximize Your Training is for fitness enthusiasts who want to gain the knowledge, understanding, and insight necessary to achieve a competitive edge. This book is an important tool for anyone who takes bodybuilding, sports performance, and athletic training seriously.

TAKU’s NOTE: As mentioned above, I own several books by Matt Brzycki, and they are excellent. Maximize your training should be on every Strength and Conditioning coach’s top-10 book list. It is loaded with valuable information on evidence based exercise programs, and will assist those interested in how to design, implement, and update comprehensive strength programs for any goal. Although this book has been around for some time, I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy today.

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THE PATH OF MOST RESISTANCE

“The Path Of Most Resistance” by John Turner. Although this book is only 126 pages, like many great books it makes up in valuable information what it lacks in length. As the sub-heading says, this book is loaded with everything one might need to achieve physical superiority. There is nothing which is of no use.  Mr Turner shares his unique perspectives garnered from years of personal exploration. Those who take the time to read, absorb, and most importantly apply the lessons contained within its pages, will be rewarded (perhaps for the first time) with real results for their efforts.

In The Path of Most Resistance, Turner has the answers you’ve been looking for – – blunt, hard-hitting, honest advice including:

Full-Range Exercise

The Human Powertrain

Winning The Exercise Lottery

How To Achieve Physical Superiority

TAKU’s NOTE: I highly recommend that anyone with an interest in exercise history, Arthur Jones, Nautilus equipment, and real training information, pick up a copy of this book A.S.A.P. Read, pay attention, apply what you learn, and most importantly work hard. The results will most likely surprise you.

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UE-1 (Ultimate Exercise Bulletin #1)

UE-1 is Dr. Doug McGuff’s first published work on high intensity strength training. Read the groundbreaking book that introduced the concepts of the dose-response relationship of exercise, time under load, stoicism in training and other insights that forever changed the field of exercise.

ORDER YOURS TODAY!

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BODY BY SCIENCE

Body By Science, written by Doug Mc Guff and John Little, is one of best books I have encountered for explaining the theory and reasoning behind Brief, Intense, and Infrequent training. This book is well written, informative, and goes into detail about the science behind the author’s recommendations, as well as detailing exactly what to do and how to do it.

To order your copy of Body By Science please click here: Body by Science

 

By using a proper science-based approach to exercise you can be on your way to achieving the following in as little as 12 minutes a week:

  • Build muscle size and strength
  • Optimize cardiovascular health
  • Ramp up your metabolism
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Increase insulin sensitivity
  • Improve flexibility
  • Manage arthritis and chronic back pain
  • Build bone density
  • Reduce your risk for diabetes, cancer, heart attack, and more.

TAKU’s NOTE: Over the last year or two I have personally experimented with this style of training with myself, and my clients. I find it to be both extremely efficient, and highly effective. Many of my clients are experiencing excellent results in both strength and fitness, while participating in only one or two very brief workouts per week. For more information about this type of training visit the BODY BY SCIENCE home page.

Three of the best books I have come across all come from the same guy. His name is Tom Kelso and he is at the top of a very short list of coaches and trainers who I have found to be the best in the business.

The three books are:

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  1. THE INTERVAL TRAINING MANUAL*

The Interval Training Manual is a book I wish I had when I was just getting started. it is loaded and contains:

*132 different interval running workouts
*4 levels of difficulty each
*14 different running venues
*All target and recovery times included
*Design your own intervals using enclosed percent speed and recovery time charts.

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THE STRENGTH TRAINING WORKOUT ENCYCLOPEDIA 

The Strength Training Workout Encyclopedia was inspired by the question every good coach hears thousands of times during his/her career “Can you design a workout for me?” Tom went above and beyond and created a tool for both athletes and coaches alike.  There are literally thousands of workouts in almost every style you could ever need or want.

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Finally there is Tom’s e-book “TRUTH MYTH & REALITY: What Can and Cannot be Done in a Strength & Conditioning Program”. This book is based on Tom’s own research and 30+ years of “down in the trenches” experience.  If you are someone who not only welcomes the truth but DEMANDS it, then this e-book is definitely for you.

TAKU’s NOTE: After twenty-five plus years of working actively in the fitness industry I have gained some insight into what works and what doesn’t.  If you are a strength coach or an athlete, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of these three books. You can find links to all of them by visiting:  http://www.tomkelso.com/

Well, there you have it. As far as I am concerned after literally reading hundreds and hundreds of books, and articles over the years these books should be on the shelf of every strength coach.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

21 rewards of exercise…

By Steve McKinney

Today I offer an excellent list of 21 rewards of exercise…

1. You’ll reset your body: Exercise has been described as a giant reset button. A good workout will block appetite swings, improve your mood and even help you sleep. Image result for reset button

2. Your clothes will fit better: Consistent exercise will tone and tighten your body, causing your clothes to not only fit better but to also look nicer. Also exercise ensures that soon you’ll be trading your clothes in for smaller sizes. Image result for before and after weight loss clothes

3. You’ll be less stressed: You have enough stress in your life—it’s time for a break. A good workout invigorates your muscles, leaving you relaxed and less stressed.

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4. You’ll have more energy: WebMD tallied research studies and concluded that 90% prove exercise increases energy levels in sedentary patients. Next time you feel fatigued, fight it with the most powerful tool available: exercise.

5. You’ll be stronger: Exercise improves muscle strength and endurance, two things that you use throughout each day. When you exercise consistently you’ll be pleasantly surprised when difficult tasks begin to seem easy.

6. You’ll be less likely to binge: Exercise has a powerful anti-binge effect on the body. This is due in part by an increase in sensitivity to leptin, a protein hormone, which has an appetite-taming effect.

7. You’ll burn calories: You know that excess body fat is made up of stored and unused calories. Fight back by burning loads of calories with fat-blasting workouts.

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8. You’ll be more confident: Who doesn’t wish they walked and talked with more confidence? A consistent exercise program will do just that. As your body becomes more fit, watch as your confidence sky-rockets.

9. You’ll have fun: Believe it or not, exercise can be extremely enjoyable. Remember how fun it was to run around as a child? Tap into your inner child as you find a mode of exercise that gets you excited.

10. You’ll reduce your blood pressure: Exercise has been proven more effective than medication in reducing blood pressure to normal levels. A single workout has been shown to reduce blood pressure for the day and regular exercise reduces overall blood pressure in the long run.

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11. You’ll lose the jiggles: Regular exercise tightens flabby arms, legs and waistlines. So wave goodbye to the jiggles with a solid exercise program.

12. You’ll increase insulin sensitivity: Researchers at Laval University in Quebec discovered that exercise improved insulin sensitivity dramatically. Peak after-meal insulin levels dropped by more than 20 percent after as little as 3 weeks of consistent exercise.

13. You’ll sleep better: Do you toss and turn for hours before falling asleep? Exercise is a powerful sleep aid. Your tired muscles encourage your body to quickly fall asleep so they can get their overnight repair work done.

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14. You’ll lower your risk of heart disease: Regular exercise strengthens your heart and makes it more resilient against disease. A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for heart disease, so rest assured that consistent exercise is your ally against disease.

15. You’ll feel great: Vigorous exercise releases natural endorphins (happy hormones) into your blood stream that dissolve pain and anxiety. You’ve probably heard of ‘runner’s high’, this can be achieved by any great workout.

16. You’ll lower your risk of diabetes: Studies show that exercising as little as half an hour each day can dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes. If you are at risk of diabetes, or already have diabetes, regular exercise is the most effective treatment for reversing the disease.

17. You’ll meet cool people: You could benefit from a group of new, energetic friends, right? Gyms, bootcamps, workout centers and even the jogging trail are all great places to connect with fun new friends.

18. You’ll improve your BMI: You know that maintaining a healthy BMI is key in disease prevention. Exercise is the best way to keep your BMI under control.

19. You’ll increase your endurance: Do you ever get out of breath when walking up stairs or through the mall? Regular exercise builds your endurance for everyday activities.

20. Your doctor will be impressed: How many times has your doctor given you the lecture about losing weight and exercising more? Exercise regularly and get your MD off your back!

21. You’ll look amazing: Are you happy with the shape and size of your body? Regular exercise works wonders on your physique. Within a few weeks you’ll see shape and tone in all the right places.

This article comes courtesy of my friend Steve McKinney of Fitness and More.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

MISSION CRITICAL: Protect the command center

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For some time now I have been recommending that people train the muscles of the head and neck. I used to think this was primarily important for combat athletes such as those intending to participate in wrestling, judo, MMA, boxing, football, rugby etc.

Later I added any athlete who participates in a sport with potential head impacts of any kind including soccer, basketball, hockey, and lacrosse. These days I have come to realize that everyone (athlete or not) can, and will benefit from having a stronger neck complex.

In fact, research indicates that building muscle strength in such important places as the neck, shoulders and jaw not only allows this area to better dissipate forces, but that having a stronger neck will actually improve other athletic and functional movements because (much like having a stronger mid-section) stronger neck muscles increase stability and control allowing your body to transmit force more efficiently, wherever it’s being applied.

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In the past I used a basic neck series consisting of shrugs, combined with four way neck movements. Currently I use and recommend the Concussion Prevention Protocol* based on the work of Ralph Cornwall Jr. Ph.D. (Exercise Physiologist -Researcher).

These days we know that strength training is not just important, but it is the most important exercise one can participate in. It offers numerous benefits both physical and psychological, and when implemented intelligently takes very little time to see and feel these amazing improvements.

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Do yourself a favor and add some Head & Neck training into your current strength and conditioning plan. It only adds 5-10 minutes to ones total training regimen, and in fact several of the key movements recommended can easily replace some (if not all) of your current “back” training plan.

Don’t think about it…GET TO IT!!

PAU for NOW

TAKU

*The link above will take you to an abstract covering tremendous detail in both the research as well as the application of the Concussion Prevention Protocol.

THINK EFFORT

For many years I have been recommending effort based training systems which are built around Brief, Intense, Infrequent training sessions. This style of training has proven itself to be safe, efficient, and effective. Although this style of training has been around for at least 40 years, it is still somehow not always embraced by the mainstream. Some coaches like to claim that athletes do not use this style of training. This is totally false as approximately 50% of the NFL trains using this style of training as well as numerous other professional and college programs, and even Olympic athletes. Click the link below to see some examples of teams that utilize this style of training:

TEAMS:

Research showing the benefits of this style of training has also been around for years. Just recently some interesting studies have been released showing the positive results of various effort based training systems. Click the links below to see some current research on this topic:

RESEARCH 1.

RESEARCH 2.  

If you search through my archives you will find hundreds of articles explaining how to design and implement effort based training programs for yourself and others. You will also find many examples of ready made workout plans. Copy a few of them and insert them into your training regimen for a nice change of pace.

Here is a video showing one example of a challenging, total-body effort based workout:

WORKOUT: 

Finally…Based on current research here is a list of seven straightforward guidelines which have been shown to work. These recommendations make sense for just about everyone.

(Parenthetical comments are clarifications.)

1) Select one or two free weight or machine exercises for each muscle group. (Exercises may be changed from time to time.)

2) Lifting duration should be consistent with good form throughout each repetition. (Not too slow or too fast)

3) Range of repetitions can be from 3 to 20, which may vary from exercise to exercise or workout to workout.

4) Strive to do as many perfect reps as possible with the weight selected, stopping only when it becomes difficult to maintain good form. (Continue each set until volitional fatigue. for optimal strength gains.)

5) Do one set of each exercise. (There is very little evidence to suggest that multiple sets of each exercise are superior to a single set for strength gains.)

6) Rest long enough between exercises to allow proper form for each exercise. (Don’t rush or rest longer than necessary.)

7) Train each muscle group 1 to 2 times a week, depending on individual recuperation and response.

 

Remember it’s not the quantity, but the quality of your training that boosts your results.

THINK EFFORT!!

PAU for NOW

TAKU