April 29, 2012

Active Insufficiency And How It Affects Performance/Development

Any muscle that crosses over more than one joint is capable of producing force at more than one joint. Makes sense right? I mean, that’s what muscles do. They generate force, either to move us around or lift things, or provide stability. What most people don’t realize is that a muscle can only shorten by a certain amount, typically up to 50% of its resting length. What this means is that if a muscle is already shortened about one joint, then it cannot forcefully contract to produce movement over the other joint that it crosses. This is referred to as ACTIVE INSUFFICIENCY, and explains a lot about why certain muscles are more or less active at certain joint angles.

April 22, 2012

Intra-Set Rest For Increased Strength + Hypertrophy

One variable that receives absolutely no attention in regards to strength training is intra-set rest. You may not realize it at first, but everyone at one point or another has taken a small amount of rest between reps, to help themselves get another rep.
For example, anybody that has performed an extension type of exercise (bench press, squat, deadlift, etc.) to failure has likely rested with their arms/legs extended for a second or two, before attempting the final rep. In this case the rest is taken at the most advantageous part of the rep.

April 15, 2012

The Most Balanced Training Splits You Can Follow To Maximize Results, While Minimizing Overtraining

“Fail to plan, plan to fail”. Unfortunately as it relates to strength training, many people show up at the gym each day with virtually no plan set in place before they get there. While it’s in your best bet to have a clear and concise plan as far as what exercises and how many sets, reps, weight, etc. you plan to perform, you should at least have a general idea of what bodypart you’re going to train (though you don’t NEED to, and can still get results).

As far as hypertrophy is concerned, you grow when you’re not at the gym. The training is simply done to elicit the response. If you can make it to the gym 5-7 days a week then you can pretty much hit each specific major bodypart once a week on its own day and give it a sufficient amount of time to recover before hitting it again. You could even hit each bodypart twice a week, but I wouldn’t recommend that for a natural lifter, unless it was for some sort of specialization cycle, as it can quickly become too much volume for the body to recover from, therefore leading to overtraining.

April 8, 2012

The Value Of Repeated Efforts

“Practice makes perfect” is a saying that many of the greatest coaches and athletes live by, and with good reason. Like anything in life, you can make the assumption that the more times you do something, the better you’ll likely become at it. It’s rare to see anyone pick up a new skill/sport with no prior training, and excel at it. Strength training is no different. Whether you want to believe it or not, lifting weights is a skill.
While the saying “practice makes perfect” may sound accurate, it actually is flawed because if you are practicing poorly, then you’re only making things worse for yourself, as the dysfunctional motor patterns that are developed from performing anything less than perfectly will likely negatively affect you in some way sooner or later. That’s where the saying “perfect practice makes perfect” becomes more accurate if becoming the best you can, at whatever you endeavour, is your primary purpose.