More on eccentrics and drop set science

The end of 2013 was quiet here on the blog, but just wanted to put up a quick message to wish everyone a happy (belated) new year, and to share two links to some content I released towards the end of 2013.

Drop set science

A little while back Eric and Chris Martinez of the Dynamic Duo Training approached me to do a guest post for the site, which over the last year has put out some comprehensive compilation posts from quite the collection of fitness pros.Continue Reading

Slow eccentrics for growth?

After my recent post on the relationship of tempo to work and time under tension, I thought I’d take a look at the role of slow eccentric actions in hypertrophy training. In my research into tempo recommendations being offered around the net, the most common was to use slow eccentric tempos to maximize muscle growth. Despite the prevalence of this recommendation, more often than not it was offered up without any citations to support it.Continue Reading

Tempo and hypertrophy

I’ve spent much of the last few months (and posts) thinking about the basic training variables that influence hypertrophy, namely how altering training intensity alters the hypertrophic results from training. The main idea of these posts was that, when taken to failure, light training loads (30%-1RM) can produce comparable hypertrophy to high intensity loads (80-90%-1RM). While the location of growth may vary, being higher in type I fibres with low-load, type II fibres with high intensity (1), ultimately, whole-muscle hypertrophy is very similar across intensities when trained to failure (2).Continue Reading

More on low-load hypertrophy

If you’ve been following my site over the last year, you’ll notice that I’ve written a few articles on the concept of low-load hypertrophy training (here, here and here), and how our understanding of the relationship of training intensity and hypertrophy is a bit skewed. These arguments relied pretty heavily on the relatively recent data from Dr Stu Phillip’s at McMaster University; however, I rediscovered another article (1) while working on a review article this morning that is definitely of interest in this context. I believe it’s freely available online too, so don’t rely on my short summary, check out the full article while you can.Continue Reading

Underestimating Type I Fibre Hypertrophy

After writing a recent T-Nation article on the use of multiple repetition ranges, one question from the comments afterwards stuck with me. If fatigue is essential for hypertrophy following training, why even bother with multiple repetition ranges? Couldn’t you train exclusively light, or heavy, as long as it was to failure (or fatigue) and still enjoy the same hypertrophic benefits regardless of load?Continue Reading

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Effective Hypertrophy on T-Nation

Just wanted to drop a quick message on the site to let you know my new T-nation article with JC Deen has been out for a week. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, you can find it here.

I am really happy with how this one turned out. JC and I looked at multiple angles, how different athletes train, combined this with the latest hypertrophy research, and ended with a practical example on how to integrate these ideas into a training program. It’s worth the read.Continue Reading

Rapid changes in muscle size

In a previous post I wrote about the different time-course of neural and hypertrophic adaptations and how these contribute to the early changes in strength during training. What didn’t come across in that post is that while neural mechanisms may dominate, a single-bout of training activates hypertrophic signalling pathways, but it just takes more time for these adaptations to manifest in a way that can contribute to strength changes.Continue Reading

How bodybuilders train

It’s no secret that I’ve advocated for the use of mixed repetition ranges for the optimal development of strength and hypertrophy, contrary to the rather rigid fixed hypertrophy guidelines that abound. Unfortunately, while I’ve been able to make a case based on the scientific literature for why loading variation is ideal, my practical arguments have always hinged on my own practical experience and anecdotal accounts from real lifters. There’s nothing wrong with this, but relying on informal data like this can make for a hard sell. Fortunately Hackett et al (1) put together a survey of the training practices of competitive bodybuilders that allows us a closer look at how bodybuilders really train.Continue Reading