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ST - Part 2

Friday, February 22, 2013

Another set of components to having success with ST is an understanding of the phases of lifting.

Concentric
Isometric
Eccentric

Concentric - when the muscle is contracting or shortening, as in the lifting phase of a bicep curl.

Isometric - when the muscle is under tension but there is no joint movement - this would be the case if you tried to lift your car with one hand - no actual movement, but the muscle is under tension.

Eccentric - when the muscle is extending or lengthening, as in the phase when returning the dumbell to the start position with a bicep curl.

Why is this important? It is all part of getting the most out of workout sessions while avoiding exposure to injury. Moving the weight too quickly in either the concentric or eccentric phases can stress the muscle and cause injury - it is also a recipe for creating poor form - slow and controlled allows the muscle to carry the weight and adjust to the changing stress points.

There is some research (I don't have it for reference, but I recall when I read it that it was coming from a credible source) that indicates the concentric and eccentric phases are equally important in building size and strength.

For most exercises a good rule of thumb is that the motion phases should be done at a 3-count pace in both directions (some trainers advocate a two count for concentric and a 4 count for eccentric).

I wouldn't worry too much about 3 - 3 count or 2 - 4 count. The concept is to go slow in both directions. If you are letting the weight drop back down or trying to do as many reps as fast as you can, you are risking injury and probably not maximizing your lifting sessions.

You might not be able to use as much weight on the bar or do as many reps, but you will build more muscle (the salient point from my last blog - it is not about how much or how long - it is about going to muscle failure - safely that determines muscle and strength growth) and avoid injury and undue stress on joints.

Happy, and safe lifting.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHRIS3874 5/22/2013 9:59PM

    I have read somewhere that there is a theory that you gain more muscle if you slow down the eccentric part f the lift.

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NAYPOOIE 2/23/2013 2:45PM

    Good information.

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BILL60 2/23/2013 9:11AM

    Good stuff!!

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GETSTRONGRRR 2/22/2013 11:26PM

    Yep, it's all about the control.No fast, jerky movements....they play havoc with your joints & ligaments

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NATPLUMMER 2/22/2013 3:54PM

    emoticon

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MELISSAD71 2/22/2013 2:53PM

    I agree slow, concentrated movement is essential. Keep up the good work! emoticon

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TIME2BLOOM4ME 2/22/2013 2:36PM

    emoticon

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Maximizing ST

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I have been doing some form of Strength Training serially (on for many months, then off for a while). Originally it was to build strength for performance in sports, then just for recreation (I enjoy how my body feels when I am lifting consistently).

It has been generally accepted that to build strength and size, you need to lift heavy. McMaster University, in my hometown in Canada, released a report a few months ago on research that seems to indicate otherwise. Link is posted below, but the quick synopsis is that it seems the most important aspect of the lifting = strength/size equation is taking the muscle to failure - in other words, until you can't lift that weight anymore.

It doesn't seem to matter whether you lift heavy or light, just go to failure and you will gain.

So if you have working out with weights and are wondering why you aren't gaining strength/size, it could be you haven't been going all the way to failure on each set.

Unless you are working with a trainer or spotter, going to complete failure has challenges. Most people lose form (proper from/technique is critical in injury prevention) as the muscle weakens and are then more susceptible to injury. If you want to go to complete failure, I would suggest working with a trainer or seasoned spotter to assist in maintaining form.

I mostly workout at home and haven't yet trained the hound to be a good spotter (oh, she's critical of my technique all right, but can't lift enough weight to be helpful).

The approach I have developed over the years is a modification of drop-sets (progressively lighter weights) and only going to technical failure (to the point where I can no longer lift that weight with good form/technique).

You can even do drops within a set. For biceps curls you may start at 30 pounds for 8 reps (technical failure), then 20 pounds until TF, then 10, and finally 5 - at this point you may not even be able to lift your arm, but you have achieved complete failure, while mitigating the risk of injury.

Have fun lifting - here's the link to the article:

www.mcmaster.ca/opr/html/opr/media/m
ain/NewsReleases/Lightweightsarejustas
goodforbuildingmusclegettingstrongerre
searchersfind.htm

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BILL60 2/22/2013 8:27AM

    Good info. Gonna try it out next week. Thanks for sharing.

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HOUNDLOVER1 2/21/2013 11:54PM

    Great blog, just what I needed to know as I'm trying for at least the 10th time to work up to where I can even do a single pushup, LOL. I never go past technical failure so this may be why I have a lot of trouble improving.
Also do you have any suggestions for what I can do to help myself further along? So far I'm doing bench presses with dumbbells at 15 lbs each, dumbbell fly with 8-10 lbs., I do pushups on an incline and can do about 5-6 with something about 30 inches high (bikerack). It seems to me that my pectoralis is the weakest, though triceps is not much better.
Maybe I just should hire a trainer for a few hours?

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GETSTRONGRRR 2/21/2013 6:59PM

    I firmly concur! I've been working with a trainer for 3 years, precisely for his expertise (even though he is a bastard!). He drives me beyond what I think I can do and takes me to failure, even past what I think is failure.

When i get too tired doing heavy sets, he'll lighten the load a lot and just say, "Rep it out and go to failure"

I hate it when he says that! (Eerily enough, I wrote my last blog about this same thing)

Good on you brother, keep pressing!

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NATPLUMMER 2/21/2013 3:34PM

    emoticon Thanks for the info!

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Week 26 - D5

Friday, November 30, 2012

Goals for the week beginning November 26/12.
This week represents 6 months of weekly logging my workouts.

Cardio Goal - 180 minutes
11-28-12 - 25 minutes
11-29-12 - 60 minutes
11-29-12 - 25 minutes
11-30-12 - 50 minutes

Remaining to Goal - 20 minutes



ST Goal - 4 sessions
11-26-12 - 1 session
11-28-12 - 1 session
11-29-12 - 1 session



Remaining to goal - 1 sessions



Tabata Goal - 2 sessions



Remaining to goal - 2 sessions

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NATPLUMMER 12/5/2012 11:00AM

    emoticon

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BILL60 12/1/2012 7:37AM

    That looks a lot more aggressive. Way to go!!

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Week 26 - D 4

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Goals for the week beginning November 26/12.
This week represents 6 months of weekly logging my workouts.

Cardio Goal - 180 minutes
11-28-12 - 25 minutes
11-29-12 - 60 minutes
11-29-12 - 25 minutes

Remaining to Goal - 70 minutes



ST Goal - 4 sessions
11-26-12 - 1 session
11-28-12 - 1 session
11-29-12 - 1 session



Remaining to goal - 1 sessions



Tabata Goal - 2 sessions



Remaining to goal - 2 sessions

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NATPLUMMER 11/29/2012 11:01AM

    emoticon

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JUSTLLAMA 11/29/2012 9:23AM

    Looks great!

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Week 26 - D 3

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Goals for the week beginning November 26/12.
This week represents 6 months of weekly logging my workouts.

Cardio Goal - 180 minutes
11-28-12 - 25 minutes

Remaining to Goal - 155 minutes



ST Goal - 4 sessions
11-26-12 - 1 session
11-28-12 - 1 session



Remaining to goal - 2 sessions



Tabata Goal - 2 sessions



Remaining to goal - 2 sessions

  


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