This series of articles (March – April 2015) covers the science of muscle development for physique transformation, and the coupling of technology with new training techniques for faster gains. Each article slowly builds upon the information from the previous)
Most people are training “blind” – I was one of them. Let me explain.
Weightlifting and bodybuilding have, to date, only focused on the sets, reps and weights. And while you may be diligent and write everything down, this is simply not enough. We’ve only bee able to record half of the data that is crucial to success.
Sets, reps, and weight may seem like the whole picture – but is it?
Let’s look at what muscles really do – the whole picture.
In their most basic form, muscles enable us to move and control our limbs. They act around a joint, or joints – spanning across them and attached to the relevant bones so that as the muscle contracts it pulls on the bones and causes movement.
If we take physics approach, however, we realise that the muscle are performing work.
Bear with me – I’m getting to the part that will help you maximise your results.
When a muscle moves a limb, it generates a force to move an object with some resistance, through a range of motion.
The elements of this process therefore are:
- The amount of resistance (which we constantly try to increase)
- The range of motion
- The amount of times the movement is performed consecutively (reps)
- The number of times the sequence is repeated (sets)
These elements, to date, have been the limit of our focus. But there is more – and these elements are crucial.
Introducing time, rest time and force and force-vectors into the equation
- The time it takes to complete the range of motion – and therefore the time to complete the number of movement.
- The changing force (or load) at various parts of the range of motion – and again, the TIME spent in these sections vs. the time spent at points where there is load on the muscle
- The rest time between repeating the sequence.
These three additional criteria add significantly to our knowledge and options for loading the muscle. If we consider the first list of “usual” factors that we monitor – we can use an analogy of you moving a pile of bricks from one spot to another.
You are like the muscle performing the work, and the bricks are the resistance, and the distance between the two places represents the range of motion.
With current gym practices, you’d simply record the fact that you moved the pile of bricks.
End of story.
Consider now that you are employed and paid per brick.
The money that you earn is your effectiveness – it represents your work rate – and is like the stress that is placed on the muscle. The more bricks that you can move in an hour, the greater your work rate and “value” is. The money you earn is like your value over time and is like your muscle growing. Your total value is your muscle size.
How this relates to muscles?
How this relates to muscles and faster results for you using new technology will be explained more fully in the next article – in the mean time you can consider – what is the impact if the weight you are lifting is a bit heavy and you “rest” between each rep? (i.e. like carrying more bricks but having to stop several times each trip) – what if the combination of the weight, reps, and TUT mean you have to wait a long time between sets (i.e. wait a long time between trips and take ages to move the pile and earn your money).
So we can now see where simply tracking just the number of bricks moved does not give anywhere near enough information. Imagine if you took a year to move the bricks!
That’s enough about bricks for now – but it does serve as a good example so you understand the logic. Next time we’re going to be bringing it back to training and discussing how technology can be used to achieve peak performance and gains.
AMP Your Workout Smart Tips
In the mean time, the take-away tips from this article are:
- Weightlifting and bodybuilding have, to date, only focused on the sets, reps and weights.
- When a muscle moves a limb, it generates a force to move an object with some resistance, through a range of motion. This equates to the Work that the muscle performs.
- However, there are other factors that have significant implications for the muscle size and condition. These elements are elapsed time, rest time, force and force-vectors. They dictate the actual Work that the muscles perform, as well as the Work Rate.
- We can use an analogy of you moving a pile of bricks from one spot to another. You are like the muscle performing the work, and the bricks are the resistance, and the distance between the two places represents the range of motion. With current gym practices, you’d simply record the fact that you moved the pile of bricks.
- Your earning potential in the brick example is related to the effectiveness of the stimulus on your muscles in the gym – and hence the results you achieve. To date in gyms, we have never measured this “earning rate” – new technology now makes it possible.
- How you achieve the greatest “earning rate” for each muscle and each exercise is a function of your entire muscle system (as we have covered in earlier articles) – you must find the key combination of training parameters that suit the elements in your muscle system – AND how they all work together – these are all determined by your genetics and your entire training regime.
For more information, visit AMP Your Workout.com. AMP Your Workout provides the latest technology to optimise training and match it to our genetic strengths – for faster results.