Basics question.

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by David, May 8, 2005.

  1. David

    David Mostly AFK, these days

    I'm kind of embarrassed to say that I'm doing some weights for pure vanity. It's my pectorals. I don't seem to have any. 7+ years of kung fu without using my pecs in any major way hehe.

    So, I have detailed instructions on the type of exercise to do, and I'm happy with it and I have the equipment I need for it.

    The basic question is: to increase the size of a muscle, I must do what to it?

    I have a 14 kilo dumbell (I can adjust it down if required) which I am going to use on my right, then my left one after the other. I'm trying not to discuss the particular exerices I'm doing because I don't want to have anyone try to tell me to do a different one.

    Is it the weight I can lift once that controls it or does it have to be a weight that I can do a particular number of reps/sets with?

    Are there specific speeds to lift at, times to wait between sets or anything else I need to worry about?

    I hope this makes sense to someone..!

  2. GhostOfYourMind

    GhostOfYourMind Bewaters lil Iron Monkey

    Growth is caused by overload. Read this article from T-nation:;jsessionid=2F7146B33C593258A532BAC146269418.hydra?id=620430

    Excerpt and IMO, a very good post by Disc Hoss:

    One caveat should be given to clarify on the following point:

    "To build size and strength, it is essential to incorporate maximal voluntary contractions. In short, this means recruiting as many motor units as possible to develop force.

    Contrary to what you might assume, an MVC does not always equate to a 1RM load. Rather, an MVC could be the last rep of a 5 or 6RM load, where performing another rep is impossible."

    With respect to this in how it relates to hypertrophy, it has been cited and expounded upon by Prof. Zatsiorsky in the Science and Practice of Strength Training, that one only needs to come relatively close to RM for the effect to be given. For example, he states you can use sets of 10 with a 12RM and still get nearly all the benefit, with other benefits included. This is exactly what Pavel Tstatsouline, Chad Waterbury, and Charles Staley espouse.

    You get near enough to knock out the vast majority of available MU's and also get the benefit of being able to perform more reps and training more frequently, because you have avoided failure. If you avoid failure and still knock out a significant number of MU's by training rapidly and using at least 75-80% 1RM then you don't need to hit failure, and in fact should avoid it for the most part so that you can indeed have a higher total tonnage moved in the workout and be able to train before 5-7 days due to the fact that you didn't overtax the CNS. Old School guys like Bill Pearl preached that your last reps should be pretty tough but don't train to failure very often or for very long.

    The best way to maximize TUT is to get multiple sets of low reps (3-6) and DONT train to failure, but keep about 2 reps in the hole. You will then be able to perform more work with a significant weight and get bigger/stronger faster. For example:

    Using a 5rm of 200lbs on bench:
    set 1: 5 reps
    set 2: 5 reps (and a missing testicle)
    set 3: 4 reps
    set 4: 3 reps
    set 5: 2 reps

    Total volume: 19 reps x 200lbs = 3800lbs. Now you must wait 5-7 days to hit it again because you fried the CNS.

    Smarter alternative based on Zatsiorsky

    Use your 7/8 rm of 175lbs on bench:
    set 1: 5 reps (easy)
    set 2: 5 reps (easy)
    set 3: 5 reps (pretty solid)
    set 4: 5 reps (getting there)
    set 5: 5 reps (almost failure. very close)

    Total volume: 25 repsx 175lbs = 4375lbs.

    You spent all or nearly all of your time in the "not to failure" range and you can train in 2-3 days again.

    THIS is how you hit a significant # of MU's, get high tonnage, get high OVERALL TUT, and best of all, can come back and train more often because your muscles adapt much more quickly than your CNS. Since we didn't overtax the nervous system, we can come back and play more often. Result: You're bigger and stronger, with more motivation than ever. After you've been in the game a while, you figure out that just enough is plenty enough. Screw training to failure for the vast majority of your training time. As a tool, use it intelligently and infrequently. It is only A tool, not the panacea of growth.

    Disc Hoss

    So in summary, my answer is use all sorts of rep ranges. Every 4 weeks change your rep scheme. To use less reps, you will need more than just 14kg though I'm sorry to say. You could always hang that 14kg from yourself and do dips for less reps/higher load though.:) Anyone please jump on in if I missed something. Progressive overload is key. Charles Staley's EDT program focuses on this. You need to do more work in the next workout than you did in the previous workout. Simple as that (but not really....:D)
    Last edited: May 8, 2005
  3. David

    David Mostly AFK, these days

    Thanks, it's a start :).

  4. ninjamonkey

    ninjamonkey New Member

    A much more simpler start is:

    You basically want to exhaust the muscle. One possible set rep scheme would be 10Rx3S. Or you could do 5Rx5S. Just play around with it. I hope you're benching! :D You're not on the pec deck are you? :)

    Also you may haveto worry about tempo. moderate concentric, slow eccentric (on the way down (when you're not doing the effort)) about 5 secs, around there. You may experience more DOMS doing that, but it is important.
  5. David

    David Mostly AFK, these days

    Thankyou, too, monkey. You'll be relieved to hear it s a bench-type exercise.

    I'm to have my heels on the floor, my body & legs straight and taut with my shoulders on a gym ball. The arm starts in the postion you get to at the lowest point of a wide-arm pushup. It holds the dumbell with the palm rotated to face me as far as it goes. I lift the dumbell till it is over my centreline whilst twisting the wrist as far the other far as it goes. Coming down is the reverse.

    Depending on where else I feel it, I may arrange it to avoid DOMS - as this is pure vanity, I don't want it impacting on my kung fu training.

  6. johndoch

    johndoch upurs

    Do you only use one Dumbell and work one side after the other?

    If you are then I would get another dumbell and work both sides at once as this will isolate your pecs more and give you better results.

    If you are using two dumbells then just ignore my last comment and call me stupid :)
  7. David

    David Mostly AFK, these days

    I have 3 dumbells and the biggest weight I can put on one is 14KG, but I don't have enough weights to make two at 14KG. I think I can make two at 9KG.

    How much weight should I be using? I have no idea what I can lift but it is probably a fraction of one mate who told me last week he presses 265KG - that sounds a lot lol.

    The chap who convinced me to do this one rather than the 4 previous ideas I had (from other enquiries) said I'd be happier doing one at a time. Clearly, it's not just a chest exercise, what with the stiff-as-a-board body and the torsion of having the weight on one side of me.

    He knows me and is an MA himself as well as a 5-times-a-week gym freak. He gave little tips to complete the idea of the exercise so that the lines stay within boundaries of effectiveness etc.


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