How Many CARS Can You Lift Per Minute?

After some people do their workouts, they send me their results. Using that data, I have a proprietary way of calculating what they will be able to lift in a few days.

These guys often add their own comments when they send me their data. Last week one of them told me,

“I have made more progress in the past 10 weeks than I have in the past 10 years of on and off training. My only problem now is that my shirts are getting too tight. haha”

I don’t know what he’s done in the last ten years, but I can show you his last 10 workouts . . .

ThatsWhatImTalkingAbout

That is a perfect chart. Notice how every single exercise showed improvement every time he returned to the gym? That’s no fluke. That takes honest math and real science. It’s why he’s seeing the best progress he’s had 10 years.

What you’re seeing is his power output over a 30-second interval. There’s no way to ‘hocus pocus’ that measurement. The man doing the lifting can either lift more total weight (weight x reps) on the same exercise, done the same way, with the same equipment, in the same 30-seconds – or he can’t. Pass or Fail. It’s physics and it can’t be cheated.

Cars Per Minute

Look around your gym. How many guys do you see with a plan? How many are squeezing every muscle fiber into action? How many are measuring.

Most people I see in the gym are going through the motions. Working their biceps with light dumbbells while staring at the young woman in yoga pants using the stair machine. Wasting time. Reducing their output per minute. Reducing the need for their body to be in an anabolic state. Low intensity.

Here’s some data analysis from a guy on only his SIXTH workout with our new Compound Reps Workout. (Which is a hybrid workout that has to be felt to be believed.)

HowManyCarsCanYouLift

 

Look at how much weight he lifted using just 3 special exercises: 43.4 Tons.

And just to make that more tangible, that’s about 25.5 Toyota Camry’s or Ford Taurus’s. Next time you’re in a small parking lot, count out 25 cars and imagine lifting them in one workout that takes you 16 minutes.

That’s 1.5 cars per minute!

And the fact is, of those 16 minutes, 13 minutes were taken either resting or setting up for the next exercise. Because this particular workout only requires exactly 3 minutes of actual lifting.

That means this person actually lifted a staggering 8.5 cars per minute of exertion!

Do you think the guy watching the yoga pants is doing that? Or the guy talking on his phone between exercises? Or any guy with absolutely no mathematical plan when he walks into the gym?

Anyway, most of you have heard me talk about all this before.

Maybe 3 in 100 will decide to find out what they are really capable of when all the parameters are optimized for them to generate maximum power and remain in a sustainable program month after month.

Most will continue to train blindly.

But if you want to find out what High Intensity really means, and if you want a program that is sustainable, we’ll do all the calculations for you – you just have to show up and lift the weights.

Here’s where to get started. http://www.precisiontraining.com/engineered-strength-gym-3/

 

2

What Works Best?

What works best?One of the perennial questions that comes up on my blog and probably on every blog about building new muscle is something like, “I’ve heard the ABC method of training works well, but I’ve also heard that XYZ is great too. Does anybody know which one is best?”

A common variation is: “Which method would be best for me?”

Here’s the harsh truth. The training method that is best for you is unknowable.

You can, and should, make an educated approximation. But you will never have certainty that you went with the “best” possible training method for you.

We Tested

We’ve been testing all sorts of things for over twenty years. Individual exercises, exercise combinations, multiple sets, and more. A lot of that is in our free e-booklet, Workout Variations Revealed.

We’ve even tested whether Static Contraction of Power Factor workouts build more mass.
Short answer:

– Nothing is more efficient at building mass, per minute of exercise, than Static Contraction
– A very particular Power Factor routine builds more mass per workout (but the workouts are longer than SC workouts)

The details of that testing, and the winning Mass Gain Workout are in this report.

We are working on and testing a very new workout that has the potential to exceed anything we’ve done in the past. I first tested it one-on-one with some 20-something guys in a gym. They were so wiped at the end of it they had to rest before walking out of the gym. The tonnage per minute is off the charts. I keep the page that talks about it hidden from our casual web traffic. If you’re interested you can try it here.

Limits of Empiricism

When we deal with experiments and evidence there’s always a limit to what we can claim to know. In weightlifting and bodybuilding this fact never seems to stop people from declaring things like, “I tried everything and the only thing that built my biceps was kettle bell curls on a Swiss ball. That’s the BEST biceps exercise there is!” As if there are magic properties of a 20kg kettle bell that a 20kg dumbbell or sandbag do not have. Not to mention avoiding inferior Belgian balls.

The bigger problem is that not all people have exactly the same physiology. I often use the example of penicillin. It’s a great antibiotic for the majority of people, yet it can be completely ineffective and even lethal to some people. Why?

I think it’s safe to say that seemingly strange variations occur in the area of strength training as well.

I know for sure that some people can training in only their strongest, safest range of motion and see almost complete transference of strength to their weak range. While others see virtually zero transference. Why? (I always ask the latter group, if you gain 20lbs of new muscle, why do you care about weak range maximum power? When do you ever need it?)

And the final blockade to knowing what is “best” is a problem of logic. Because anyone can assert that, – if only Michael Phelps had trained in the gym using the XYZ method – he would have been just a little bit faster in the pool. And whether or not that is correct is unknowable. So nobody can claim “best” with any measurable degree of certainty.

I’m sure some kind of exhaustive testing could be done, but my vote would be to spend those resources on cancer or heart disease testing instead.

And in any case, a giant, billion dollar weightlifting muscle gain study would come down to something like: 68% of people got better results with the ABC protocol, while 32% did better with the XYZ method. And at that point you still don’t know which one would suit YOUR metabolism better. And you’re right back at – pick one and see how it goes!

What to Do?

I think most people fail in the gym because they just don’t measure anything. They talk about intensity but never measure it. They talk about making progress but never measure it. They talk about recovery time but never measure it.

So the thing to do is to pick a workout program – virtually any program – and then write down your actual performance numbers on every exercise during every workout.

Write down how many pounds you lift per minute on every exercise. Write down the total tonnage of every workout. Then make sure you better those numbers next time. All of them. If you don’t, it means you should give yourself more recovery time. Anybody, anywhere can do this with a stopwatch, paper and pencil. Your smart phone has all three of those. If you don’t want the hassle, we’ll do it for you.

Over time, this is the only way to get anywhere close to the answer for ‘what works best’ for you personally. It requires evidence, measurement, reason, and occasional course correction. But the numbers are immune to hype, opinion, speculation, nonsense, and gym lore.

Train with your brain.

1

Power Factor Training Minimalism Study

PFMS Headline

For about two years we’ve been running some informal studies to determine what tactics in the gym deliver the best gains of muscle mass and size.

So if trainees lifted all-out for 30, 60 or 90 seconds at a time, who would you guess gained the most mass and size at the end of eight workouts?

Well, it turns our the 30-second guys did. They did less – but they gained more mass. Remember that for a moment.

We also tested some other tactics:

  • Full range of motion
  • Strongest range of motion
  • Static Contraction using 1 set
  • Static Contraction using 3 sets

We reported on all of that here.

Right now we’re running another study to see what variations in training frequency can do to speed up gains.

You And I Can Study What We Want

This is the great thing about having our own community of people who are interested in rational strength training and appreciate the value of basic experimentation and gathering data. On top of that, it’s just plain fun.

I’ve realized that it’s like having our own crowd-funding site for things related to rational strength training. Everybody who reads this and is on my mailing list is a person with an awareness of the merits of taking a scientific, mathematical approach to weightlifting for functional strength gains.

Nobody else is doing this direct-to-the-customer stuff. At one end of the spectrum are the guys just pushing the same “3 sets of 10” for every exercise and “three days per week” for the rest of your life. Those guys aren’t curious or interested in new findings because their advice will never change anyway.

At the other end are some expensive university studies that are often funded by big operators with an agenda, like finding some food compound that has a minimal effect then building a giant nutritional supplement campaign around minimal and logically inconclusive results.

But we can do our own informal investigations into whatever we are interested in. Such as . . .

What’s the MINIMUM You Can Do?

What’s the minimum about of weightlifting you can do to trigger systemic muscle growth in your body? You might have read my interview with longtime customer Mark who says after years of overtraining frustration he used Power Factor principles to gain 35lbs of new muscle using only two exercises and eventually training only once every six months.

That got some of us on the blog thinking. What would be the minimum amount of exercise required to trigger growth and gain mass and size? Since we’re now sitting on a bunch of new data from the trainees mentioned in the above studies – and we know what mass and size they gained performing six different heavy exercises – it will be easy to compare “apples to apples” with how a similar group of trainees does with just two of those exercises.

Remember, the guys who lifted for 30 seconds outperformed the guys who lifted for 60 or 90 seconds? Is it possible that trainees who pour all of their effort and recovery resources into just two exercises will do as well? Might they do even better? Is less really more?

Right now we don’t know. But this simple little study could give us some exciting data that will point to an answer.

What will it mean if they exceed the current high-water mark of 7.1 lbs of new muscle and 2 inches of size with less exercise?

Let’s find out.

PFMS

This variation of the Mass Gain study is called the Power Factor Minimalism Study. It uses just two of the six common exercises the trainees used in Part 1 & 2 of the study. We have their data. Next we’ll be able to compare it to this new data we’ll collect from trainees who pour everything they have into just:

- Bench press
- Barbell deadlift

 

We need several dozen people who would like to have their next 10 Power Factor workouts engineered by me in a way that maximizes their power output for optimal results. We are specifically aiming to increase both total muscle mass and muscle size and will measure those gains. (Lean mass gain, chest size, biceps size, waist size.)

Grip Strength as a Recovery Indicator

Since this study involves just two exercises, it’s a good time to test one other thing I’ve been wondering about for many years. Apparently some old time strongmen who did massive lifts for show purposes used their grip strength as a measure of whether or not they were recovered enough for a record lift.

So before trying to lift an entire wagon with ten men and women standing in it, they would first see if they could lift a certain weight using only their grip. As the story goes, this was a quick way they could measure their state of recovery without depleting themselves with a failed heavy lift. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it isn’t. But this would be a good opportunity to check to see if there is a reliable correlation between what your grip power is today and what you can bench press and deadlift.

So on this little study we’re adding the simple task of squeezing your bathroom scale the morning of your workout and recording the peak reading. Over ten workouts we’ll see if there is any validity to the old story. Frankly, I hope it is true because the world needs a quick and easy indicator of systemic recovery from heavy weightlifting.

Behold! A whopping 28.8 lbs of grip strength. (Hey, I was concentrating on getting the photo.)

To do this properly I need to interact with each participant. Specifically;

a) The results of each of your workouts needs to be sent to me via e-mail so I can analyze your progress and make adjustments over the period of the study. (An online form automates this and makes it simple for you.)
b) There will be only two different exercises and every workout will be the same. You can’t substitute exercises – we need barbell or machine bench presses and barbell or machine deadlifts. These are strongest range reps done in a power rack or Smith machine and you can expect to work up to heavy weights. All trainees will perform 10 workouts, as quickly as feasible, as determined by their progress and recovery data. Each schedule is customized to the individual.
c) You need access to a basic body fat scale or calipers so we know the difference between muscle gain and fat gain or loss. You also need access to a bathroom scale you can hold in your hands to measure your grip strength.
d) Diet is not being tested for this study so eating normally is fine.
e) As always, I have to make my medical/legal disclaimer that I am not a physician and have no way of knowing your suitability for strenuous exercise. The decision to lift heavy weights is between you and your accredited physician and I cannot assume the liability for your decision and participation.

The cost to participate in this study is only $55.

For that, you will receive;

– My personal coaching and encouragement via e-mail to wring everything you can out of these workouts.

– Each of your workouts will be analyzed and new goals will be engineered according to your rate of progress and your rate of recovery. These will be emailed to you. The objective is to provide you with 10 productive workouts.

– You will be first to receive the full report of what occurred and the first to receive any form of workout that might be derived from the data.

– But most importantly, you will have the satisfaction of DOING SOMETHING to move the world of strength training toward a model of testing and measurement in order to make intelligent decisions about what works and how well it works.

It will be fascinating to see whether the people in this new study can equal or outperform the gains from all other protocols.

Common Questions:

Is my age a factor? We have people doing the PF study aged from their 20′s to 70′s so if you’re in that range it will be fine. The median age of the previous groups was 51 years old.

Can I use rubber bands, bodyweight, etc.? No. You need access to moderately heavy weights that will exhaust target muscles within 30 seconds of lifting. Home gym or commercial gym does not matter but you need barbells or machines. Both the exercises are common ones. (See list, above.) Also, this is not a Static Contraction workout.

I haven’t been working out out lately, can I still participate? Yes. Everyone starts at whatever his strength level is right now and then works from there. You start by lifting a weight that feels heavy to you, whether it’s 300 lbs or 20 lbs. We are measuring the progress of people at all levels of strength and fitness.

Do I have to start immediately? You can start any time in the month of April, 2016.


I’m in Pete, I’d like to be in the Power Factor Minimalism study. $55.00

Buy


P.S. This has proven to be a fantastic way to leverage our little community of rational strength trainers. Your assistance is truly needed. And, hey, it will be a fun story to tell people and make the next couple of months more interesting.

“I’m interested but I have a question first.”

 

1

What I Learned Since Quitting

A few years ago I decided I’d had enough of the world of strength training.

I’d spend nearly 20 years talking about it and investigating ways to use good reasoning, math and physics to try to make sense of what worked well and what did not work well in terms of gaining strength and muscle mass.

I suppose I got a little burned out. So I left.

But after a couple of years with no day to day involvement, I began to miss it a little. Then I got thinking about all the things that could still be investigated and my curiosity got the best of me. There was still so much that could be examined and discovered. So I rolled up my sleeves (again) and dived back in.

1. Timed Sets Generate Your Highest Output

Once you understand the role of high intensity in building muscle, you start wondering what techniques generate more intensity than others.

I’ve always been amazed that with all the thousands of trainers who talk about ‘high intensity’ virtually none of them has a measurement of it that they use when lifting. (???)

What’s equally amazing is never knowing whether, say, strip sets or pyramid sets generate more intensity. Because if you did know, would you ever use the inferior, lower intensity method?

Anyway, we testing the common variations and discovered that timed sets cause trainees to generate their highest output per unit of time.

The free report is here:

 

2. A Way to Guarantee Strength, Mass & Size Gains

It’s a tricky business to get steady progress in the gym. A big part of the reason is because a person has to be recovered before new muscle will grow. Ignore that and you’ll just dig a metabolic hole, get very tired, and stop making progress no matter how often you train.

Keeping track of the objective intensity of each exercise, plus personal recovery, plus training frequency can be very complex. To add to this, while things like adding a second set will double workout volume, it will not double the needed recovery. The relationship between volume and recovery is not linear.

On top of that, adding more weight is disproportionately more demanding than adding more reps. Two reps with 200 lbs is not the same as one rep with 400 lbs. That’s another non-linear relationship.

One of the first things I did when I came back was to create the Engineered Strength Gym to keep track of all the above and a bit more. I don’t talk about it the way I should. To be honest, it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever come up with. Especially for evaluating the complexity of a Power Factor workout. It’s basically guaranteed strength, mass gains. Plain and simple.

Engineered Strength Gym

3. A Mass Gain Study

But there is something very fascinating that I’ve recently come to realize.

We started an informal Mass Gain Study where volunteer trainees did very specific workouts so we could measure their results.

We discovered a lot of really interesting things. And it’s made me realize that – as our own little community of people interested in rational strength training – we can examine anything we want. Together.

I don’t want to go all philosophical on you, but personal freedom is a hugely important theme with me. So whenever I discover an aspect of personal freedom that I can enjoy, it really resonates with me. And I’ve realized that you and I and everyone else on my mailing list and in this little marketplace can explore anything we want as it relates to strength training.

How cool is that?

 

4. Crowdsourcing New Data

Recently some of us have been chatting about how LITTLE exercise it might take to trigger systemic muscle growth. That’s a good question. So we put together a quick and easy way to test that in ten workouts.

We’re running a really valuable informal study to discover the effects of minimal exercise using maximal effort as it relates to strength, mass and size gains.

I call it the Power Factor Minimalism Study and it would be great if you could participate and contribute the data from your experience.

TFS

This is a form of crowdsourcing stuff we are all interested in. And I think it’s a very positive new application of technology and social media. There is so much knowledge to discover. And keeping a curious mind is a good way to stay young. That’s another thing I think about as I approach 60. Ha!

So please take a look at what we’re doing to examine the question of how little exercise can still achieve a goal. This is very valuable information for those of us who have busy, enriching lives outside the gym and don’t care to waste precious time doing more than what is necessary to maintain good health.

If any of that resonates with you, I hope you’ll want to participate.

Thanks for your continued interest in rational strength training.

 

0

Proof Frequent Weightlifting is Wasted Effort

Every once an awhile it’s possible to have an interesting exchange on social media. Recently I had an exchange with a smart and well-respected trainer who questioned whether infrequent training was even necessary.

We went back and forth a bit and it made me realize that most people just don’t look at this issue the way I do. They basically start with the belief that they love lifting weights and want reasons to do it as often as possible. I use golf as an example to explain their thinking. Golfers want to golf more often, not less often.

The difference is golfers don’t claim every single game makes them better and lowers their score.

Golfers don’t claim to “make progress” on every game. I think that’s because they actually measure their strokes! The numbers never lie. If most people could take a stroke off their game every time they played, they’d be better than Rory McIlroy in a year or so.

That got me wondering. What if these guys training two and three times per week actually did make progress on every workout the way many of them claim? 

To help visualize this, think about what you can lift on any exercise and how far that is from the world record. Using the bench press as an example, let’s say you could lift 200 lbs right now, and the world record for a ‘raw’ lift is 800 lbs (which is a bit high, but I’m approximating for simplicity).

So, can we agree that 800 lbs is the absolute heaviest you could ever expect to bench press, and that your reality is very likely substantially below that? Like 500, 600, or 700 lbs?

So if you can bench press 200 lbs now, it means the greatest possible improvement you could achieve in your lifetime is to lift 400% of that weight and hoist 800 lbs.

That’s it. Over a lifetime of lifting, under ideal circumstances, the most you could ever expect to improve is to lift 400% of what you can already lift.

So here’s a chart showing how quickly your strength would improve if every workout yielded 2 to 5% improvement. I’ve used 100 lbs, not 200, as the starting weight. So think of any exercise you could do today with 100 lbs and then you can see how quickly you’d be lifting multiples of that weight.

(Beyond the green shaded areas is pure fantasy land, in terms of making additional strength gains).

(Beyond the green shaded areas is pure fantasy land, in terms of making additional strength gains). 

For example, if you made a tiny 2% improvement on each workout and started with 100 lbs, after 10 workouts you would be up to 122 lbs. After 20 workouts you’d be hoisting 149 lbs. In the real world, I think most people would expect to make faster progress, but it’s still nice to see small gains on a consistent basis.

But look what happens to our 2% gains after 70 workouts. The trainee has gone from 100 lbs to 400 lbs. It also means the guy who started with a bench press of 200 lbs would be at the World Record 800 lbs.

So he’s done! For life! No matter how often he trains or how he trains he will never, ever make progress beyond this point.

But remember – most trainers tell their customers to lift 100 to 150 times per year (two or three times per week)! They tell them to lift up to 750 times in five years.

Why?

How can people possibly make progress with such frequent workouts? Do they make 0.001% improvement per workout? Are these trainers measuring with that exacting granularity and precision?

No. They aren’t.

In fact, they really don’t measure at all. That’s how they can fool themselves the way no golfer could ever fool himself.

Next, look at how ridiculous it is to expect to improve on 150 workouts per year. A guy who could bench press 100 lbs at the beginning could now bench 1,950 lbs? Or if he could leg press 300 lbs at the beginning he could now leg press 5,850 lbs?

This is how ridiculous it is to assert that people can “make progress” training so often. The reality is, if you train logically and with careful measurement you should be able to reach your peak power output within just a few dozen workouts but they will need to be carefully spaced apart in order to guarantee full recovery and the growth of new muscle before returning to the gym.

I can almost hear the objection; “Actual increases are really small – like less than 2% – so training often is still a good idea.” 

Really? Because if gains are, say, 0.1% per workout it means that after 20 workouts a trainee’s bench press would improve from 100 lbs to 102 lbs. Does that sound right to you? Even ten times that rate of improvement, 1%, only gets a person to 122 lbs after a whopping 20 perfect workouts. Still seems low to me.

One More Thing

In our recent Mass Gain Study, we tracked the progress of strength gains over 10 workouts. If we measure from the very first workout we get a pretty big number. But that number isn’t fair, because people take time to get accustomed to lifting in the strongest, safest range of motion, so they make fast progress because of technique rather than pure strength gains.

So we also measured from their third workout to their tenth workout. Over six different exercises the trainees in the study gained about 80% in those last seven workouts. That’s a compounded increase of 8.8% per workout.

Also, it took these trainees nearly 80 days to do all ten workouts. So figure eight days between workouts, although near the end it was even more. So these guys would be at a point of doing maybe three workouts per month, whereas all the other guys spinning their wheels in the gym would train roughly 13 times to their 3 times.

So take a look at how fast a person would reach his peak power output if he could maintain that  8.8% improvement per workout (which does not seem likely over a long period of time, frankly. But I also would not call it impossible.)

(Beyond the green shaded areas is pure fantasy land, in terms of making additional strength gains).

(Beyond the green shaded areas is pure fantasy land, in terms of making additional strength gains).

After just 20 workouts a person who started at lifting 100 lbs would be lifting 540 lbs. Of course, in the real world, we have to remember it’s really hard to be so consistent. We can miscalculate a new goal, or our recovery time, or we can misjudge how tired or stressed we are. Or how much of our energy was taken from shoveling the driveway or loading a truck. We can screw up our diet and have our energy drop. A lot can go wrong, so it hard to hit a home run on every single exercise during every single workout.

But those are all reasons to take MORE measurements, not fewer measurements. Those are also reasons to space workouts farther apart, not closer together.

Do You Want to Make Progress, or Just Lift Weights?

When a person tell me he’s trained three times a week for three years, all I wonder is how many of those 450 workouts were absolutely wasted in terms of making objective progress. Was it 400? Was it “only” 250? Or, frankly, was it 435 of his 450 workouts that basically did nothing whatsoever to improve his strength and build new muscle? (Because, don’t forget, every workout digs a metabolic hole that you have to recover from. So people can and do move backwards in terms of progress. This is when their trainers tell them their routine is “getting stale” and they should just switch to other – lighter – exercises and keep training frequently. Again – the trainer’s secret is to never take objective power measurements so their lame advice is never clearly revealed.)

Granted, I’m the first to agree that there are other ways to measure strength than just a one-rep max for a world record. I’m the guy who coined the terms Alpha Strength and Beta Strength to differentiate the calculations of momentary and sustained intensity. But, again, these are things that deserve to be accurately and objectively quantified and tracked so progress can be measured in a clear and meaningful way.

I think the burden of proof is on the trainers who tell people that they need to train 150 times per year to actually show how you can get stronger 150 times in a row when doing it. This is something they will never prove. I’ve never seen a single example of a person who could stay on a fixed training schedule of 2-3 times per week and demonstrate progress month after month. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen it on 10 consecutive workouts of regular folks performing multiple exercises every workout.

The reality is, training frequency is a complex calculation that is a constantly moving target. In a perfect training routine your recovery would never be exactly the same twice, if you could measure down to the hour.

Similarly, no two workouts should ever be the same twice. Because if your previous workout was successful, you are returning to the gym a new and different person who can and should lift a little more total weight on every single exercise.

And when you realize that all that separates you from the peak of human power demonstrated by world record holders, you see that increasing your Alpha Strength power 300-500% is all you can likely do in a lifetime. And there is no good reason to divide that gain over a thousand workouts when it can be done in a few dozen workouts spaced apart at the right intervals, guided by objective and meaningful measurements.

Are you interested in how little exercise is required to gain mass and size? Help us find out right now.

 

1

35 lbs of Muscle and Six Months of Rest Between Workouts?

Mark on Florida beachOver the decades of doing what I do I’ve come into contact with many thousands of people. Some of them stay in regular contact from year to year and let me know how their training is going. There are so many great stories out there.

Mark Winchester is a longtime customer who has been in the weightlifting game a long time and is, among other things, a perceptive observer of the craziness that occurs in the world of pro bodybuilding and in gyms everywhere.

There a recovery spectrum of training frequency for every human. It stretches from the first day after a workout that he could return to the gym and be stronger, to the last day he could wait before he would be weaker.

Mark pays close attention to how soon he can return to the gym. Over the years, he’s discovered it is months, not days or weeks, before he is fully recovered and can make new gains. Gains like 35 lbs of lean body mass using Power Factor workouts of just two exercises.

I asked Mark a few questions about his training and here are his answers.

1. When did you first try a Power Factor workout and what exercises were included in your workout?

I had read about PFT as far back as 2005 but couldn’t grasp the concepts. It made no sense to me to limit the movement of the bar a few inches as everything I had read up that point had instructed you must use a full-range of movement. I had reached a point in my training where I was severely overtrained and my knees were sounding like sandpaper. I had eroded the connective tissue so much it was wearing away from my deep butt-to-the-floor squats.

The first exercise I tried was at that time my favorite, the squat.

2. Over the years, how have you adapted your Power Factor workouts and why?

One of the most important aspects of PFT is the recognition that recovery from intense exercise takes much, much longer than commonly assumed.

In the book the microscopic examination of marathon runners quadriceps made a lot of sense to me. The higher the intensity, the longer complete recovery takes, and utilizing training systems such as PFT or the even more intense SCT requires a much longer recovery period than conventional training. It also is much more productive.

I continue to be totally amazed as to just how long complete recovery can take in some individuals with a low tolerance for intense training. The people usually have very sensitive (i.e., efficient) systems and as such receive larger gains per workout than most people.

It seems to follow a bell curve system of distribution with people with low tolerance and people with high tolerance on the outer edges of the bell. I’d estimate these people (both groups) account for as much as 20% of the population, possibly more.

3. Can you tell us some of your statistics?:

– Age? – 47

– Height? – 5’8″

– Weight? – 245lbs (approx. 18% bodyfat)

– Fat loss from PF training? – I have no idea, but more muscle burns more fat. After age 40 diet doesn’t seem to play as big a part in fat gain. I suspect it might have more to do with insulin resistance.

– Muscle gain from PF training? – Once I figured out just how long total and complete recovery for me personally takes I’d estimate I’ve gained around 35lbs+ of lean body mass.

– Size gains from PF training? – Like the fat loss question I honestly don’t know how much larger I am. A lot, safe to say.

4. What does your workout consist of these days and how often do you do it?

My workout consists of only two exercises. The Deadlift & the Bench Press. Both done using no more than 2 inches. of movement. In my opinion, the Deadlift will provide all the gains anyone needs.  The benefits of extra exercises provide are at best negligible. This was discovered with the “Healthlift’ over 125yrs ago.

Last workout I used 515lbs in the Deadlift and 425lbs in Bench Press. I do both exercises for two sets for less than :45 seconds total training time each.

My last recovery period was an unbelievable SIX months and I’m seriously questioning if that was enough. I’m going to try seven months this current recovery period.

My last workout was Sept, 2 & I won’t lift again until probably next March if not April. As ridiculous as this sounds the dramatic gains I get are worth the rest. For example, last October I was 213lbs, I am now, as I earlier stated, 245lbs. I logged two, yes TWO productive workouts in that time.

5. Have you stopped trying to explain yourself to other people in the gym, or do you still try to educate them? Haha! 

I always try to explain Power Factor training and logical training to people. My own physician thinks I use steroids. After a testosterone lab test she doesn’t think it anymore. My physician honestly questions my sanity when I tell her I exercise for less than two minutes total training time no more than two times per freakin’ year. She says, “I’m a medical professional with seven years of training, and there is no way that can be true“. It is.

6. I know you’re a big fan of Arthur Jones and his work? Do you have a favorite story or quotation from Jones?

I have two articles written by Arthur Jones that I live by. Here they are:

#1 > “From my study of animals I became aware of the fact that very little in the way of exercise is required for building enormous levels of strength and muscular size. How do you like the muscular size of a gorilla? Or a lion? 

Yet, both gorillas and lions actually perform almost no exercise or hard physical activity. But, when they do work, they work very hard … but very briefly, and not very often. If it works for a lion or a gorilla, why shouldn’t it work equally well for a man. Well, in fact, it does work well for a man. An adult male lion can get over a ten-foot-high fence with a 500-pound cow in his mouth. 

At a bodyweight of more than 500 pounds a gorilla can perform a one-armed “chin up” so easily that he appears to weigh nothing. A wrist that measures more than eight inches on a man is huge, and nine inches is unbelievably large, yet my gorilla had wrists that measured more than thirteen inches, larger than most bodybuilders’ forearms at the largest place. His neck was over forty inches in size.

I strongly suspect that if you exercise a lion or a gorilla as much as many bodybuilders train that you would probably kill them, and it is certainly obvious that they do not “need” that much exercise. Neither do you; and even if you can “stand” it, it does not follow that you “need” it.

Go to the gym, perform your workout properly, then get away from the gym and forget it until time for your next workout; talking about exercise, reading about exercise, literally “living” exercise will do nothing in the way of improving your results. Before you try anything else in the way of attempting to improve your results from exercise, try doing “less” exercise; not more, less. 

If and when that simple point worms itself into your brain, then I have probably taught you the most important thing that you will ever learn about exercise.”

 

#2 > “Insofar as I can determine, there is no known drug that will improve the performance, or increase the muscular mass, of a healthy individual. Furthermore, I would like to go record at this point by stating…’I do not believe that such drug will ever be discovered. I think that such a result from any chemical is impossible.’

I am fully aware that some drugs can improve the condition of a weakened individual, in cases of sickness or accident…but I also believe that a state of normal health is possible only in the presence of a very delicate chemical balance that is regulated automatically by the system. If any chemical is added for the purpose of upsetting this balance, the result can only be counterproductive.

In effect, there is no such thing as a “super chemical balance”…if the chemical balance is normal, you are healthy…if not, you are sick…and it matters not whether the state of imbalance is produced by too much or too little of a practical chemical. This has been proven repeatedly in literally thousands of tests conducted with animal subjects, and no slightest evidence exists in support of an opposite result with either animal or human subjects.

Certain hormones will help add muscular mass to a steer, or a gelding…but they will NOT produce the same result with a bull or a stallion. When an animal has been castrated, removing the testicles produces an abnormal situation where normal growth is impossible, giving such an animal the hormone drugs merely tends to restore a normal situation, a situation that would have existed naturally if the animal had not been castrated.

In such cases you are merely removing something and then trying to replace it in another manner; first creating a subnormal condition and then trying to restore normal health.

Yet the widespread bias in favor of such so called “growth drugs” borders on hysteria. Even suggesting that the use of these drugs is anything less than necessary automatically labels you a fool in some circles. And there is certainly no doubt that a lot of people are being fooled on this subject; but you can NOT fool your endocrine system, and when you add an un-required chemical for the purpose of disturbing a normal balance, you are NOT improving the situation.

Pointing to recent strength records as proof of the value of such drugs actually proves nothing. The fact remains that the single strongest human recorded in history established his records long before the drugs were ever used. Paul Anderson established records prior to 1958 that have never been approached and androgenic-anabolic drugs were apparently first used in athletic circles in 1960.

Bob Peoples established a deadlift record thirty years ago, lifting nearly 800 pounds at a bodyweight of approximately 180; today, a very few individuals have reached or passed that level of performance…but most of them weigh nearly twice as much as he did, and some of them weigh more than twice as much.

Men who establish such records are merely statistical standouts, literally genetic freaks; they are NOT the products of drugs, regardless of their opinions on the subject.

Great strength is a result of two factors…(1) individual potential, which cannot be improved…and (2) hard training, which will increase the strength of almost anybody.

But a third factor exists as a prerequisite…NORMAL HEALTH, without which, reaching the limits of potential strength is simply impossible. So you can improve a sick individual in some cases, but you can NOT turn a normal individual into a superman by chemical means. Such a result is impossible, and ridiculous on the face of it.”

I want to take this time to thank you, Pete Sisco, for developing and selflessly marketing THE most effective training system PFT/SCT in history. Its totally changed my life & what I know about productive bodybuilding.

 

Thanks for the kind words, Mark. And for empirically demonstrating that recovery can sometimes be measured in months, rather than days. These are the things that can be discovered if we simply use arithmetic to measure our workouts instead of using ‘feel,’ ‘instinct,’ or blindly accepting universal advice, like training Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the rest of our lives. Every science depends on accurate measurements.

You can try our most effective ever Power Factor workout by getting this inexpensive e-booklet.

If you want my help analyzing your data and calculating your optimum new goals and personal recovery intervals, become a member of the Engineered Strength Gym. (Membership fills up quickly. If it’s closed when you read this you can send me an e-mail and get on the list for first notification.)

 

 

 

375

Are You Interested In Fast Gains?

So we’re at the stage where right now some people are completing their final workouts on the new Training Frequency Study. Their strength gains so far are quite impressive and we are accumulating the early data on how these strength gains translate to mass and size gains.

The thing is, we have a disproportionate number of trainees who chose the ‘Certain’ program over the ‘Fast’ program.

So we need a few more people who would like to see how much muscle mass and muscle size they can gain by doing 10 consecutive workouts using an aggressive scheduling protocol where improvement on only 3 of 6 exercises involves no change in training frequency. Each workout involves more total weight lifted at a higher intensity, although the total exertion is always three minutes of actual lifting. (6 exercises x 30 seconds each)

This new study is testing the limits of the already proven Mass Gain Study conducted over the last two years. It’s very likely to be more productive than whatever you’re doing now in the gym. In fact, so far, it’s the most productive strength, mass, and size gaining workout we’ve ever engineered.

So, if you’d like to be part of the ‘Fast’ group please visit this page for more information.

http://www.precisiontraining.com/studies/training-frequency-study/

 

 

0

Have You Ever Seen These Olympic Plates?

Sisco Olympic Plate

 

 

A longtime reader sent me this photo of a plate with my name on it. Except it’s not really “my” name because I’ve never seen these before and have noting to do with their manufacture.

I asked the current owner of this plate if he knew anything. He told me he is a collector of vintage weightlifting equipment and has never seen this brand before. He got it from the University of Michigan weight room. And he estimates they were made in the 80’s or 90’s, but it’s a guess.

I know I have readers from all over the world – so have any of you ever seen these plates before?

 

0

Can the Right Training Frequency Speed Up Your Muscle Gains?

For about two years we’ve been running some informal studies to determine what tactics in the gym deliver the best gains of muscle mass and size.

Following preliminary research, which we published in the free e-booklet Workout Variations Revealed, we discovered that timed sets encouraged trainees to generate a higher intensity than that other methods such as pyramid sets, strip sets, or 1, 2 or 3 sets. It’s petty easy to measure such things and the results were very clear in terms of what was true High Intensity and what was not.

WVR

Knowing how to generate your maximum intensity is helpful, but how can you use that knowledge to build muscle mass and size gains?

Well, we tested that too. Since timed sets scored well, we tested:

  • 30-second timed sets
  • 60-second timed sets
  • 90-second timed sets
  • 180-second timed sets

We also tested some other tactics:

  • Full range of motion
  • Strongest range of motion
  • Static Contraction using 1 set
  • Static Contraction using 3 sets

The results of these test were fascinating. We published them in: Results of the Power Factor / Static Contraction MASS GAIN Study

PFSCMGS

What Happened?

Every single methodology we tested resulted in some mass gains on average for the trainees. That’s not too surprising. Lifting weights is supposed to build muscle. In all these workouts mass gains averaged 3.2 lbs from about 8 workouts. That’s pretty impressive.

But one group did double the average.

Even though their mean age was 51, they built a median of 7.1 lbs of new muscle. They also added approximately one inch of size on their chest and a half-inch on each arm.

Their overall mass gains were nearly 1 lb of muscle gain per workout! (7.1 lbs in 8.8 workouts = 0.8 lbs/workout)

Their overall strength gains in six major muscle groups were 9% per workout. Leaving them 80% stronger than when they started.

Their overall size gains on chest and biceps were a quarter-inch per workout.

This is very efficient training. Each minute of exercise built a quarter pound of new muscle.

 

The world of strength training is filled with opinions and conjecture. We are dedicated to replacing those with measurement and facts. That’s where your important contribution comes in.

Now we need a…

Training Frequency Study

The next big question is WHAT TRAINING FREQUENCY will deliver better results?

Beginning this month, we are conducting a very special study to test the range and limits of productive training frequency. At least two groups of trainees will be guided through engineered workouts with goals and frequencies that compare the objectives of ‘fast’ gains versus ‘certain’ gains.

Fast Gains: This group will have 10 consecutive workouts engineered by Pete Sisco to schedule them as close together as possible to ensure the fastest progress. Whenever at least three of six exercises improve, they will remain on the same frequency of training. Only when progress falls below three of six exercises will an additional recovery day be added. The objective is to make strength, mass and size gains as quickly as possible.

Certain Gains: This group will have 10 consecutive workouts engineered by Pete Sisco to schedule workouts as far apart as required in order to ensure maximum progress per workout. Whenever more than one of six exercises fails to improve, additional days will be added to recovery. Only when at least 5 of 6 exercises show progress will frequency remain the same. The objective is to make maximum strength, mass and size gains on every workout no matter how much rest is required.

How will these groups compare? Can gains happen faster if workouts are carefully spaced closer together? Does resting longer result in better gains? Or only the same gains? Is it necessary to improve on every exercise during every workout? Or is some improvement good enough to keep your body in an anabolic state and growing?

There is virtually no experimentation and research on the subject of optimum training frequency. Most people in the gym are oblivious to its critical importance. In fact, training frequency is probably more important that what training system or what individual exercises are used, since overtraining can stop all progress completely. This study will be fascinating and perhaps revolutionary.

TFS

This portion of the Power Factor Mass Gain Study will use the same six common exercises as the trainees used in Part 1 & 2 of the study.

  • Close-grip bench press
  • Wide-grip bench press
  • Barbell shrug
  • Barbell deadlift
  • Lat pulldown
  • Leg press

These exercises were cherry-picked for their potential to add maximum muscle mass. (No point in depleting metabolic resources with smaller muscles like forearms and abs when the goal is to add as much mass as possible as quickly as possible.)

We already know that the trainees using these exercises gained muscle mass and size.

Now we need several dozen people who would like to have their next 10 Power Factor workouts engineered by me in a way that controls their training frequency for optimal results. The workout is a special one with six exercises chosen because of their potential to add maximum muscle mass. We are specifically aiming to increase both total muscle mass and muscle size and will measure those gains.

To do this properly I need to interact with each participant. Specifically;
a) The results of each of your workouts needs to be sent to me via e-mail so I can analyze your progress and make adjustments over the period of the study. (An online form automates this.)
b) There will be only six different exercises and every workout will be the same. All trainees will perform 10 workouts, either as quickly as feasible (Fast group) or, over whatever period it takes to ensure maximum progress (Certain group.)
c) You need access to a basic body fat scale or calipers so we know the difference between muscle gain and fat gain or loss.
d) Diet is not being tested for this study so eating normally is fine.
e) As always, I have to make my medical/legal disclaimer that I am not a physician and have no way of knowing your suitability for strenuous exercise. The decision to lift heavy weights is between you and your accredited physician and I cannot assume the liability for your decision and participation.

The fee to participate in this study is only $80.

For that, you will receive;

– My personal coaching and encouragement via e-mail to wring everything you can out of these workouts.

– Each of your workouts will be analyzed and new goals will be engineered according to your rate of progress and your rate of recovery. These will be emailed to you. The objective is to provide you with 10 productive workouts.

– You will be first to receive the full report of what occurred and the first to receive any form of workout that might be derived from the data.

– But most importantly, you will have the satisfaction of DOING SOMETHING to move the world of strength training toward a model of testing and measurement in order to make intelligent decisions about what works and how well it works.

The results from the other Power Factor Mass Gain Study participants are, frankly, quite spectacular. One of the key things we would like to discover is whether equal or faster results can be obtained by optimizing the training frequency.

It will be fascinating to see whether the people in this new study can outperform the gains from all other protocols.

Common Questions:

Is my age a factor? We have people doing the PF study aged from their 20′s to 70′s so if you’re in that range it will be fine. The median age of the previous groups was 51 years old.

Can I use rubber bands, bodyweight, etc.? No. You need access to moderately heavy weights. Home gym or commercial gym does not matter but you need barbells or machines. All the exercises are common ones. (See list, above.) Also, this is not a Static Contraction workout.

I haven’t been working out out lately, can I still participate? Yes. Everyone starts at whatever his strength level is right now and then works from there. You start by lifting a weight that feels heavy to you, whether it’s 300 lbs or 20 lbs. We are measuring the progress of people at all levels of strength and fitness.

Do I have to start immediately? You can start any time in the next 30 days.


I’m in Pete, I’d like to be in the Fast Gains study group. $80.00

Buy


I’m in Pete, I’d like to be in the Certain Gains study group. $80.00

Buy


P.S. I assume you like working out and strength training in particular. I’m guessing nobody else is going to invite you to help move the science forward a little. I really hope you are able to participate in this. Your assistance is truly needed. And, hey, it will be a fun story to tell people.

“I’m interested but I have a question first.”

 

How About Doing One Set To Success?

One Set To SuccessWe’re all familiar with the advice of doing a set ‘to failure.’ There’s nothing seriously wrong with that advice. The principle is that if you push yourself until you can’t perform another rep it will ensure you gave 100% effort to the exercise.

But achieving 100% effort will always be unprovable. How can you know it was not possible for you to do 1% or 2% more if you had done something different? Better breathing. Better grip. Better concentration. Better form. Maybe your 100% was really 84% of what your were capable of. If you’re overtraining your 100% effort might be 47% of your ability.

In fact, we did some testing on different ways to perform sets. In the free report, Workout Variations Revealed, we show how timed sets with a countdown actually worked better at squeezing maximum intensity out of weightlifting trainees than one set to failure did.

But Here’s The Big Issue

The reality is, the objective definition of a productive exercise is that it forced your target muscle(s) to perform at a new peak output. That’s what progressive overload is all about. Progress.

There is no point doing regressive overload. Regressive overload will not trigger new muscle growth. Sitting in the dark never triggers a deeper suntan. Lifting below your peak capacity does not trigger new muscle growth.

Let’s say the last time you did your bench press you lifted 150 lbs 9 times in 30 seconds. That means you lifted 1,350 total lbs in a half minute, which is a rate of 2,700 lbs per minute. That’s a clear and objective measurement of your intensity.

Your ONLY goal on your next bench press workout is to exceed 1,350 lbs in 30 seconds. It doesn’t matter if you go to failure or not. It doesn’t matter if you “feel” strong or not. It doesn’t matter if it leaves you “pumped” or not. It doesn’t matter if you are sore the next day or not. What matters is whether you progress past 1,350 lbs in 30 seconds. Or not.

One Set To Success

When you make these simple measurements of your performance you can engineer exact goals for your next workout. You know going in to the gym what one set to success will need to be. For every exercise you perform you have an objective goal that you can have complete confidence in.

Over time, this is a foolproof way to make progress at the limits of your ability. The numbers don’t lie.

 

10

Power Factor Principles + Full Range of Motion

Illustration courtesy of Everkinetics.com

Illustration courtesy of Everkinetics.com

We did a survey this month and asked people what they wanted us to study next.

The suggestion that generated the most enthusiasm – by a wide margin – was to find out what happens when people train with Power Factor principles but use a conventional, full range of motion.

Great question.

We had no idea there was so much curiosity about this.

So here’s what we are doing about it. Link.

 

0

Allow Me To Explain

rp_Engineered-Strength-Gym-Logo-300x292.pngFollowing our recent survey, we received tons of really useful feedback from customers. Many thanks to those who took the time to contribute.

One of the things that became clear from the survey was that many people have questions about the ENGINEERED STRENGTH GYM.

I would like to answer the most common issues that were raised.

1. Isn’t the ENGINEERED STRENGTH GYM (ESG) really just some kind of online logbook for trainees?
No, that would be worth pretty close to zero. 

The critical issue in strength training is that every individual responds to a certain amount of exercise in a different way. The benefit one person gets from 15 reps with 100 lbs is not the same as the person training next to him. The weight and reps scheme that stimulates new muscle growth for one person could be useless or impossible for another. The trick is to find out what weight and rep combination squeezes the maximum power out of YOU on every exercise. 

And whatever that perfect weight and rep combo is, it is never the same twice. It’s a constantly moving target. Finding that new bullseye for every exercise on every workout requires a lot of knowledge and calculation.

The next issue is knowing the correct amount of recovery time after a workout. Again, while three days might be enough for one person, nine days might be required for another. And, just like the moving target of optimum intensity per exercise, the amount of rest every person requires is also a moving target as he gets stronger and lifts more tonnage per workout.

Discovering and tracking the proper recovery for YOU as you make progress and lift heavier weights requires a lot of knowledge and calculation.

Doing all of the above is lightyears from just keeping a log book. And it’s why we can guarantee you will make progress every workout for as long as you are a member of the ESG.

2. The price seems high for something that’s fully automated and just crunches numbers.
It’s not fully automated. In fact, it’s barely automated. I personally review every workout you do and I look at your comments and take them into account. If your deadlift went south but you mention your grip slipped or you lost balance of the bar, that is taken into account with your numbers because it’s different than muscle fatigue or exhaustion. Likewise, if you report running a 10K race the day before your workout or getting a cold. 

The ESG is highly individualized and requires my attention to every workout you do. I (obviously) have limited bandwidth for that and can only accommodate a discrete number of members.

3. Your training advocates the use of strong range partial reps. Why can’t I do a conventional, full range workout using the ESG?
You can. You simply need to let me know you are doing your exercises using a full range of motion. The algorithms are adjusted to account for this and you proceed from there at your own pace. It’s completely seamless and all the reports you receive are adjusted accordingly.

4. You also advocate infrequent training. I like to workout as often as possible, can I do that using the ESG?
There is a spectrum of recovery for everyone. For example, after a given workout a person could return to the gym and successfully hit his goals after only 72 hours of rest. But that same person could also wait 15 days before returning to the gym and also successfully hit his goals.

It’s up to you how frequently you train within your demonstrated range of recovery. However, the ESG algorithms never deliberately send you back to the gym early just so you can perform a useless, failed workout that does not stimulate any new muscle growth. Blind, pointless training can be done at zero financial cost by anyone.

Productive, rational, muscle-building workouts must be done in accordance with the rhythm of your body and its demonstrated and known abilities, and that requires close observation and monitoring of your personal statistics in the gym. That’s what the ESG is all about.

5. I can’t or don’t want to do the exact exercises you recommend. Can I do the exercises I choose?
Yes. Strictly speaking, the algorithms don’t know or care what exercise you perform, only that you constantly improve on that exercise. So you can make any substitution you want or need to make. You can use the Customized Workout of six exercises chosen by you, or you can make up to ten substitutions on the full body A/B split routine. And you can do it with Static Contraction or Power Factor workouts and calculations.

6. I’m out of shape and can’t lift heavy right now. Is there any point in me being an ESG member?
Everyone starts at his or her existing level of ability. That might be a 300 lb bench press or it might be a 30 lb bench press. The system works with your demonstrated levels of strength and then engineers from that point. As long as your physician says it’s OK for you to lift weights you can use the ESG to make sure you make steady, predictable progress.

7. I have one of the original SCT machines. Can I use it with the ESG?
Yes. Several members are already using their machines very successfully with the ESG Static Contraction protocol.

8. What happens if I don’t make any progress using the ESG?
The ESG is set up as a ‘no commitment’ month-to-month membership. I guarantee you will make progress every month. If you don’t make progress one month you can just ask for a refund of that month and quit the program. Every month is a new test of my guarantee. We started operating in July of 2014 and so far nobody has tanked and/or requested a refund for a failed month.

The central point is that you are never at risk of paying for failure. (Just to be clear, you can’t, for example, be a member for 8 months with every month a success then fail on the 9th month and request a refund of all 9 months of membership.)

————————————————————————————————————————————————
I know my business and I know that nobody else offers a guarantee like this of successful progress or your money back. No gym. No personal trainer. No fitness product. No nutritional supplement.

The numbers we use have objective meaning. They measure real power and strength. The numbers don’t lie. You will get stronger every month. I guarantee it.

ENGINEERED STRENGTH GYM is as highly personalized and individualized as possible. It creates new workout goals that are optimized to YOU and YOUR rate of progress and YOUR rate of recovery. It relentlessly tracks your progress and calculates adjustments in your training so you make constant progress up to the limits of your physical potential.

Try ESG for a month – with no commitment to continue – and see for yourself what it feels like to generate maximum power on every exercise you do and get measurably stronger from every single workout you do in 2015.

0

Will Exercise and Fitness Consumers Believe Anything?

Today I was walking in Cologne, Germany and passed a gym with a photo posted where pedestrians could see it. The photo depicts a person with her feet on an expensive vibration machine while she supports the weight of her torso with a Swiss ball.

This is offered as a muscle building strategy. Seriously!

German Gym

This vibration technique has been around a few years, despite concerns about causing detached retinas.

But the idea of dividing the alleged benefits of vibration between your feet and balancing on a Swiss ball is a new low in reasoning and a new high point in laugh-ability.

I’d like to know how overload intensity is measured in this configuration. Then I’d like to know how that intensity is increased workout after workout. Then, since the machine does the work, I’d like to know how a trainee can fail a workout and therefore know that she needs more recovery time.

What a farce. And what a waste of money and machinery.

Is there anything people won’t believe? What’s next, Hip Hop Abs?? Oh, wait. Never mind.

4

Mass Gain Study Results

Is It Possible To Gain 1/4lb of Muscle

Per Minute of Training?

MASS Gain StudyLast year we began a study to measure a few things. We wanted to know how much mass and size people could gain by performing brief, infrequent workouts.

This informal study is very easy to understand. Every participant did exactly the same exercises performed exactly the same way. They were divided into three groups who performed timed sets of 30, 60 and 90-seconds each. One set per exercise and only six exercises per workout.

They were required to perform at least 8 workouts over at least 60 days. Some took longer than 60 days but everyone did at least 8 workouts and never more than 10.

So what happened to these guys whose median age was about 50?

They made some very impressive gains. Every group displayed very significant strength, mass and size gains. One group really stood out and you can read more about it here.

0

How Can I Train More Often?

A few days ago a member of ENGINEERED STRENGTH GYM asked a question the the member’s private Facebook group. Basically he was wanting to perform more exercise than he is now and wondering now and wondering how to integrate it into his workouts. This is a common issue that comes in two variations:

1. I’m lifting weights every X days and I want to lift weights more often, or

2. I’m lifting weights every X days and I want to add running, cycling, swimming, martial arts, etc.

We Each Have A Bucket of Recovery

The relevant issue here is the ability to fully recover from whatever exercise we do. Productive exercise triggers an adaptation. In the case of weightlifting the desired adaptation is increased strength, mass and size from new muscle growth. (Some people focus on just one or two of these or on all three. But they all flow from the same process. We lift weights to trigger muscle growth.

A productive weightlifting workout triggers new muscle growth. (If your workout is running, swimming, martial arts, etc you have different objectives but in principle you want to get better, not worse or the same, at each activity.) A productive workout triggers change in your body.

Before your body actually grows it first has to recover fully. That’s just the way we are wired. When you’re exhausted after running a marathon you aren’t suddenly able to run another marathon faster the next day. First you have to recover. Then your body improves a few things and then you can run faster or farther or both. The day after you set a record bench press you cannot best that new record. You have to recover first.

Think of it this way; we each have a Bucket of Recovery. Let’s say your bucket gets supplied with 100 units of Recovery per week.

Your Power Factor ‘A’ Workout depletes 25 units of recovery. Your Power Factor ‘B’ Workout depletes 40 units of recovery per week. That’s a total of 60 units per week. So you can do those two workouts every week, say on Monday and Thursday. Maybe you ride a bike for an hour and that’s another 10 units. Plus you golf on the weekend and that requires 10 units of recovery.

So far, so good. Those numbers are sustainable. You subject your body to 80 units of exercise Intensity per week and have 100 units of Recovery to replenish it.

What happens when you run a marathon on Sunday and that represents 250 units of Intensity? Do you think your Power Factor A and B workouts will still show improvement on Monday and Thursday?

Or what happens a couple of months down the road when your ‘B’ Workout alone generates 150 units of Intensity because you’re doing leg presses with 1,500 lbs?

How can anyone perform 150 units of Intensity per week and recover at a rate of 100 units per week? They wind down. They get tired or sick and they lose the will to return to the gym. Sound familiar? It’s an epidemic problem. It’s more common for this to happen than for it not to happen. Cookie cutter training schedules are stupid.

Your Bucket Of Recovery Is Different

Another thing we hear often is, “You say I can only train once every 10 days but my friend trains every two days and he’s doing great.” Well, in a nutshell, that’s because his bucket of recovery might be 600 units a week and yours is 100 units.

You know the guys standing on the winners podium getting a medal around their necks at the Olympics? Those guys recover faster than you and I do. Way faster.

Here’s an elderly couple who ran a marathon every day for 365 days in a row. They can completely recover from a marathon after one night’s sleep! Can you or I? I know I can’t and I don’t expect to ever develop that level of recovery. My bucket just doesn’t fill up that fast.

This is another reason why cookie cutter training advice is so stupid. We all have different abilities to overload our bodies with Intensity and we have different size buckets of Recovery. Once you understand this you realize how absolutely critical it is to measure these things. How much Intensity was this workout? What is my personal rate of recovery?

Some Good News

Your rate of recovery is one of the things that is improved by productive exercise. You might start out with a Bucket of Recovery that holds 100 units per week but a few months later it’s holding 350 units a week and later in the year it’s over 500 units a week.

This is good because your Power Factor workouts will be delivering more intensity too. Your golf game and your hour-long bicycle ride might stay at about the same intensity for years and that’s fine, but other forms of exercise involve progression and that’s something you need to be aware of and track.

These are not etherial, unknowable abilities. The folks using the ENGINEERED STRENGTH GYM have both their exercise Intensity and their Recover quantified and tracked. For example, if a person can perform a bench press on 60 seconds and in that time press 200 lbs 25 times it means he lifted a total of 5,000 lbs in one minute or 5,000 lbs/min. That’s his intensity.

The next time only one of three possibilities can happen:

1) He lifts less than 5,000 lbs/min which proves he was not even recovered from his previous workout and therefore was weaker

2) He again lifts exactly 5,000 lbs/min which proves he was fully recovered but no new muscle grew to provide additional power

3) He lifts more than 5,000 lbs/min which proves we was fully recovered and grew more muscle (Yes, in early stages of adaptation some other improvements like neuromuscular efficiency can cause improvement without new muscle but over time these effects diminish and only new muscle can explain the added power.)

Once we measure both the Intensity of every exercise during every workout and we monitor Recovery to see whether the time allowed was adequate we remove the guesswork and error from strength training. Soon we know for a fact what your personal recovery bucket will hold and we know exactly how to work with what we have.

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