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.
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.
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.