In the last few years I haven’t spent much time talking about the Power Factor Workout. However, since discovering the success of the people on the Mass Gain Study I’ve been spending more time refining the method.
But no matter how you train you can learn something from what we have discovered from nearly two decades of experimentation with training tactics.
So although these are the three most common mistakes we’ve seen from Power Factor workout trainees they certainly can apply to almost everyone else.
1. Using Weights That Are Too Light
I have never supervised a workout of a new trainee using strong range partial reps where he or she did not select weights that were too light.
People always seem to underestimate their true maximum strength in their strongest range of motion. I’ve written about this before (Why Don’t You Lift 200% of Your One-Rep Max?) and I still have to remind readers to experiment to find their real upper limits.
Despite this we still hear from the occasional person who says, “I started your training doing 200 lb full range bench presses and after two months I was doing strong range 300 lb benches, but then I tested my full-range strength and it was still the same! Your training doesn’t work!” The truth is – he didn’t work for the training.
A person doing 200 lb bench presses should be doing 300 lb partials on his first or second Power Factor workout. Same with static contraction. After two months he could be doing 500-600 lbs. That stimulates serious new muscle growth. When a trainee plays around with sub-maximal weights he is wasting his time and energy. And when he tests his full range strength he finds that out.
Both the static contraction and Power Factor workout use only strongest range partial reps because we have tested this method thoroughly and determined that it generates the highest possible intensity of muscular overload. Nothing a person can do will exceed the intensity of a 5-second static hold. As you extend the time the intensity drops off.
The Power Factor workout allows a person to add more volume (more time) to workouts but uses two measurements to monitor the momentary and sustained intensity. That is the only way to ensure that a workout is still productive despite being of longer duration. It also ensures that a trainee does not fall into the trap of consistently using weights that are too light.
2. Not Keeping Track of Power Factor Workout Numbers
Some people read a bit about this training to ‘get the gist’ and head to the gym to try it out. They do a few workouts with strong range partials but they don’t time their exercises and they don’t do any calculations of their performance. (Math phobia.) These people are ships without rudders. And what is worse, they soon replace conventional overtraining with Power Factor workout overtraining. So they go nowhere.
The value of knowing your Power Factor workout numbers is that you can instantly see what combination of weight and reps is delivering your best performance. That’s huge, because it helps you squeeze every bit of muscle growth stimulation from every exercise. But you also immediately see when you start to overtrain and make zero progress.
So not knowing these numbers can keep you from getting the most out of a workout and adjusting your training frequency so every workout counts. Not keeping track of those numbers is just crazy.
That’s why it has been such a breakthrough to have the Engineered Strength Gym to track these measurements and some new ones that are very complex.
Keeping close track of your performance and progress is critical. Yet how many people do you see in the gym who jot down their weight and reps after an exercise? Zero? This is the sad state of strength training today.
3. Workout Too Often or Augment With Other Techniques
Static Contraction is the ultimate in minimalist training. Five exercises of 5 seconds each. Some people think that isn’t satisfying enough psychologically so they tack on some extra conventional exercises. Even using the Power Factor workout, which is more volume than SCT but still lower volume than 90% of other training systems, some people add on more work. Even more commonly they add in other workouts between their SCT or Power Factor workout.
Hey, if any of that worked we’d be the first to recommend it.
– We tested adding more workouts per week, it reduced results.
– We tested adding more exercises per workout, it reduced results.
– We tested mixing full-range and partial-range exercises, it reduced results.
The central issue for getting muscle growth is intensity of muscular output. When you focus on that things become crystal clear. When you have a way to measure intensity it’s a piece of cake. You just walk step by step toward you goals.
It’s a tragedy how many irrelevant topics spring up along the path to physical improvement that take trainees in wrong directions. If you avoid the three most common mistakes above, your strength and muscle gain are guaranteed to increase.