One of the hundred or so fallacies that populate the field of strength training is the concept that different principles apply at different times.

Among other things, this fallacy leads to the concept that any training regimen needs to offer different workouts for people who are beginning training than for people who are already training and different again for people who have been training for a long time. Typically, a light, easy routine for the first couple of months or so, then more exercises and slightly heavier weights for intermediates, then many exercises using the heaviest weights for so-called advanced trainees several months after starting training.

Why?

This would make sense if you were, say, training for a marathon run. You can’t just jog 26 miles on day one. You have to work up to it. You have to get conditioned to the various demands of running.

Same deal for stretching and flexibility. You can’t wrap your leg around the back of your neck right away. Nor should you even try.

But how is muscle stimulated to grow? It’s always the same. It has to be subjected to a high intensity of overload. That’s it. What is “high intensity”? It is intensity beyond what the muscle is normally subjected to. So if a 70-year-old woman curls a 10-pound dumbbell that is triple what she normally lifts in her daily activity – it will stimulate her biceps muscle to grow. It doesn’t make the slightest difference if she is categorized as a beginner, intermediate or advanced trainee. All that matters for her – or for you – is creating an artificial load for a muscle that has intensity beyond what it normally handles. Isn’t that fantastic news!?

And it gets better. Many thousands of Static Contraction trainees (like these people) have proven that the duration of that artificial load can be a short as 5 seconds. For anybody.

So grandma can do her maximal 5-second static hold with 10 pounds. And an NFL lineman can do his maximal 5-seconds static hold with 340 pounds. And if they wait long enough for their body to fully recover and to grow that new muscle – they can return to the gym and both of them will be able to lift slightly more weight for 5 seconds. Perhaps grandma can now curl 12 pounds and the lineman can now hoist 365 pounds.

The truth is there are fundamental principles that determine how to get stronger, toned, larger muscles and add more lean to your body. Static Contraction uses those principles to create the most time-efficient workout possible. Literally. The only reason to not like SCT is if your hobby is lifting weights and you really love to spend a lot of time doing it. In that case you are forced to lift a lot of little weights in order to deliberately drag out the process. But for those who have busy lives and just want the many health benefits of being stronger and leaner, SCT is a wonderful tool.

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7 Comments.

  • Bill Werst

    At what age can a teenager start SCT? I have a 13 year-old son who plays baseball, basketball, and soccer. AT this point most of his work-outs use calisthenics, push-ups, stretch-bands, etc. He is interested in beginning weight lifting. Can he start SCT, or should he be waiting until he is fully grown?

    Regards,

    Bill

  • Anonymous

    I’m that 70 year old woman you were talking about but I don’t lift any weights, what can I do to make myself stronger. I worry that if I fall, I may not have the strength to pull my self up on my feet which happens to a lot of seniors. Thanks

    Agnes

  • To make yourself stronger you have to lift weights. There is no way to cheat the physics of that. Many people much older than you have had great success using Static Contraction, particulary because the workout are so brief they don’t leave you feeling depleted. And because all lifting is done in a safe position. Give it a try.

  • Ryan Smithson

    I don’t think I noticed this article until today. Very good one. It’s interesting how overly complex some peoplle make strength training. I guess if something is too simple you can’t continue to charge someone to “confuse”,” periodize”, or the ever so essential “SHOCK” those muscles into growth! 🙂

  • Ryan Smithson

    I think I noticed this article for the first time today. I found it under “myths” in the “pick a topic” links. This is a very good one. It’s interesting how simple the whole strength training thing really is. You don’t have to “shock, confuse, periodize, attack, or even ANNIHILATE your muscles to get them to grow. You do have to give them a reason and I think this article says it quite well.

  • Challenging idea Pete.

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