Now a day’s you can’t trust anyone, and for good reason. As the late George Carlin once said “America has turned into a big shopping mall”, everyones always trying to sell you something. It is a rare occurrence to find a good product, high selling products are based on attractiveness, “eye-catching” trickery used to manipulate buyers by using fancy words and pictures to steal our money.
When it comes to our health, the bullshit is written all over the walls, everywhere you go, from personal trainers, to diets, and to supplements. You CANNOT trust anyone. I’m not going to tell you that you can trust me, heck I want you to question everything including me (that’s the point of the article); but first hear me out.
First of all let’s get something straight it’s not hard getting a personal training certificate. You read a book, take a few classes that last less then a month and you write a test. If you pass, congratulations, you are a trainer. That’s not to say personal trainers are stupid, not at all, it is just to say be skeptical about what you hear, because anyone with time and half a brain can do it.
Let me explain methods of muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth). Normally if you asked someone “how should I gain muscle?” they will tell you to do some heavy weight and low reps. Nothing wrong with that, and it is correct, it is a good way to gain muscle, but what if I told you there was another way. You see, when you lift heavy weights, you are shocking the muscle. That means you are shocking the NERVOUS SYSTEM. The muscle is put under great stress and the way it adapts to that stress is by adding more muscle to lift that weight easier. That is the first method of muscle hypertrophy, through shocking the nervous system.
The second way of muscle hypertrophy is through physical recovery. If you perform an activity slowly, the muscle will physically tear, they are small micro-tears, but still physically tearing. When the body recovers, the way it adapts to that stress is by repairing the muscle fibres bigger to perform that activity with more efficiency. That is the second method of muscle hypertrophy, through physically tearing the muscle and recovery.
There are other ways, however I explained the two main methods that can be done through exercising. So examples of each method would be:
Shocking the nervous system: Squats 85% of 1 rep maximum for 2-3 reps. That will shock the nervous system with such a heavy load, that it will adapt by muscle hypertrophy.
Physically tearing the muscle: Dumbbell biceps curl: 75% of 1 rep maximum for 8-12 reps. If you release the dumbbell slowly on the negative, or from the top, the downward movement of the biceps curl. This will cause many tears in the muscle, just remember to do it slowly.
Combining the two: A great way to combine the two would be to identify the negative portion of the exercise, this is usually the movement that is coming back to the “original rest position”, and then exploding on the lifting part. Example: Bench press start with the bar at the chest, when you have to lift, lift as powerfully and quickly as you can (safely of course, so this may take some experience first!), and when you are bringing the bar down, bring it down slowly until it is back down to your chest and repeat.
Ex 2. Dumbbell biceps curl: Dumbbell starting off at the hips, lift powerfully and quickly upwards, and return the dumbbell slowly when going back down to your hips.
So the next time you speak with a trainer or someone at the gym, and they tell you the ONLY way to get big is to do 1-5 reps, and the only way to get ripped is to do 12-15 reps, send them this article and tell them to do some more research. Now you can identify your own patterns of growth and see what works best for you. Usually when people hit plateau’s it is because they over-done a method of muscle hypertrophy. With the first method, your nervous system needs REST, so after weeks of heavy lifting and muscle shocking the nervous system needs a break; same goes for the second method, after months of tearing and building up lactic acid, the muscle needs to rest. After the rest it is important to try a different method of hypertrophy, you may notice better gains, in the short term at least.