hypertrophy

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Lifting Weights Really is Good for Your Brain…

People have said for awhile that exercise is good for the brain. That’s a pretty broad statement and is usually associated with anecdotal evidence. In the Journal of Applied Physiology, Church et al have an interesting study looking at strength training and something called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).   BDNF is a protein that supports the survival of neurons in the nervous system, as well as growth and differentiation of new neurons. It is important for memory, neurogenesis (growing new...

Supersets: For More Than Just Bodybuilders

bench press

Supersets have been around bodybuilding circles for a long time. Basically, supersets involve pairing two exercises and performing sets of them in an alternating fashion with little rest between them. For example, push-ups and bench press. Perform a set of push-ups then a set of bench press, continue alternating.   It can be done with similar muscle groups (the example above) or with opposing muscle groups. In that circumstance, one might superset dips and pull-ups.   The benefit of supersets...

Should Athletes Train Like Bodybuilders?

Bodybuilders and Olympic lifters have very different ways of approaching the volume of their training. Bodybuilders are used to thinking that they need to train to failure (or close to it) in order to maximize the gains in muscle mass from training. Olympic lifters are focused on the speed of their movements and on technique, so training to failure is a negative for them because of how that level of fatigue negatively impacts velocity and technique.   The question is,...

Strength and Hypertrophy: Evidence Based Or Arbitrary?

Almost every strength and conditioning textbook includes guidelines for volume/intensity of exercises when we are training for different goals. For example, the table below has some generic guidelines depending upon one’s goal:   Goal Sets Repetitions Intensity Maximal strength 3-5 1-8 80-100% Hypertrophy 3-5 8-12 70-80% Endurance 3-5 12+ <70%   We might quibble about adding/subtracting some repetitions or adjusting the intensity somewhat, but by and large most strength and conditioning professionals are going to accept the table above.  ...

Strength Training: Do Repetitions and Intensity Determine Gains?

bench press

For as long as I’ve been in this field, I’ve been taught that there are ideal ranges of volume and training intensity to accomplish different goals from strength training. For example, if you want hypertrophy then you should do sets of 8-12 repetitions at 70-85% of 1-RM.   In the Journal of Applied Physiology, Morton et al conducted a study that challenge that notion. The authors conducted a twelve week study to determine if volume/load and hormonal response to exercise...