hypertrophy

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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...

The Big Five Is All You Need

Periodically I post on social media about the value of the big five movements in a strength and conditioning program. These five movements are the press, pull, row, squat, and Olympic lift. The gist of my posts is that you can’t go wrong if you base your athletic strength and conditioning programs around those five movements.   Now, when I post this I invariably get comments from people who are concerned about the lack of variety. Or the lack of...