strength

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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,...

Post-Activation Potentiation and the Nervous System: It’s Complicated

hexagonal bar

There has been a lot of contradictory research on post-activation potentiation (PAP) over the last five to ten years. Briefly, this is performing a heavy, slow strength training exercise prior to performing an explosive activity (like a jump, throw, or sprint). The idea is that the heavy strength training exercise will increase neuromuscular recruitment, leading to enhanced performance.   In the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, Thomas et al performed a study to assess whether this approach...

It May Not Matter What You Train First

Is there a best way to organize an athlete’s training? In other words, should we do plyometrics first because they involve speed and technique? Then, should we follow that with slower strength moves that don’t require the same level of nervous system demands? Or, should we flip that to fatigue the nervous system by doing the slow strength moves first and then requiring it to perform something explosive?   Kobal et al have a really fascinating study that seeks to...

Variable Resistance Training Improves Strength and More

Variable resistance training has been around for more than 10 years now. First popularized by the powerlifting community, today they are widely used in the strength and conditioning of athletes. These tools include elastic bands or chains.   Riviere et al, in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researched whether the use of bands was more effective over six weeks than strength training without the bands. In addition to looking at strength, the authors also looked at how the...