Hitting the stretch reflex as part of normal rep..

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by shwaym, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. shwaym

    shwaym New Member

    As in dropping the last 1-2 inches in the eccentric phase of stretch -point lifts to hit the stretch reflex, and doing this during the 10s, 5s and post-5s [excluding negatives].
    Would doing this be beneficial to hypertrophy?
    Even when considering that loaded stretches or pulses may be done during the post-5s?
  2. Bob Evans

    Bob Evans Member

    It is my understanding that hitting the stretch reflex is a "hard core" technique to push past you limits. So you save it for you "post 5s". Doing it earlier would be overkill and kill the progression of HST.

  3. shwaym

    shwaym New Member

    alright, i will just do a normal tempo and then use neg/burns/pulse stretches during post-5s.
    thanks for the response
  4. Bob Evans

    Bob Evans Member

    well burns you should start in your 5s. Simply because you are not getting enough reps in to trigger the metobolic effect and one of those growth factors (forgot which one)

    Loaded stretches can start mid 5s and definatly in the post 5s. It is just a way of putting extra strain on the muscle. Taking it further -- like negs but different. But be carful. You will be pushing the edge. You don't want to tear a muscle.

    but hey I do'em.
  5. shwaym

    shwaym New Member

    thats one thing i had forgotten to take into account this cycle, i was just going to add burns+stretches+another regular set all at once and that is definatly not a good idea.
    ill start with just the extra set(maybe, depends on fatigue) and the burns (definatly) and then i know i would add stretch mid-5s,
    but what about the pulse stretches?
    do them instead of LS where applicable?
    i believe i remember reading that PS were more effective than LS.
    i am very careful with my weights/technique so injury will not occur.
  6. Bob Evans

    Bob Evans Member

    It sounds like you have been reading Vicious's stuff. (great stuff). If you are like me you read it and then got all excited and wanted to conquer the world (or at least your local gym).

    But one can't do everything. You would be in there for 2 hours. So only do burns for a muscle group -- not for each exercize. (say one burn set for chest)

    And loaded stretch / pules etc. are just another tool to add to your 5's / post 5's. Another way to "hit the muscle harder" and keep the progression going. One way is negatives, one way is the varrious stretches...static. loaded..pulse etc.

    So in you post 5's you can add stretches to the muscles you want to work more. It would be tough to do it to all muscles. But I find for example that a static hold stretch is good for my biceps ... and pulsed flys are good for the chest. So it is an 'as needed' or as wanted basis. not a static stretch for every musscle and then a pulsed stretch on top of that.... it is an "extra" you can add to your 5s and negs if you feel you need the extra work. Also you can do them without a spoter (for the most part)........not sure this made sense it is getting late.

    Bob [​IMG]
  7. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    Sounds like "instinctive" training Bob! ;) :D

    I'd love to know how you are finding Vicious' techniques? I am reading and re-reading his stuff in the hope that some of it starts to stick!

    If you have posted your experiences in another thread, do you have a link to it?


  8. Bob Evans

    Bob Evans Member


    Good point. Let me respond as if a beginner were reading it – not you - but there are new recruits on here. I too have read the Vicious stuff over and over again. Printed it out and underlined it –the whole bit. I find it difficult to digest and fascinating. Though there is a lot of material -- I think Vicious’s core point is how to increase the effectiveness of the “negatives” micro cycle. And as such he renamed the Negs the “post 5s” .

    HST is not intuitive
    Having done too much intuitive training in my younger days, I now know (and see) the benefits of a regimented protocol. My 15s. 10s, 5s, are a vanilla HST progression. I keep a log etc. (a bit sloppy with the notes )

    Burn Sets
    I noticed a bit of growth in my arms once I started using burn sets. I won’t go into the scientific benefits of burn sets here, but they work and are important. Burn sets are a bit intuitive – you rep out until you get as much of a burn as you can stand. It is not always the same, and this is where one has to “like” pain or at least accept it. . So burn sets are a bit intuitive. That is if knowing when your bicep feels like it is on fire is intuitive.

    Regimented progression
    In the 15s, 10s and 5s there is a very logical predetermined progression. (though sometimes you can get into cycle and find your strength has increased) – for the most part the progression both between cycles and with –in cycles is “set” and regimented. Now there is more “play” in the progression than Bryan talks about in his basic vanilla page. (the 5% increase). But one would only want to change the progression schedule from necessity and not from whim. For example in bicep curls one may only want to increase the weight every two work outs if your gym has gone to the fancy rubber coated dumbbells and magnets don’t work on them.

    Good Sets -- Intuition?
    Let me say here even though HST is a logical, predetermined progression – one still has to know how to “work” a muscle. How to do get a “good set” this has to do with form, concentration, and a certain feel that only comes with experience and some experimenting.

    Post 5s and Intuition
    There is little or no progression with-in the “post 5s”. One could just do negatives at the same weight for two weeks (or more). If there is no progression with-in the post 5 micro cycle - the cycle itself is the progression. I mean if you are benching more than you can lift the cycle itself is “more”. You can do a bit of a progression with in the post 5s. – say start out at your 3 rep max for 5 reps (2 negs)-- then do you 2 rep max (3negs) -- then 1rm 4 negs,-- then 5 negs and then 5 even heavier negs…… (I do it that way). I like the challenge of seeing where my new RMs are. (Sometimes a negative set becomes a 5 rep set…. A wonderful thing) One has to remember that some of the HST principles are overlooked in the post 5s. You do go to failure (actually beyond failure); you not progress at all (or very little) with in the micro cycle, But again the post 5s cycle as a whole does fit perfectly in the HST plan. For the guys who still like going heavy – this is your chance.

    Mind Game
    If pluck and tenacity are important in 15s and 10s (and burn sets). Confidence, familiarity, and fear become issue going heavy. I like to work up to a heavy weight to feel comfortable with it – it is a different zone. I also use spotters. I sometimes find I can actually lift more than I thought I could – or not.

    Loaded Stretches
    So why do loaded Stretches at all? Well some guys can’t do negatives (no spotter) or sometimes my negatives seem stale. It just does not feel like I am working the muscle as much as I can… so in either case a loaded stretch technique can be an ‘extra’ tool in your tool box. And yes this gets a into a feeling zone, (not so much intuition rather bio – feed back and knowing you body) Quite frankly it is fun to experiment with stretches. Two that I have used are the static hold for biceps and the pulsing (bouncing) fly. On the biceps I stand in the squat rack with the bar mid thigh. Using straps and with my palms facing out I lift the bar with as much as I can lift (3-4 plates) and just stand there and hold it (shoulders back) for as long as possible (30secs). This seems to push my arms further than the simple negs. I think the bouncing flys are self explanatory. I will also do a static hold for triceps.

    That said, diet probably has more to doe with growth than tweaking ones post 5’s --- still I like to do it and find it both fun and beneficial.

    Bobby ;)
  9. shwaym

    shwaym New Member

    Informative post Bob,

    Yes I pay close attention to Vicious's posts and have his PMHST book. I find it all to be very interesting and I am always interested in the Optima in terms of whatever kind of training/diet I happen to be doing at any one time.

    I never intended to do a burn set for every exercise. Even though I almost would since I mostly only do 1 exercise per bodypart.

    I would not do burns for legs seeing as how much cardio I do (because of an interest not directly related to hypertrophy).

    Your point about only using stretches for body parts that need it is a valid one and I will take it into account.

    So basically you are saying use either static, loaded OR pulse stretches in addition to negatives only if you feel you need to,
    or use one of them if you have no spotter and the exercise you are using for a given bodypart is not conducive do doing negatives solo?

    I have read Doggrapp’s statements about loaded stretching and I do a chest stretch from DB press position as opposed to a fly position. Have you done both and like the flys more?

    And in terms of negatives: what is your rep tempo? I have read that the muscle must produce more force if the load is moved eccentrically rather quickly yet still under control. I am guessing ~2 seconds.
    Or: another way to be progressive would be to use a slow eccentric phase at first with a relatively easy weight and then quicken the decent as the load gets heavier.

    My tolerance for training to/past failure is very low and I have no spotter so I must be pretty careful about how I approach the post-5s.

  10. Bob Evans

    Bob Evans Member

    Lol, Shwaym  et al,
    As I said before, I am writing you guys, but also covering some basic stuff, just for any new guys who might be reading this.  So don’t be offended by the basics.  You obviously are not a beginner.

    Pulse stretching, and the reflex response are dangerous  in two ways.  First it is “dangerous” when someone starts tweaking HST,  dangerous in that you can tweak yourself right out of HST back into a self designed “intuitive” program….and then wonder why you aren’t getting results.  Also pulse bouncing loaded stretches can hurt joints and tear muscle.  So you gotta have some experience, go slow, and feel your way.  If you have not been lifting steady for about two years it is both a bad idea to try it and you don’t need it.

    I apologize I did not fully understand your first question.  Dropping the weight for the last two inches to get a stretch/reflex could work.  What you are doing is using the momentum of the weight to temporarily create more “weight”  or force.  The old speed x mass equation.   I spoke to one guy with a great build who said he gained mass while working on ships in the merchant marine.  He would lift weights on ships and use the wave motion to his advantage.  Benching up on the up motion, then down on the down motion of the wave.  So he was effectively lifting more weight than was on the bar – but could “handle it” because once the motion stopped the “effective weight” when back to normal.   So 200lbs becomes 250lbs temporarily – but once the momentum stops it is just 200lbs.  So I think your idea could be a good one.  Just be careful of joints and muscle tears.

     If you think of it lifting creates micro trauma.  Loaded stretches and pulsing is an technique to create more micro trauma.  Too much more micro trauma is macro trauma (a.k.a  and injury / muscle tear).

    I think the 2 second tempo for eccentrics works.  I get confused because studies show a faster pace is better for muscle growth (go too slow you are doing isometrics)  But then guys often  talk about “fighting” the down motion in negatives.   I would be interested in others thoughts on this regarding negatives (about to enter my neg cycle here next week).

    Why no spotter?  I am very aggressive about asking for spots at the gym.  Though it is best to have a regular spotter when one is going heavy (the spotter has to know what he is doing and be strong enough to do it)   But most big guys realize this and are happy to spot a serious lifter.  

    If you work out alone you could also use “clustering” in your post 5s  -- so just do 5 sets of  2 rms.  That with some loaded stretches should allow you to hit your muscles pretty hard.
    Roberto   ;)
  11. dkm1987

    dkm1987 New Member

    The biggy, in my eyes, is the effect of CNS activation and drain when doing forced negs, which can be counter productive if trying to extend the cycle beyond a week or so of negs. The increased recovery needed wouldn't prove to be beneficial unless going directly into a deloading or total SD. One reason the negs are last in the cycle (reasonable assumption here).

    Speed is something that has been looked at by a few researchers, and what Bob is saying is correct, too slow and they resemble isometrics, too fast reduces TUT and too heavy with too fast increases risk of injury so be careful. Also the studies only looked at small muscle with a single joint (biceps) so one has to think about the effect on larger multijoint movements. Especially where shoulders and injuries can concerned.
  12. Bob Evans

    Bob Evans Member

    Good point Daniel, Regarding the heavy cycle (negs, post 5's etc) and CNS.  One thing I do is take a few day break in the middle of my negs....like a 4 day break.  
    This allows me to extend them to 3 weeks or a little more.

    The first time I did this it was by accident. I missed a few days due to work.   I then went into the gym and started a neg set on bench and benched it all by my self :D . My neg weight became my 5 weight!!  I then realized that giving the CNS a little rest was benifitial to my heavy cycle.  -- though I fryed out a few days latter [​IMG] .  

    And i agree reagarding the loaded stretches and the pulses --people must be very very very carefull.  the risk almost outweighs the benifits.  I have tried them.  But frankly just do negs now.
  13. shwaym

    shwaym New Member

    Before I plan any sort of exercise routine, no matter what kind it is the first thing I think about is how much I can do without overtraining. I always start very low-volume, low-intensity then add gradually and slowly. Last time I did HST I overtrained and it sucked. So I am always watching that.
    If I find myself getting there then I will drop some reps, slow the weight progression and drop one of my cardio sessions.

    Yeah, I don’t know about the spotter thing…lets just say that’s not gonna happen :)

    I currently cluster on exercises where I do more than one ‘set’ (like 20 reps instead of just 10) and I really like it, making sure to avoid failure.

    Might as well post my routine:
    4x a week (emphasis on chest & hamstrings)
    Squats (alternated each w/o with Static DB Lunges) & lying-leg-curls
    Yates Row
    “Log” (for shoulders)
    And uhh….thats it!
    I do some straight leg crunches and a scapular stabilization exercise but not really related to hypertrophy.
    I was doing standing bb military press but I hated it so it got the boot.
    Maybe I’ll add in some lateral raises next workout.

    But anyways for the 5s here is my current plan-
    Dips: do 10 clustered reps, then shorten my grip and do 5 partials then 5 pulses followed by a short static hold [taken right from Vicious].
    Squats: however many reps I feel like doing, at least 5.
    Static DB Lunges: 5 reps-->5 partials. Switch legs, 5 reps-->5 partials
    Lying leg curls: 10 clustered reps-->burn set
    Yates Row: 5 to 10 clustered reps. Pullover machine burn set.
    Log: Do 5-10 clustered reps then do a burn set on the lateral raise machine.

    Dips: Hurn…not sure if I can do negatives with these on my own using my legs to push my self back up…have to test this next time I lift. Otherwise I think I might be able to dredge up a competent spotter. If those don’t work out ill just do what I was doing for the 5s & keep trying to add weight.
    Squats: however many reps I feel like doing, at least 5.
    Static DB Lunges: 5 reps-->5 partials. Switch legs, 5 reps-->5 partials
    Lying leg curls: 5 clustered negatives (done in the manner described by Bob) using two legs up, one down-->burn.
    Yates Row: Switch to strong-range partials. 5-10 clustered reps. Pullover machine burn set.
    Log (shoulders) 5 clustered negatives. Maybe one set of db lateral raises. When DBs get into ~10RM add a machine burn set.

    What do you say?
  14. Bob Evans

    Bob Evans Member


    Whats a log??

    First I assume your choice of exercizes is correct. I mean that you are hitting all the muscle groups that you want to hit. That is a personal choice. Depends on where you are, and what you want.

    I guess the big idea is that the post 5s should be tuffer than the 5s. So if you are doing loaded stretches and pulses in the 5s you should some how do "more" in the post 5s. The progression prinipal . A simple way to do it is to save the loaded stretches for the post 5s.

    Sure you can do 'self spotting' on dips. Some gyms have a wooden box to help you raise yourself on dips, or chins. A chair works too. I didn't see a burn set or a stretch for chest.

    Lying leg curls -- you can self spot. 2 up 1 down.

    Not an expert here. Just been around a while ;) . In invite others to chime in. Yo Dan.

    Cheers Robert
  15. shwaym

    shwaym New Member

    log is where you put the bar in the crooks of your elbows while standing and then simply flex the shoulders with into a straight arm position and lower back down to ~95degrees.

    burn for chest: "do 10 clustered reps, then shorten my grip and do 5 partials then 5 pulses followed by a short static hold" i believe why Vicious has the partials/pulses/hold is to add metabolic stress, making another isolation-burn exercise redundant.
    i think...

Share This Page