Is Load Progression Necessary For Hypertrophy?

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by mikeynov, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Ha me too, and I used the term mini SD back then, what do they say, 'great minds think alike' lol ;)

    And agree on acute... in fact, that's one thing people confuse is acute with 'weekly volume', they almost treat weekly volume like the body waits till Friday and totals it up. no no no, each day is acute, either there is a stimulus or not. And yes, I fear that 7 day a week Menno training is a LOT of almost zero stimulation sessions. If the combo of too little mixed with too much tissue condtion causes 'nada', then doing nada 7 days a week, still does nada .

    In FACT, all day and all night are 'stimulus', my big theory is the homeostasis idea. Sitting on the couch is an input to atrophy, lifting a box is a small 'grow' stimulus to the fibers being used enough. Eating protein supplies what's needed when the cell 'tries' to increase PS, lifting weights is a HUGE bump in 'PS up stimulation', etc.
  2. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    Just saw an interview with Eric Helms, who seems like a fan of higher frequency ala Menno, and his counterpoint to our argument about enough acute stimulus is that he sees no evidence that there is such a minimum threshold. His support for this is that in research analyzing frequency, there has never been a case where higher frequency is worse than lower frequency when volume equated. And that some of the high frequency research has done stuff like ~10 weekly sets divided into 5 days, so only 2 sets per day. I.e. the worst case scenario is that higher frequency isn't helping (neutral vs. infrequent), but there are no examples in the literature seemingly of it hurting, no matter how high the frequency is cranked up.

    I do admit that is a fair argument. Though my counter-counter point would be that research analyzing hypertrophy is always very short-term, and if the satellite cell stuff factors into acute stimulus, that could pretty easily be missed when looking at shorter term outcomes. Still, I do find that a compelling argument - I have never seen research showing that higher frequency is worse, all else constant, which it should be as per our arguments if the per day volume gets low enough.
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  3. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    The only arguments I’ve seen are recovery based - and are the exception/anecdotal, not the rule.
  4. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    True.. but, my argument would be...
    If acute isn't lower, then how come 3x a week isn't 3x better?

    But if he's right, then there is no anabolic resistance... nothing we have to 'beat' ever then...

    And here's a weird thought opposite thought maybe in support of higher frequency, what if higher frequency is better for satellite cell donation? what if keeping the nuclei running 'hot' all the time, 'is' the stimulus for more nuclei?
  5. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    I see what you're saying. It just seems like, counter to both our thoughts, you really can just kind of tally up a weekly total volume and that is extremely predictive of the hypertrophic outcome, regardless of how it's divvied up.

    In reading Eric's argument I was sort of immediately reminded of research on meal frequency but sort of in the inverse. I.e. traditional bro arguments revolved around "stoking the metabolic fire" with frequent meals etc. when more recent research seems to indicate that, for the most part within reason, it doesn't seem to affect much. I.e. you can split up your food intake in a wide range of number of meals (1 to 6+) and you tend to see equivocal results for most outcomes (fat loss, muscle gain etc.) as long as calories, protein etc. are equated. Though in the case of training frequency, higher frequency at worst shows equivocal outcomes and at best actually shows superior outcomes.

    That is an interesting thought. I'm still unclear what the fundamental stimulus actually is that drives the increase in satellite cell activity/differentiation and subsequent nuclei donation, or if this meaningfully differs from simply soliciting enough tension-time at those high recruitment/rate coding levels. Maybe like the argument above, if you simply cross some weekly threshold in cumulative tension-time at high recruitment/rate coding, which might be a moving target over time proportionate to training age and how much you've already grown, you get the satellite cell donation, and if you're below this, you simply have to increase it.

    Like the Barbell Medicine position, if you become too anabolically resistant due to already-accumulated adaptation, you have to keep pushing up total volume/work over time, basically.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  6. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    I'm reminded of a t-mag article (of all things) I once read about different training strategies and the person's observations about their merits over time. He said something to the effect of higher frequency training seems to probably work better, but you have to be more cautious in your programming. I.e. more regular deloads, a little more attention paid to proximity to failure etc.

    Whereas the advantage of bro training stuff once a week, despite it working maybe not quite as well, is that your margin of error was pretty high. You could do lots of stupid shit and get away with it and you could kind of run it for half of forever without formal deloading. That type of thing.

    Despite being on t-mag, I recall thinking this was an interesting observation that potentially had merit. In my own n=1, one of the easiest ways to de-piss off a nagging pain is to drop the frequency for that muscle group/joint to once weekly frequency.
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  7. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Above, i meant you can't tall up weekly volume... it's just a luck of the math thing where
    1+1+1=3 and
    3 = 3
    Like not weekly, nothing happens on Friday, it's just 'every other day with a little, ends up similar to every 7 days with more, over time' , Hope that makes sense.

    Yes meals the same... and post workout protein... a lot of myth busting lately!

    satellite cell donation: Yeah, it's all logical speculation .. seems 'logical' though if damage causes them to pull up and repair, like road side service, but NOT donate. Then the reason for donation would be if the current number can't supply basal PS levels without being stressed while trying. So maybe... high frequency is better for nuclei donation....
  8. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Generally agree with your observations, though I wish we could get to a place where we stopped using xyz per week as a measure, and rather we used the time between workouts. I know a number of successful semi-natural (non-anabolics, but will use ‘products’ to shed fat) who use a rotation separate to the arbitrary notion of a seven day week and plan things around five or six days instead of seven.

    I know *why* we do it (common practicality), but it just seems so silly to use per seven days as our common denominator.
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  9. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    An older article by Charles Staley which addresses in a non-technical, non-theoretical manner, some of what you tossed around about frequency. For me, the best workout is 3X per week, 4 sets per body part (many just one giant set of 4 different non rest exercises) using HST and Myo Reps. No science behind my statement but 60 years of anecdotal experience ought to count for something. Many times I will do half workouts split by body parts 6 times per week. Same volume but less CNS stress.

    As for the original inquiry of the post, load does not have to increase all the time but something does; intensity, density, rep speed, rep rest, closeness to 'failure',etc., etc., ad infinitum.

    Lifting 3 Days a Week Is Best

    Make More Gains. Go to the Gym Less Often.
    by Charles Staley | 10/31/17

    A Better Way to Lift Weights
    One of the most fundamental decisions every lifter needs to make is how often he or she needs to train each week. A related question is how often each muscle or body part needs to be trained each week.

    Train too often and you can't recover. Don't train enough and you regress to (or below) baseline between workouts. Obviously, this is an important programming factor! If you're like most lifters, your ideal workout frequency is three times per week.

    This recommendation contrasts sharply with a few of the more popular training styles practiced today:

    • Squat Every Day: I've seen some compelling arguments made for the so-called "Bulgarian" approach by coaches I like and respect, but for reasons I'll outline below, the high-frequency lifestyle is less than optimal for most.
    • Bro-Splits: This is where you have a leg day, a back day, an arm day, and so on. Everything gets hit roughly once a week. If you're so damn big and strong that you need six days to recover from training a body part, then this is a great training structure. But assess yourself honestly – does your chest workout mess you up so badly that you need almost a week to recover? Probably not.
    • Push-Pull: This is the "next best" of these three examples, but two upper and two lower days per week probably isn't enough frequency, unless you can bench over 350 and squat over 500. If you haven't quite arrived at these numbers yet, you'll be better off training each body part a bit more often.
    Success Leaves Clues
    If you haven't done much research on the bodybuilding, weightlifting, and powerlifting stars of the 50's, 60's, and 70's, you might be more impressed than you expect.

    Despite the relatively primitive state of drugs, nutritional science, and recovery modalities back then, there were plenty of strength and physique athletes who could give today's stars a run for their money, guys like Franco Columbo, Anatoly Pisarenko, Bill Kazmaier, and Doug Young, just to name a handful.

    That's not to say all successful strength and physique athletes trained three days a week back in the day, but a lot of them did. And in fact, one of the most well-established and successful training routines of all time is the legendary "5x5" program by Bill Starr, which – you guessed it – used a three-day training structure.

    This program (and variations of it) are the bread and butter of strength coach and T Nation contributor Mark Rippetoe, who specializes in beefing up young guys so fast that they're often accused of juicing.

    Who's Best Suited For Training 3 Days A Week?
    Probably you. Three training days a week tends to work best for guys between 185 and 225 pounds with lifts in the following neighborhood:

    • Squat: 300-350 pounds
    • Bench: 225-275 pounds
    • Deadlift: 365-405 pounds
    If you're significantly smaller and/or weaker than this, consider whole body workouts about four times a week or roughly every other day. If you're stronger, go with the push/pull system. If you're freakishly big and strong, go with the bro-split, bro.

    There's also a lifestyle consideration that impacts this decision. If you work a lot, especially in a physical job, or have high levels of stress or outside commitments, limiting your workouts to three a week will pay off in spades. Training is only beneficial if you can recover from it, and your workouts are only one form of stress you experience in the course of a day.

    It should be noted that back in the 50's, 60's, and 70's, most occupations involved more physical labor than they do today. This is likely one big reason (along with fewer pharmaceuticals) why the three-day training schedule worked so well. So if you work construction, or are just on your feet all day at your job, three days a week will be a game changer.

    Finally, remember that the law of diminishing returns applies to training frequency in an unmistakable way: Is training twice a week better than once a week? You bet. A lot better. Is three times a week better than two? Nearly all training experts would say yes. What about four times a week? Here's where things begin to get "iffy."

    For some people yes, others no. But in either event, even if four is better than three, it's likely only marginally better. So even if you doubt the premise that three sessions a week is better than four, you can't as easily dismiss the efficiency of getting perhaps 90% of the payoff with 75% of the work.

    With all of that in mind, a very practical litmus test to fine tune your training frequency is to look at your progress in the gym. If you're working hard and getting results, you're probably dialed in. On the other hand, if you're busting tail and not making progress, this means you're not recovering and should consider reducing your training frequency.

    Continued Below
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  10. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    The Advantages Of Training 3 Days A Week
    1 – Greater Frequency

    All else being equal, the more you can disperse your training volume over a greater number of sessions, the better you're likely to do.

    If we compare three days a week with the push/pull system for instance, you'll notice something interesting. Let's say you typically do 4 working sets for chest, and of course, on the push/pull system, that means 8 sets a week per chest exercise.

    When you shift to a whole-body, three days-a-week structure, you're now using 12 sets a week, since you'll now be training chest three days instead of two. That's a 50% increase. Seems significant, right? And what's more important, if you're benching in the 225-275 range, is you're probably going to recover in two days, not three to four.

    If you don't repeat the training stimulus as soon as you're recovered, you'll lose a bit of ground. Week by week, month by month, this adds up to a lot of lost ground.

    2 – Better Recovery
    When you lift three days a week, by definition, you're recovering four days a week. Juxtapose this with the earlier point about training more frequently and you begin to see the magic. You actually train each body part more often, while simultaneously allowing for more recovery. That's tough to beat.

    By "recovery" I mean passive and (possibly even better) active recovery. You could simply rest on your four off days, or do complementary activities such as cardio, foam rolling, mobility work, and so on. When you train on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule, you can schedule these restorative activities on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday, and then take Sunday totally off if you like.

    3 – Better Compliance
    In a recent interview, certified freak of nature and self-proclaimed "World's Strongest Bodybuilder" Stan Efferding stated that consistency is at the top of the list when it comes to training considerations.

    He meant that no matter how "optimal" a given system or approach is, if you can't or won't do it consistently, it's not going to pay off. Training three days a week allows time for a life outside of lifting – weekends off with the family, time for other hobbies, and enough energy to attend to life's responsibilities without becoming overwhelmed. Consider this if life stress is affecting your workouts.

    How It Looks
    When you train thrice a week, you'll be doing whole-body workouts, meaning, you'll train both upper and lower body in each session. These workouts can (and usually should) be a tad longer than what you'd use if you were training more frequently. Here's what a sample training week might look like:

    • Split Squat
    • Flat Dumbbell Bench
    • Romanian Deadlift
    • Close-Grip Pulldown
    • Standing Dumbbell Curl
    • Lying Triceps Extension
    • Pull-Up
    • Back Extension
    • Bench Press
    • Hack Squat
    • Triceps Pushdown
    • Low Cable Curl
    • Deadlift
    • T-Bar Row
    • Front Squat
    • Incline Dumbbell Press
    • EZ-Bar Curl
    • Standing Calf Raise
    Notice a few things about this hypothetical example:

    • The first four movements in each session represent the four primary patterns for strength and hypertrophy development (squat, push, hinge, and pull). The last two exercises in each workout are "optional" movements – things you like to do, or should be doing, that don't fit neatly into the four patterns.
    • These could be anything from direct arm, calf, or ab work, to weighted carries, power cleans, box jumps, or whatever else might fit your needs and circumstances. There's lots of flexibility here, so take advantage.
    • The overriding point is this: If you train the four "big" patterns three times a week each, you'll be stimulating a lot of muscular territory, with the fewest possible number of exercises, with minimal redundancy. In other words, maximum return for your training dollar.
    • In each "neighboring" workout, the exercises selected for each primary pattern are as dissimilar as possible. If you do a vertical pull and a horizontal push on Monday, you'll do a horizontal pull and a vertical push on Wednesday. Since fatigue is specific, varying exercises as much as possible (within the confines of the given template) will allow you to recover faster, and you'll also be less prone to pattern-overload (overuse) injuries.
    • In a Monday/Wednesday/Friday setup, you'll have more recovery time after the Friday session than you'll have after the Monday and Wednesday workouts. For this reason, place the most damaging exercises – the ones that will require the most recovery – on Friday.
    • For me, this means deadlifts, but for you it might be something else. I also tend to be more willing to go hard on the optionals on Friday, knowing I've got more days to heal up. So you might use that day for weighted carries or something similarly masochistic.
    • The Friday session can also be shifted to Saturday with minimal (if any) negative effect on the overall program. So if you're more sore than you anticipated on Friday, or if an unexpected interruption crops up, you've got enough flexibility to make adjustments with no repercussions.
    Adding "Supportive" Activities To This Template
    Lifting is a bit like cooking in that it results in a great meal, but also a messy kitchen. For many lifters, your off days are best spent working on cleaning the kitchen before it's time to cook again.

    In my own case, I love to bench and tend to be a bit kyphotic, so I spend time doing mobility drills for my upper back, chest, and shoulders on my non-lifting days, and I also do a fair bit of walking just to move some blood around and burn a few calories.

    If fat loss is a big part of your goal, those off days are the best time to do formal cardio to accelerate energy expenditure and fat loss. If you're a recreational athlete, use your non-lifting days to practice your sport of choice. Lots of possibilities here. Explore them all.

    Now Make It Your Own
    If you're working hard without satisfactory results while training four or more days a week, or if you have a physically demanding occupation, or just have a lot of responsibilities and stresses in life, give this approach an honest run.

    Remember, there's a lot of room for customization with this template, regardless of whether you're a weightlifter, bodybuilder, powerlifter, strongman athlete, or just a serious recreational lifter. Just apply this template and its foundational principles to your own situation.
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  11. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    Hey O&G, good to hear from you! Staley is a good dude and I've always liked that he practices what he preaches and seems willing to incorporate new information. He seems a lot more flexible in his thinking than a lot of the other guru types you see floating articles around t-mag.

    Out of curiosity, do you have a training log here or somewhere where I could take a peek at your routine? One of the recurring themes in this thread by you, Totentanz, Ron etc. is praise for this form of training, and I really haven't experimented much with it to this point, so am curious about people's overall setups.
  12. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    All this got me thinking.....
    My theory of hypertrophic stimulation.....

    First, going by how things occur, keep this in mind...
    Normally, if a person uses a muscle enough to stimulation hypertrophy, the muscle fibers/cells that are affected, will add some new fibrils in the days after. We also know, that if there is some form of damage, that can take quite a bit longer for the recovery and repairs to occur. Then, if no more stimulation is induced, slowly atrophy reduces the fibril count back down to where it was.

    OK, here is my theory....
    After a workout that induces hypertrophy, maybe new fibrils are added to 'make up for' the ones in the cell that are compromised. This way, the cell is rapidly back to the needed number of fibrils for the level it was previously at. It seems it's faster to add a few new fibrils than it is to take apart, clear out and rebuild any that are compromised. So it sure looks to me, that the cells idea, is to add some new fibrils, as a temporary 'fix', get the cell back up to 'snuff' quickly , so to speak... then once the compromised myo-fibrils are repaired, if no further stimulation is induced, then it drops back down to baseline. If more stimulation is induced before atrophy can occur, then we accidentally keep accumulating more and more fibrils.

    This leads me to think then, that maybe, the stimulation for new fibrils is to mechanically compromise some of the existing myo-fibrils. Not whole muscle cell damage, but 'fibril damage', stretched, skewed or deformed sarcomeres. I think THAT is the mechanical signal. Not just tension, but something where damaged fibrils might induce a lateral deformation maybe? I miss alignment of even tension across the cell? Release something into the cell? Logically, why would a fiber need to add more fibrils, it 'seems' it would be if something happened to some of the existing ones...

    We know just making a muscle fiber create max tension isn't a hypertrophic stimulus, it has to do this for time, more time increases the stimulation. Why? What happens over time with near or maximal activation? Something physical has to happen... something that makes a fiber think it needs new fibrils to restore function. The cell was in homeostasis before the workout/event, but the workout did something that stimulated the cell to add fibrils to solve the force loss issue from the workout. Since atrophy wants take those extras back away later, it sure seems like hypertrophy is an acute event, a temporary 'patch' to quickly restore muscle function. It just so happens that timing things just right, the rate of addition fibrils compared to the natural effects of atrophy, favor the addition side and fibrils are accumulated faster than removed, aka myo-fibriliar hypertrophy.

    It seems like this is the only thing that fits 'work', 'time', 'hypertrophy with hugely various actual tensions', 'volume', etc.....
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  13. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Some research support....
    The one thing in common with low and high loads, but always reaching full activation... everything from BFR with super low loads, up to heavy loads, is high rate coding...contraction is induced by intra-cellular calcium concentrations, the higher the rate coding, the higher the levels of calcium. Look at just how many things, even hypertrophy, that is stimulated purely by high calcium levels.

    Prolonged or unaccustomed exercise leads to muscle cell membrane damage, detectable as release of the intracellular enzyme lactic acid dehydrogenase (LDH). This is correlated to excitation-induced influx of Ca2+, but it cannot be excluded that mechanical stress contributes to the damage. We here explore this question using N-benzyl-p-toluene sulfonamide (BTS), which specifically blocks muscle contraction. Extensor digitorum longus muscles were prepared from 4-wk-old rats and mounted on holders for isometric contractions. Muscles were stimulated intermittently at 40 Hz for 15-60 min or exposed to the Ca2+ ionophore A23187. Electrical stimulation increased 45Ca influx 3-5 fold. This was followed by a progressive release of LDH, which was correlated to the influx of Ca2+. BTS (50 microM) caused a 90% inhibition of contractile force but had no effect on the excitation-induced 45Ca influx. After stimulation, ATP and creatine phosphate levels were higher in BTS-treated muscles, most likely due to the cessation of ATP-utilization for cross-bridge cycling, indicating a better energy status of these muscles. No release of LDH was observed in BTS-treated muscles. However, when exposed to anoxia, electrical stimulation caused a marked increase in LDH release that was not suppressed by BTS but associated with a decrease in the content of ATP. Dynamic passive stretching caused no increase in muscle Ca2+ content and only a minor release of LDH, whereas treatment with A23187 markedly increased LDH release both in control and BTS-treated muscles. In conclusion, after isometric contractions, muscle cell membrane damage depends on Ca2+ influx and energy status and not on mechanical stress.

    Recent stud-ies suggest that Ca2+ signaling contributes to both muscle hypertrophy and atrophy, suggesting Ca2+ signaling is a regulator of muscle plasticity.

    Skeletal muscle hypertrophy and regeneration are important adaptive responses to both physical activity and pathological stimuli. Failure to maintain these processes underlies the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength that occurs with ageing and in myopathies. Here we show that stable expression of a gene encoding insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in C2C12 skeletal muscle cells, or treatment of these cells with recombinant IGF-1 or with insulin and dexamethasone, results in hypertrophy of differentiated myotubes and a switch to glycolytic metabolism. Treatment with IGF-1 or insulin and dexamethasone mobilizes intracellular calcium, activates the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent phosphatase calcineurin, and induces the nuclear translocation of the transcription factor NF-ATc1. Hypertrophy is suppressed by the calcineurin inhibitors cyclosporin A or FK506, but not by inhibitors of the MAP-kinase or phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase pathways. Injecting rat latissimus dorsi muscle with a plasmid encoding IGF-1 also activates calcineurin, mobilizes satellite cells and causes a switch to glycolytic metabolism. We propose that growth-factor-induced skeletal-muscle hypertrophy and changes in myofibre phenotype are mediated by calcium mobilization and are critically regulated by the calcineurin/NF-ATc1 signalling pathway.

    And since calcium causes physical 'issues', possibly it causes mechanical 'issues' that stimulate the need for additional fibrils

    Now add in these...a quote from Enoka's text

    The sensation of tenderness appears to be triggered by the loss of cellular calcium homeostasis (Clarkson, Cyrnes, McCarmick, Turcotte, & White, 1986; Friden & Lieber, 1997' Jackson, Jones, & Edwards, 1984) due to the activity-induced disruption of sarcomeres. A high intracellular calcium concentration activates proteolytic and lipolytic systems that initiate the degradation of cellular structures (Armstrong, 1990). Because this inflamatory process has a time course smilar to that of the heightened tenderness (Lieber, Schimtz, et al., 1994) and thre is an appropriate activation of the immune system (Malm, Lenkel, & Sjodin, 1999), the sensation of soreness is usually attributed to the inflammatory response.

    And this, from this forum way back.. DOMS is seen when remodeling is occuring. (maybe we don't need to 'feel' DOMS, but the same effects..)

    Ji-Guo Yu1, 2, Lena Carlsson1 and Lars-Eric Thornell1, 2 Contact Information
    (1) Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Section for Anatomy, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
    (2) Department of Musculoskeletal Research, Gävle University, 907 13 Gävle, Sweden

    Accepted: 15 January 2004 Published online: 26 February 2004
    Abstract The myofibrillar and cytoskeletal alterations observed in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) caused by eccentric exercise are generally considered to represent damage. By contrast our recent immunohistochemical studies suggested that the alterations reflect myofibrillar remodeling (Yu and Thornell 2002; Yu et al. 2003). In the present study the same human muscle biopsies were further analyzed with transmission electron microscopy and immunoelectron microscopy. We show that the ultrastructural hallmarks of DOMS, Z-disc streaming, Z-disc smearing, and Z-disc disruption were present in the biopsies and were significantly more frequent in biopsies taken 2–3 days and 7–8 days after exercise than in those from controls and 1 h after exercise. Four main types of changes were observed: amorphous widened Z-discs, amorphous sarcomeres, double Z-discs, and supernumerary sarcomeres. We confirm by immunoelectron microscopy that the main Z-disc protein alpha-actinin is not present in Z-disc alterations or in the links of electron-dense material between Z-discs in longitudinal register. These alterations were related to an increase of F-actin and desmin, where F-actin was present within the strands of amorphous material. Desmin, on the other hand, was seen in less dense regions of the alterations. Our results strongly support that the myofibrillar and cytoskeletal alterations, considered to be the hallmarks of DOMS, reflect an adaptive remodeling of the myofibrils.

    Ji-Guo Yu, Dieter O. Fürst, Lars-Eric Thornell

    Myofibrillar Z-disc streaming and loss of the desmin cytoskeleton are considered the morphological hallmarks of eccentric contraction-induced injury. The latter is contradicted by recent studies where a focal increase of desmin was observed in biopsies taken from human muscles with DOMS. In order to determine the effects of eccentric contraction-induced alterations of the myofibrillar Z-disc, we examined the distribution of a-actinin, the Z-disc portion of titin and the nebulin NB2 region in relation to actin and desmin in DOMS biopsies. In biopsies taken 2–3 days and 7–8 days after exercise, we observed a significantly higher number of fibres showing focal areas lacking staining for a-actinin, titin and nebulin than in biopsies taken from control or 1 h after exercise. None of these proteins were part of Z-disc streamings but instead they were found in distinct patterns in areas characterised by altered staining for desmin and actin. These were preferentially seen in regions with increased numbers of sarcomeres in parallel myofibrils. We propose that these staining patterns represent different stages of sarcomere formation. These findings therefore support our previous suggestion that muscle fibres subjected to eccentric contractions adapt to unaccustomed activity by the addition of new sarcomeres.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  14. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    In a way I feel like this is pretty close to how I conceived hypertrophy based on interactions with Bryan, Borge, you etc. over the years. I.e. accumulated tension-time (implicitly at full recruitment/rate coding) "strains" stuff at the level of the fiber, which in turn kicks off hypertrophy. I guess the difference in what you're proposing is that this seems proportionate to the effects of calcium via higher rate coding, so more to do with relative intensity and (maybe a lot) less to do with tension-per-fiber-via-heavier-loads.

    One concept I still find interesting in here is the idea of anabolic resistance or something even RBE-ish. If we're talking about microstrain, even if it's calcium-induced, this does seem to leave the door open for some sort of concept which captures a muscle fiber's capacity to withstand this strain, right? I see a parallel logic to RBE here, if the adaptation occurs as you suggest, you would think the muscle fiber (or more specifically its fibrils) would both adapt to the acute stress of high calcium flux by adding more fibrils and then being more resistant to that stress in the future.

    I do know there's research looking at even a couple weeks off upregulating mTOR activity, and since a lot of hypertrophy stuff seems downstream of that, this would still leave the door open of using strategic deconditioning to optimize our results. What's interesting is that, if we assume that higher relative intensity (and the duration for which it's applied) is kind of the primary stimulus here, but something RBE-ish is still happening, that would mean that, at the beginning of a hypertrophy cycle, we might be able to grow comparatively further away from failure (so lower relative intensity) for possibly less total tension-time. If you look at the pattern of the original HST cycles, since they're definitionally submaximal, each minicycle is basically an increase in not only external load but relative intensity. I.e. in your 15's, 10's and 5's you're not only increasing the weight on the bar, but the relative intensity of the sets, accumulating more time nearer failure every time you lift. So it might not be the increase in load driving hypertrophy per se, but rather that, at a static set/reps, an increase in load by definition increases the relative intensity.

    So at the beginning of a cycle, we might be able to grow even from submaximal 15's, which aren't all that near failure, because of our strategic deconditioning and the fact that our muscle fibers are now more sensitive to that calcium-flux-via-time-spent-near-maximal-rate-coding. But as something RBE-ish gives our fibers and their component fibrils some capacity to withstand that stress/microstrain, we increase the relative intensity via an increase in load which increases the hypertrophic stimulus.

    The part that would make less sense about the original HST would be the different rep ranges. I.e. we're getting as much out of our 15's as we do our 10's or 5's if it's more about relative intensity. Switching to a lower rep range is clearly to facilitate heavier loads over time, but if they're no longer our primary target in hypertrophy, that might just mean one longer cycle of a single rep range separated by blocks of strategic deconditioning.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  15. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    to 'me' anyway, it's the only common denominator... high calcium causing maximal contraction of the sarcomeres. Regardless of actual tension produced. Then issues with fibrils cause an immediate generation of 'replacement' fibrils, later, removed (via natural atrophy) but for the time, a quick 'band aid' to replenish fiber force. I really wonder if there isn't something with some protein within a sarcomere, that when released into the sarcoplasm, doesn't initiate more fibrils being generated (hypertrophy).

    I wonder about anabolic resistance. How it relates to RBE.. if we can reset it without losing the adaptations that caused it in the first place...

    What i wonder I guess... is this study...

    shows it doesn't take long to get 'resistant' and about 12 days to reset, it kinda looks like a 2-3 week on, 2 week off setup, but.. if we compared one group, going non stop, with attenuated signaling but lots of it, compared to intermitant group with resets, seems like it would be... like
    so might tally very similar..
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  16. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Ah interesting....this might bridge the gap... how calcium levels might 'be' mechanotransduction..
    It would explain how 20% with BFR and high rate coding work the same as 80% loads, or why all loads come out about the same for hypertrophy. Anything that raises intra-cellular calcium (activation, tension, etc.) is the same basic path.

    Calcium's Role in Mechanotransduction during Muscle Development
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  17. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    YES it's bizarre hey haha... and I guess that be a result of a few different things, like it was growth catchup from the heavy period, or a result of density-style training and the metabolic stress pathway to growth was activated... I think it's the latter. But amazing that you can go from heavy to light and get great growth, I always thought the other way round is the way to go!
  18. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Awesome, yep that makes sense for sure, thanks for that.

    I guess I was moreso wondering about going to failure or close to failure as a necessity. To me it seems like it's more about that there definitely has to be some sort of strain/stress involved, on some level at least, and that is dependent on the condition of the tissue at the time. Which is what HST emphasises, and you only reach failure or close every 2 weeks or so.

    UNLESS HST is purposely utilising not only increases in load to spur on growth, BUT the variable of coming closer and closer to failure over the two weeks as another reason for growth? Interesting..... so both the mechanical strain and the full activation/fatigue progression... ?

    And your point #3 I've never been too certain about. Of course it makes logical, mathematical sense to keep the time under tension the same, but I'm not sure if it works that way...

    I always thought that with lighter loads it was a bit necessary to have higher volume, so you actually can spur in growth by working more with the fatigue/metabolic stress side of things. THEN as you get heavier, there's no need to keep that much higher level of volume, as mechanical tension then becomes the main driver. Or moreso the progression in weights to that point, but the heavier loads themselves are always being much more 'effective reps' so to speak, and the stress is increased dramatically from higher tension.

    Am curious what you guys think about that (the need to maintain a mathematical formula of reps x sets over a cycle, regardless of lighter or heavier loads), although I'm sure we've had a fair few threads on the board about this very thing hehe

    Even just experientially, me doing 2 sets of 15 reps with a 15RM weight (30 reps total), is compleeeeeetely different to doing 6 sets of a 5RM weight... I don't know if they'd be in the same ballpark... ? (Of stimulation that is) Hence why I lower the volume for the 5s to 3 or 4 sets tops. But not just for being able to physically do them and not overtax myself, but yeah I always thought heavier weights required less volume anyway as the heavier weights are higher stress or tension anyways. I could be mixing things up here I'm not sure haha.... just rambling now
  19. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    i think it's actually due to that calcium level (activation) 'being' the mechano signal thing...
  20. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    One thing to remember, is going to failure is more about getting the later recruited fibers to really 'work', it's a graded response to the muscle. It's not that the whole muscle 'goes to failure', it
    s more that each rep ramps up rate coding for the fibers in an orderly fashion. So too far from failure, the last recruited are barely doing anything.

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