Max-stim Pdf - For Anyone Who Wants/lost It

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by Jester, May 31, 2018.

  1. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Ok, I guess fibers really do increase tension at full rate coding AND fresh (like a heavy load)
    also found some info. on doublet pulses that can increase the force of an MU.

    I still wonder...
    1. Why lighter shows equal hypertrophy to heavy in those studies?
    2. If progression in tension is required, why when I went from benching 180x8 to Gironda's lighter 3x8 short rest, 110 for 3x8, and progressed from there, did I grow and beyond what working up to 180x8 did. Then I quit Gironda, went heavy again, worked back up to 180x8 and size dropped back over those next few months when I increased my strength back up. Had to be 'neural strength'.

    I wonder if tension matters that much for hypertrophy? Or is it really just 'tension/time' and that's why 1x12 equals 1x6? I feel like I'm learning all this all over again now...
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
  2. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Ah wow, interesting... admittedly I could not understand alot of that haha but from what I could glean, interesting that it is a matter of all-or-none, and that as weights get heavier, it's a case of more and more fibres being called into play rather than increased tension.

    Although you're saying that it may indeed be increased tension hehe but nevertheless that is interesting, and it actually makes sense in terms of the type I, type IIA/B fibres etc. So it's moreso a case of more and more fibres coming to the party to help. And with lighter loads, going close to failure requires more and more to help out (hence why it can have a similar effect to heavier loads).

    I would say that like was said earlier on, that muscle growth occurs either via mechanical tension or metabolic stress. I couldn't for the life of me explain the intricacies of the mechanisms of each hehe, but from what I gather, mechanical tension is heavier loads in which pretty much all fibres are switched on from the get go, and some sort of 'damage' or 'strain' occurs within the fibres. Progressively increasing the load progressively increases the strain applied (so to speak), and as the strain is higher than what they are used to, they grow in response. Very much a mechanical process. (Although maybe my wording is off, it isn't the weight increasing that's causing it, but the calling upon more dormant fibres and the subsequent strain on more fibres? I dunno..)

    Metabolic stress being lighter loads with much longer tension times, activates metabolic demands and stresses things in a different way, yet ALSO can simulate the same effect of heavier loads due to more and more fibres being called into play (max tension or moreso maximal activation) due to the chemical or metabolic environment being very straining (which is why they come in to help). So its moreso the difficulty of contracting under that tough chemical environment (and of course the other adaptions that occur, glycogen etc etc)

    This is just how I see it at the moment, no idea if that's really 100% accurate. But it explains why both spectrums can provide growth.

    What I'm confused about is the active contraction of a muscle group in exercise. Ie will there be a difference in effect if you lifted a lighter weight normally, versus consciously contracting ('squeezing') the muscle as hard as you possibly can whilst lifting it? Is this just fooling oneself, or is going to be a better stimulus? (Alot of guys like Ben Pakulski advocate this approach, but I'm unsure at this stage whether it's legit).

    Although I have a feeling that it's not really the going to be more beneficial, when under load the fibres are sort of 'under load', even though it's just a case that they're the ones contracting, the load can't force that on them. But if it was the case that consciously contracting harder would mean more growth then you could just sit around and just squeeze a muscle group as hard as you could without any load and expect growth haha. Although isometric training seems to have achieved something along these lines...

    I'm confused anyways haha. There must be SOMETHING that is 'under load/strain', and can't just be that the fibres are contracting...
  3. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    I think there’s a mix of volume and load required, but not necessarily as simplistic as ‘total work’.
  4. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Simon- I think Brad S either did, or just posted about a study that showed a benefit to concentrating, squeezing and flexing the desired muscle. It makes sense, if you are actually adjusting joint angles and such consciously to where a muscle gets more work, it would get more 'work' and probably focus the work on it over other ones in the exercise.
    What was bugging me on the tension thing, is if a muscle fiber is triggered, it does for sure try to produce full tension, but apparently if the twitch is short enough, some of the tension is used up just taking up slack in the shock absorber properties of areas (like the ends of the sarcomere, Titan) etc. So motor is always full power, yet that power might not make it full to the ends of the fiber, and that would be how rate coding adjusts motor unit tension. If the 'shock' can't reset before another twitch occurs, then more power is transferred.

    Jester - Yes somehow that's what's going on. I also wonder too if those are equal... for a while, but maybe that's what HST's idea is, it's not that 5RM is better than 10RM period, it's that 5RM is better AFTER 10RM is adapted to. Almost like 4 sets are better than 3, once your adapted to 3, yet two people starting fresh might both get maximum stimulation from either at first.
  5. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Well, yes. You always require progressive overload.

    However there has to be more than simply the ‘work’ component, otherwise endurance training would produce massive muscles.
  6. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Interesting though, endurance does cause hypertrophy of the ST fibers, aka the ones that are 'worked', maybe load is just a way to make sure all are used and worked....
  7. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Of course it is.

    Our bodies tend not to waste resources. That’s why growing muscle is so damn hard in the first place, it’s maddeningly inefficient.
  8. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    what I meant though, was that 'work' is a big component, endurance, as related to work, does cause hypertrophy, in the fibers that 'are' used. Resistance training, has the ability to activate all the fibers, then 'kind of' ,.. endurance in those fibers is a good part of the stimulation. Otherwise a 1Rm would be the biggest hypertrophic stimulus.
  9. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Yeah this is what I brought up a little while ago (consciously squeezing a muscle more) and I think Bryan said that you can't alter where the load goes, unless you're altering the exerice and joint angles themselves. Just going into a bench press and squeezing the pecs isn't going to magically mean that the pecs are taking more of the load, as the movement of the exercise would be dramatically altered, which makes total sense.

    What confuses me is why some people have their shoulders fatigue first, or triceps, would this mean that them muscles do more work, or that them muscles are already too tight, OR perhaps it means that that exercise for that particular person and their limb length, insertion points etc just works those muscles more, and they need to change to one that does target their pecs more (for their body structure)?

    Actually I think that last point makes sense now haha, and is probably it... *potential light bulb moment*. I just don't think we can do a one exercise fits all approach anymore.. Sure bodies are generally pretty similar, but there are enough differences to account for exercise differences. The tension experienced will be different from exercise to exercise and person to person that it's a matter of finding what suits you. Hence why so many people say this worked for me, ah that didn't work for me etc etc. Of course there are other factors (nutrition, rest, stress, sleep, hormonal quality), but exercise selection may be a big one...

    I'm excited about this now haha.

    Yeah definitely seems to be a combination of work and tension. What that is is hard to say, but good point about stimulus. I think that's the case, that any change in stimulus that is progressively more challenging will result in SOME change. Optimal hypertrophy tends to be within the narrow range of from 30RM to 3RM or so (and this actually is a very narrow range considering!).

    It just can't be a universal template (in terms of sets, reps, exercises). Keep the principles in mind and work from there, which I think is where HST shines. Choosing exercises that actually target your muscles, progressively increase the tension through load, and with a volume that's suitable (this is where I'm more confused about, but it must just be a matter of over time understanding where your conditioning is at).

    There seems to be a short term picture (slight progressive load increases, adaptive responses to short term stimulus) and long term picture (longer term progression, systemic changes, long term exposure and adaptions) that all contribute..

    The more I train the more in tune with it all for myself I seem to be..
  10. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    I'm quite sure though, if you consciously 'flex' in addition to the muscle working, it is going to increase the or rather, fill in, for tension where the muscle might not be 'flexing' as hard if you weren't flexing, so to speak.

    yes, tendon insertions, bone length, etc, that really alters which muscles get 'worked' more during a compound. Like most on here seem to get enough bicep work from compound back, but not me, my biceps must have insertions to where they have an easier time contributing compared to my lats, so my lats fatigue quite a bit earlier than my biceps.
  11. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Consciously ‘flexing’ doesn’t hold weight with me. Either you’re moving the weight and the muscle is flexing, or it isn’t. Mental cues that improve your technique is one thing, changing fiber activation pathways is another.

    Re: your last and biceps discussion; sounds to me as though your late are under developed and need a lot more attention than your biceps

    To cut through a lot; find me a set of natural/tested power lifters that are small for their weight class but also strong. You’ll struggle to find small lifters at the top performance ranks for their class.

    Strength and size go hand in hand. Gettinf stronger will get you bigger will get you stronger again. Doesn’t have to be the big three, but the focus on strength is where I’ve always started and size has absolutely followed. Even Richard Hawthorne is jacked (for his weight).
  12. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Yeah these both make sense, but I'm wondering if the load is actively working on those muscles or if we're fooling ourselves. I'm thinking maybe it's more beneficial to let GO of tension of muscles that are taking on or tensing too much and that will allow tension to be taken in more readily by those other lesser worked muscles. Actually this is what Bryan suggested in that thread in response to my query about this...

    This makes sense actually, that way those muscles that are overactive won't fatigue too early, and will allow tension to be properly dispersed. Consciously contracting maybe does help this, but letting go of tensing (or excessive tension) other dominant muscles seems the way to go...

    If we're benching, the amount of tension required is going to be the same to get it up. Tensing more than is necessary doesn't necessarily mean that muscle is 'taking on' more of the load, that's impossible, but it will fatigue quicker. But the benefit of consciously contracting that muscle may be in order to let GO of EXCESSIVE tension where it's not necessary, and therefore those overly active muscles won't fatigue as quickly, and you'll get more benefit out of the exercise.

    Sorry, I'm just writing this all for myself mainly haha, this feels like a revelation to me haha. This is also a complete 180 degree flip for me, I was all about consciously contracting the muscle believing that it meant it was working more. But maybe it has this different purpose... ugh I wanna go train now to test this out haha but am a sick chook...
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  13. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    If you move a body part by choice, then you are already doing so consciously.

    Thinking harder about it sounds like a psychological action, possibly with a performance boost that rep - i.e. getting psyched for a 1RM. However there isn’t a signalling pathway to change the intercellular state of the muscle cells that I’m aware of.

    If form, technique and rep speed are unchanged, how would thinking about a contraction do anything in a literal sense?

  14. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Ah yeah what I'm referring to isn't just thinking about it, but actively contracting the muscle. Like now I can consciously contract my quad, hamstring, lats, biceps etc. And I was referring to doing that under load, so that the muscle is actively contracting against the load, there is a definite literal difference. Nothing changes in terms of form, technique or rep speed, but internally it's contracting.

    But now I see that it's possible that just contracting it harder isn't necessarily magically transferring the load and strain to the muscle, just fatiguing it faster. Although there may be something in that too haha, but moreso that in contracting the target muscle whilst relaxing the others (as much as you can, they'll of course still be under tension in an exercise), I think that it may be more beneficial. All just a thought really, but this concept intrigues me.

    It's moreso the releasing of excess tension so those overtight muscles don't fatigue out first, so that more load/tension can be placed on the target muscle over time.
  15. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    The thing is that you actually can’t contract it ‘harder’; you just think you are.

    Do need a load to contract against, or else he only opposing force is that of the compliment muscle group - tri’s and bi’s, quads and hamstrings, glutes and anterior hips/pelvis etc.

    So you can’t contract harder against the same load. You can make PEAK contraction FEEL harder, but that’s a lie, and all you’re really doing is trying to shorten the muscle; there’s nothing ‘harder’ in terms of force production, in fact there’s nothing other than over-firing of the neural signal.

    Mike Tuchscherer proved as much when he debunked the notion of speed reps.

    So what you, I or anyone else thinks/perceives to be harder, isn’t actually any harder and the ‘fatigue’ is all neural - not intramuscular.
    Browner likes this.
  16. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Hmm that's really interesting... so even though the muscle is tensing harder, it isn't really a muscular thing? This is what I was wondering before, no really actual force is being produced, and it seems like we can fool ourselves by squeezing a muscle harder.

    But am not too sure about the fatigue being all neural, so only if it's against a load will it trigger lactic acid etc?

    But I guess if a muscle is over-contracting so to speak, neural fatigue is still fatigue, and is still preventing the tension going through the target muscles... Hence why certain people fail far too early on certain exercises due to other muscles firing too hard and gassing out before it had a chance to stimulate other muscle groups...

    Appreciate the info mate, all very fascinating (and of course I'm trying to link it to a practical outcome, rather than it not translating into how it can affect training)
  17. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    the 'flexing' thing depends on the load, if a person uses medium to lesser loads you can for sure increase 'something' by flexing, I've done it.

    My lats just develop more than my biceps with compounds... , no under development, if anything, biceps are 'under' compared to lats, it's a leverage kinda thing for sure.

    Yes, like I was saying before, it 'fills in' the gaps. Take bench for example, the parts of the ROM where it's 'more triceps' and less pecs, if I consciously 'fully flex' my pecs during those times, they they are activated harder.

    Wait... neural? If the neural is firing harder, the muscle is activated harder, you can't increase neural output without the muscle being affected by that very neural output.
  18. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    You can absolutely attempt to send a neural signal that the muscle can’t accomplish/action - put 200kg on the bar and try to bench it (for example).

    Also, when you say you have ‘tenses harder
    ‘ - what do you mean? You thought the contraction was stronger? How do you know it was?

    I agree we’re doing ‘somerhing’ harder/more etc. but it definitely isn’t a muscular contraction. I think it is much more likely a conscious perception of what we are doing.

    And in performance terms, focusing on the action will lead to better coordination and hence performance over time. But I don’t believe believe the muscle is being activated any differently by the NMJ.
  19. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Yes for sure, but if you send a stronger signal, the muscle fibers will fire, that's how the neural drive works.
    you can feel it!

    If won't work of course with a load so heavy that your fully activated anyway, but take a lighter load, like a 15Rm, let your pecs do the work, you'll feel the added fatigue. our 'feelings' are more relevant than some give them credit for.

    I'm sure Simon is right, it's us using other synergists 'less' so more is on the muscle were consciously focusing on. I've done that many times, no doubt you can increase the fatigue in the target muscle.
    _Simon_ likes this.
  20. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    I’ll put it this way;

    Do a sufficiently heavy lift with perfect technique etc. just thinking about your cues or form etc.

    Then try it thinking about flexing.

    If your form doesn’t change, the bar speed doesn’t change etc. then what’s he difference? (Other than being aware of contracting your quads during a squat or something).

    If form/technique does change, then you’re simply prejudicing yourself with subpar/unfocused technique.

    To me, this is no more than a different mental cue. Focusing on load progression and technique/form will do more than thinking about flexing. Go to Jordan Feigenbaum’s instagram if you want an example of physique that follows training.

    And this will sound adversarial, but nothing will convince me that thinking about flexing send me a more powerful neural signal than thinking about the lift. There’s simply too many examples of form-focused lifters who have amazing hypertrophy compared. I promise you they aren’t thinking about a biceps peak.
    Bulldog likes this.

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