Question: Identifying minimum effective weight

Discussion in 'General Training' started by lanette, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. lanette

    lanette New Member

    Hi, I'm new here.

    From reading posts and FAQ, i saw that some said minimum effective weight can be calculated using six 5% decrement from the RM (e.g. 37.5, 40, 42.5, 45, 47.5, 50lbs) while some said if the weight is too low, it is better to repeat the weight for less range (e.g. 40, 40, 45, 45, 50, 50lbs).

    1. What is the difference between these? Isn't it the second one is better stimulant (larger increment) for hyperthropy while the first one is better for strength growth?

    2. From the example above, why do you say that MinEW for first one is too low for growth? And how to determine it? (that 37.5lbs is too low)

    3. Let forget about calculating MinEW from RM, is there any way to feel it with our muscle? (perhaps it is more accurate?)

    4. Since the increment range is important in deciding the effect of hyperthropy or strength growth (from faq), isn't it the best way to optimize increment range is based on the 'real' MinEW and RM and not based on the calculation (decrement) from RM? (because the calculated MinEW may not be 'effective')

    Thanks for more information:)
  2. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    (@ Dan: this thread should probably be moved to the HST forum)

    Hi lanette, and welcome.

    No one has said that the minimum effective weight is anything in particular. It's all down a person's conditioning to the load in question at the time. If you are conditioned to it then the effects of RBE will prevent a growth response (if you did a ton of work with the load then you may get a small response to the strain but it wouldn't be optimised).

    To answer your questions:

    1) There is very little difference in the two examples you give and it is highly unlikely that you would notice any difference or be able to measure any difference in effectiveness. What matters most is your conditioning to the load at the start of the cycle and the progression over the whole cycle.

    The first example is not better for strength or vice versa and should not be something you are concerned about at this stage; you are working sub-maximally because you have deconditioned the tissue to the load (insofar as this is possible in a 9-14 days period of SD). Strength is much more to do with neural factors. With HST we are primarily concerned with hypertrophy. Once you've grown some new muscle, you can then maximise strength with it if you wish, doing some kind of SST.

    Maximising the increments will provide a more novel stimulus to previous loading but within the realm of your example it would be imperceptible. Conditioning to the load is going to have much more of an effect. Do whichever you fancy.

    2) Partly answered in 1). Starting each mesocycle with ~70-75% of the RM will usually ensure that your loads remain effective right from the get go. At the start of the cycle, when the loads are lightest, RBE (repeated bout effect) will catch up faster then when the loads are heavy. So, the strain response produced from repeatedly using your lightest loads will diminish much more quickly than when using heavy loads. During 15s, we are also concerned with flushing the muscles and joints with lactate for the beneficial effects this brings to the joints which in turn helps prep the joints for the heavy loads to come later in the cycle. At the start of 15s really go for the burn - slow the reps down if need be; or keep to a faster tempo and do more reps.

    3) It is much easier to feel strain when the loads are heavier but it would not be a good way to decide whether your workout has been effective or not. Don't worry about this. If you have worked out your maxes correctly and have deconditioned prior to the start of the cycle you will get all the good stuff happening from the start.

    4) Again, don't over-think all this. Get you maxes, calculate your increments and go lift (but SD first of course! ;) ) Don't worry about some zig-zag between mesocycles. Just do it and see how well it works for you. Most importantly, get your nutrition right over the cycle. If you want to make gains you have to give your body what it needs to grow.

    Cheers, Lol
  3. lanette

    lanette New Member

    Re: Increasing gap between increments

    Hi Lol, thanks for replying. I understand what you said, but...
    Do you mean that after a cycle, I can increase the RM but not minEW, thereby making bigger gaps between every increment to produce better stimulus?

    Can you give a clear explanation on this technique? (much better if with an example)

    Thanks again:eek:
  4. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    Re: Increasing gap between increments

    If your RM increases cycle on cycle and you use 5% increments then you will automatically be using 'bigger gaps' between increments as 5% of a bigger number is a bigger number than 5% of a smaller number. :) You won't need to worry about the min EW; that will go up too. SD can only reduce conditioning a little, not completely, so your min EW will need to increase as you get stronger and become more conditioned to the load stimulus.

    Say your squat 5RM went from 150lb to 400lb over the course of many cycles. Here's how 5% increments for 5s would look:

    150, 160, 170, 180, 190, 200
    225, 240, 255, 270, 285, 300
    300, 320, 340, 360, 380, 400

    So your starting loads are increasing but so are the increments.

    In practice, you may want to change the increments to make for easier loading on the bar or to repeat loads when the increments are small -- this will also prevent the starting load from being too light to elicit a PS response and thereby allow you to control how much zig-zag you allow between mesocycles.
  5. electric

    electric HST Expert

    The idea of repeating loads is just to allow usable increments. In your example of a 50lbs RM, assume you are using dumbbells. The 5% calculated progression would net you loads that are not feasible to use in terms of available dumbbells. One way around that is to use repeated loads with existing dumbbell weights.
  6. lanette

    lanette New Member

    Thanks to Lol and electric for clarification.

    Question solved.
  7. MaFi0s0

    MaFi0s0 New Member

    But isnt it because the increase in load cant be too small because muscles respond not only to an increase in weight but how much that increase is, and too small of an increase wont be recognised by the muscle only by the CNS?
  8. dkm1987

    dkm1987 New Member

    Muscle tissue has no way of judging what load they are contracting against. All they do is contract or not and this is dependent on motor unit recruitment and the CNS. Other those MU recruited can then feel or exert any tension and hence will be the ones that receive the needed signaling to grow. The threshold of recruitment varies but generally any load at or above 60% 1RM will recruit about all MUs.

    to LOL, I no longer have any moderation capability, perhaps you should ask Bryan if he will make you a moderator or some of the other more regular experts.
  9. MaFi0s0

    MaFi0s0 New Member

    I dont wanna come across as nitpicking but its a big thing for me because I can increment by .25KG on all excercises so microloading is an option for me, I find that I could probably go 2.5% increases without overtraining rather than 5%, as I understand the only problem with microloading with HST that I am clear about is the possibility of burning out the CNS before the cycle is finished. The reason I havent used less than 5% is because it was noted as the minimum amount to increase by due to muscle responding to the amount of difference in increases. So now I am unsure.
  10. thegentleman1981

    thegentleman1981 New Member

    I know this threas is old. But I always thought that about 85%1RPM all Mu´s get recruited???
    Lighter loads only allows that when you train near failure.

    Am I on an old track?

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