Study: 1 set vs 3

Discussion in 'General Training' started by Dood, May 17, 2005.

  1. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    escyooz a butt-in from an unscientific mind.
    Apart from the idea of concentric-only exersizes being problematic (I understand you're experimenting here), weren't isometrics "proven" not to be as effective as dynamic movements a long time ago? And with isometrics, aren't you really just working fatigue thresholds? And my question about fatigue value wasn't answered over there yet to my satisfaction either. Maybe we don't have all the answers yet.
  2. nkl

    nkl Member

    I'm not saying that isometrics are any magic by itself. I was thinking they would be useful for maximizing mechanical stimuli, before throwing in metabolical stimuli, as Vicious said earlier in this thread: <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Can this be interpreted as saying, create your significant mechanical strain first, then throw in your metabolic stress?
    To which Bryan replied:
    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">HST assumes this to be true. The whole idea of using Drop-sets is based on the assumption that once the strain in the tissue has been &quot;registered&quot; in the strain-sensing pathways (i.e. activation of mechanoreceptors), metabolic stimuli can then be added without compromising the hypertrophic response to the bout as a whole.
    Peak tension is the most important factor in mechanical stimuli, TTI second to that.
    Isometrics or negatives causes highest peak tension, and FI (or iso-concentric constrast) gives most metabolic stimuli and TUT. So I thought, why not pair them together?
    Each one on its own might not be that effective, but together they migth do the thing. Of course we should not neglect the value of dynamic contractions. Eat some carbohydrate to get mTOR-signaling going again after the training. Add some amino acids so protein synthesis is maximized. Sleep to get higher levels of GH, etc., etc. Each piece have its own place in the puzzle of stimulating hypertrophy.
  3. QuantumPositron

    QuantumPositron New Member

    I have told this personal anecdote on the forum before, but its a good one and its one of my favorites and it pertains to this mini-thread.

    When I was 16, back in 1996, I did Static Contraction Training. The theory was half-baked; the program was simple. Do three 30 second static holds at near lockout for major lifts with 1 min rests. Do twice a week. To its credit I built size, but contrary to the author's claim my full range bench press did not increase (that's pretty important in high school), even though I was holding 430 lbs. So in despair I started doing 1 set of dynamic lifts after the usual round of static holds - just so I could get some full range going. Two months later, around Spring of '97, I was preacher curling 135 lbs in my squat rack for 10 reps, up from 90 lbs. I weighed 185 at the time. I want to duplicate this same workout, but for some reason gyms like to put the preacher curl bench on the opposite side as the squat rack. And, maybe I am just lazy, but they are bulky and a pain to carry; maybe when my deadlift goes up some more... anyway...There is no way you or I can static hold what we can in a standing curl fashion (I got to around 260 lbs for 30 sec). Nor is there a machine made that can accomodate the loads and limited ROM. If my Rafeei experiment fails I may just bite the bullet and drag the curl bench to the squat rack, pissing everyone off in the process. So if you see a guy doing static curls just when you were about to get your squat on come say hello. Its probably me.

    As far as fatigue and isometrics? I dunno. Nkl's idea was the same as mine: add statics and full range. My reasoning was different. I still believed Pete Sisco and John Little when they said statics produce the most growth. I thought if I did dynamics I would be able educate the muscle I had gained into dynamic strength. The tissue was there, so why couldn't it work? That was my thinking at the time, however erroneous.

    As for overtraining. Nah. I didn't get any of that. Static lifts began hitting a wall after 4 months of training, if I recall correctly (my mother later threw out my notebook, the nerve of that woman). Mentzer thought statics were so &quot;intense!&quot; that they could only be used infrequently. Once a month I think he said. Whatever. I use them on my forearms regularly without a hitch.
  4. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    Mentzer was mentally unstable, so don't take his advice too seriously. [​IMG]
  5. nkl

    nkl Member

    One more thing, while I remember. NWlifter wrote an article for The WeightTrainer called Energetics. In his article he pointed out that: <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">The energetic theory is one in which the energetic cost of the contractions, or sum of contractions, is used as a measurement tool for the upregulation of protein synthesis. ... The energetic cost is more related to the time factor, i.e. ATP turnover per time period. ... High rates of ATP turnover require high frequency contractions (rate coding)and high tensions. ... Recruitment and rate coding increase until recruitment is full, then rate coding will continue to increase until maximized. ... A final point is concerning a measurement variable, termed TTI (Tension Time Integral), where the average true tension is computated, and is directly proportional to the energetic cost of a contraction. ... What your seeking, is protein upregulation. Your means is through an application of external resistance that will induce full recruitment and higher levels of rate coding. These factors have been shown to induce a hypertrophic effect.</div>This is one part of what the isometrics are for - maximize ATP turnover by utilizing max recruitment and max rate coding (besides the part of causing great mechanical stimuli).

    Now this is not the whole of it. Metabolic stress is also a part of the puzzle. NWlifter wrote another piece called Occlusion: What's Blood Got to Do with It? I qoute:
    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">The extremely high 'backing up' of fatigue products, in addition to a lack of oxygen, reduces the fiber's ability to generate force very rapidly. This leads to full activation levels (full recruitment and high rate coding) leading to tetanic contractions. Further, muscle cells will consume ATP at rates equal to higher resistances. ...
    There are two main points we can learn and/or use from this information;
    - High fiber activity levels, reguardless of the load, still induce myofibrilliar hypertrophy. Tension is a means to an end. The stimulus lies in the higher rates of work per time. This explains why better results are seen with repeated efforts. The first rep of a set using a 5RM, has the same peak tension as the last, but performing all 5 is more stimulating than performing just the one.
    -  A person can take advantage of the effects of occlusion without tying tubes and bands around their limbs. (Please, avoid using occlusion to train your neck muscles) Furthermore, one would not have to use a pure isometric workout, but possibly use isometric contractions as 'finishers' or additions, to a normal set of repetitions.</div>Honoring the topic of the thread: If we combine them both, we may be able to generate equal stimuli as several sets of dynamic contractions (a blend of moderate mechanical and metabolical stimuli). Of course, the more conditioned a trainer is, more time is required to get equal stimulation as before, because of RBE. Newbies can grow with a little less effort. Am I making sense?

    Thanks again QuantumPositron for sharing your personal anectdote. Isometrics build strength at the joint angles it's performed (carryover effect is 15-20 degrees). That's why it doesn't transfer over so easily to the dynamic movements. The general practice for powerlifters is to use it from several angles (top, middle, bottom position). Also read strength coach Dan John's reflections on overtraining using isometrics in his newsletter Get Up!, fouth edition, page 4.

    A final note. If you are to try isometrics, take care to not load to much weight at once. Do it progressively so the tendons and ligaments can adapt to the increasing load. Otherwise you easily can get injured (I know - I still got pain in my wrists from going to heavy to soon). Warm ups and stretching are neccesary. And don't get carried away. Pulling 1000 lbs from the rack is cool, but it's also a tremendous strain. Be careful.
  6. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    These studies are looking for the optimal TUT. MS anybody? [​IMG]
  7. nkl

    nkl Member

    Use MS to maximize TTI during the mechanical stimulation. MS is used to cheat fatigue to do more work with heavier weights, like in the Rafeei experiment. However TUT per se is not our primary goal; TTI is. That is, generate maximum tension as long as you can, hopefully you get sufficient stimuli. High TUT could be accomplished with any kind of weight, but it does not tell if the stimuli was sufficient to trigger any hypertophy.

    The metabolic stress might be unwanted in MS, but in one way or another it will accumulate, even in a set using MS. Lots of repetitons with MS will generate metabolic stimuli as well, but it's ineffcient if you are looking to primarily generate metabolic stimuli.

    A new idea would be to throw in some isometrics into MS and we have truly max stimulation (mechanical, that is). With HST you start using MS in the post-5RMs, when we go beyond 90% of 1RM. After the MS set, get some metabolic stimuli as well with a lighter weight.

    I´ve been enjoying MS for almost half a year, so I'm no stranger to it.   [​IMG]
  8. QuantumPositron

    QuantumPositron New Member

    Waitwaitwaitwaitwait Hold on! Good ideas, but I sense massive conceptual inconsistencies:

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">a blend of moderate mechanical and metabolical stimuli</div>

    I mean this and only this: metabolic effects are not a stimuli according to the NWLifter article. Metabolic fatigue causes increased recruitment and rate coding, thus increasing ATP turnover which your articles link to hypertrophic stimulation. It seems then that metabolic fatigue, like tension, is a means to an end. I am sure this is indeed what you meant, but we must be concise with our use of terms.

    As an addendum, I will point out that according to Dan Moore metabolic fatigue may inhibit hypertrophic signaling. This is one of the rationalizations for using rest-pause, as we all know. It seems that there is conflicting evidence regarding the desireability of metabolic fatigue. Does it promote hypertrophy by promoting ATP turnover? Or does it inhibit hypertrophy via the sophisticated pathways that Dan Moore has painstakingly researched? In situations like this the answer is usually that it depends. But here I am out of my element.

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">the stimulus lies in the higher rates of work per time.</div>

    I have wondered about this a lot recently. With MS the workload is not higher than a conventional routine. One could simply break down the same amount of work across multiple sets. However the power output, which is work per unit time as quoted above, is much higher. If an MS set averages 3 seconds per rep one accomplishes in one minute the amount of work that takes conventional training several minutes more.
  9. QuantumPositron

    QuantumPositron New Member

    On ATP turnover:

    Wouldn't a true isotonic lift, one where the load is varied with the length of the lever arm during the rep, produce the highest ATP turnover? And the greatest TTI?
  10. QuantumPositron

    QuantumPositron New Member

    On isometrics,

    Isn't the TTI for a static hold greater than the TTI for a dynamic lift of equal time, presuming both are performed to failure?
  11. nkl

    nkl Member

    You are correct. Metabolic stimuli is a means to an end. We want a high ATP turnover, since this is a stimuli for hypertrophy. Perhaps I should be using the term metabolic stress or fatigue to make my point (I used the terms found in the studies and in the forum, but the terms are a bit ambigous).

    Is high fatigue desirable due to the temporary attenuation of mTOR signalling? NWlilfter pointed out that the rebound of mTOR very well could cause an increase in protein synthesis.  

    With a truly isotonic movement the ATP turnover would depend on the load during the current mode of contraction. I don't think its possible in practice to keep a constant rate coding during an isotonic movement, so the comparison between isometrics and isotonics cannot be fairly made, however the idea is interesting.   

    Stimulus from higher rate of work per time is equivalent to ATP turnover. Stimulus from higher rate of tension per time is equivalent to TTI (or at least something like that).

    I just remebered... One interesting thing I explored some time ago (over at the MS-forum) was  the ATP turnover using MS. Since MS is more aerobic in nature than anaerobic, ATP turnover was in fact higher.  The study that led me this conclusion was &quot;Kustrup, Ferguson, Kjaer and Bangsbo, ATP and heat production in human skeletal muscle during dynamic exercise: higher efficiency of anaerobic than aerobic ATP resynthesis (J Physiol. 2003 May 15;549(Pt 1):255-69.)&quot; (ATP resynthesis = ATP turnover)
  12. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    Side note:
    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Wouldn't a true isotonic lift, one where the load is varied with the length of the lever arm during the rep, produce the highest ATP turnover? And the greatest TTI? </div>In a short sojourn to the Glitzy Glitter Pompous Palace of LA Fitness here in Atlanta, they had machines that provided you resistance that you programmed in and could be varied throughout the ROM, allowing you to work your max from beginning to end.
    While a good idea, it was in practice more like trying to stop a car when someone was trying to run over you. It had a horrible feel to it, was very uninspiring, and wore you out in a short time.
    Of course the local Yuppies had them set to little children's weights so they could use them for aerobics while listening to their BeeGees while talking.
    Fascinating thread. Respectfully bowing out now.
  13. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I mean this and only this: metabolic effects are not a stimuli according to the NWLifter article. Metabolic fatigue causes increased recruitment and rate coding, thus increasing ATP turnover which your articles link to hypertrophic stimulation. It seems then that metabolic fatigue, like tension, is a means to an end.</div>

    correct, that is what I meant
  14. nkl

    nkl Member

    Adding just some more info...

    Besides striving for a higher ATP turnover using various metabolic &quot;enhancing&quot; tricks during 15s (or at any other time), we also activate the erk1/2 pathway. In the HST FAQ on drop sets Blade does a good job describing how we can combine strain and metabolic work. The Pimp my HST book by Vicious also takes on this subject in great detail. We tend to forget our great assets from time to time (or at least I do) ...  [​IMG]

    The Pimp my HST book can get very technical at some points, so if anyone would want to know more about muscle physiology there is some stuff at It covers things like isometrics, twitch and tetanic contractions, length-tension relation, and much much more. Very technical of course. [​IMG]

    Noteworthy quote concerning maximal isometric tension (supporting the potential value of the loaded-stretch for increasing tension): <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">If the muscle is stretched to about 180% of its resting length (this is about the maximum stretch without damage to the muscle), and the length is held constant at this value while a contraction is induced ...  the maximum isometric tension of the muscle is obtained.</div>
    Hopefully some of this info can be helpful in designing more effective workouts (whatever the number of sets).
  15. QuantumPositron

    QuantumPositron New Member

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">We tend to forget our great assets from time to time (or at least I do) ..</div>

    Totally. I will read that tommorrow (its 2 am. Time for sleep).

    Really interesting on the isometrics. But what is meant by resting length? Take biceps for example. Is the resting length with my arms down at their sides? Or is it with my arm curled?

    I am really surprised by the notion of isometric stretching. I am having a tough time believing it. The Static Contraction method uses isometrics at near lock out because this is when the greatest load can be used. On the other hand, at least part of the reason the load can get high (200% of 1RM in my experience) is because near lock out simultaneously means shortest lever arm. But in my 1980's era EP text it reads that tension is a function of CSA during contraction, which lends weight to the Static Con. thinking. So I have to ask, what is going on here?
  16. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE"> Is the resting length with my arms down at their sides? </div>


    The resting length of most muscles is very close when a person is standing erect, with arms hanging at sides and palms facing the body. It's our 'standard' position so sarcomere numbers create the natural resting length of the muscle at that point.
  17. nkl

    nkl Member

    I'm thinking that there is perhaps some explanation found in the figure 14-15 text on the muscle physiology page by Michael D. Mann, Ph.D. <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">
    Length-tension curve. Isometric tension (ordinate) is plotted against muscle length (abscissa) expressed as a fraction of resting muscle length, 1.0. The muscle's elasticity resists stretch, causing tension that follows the dotted [blue] curve ; this is passive tension. When the muscle's length is fixed at a value on the abscissa and then it is stimulated to contract, it develops tension that lies on the dashed [brown] curve . This is the total tension or the sum of passive tension and developed tension. The difference (solid [red] curve) between the dashed and dotted curves is the tension developed by the muscle when it contracts. This is maximum at the resting length. (Dudel J: Muscles. In Schmidt RF [ed]: Fundamentals of Neurophysiology, 2nd ed. New York, Springer-Verlag, 1978)</div>As I see it, the peaks of total tension occurs at slightly longer than resting length and at the stretch-position.

    The tension from muscle contraction is greatest at resting length according to cross-bridge theory:
    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">At resting length, the thin and thick filaments are in relative positions ..., with nearly the whole thick filament overlapped by thin filaments. In this position, all of the myosin heads are overlapped by the thin filament, and therefore all are available to form cross-bridges. Recall that in the cross-bridge theory the force of contraction is proportional to the number of cross-bridges formed. </div>
    Application of this knowledge would be that the stretch-position can generate significant total tension, and perhaps get the mechotransduction signaling going, while there is little muscle tension to resist the pull. At resting length the muscle tension is largest and also generates greatest ATP turnover from the amount of cross-bridges being made, in addition from a great total tension. At maximum contraction, there is very little tension.
    If the resting length is with arms down our sides in our erect postion, then we know what to do to get maximum stimulation from isometrics. The stretch postition is not that far away from resting length for  biceps, and the opposite for triceps. Have I missed something?
  18. nkl

    nkl Member

    Edit: I stubled upon other sources (The Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine By Howard G. Knuttgen, et al) that puts this in a different light. It might be for some muscles that the stretch position is not the peak tension. Resting length is. It depends on the amount of connective tissue. More tissue, more tension (or force as it is put in the book).
    Then it might be a safer bet to conclude that maximum tension can be achieved at the resting length postition. Or is there anything else I've missed?
  19. dkm1987

    dkm1987 New Member

    Hmmm interesting thread guys.

    One big concern is that in many whole muscles the idea of stretching the fibers enough beyond resting length is near impossible in natural human movement and many of the studies using this has used in situ stretch not in vivo, see Huijing's fantastic review.

    So it's hard to look at degree of stretch alone.

    ATP, Bangsbo's work does point to a high reliance on oxidative metabolism for derivng ATP during high intensity work but overall it's not ATP turnover that is directly causitive or indicative of growth and there is scant evidence to support that ATP drops all that much (see the work of Steve F. Fraser and Jia L. Li), so it's not a matter of ATP depletion either.

    The idea of a rebound effect in mTOR phosporlyation is sketchy, there are no studies that I am aware of that show a de-phosphorylation followed by a high amplitude change in phosphorylation. But, it is shown that mTOR phosphorylation status is blunted for a time then this blunting is released as the metabolic need to replenish ATP is diminished. One of the controlling factors may be AMPK but also may be calcium, this hasn't quit been hashed out yet.
  20. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    It looks like we have a new lab coat (nkl) in the arena!

Share This Page