Most men come to the gym with the goal of improving their aesthetics. They often look for guidance through various information channels, most often through Google, YouTube, or a fitness blog.
This may be a good start, but all beginners and many advanced learners encounter the same basic problem, They still have no understanding of diet and exercise and therefore can not judge the quality of the information they pass on.
A common trend is to turn to the professionals who have achieved a lot to learn from their experiences. However, this presents an additional problem because even misapplied accurate information is ineffective.
This article examines critical aspects of an athlete's development and mechanisms of hypertrophy to elucidate the invisible pitfalls that result from following professional advice. We will then summarize the results to find practical, actionable steps to improve your own training and hypertrophic gain.
Understand the novice in bodybuilding
For beginners, it is common for the workload to increase during each session, This can take weeks or even months as the athlete develops.1 There are several reasons for this.
The first reason is the inability to exceed the athlete's usual regeneration capacity with beginners. Due to the relative inexperience of the athlete, the motor skills are not sufficiently developed, which prevents the use of heavy loads.2 Positive power adjustments therefore result mainly from improved engine performance
The increasing difficulty of overcoming the trainee's recovery capacity means that common functions are inappropriate in more advanced program concepts, such as Deloads. In addition, percent based programs that follow a nonlinear load history approach become ineffective because the rate of adjustment is fast and unpredictable.
For this and other reasons, research on young and inexperienced athletes often recommends higher repetition rates to increase stress, improve skill acquisition, and indirectly manage stress.4,5
During the initial training process, automatic regulation is an effective way of adapting each training session to the level of preparedness of athletes.4 However, since inexperienced athletes can not accurately assess difficulties, the effectiveness of this method is based solely on the guidance of an experienced trainer. 6
As apprentices move from beginner to advanced, the training variables shift significantly, A study by Kraemer et al. "The concept of the resistance training program should initially be simple for inexperienced people, but more specific as the progression of the variation of the variables of the acute program progresses." 7
These results are in line with the extensive research that demonstrates the high adaptive potential of beginners compared to their more advanced peers who require greater specificity and structure.
Due to undeveloped motor skills, the inexperienced lifter should avoid loading or repetition in the reserve to minimize the risk of injury.7 Even loads of 45-50% 1 rpm can significantly increase muscle power in inexperienced lifters, 7 as the engine has been improved learning and coordination. In addition, the volume requirements for inexperienced lifters are much lower than for advanced.7
For this reason, it is often recommended to perform 2 to 6 exercises per workout.8 A meta-analysis to determine the dose-response ratio for force development found that "untrained participants achieve maximum gains by training each muscle group 3 days a week. Four sets per muscle group resulted in maximum gains in both trained and non-trained individuals. "9
By distributing the volume over several exercises, you can maintain a higher volume without causing excessive fatigue, and you can achieve a greater hypertrophic response. 10,11 This can be a valuable approach as the work capacity of an inexperienced trainee is significantly lower than that of advanced athletes.7,12,13
Training frequency is also an important factor as inexperienced lifters usually require less recovery time between workouts when the appropriate load is selected
Since the intensity often prescribed for beginners is between 45 and 50% 1 rpm, the athlete can perform a high frequency of exercises to increase the load and improve the technical skills.3
The use of androgen anabolic steroids and other pharmacological interventions is a harsh reality in sports.16 As several studies have shown, the effects of these agents can be dramatic17
Not surprisingly, the use of sports supplements dramatically affects hypertrophy, strength, recovery, speed / strength, and some other athletic qualities.17 The use of sports supplement sports supplements is a very complex topic that I can not talk about.
Suffice to say that exercise and nutritional protocols differ between natural and improved lifters. Therefore, training tactics and strategies used by advanced athletes have reduced the application to natural athletes, and especially to beginners.
Understand the principles of hypertrophy
Although there are several factors that mediate hypertrophic reactions in general, the two most important are the mechanical stress and the volume.18 The mechanical stress can be considered as strain under load (intensity of 1 rpm), and the volume can be calculated in this case as:
Volume = repeats x Sets x Last18
General guidelines for an intermediate lifter: 18
Intensity: 60-80% 1 rpm Repetitions: 6-15 Intermediate pause: 2-3 minutes for compound exercises Phrases per exercise: 6+ Proximity to failure: 2-3 RPM (reps in reserve)
General guidelines for a beginner: 7
Intensity: 45-50% 1 r / min Repetitions: 10-12 pause between sets: 2 minutes sets per exercise: 2
The immediate proximity to the failure should be avoided
As you can see, there is a significant difference in what can generally be considered an effective protocol for beginners and advanced. This distance increases only when the lifters are further advanced.
Studies consistently show that higher volumes produce a greater hypertrophic response than low volume interventions.18 An important consideration is that advanced athletes have developed greater tolerance to volume and intensity that a beginner simply does not have.7
There is also a significant observable difference between a beginner and a professional bodybuilder, A professional elite bodybuilder is likely to be near his absolute genetic potential.18
For this reason, special attention must be paid to the selection of suitable exercises to perfect your body. Beginners, on the other hand, are literally as far from their genetic limits as possible.
This distinction is crucial, as a professional bodybuilder may highlight certain exercises or body parts, but the primary concern of an inexperienced exerciser should simply be to build as much muscle mass as possible around the world. This means emphasizing compound movements that intersect load and volume to achieve optimal hypertrophic fits.7,18
For the advanced lifter, the back deltoids are a weakness, but for the inexperienced lifter, everything is a weakness. By understanding this, we can effectively apply the principle of congestion to achieve superior adaptive responses.
Understand the overload principle
The Overload Principle states that training must become increasingly tougher to produce positive adaptations.19 Frequently used methods to trigger overloads and progressive adjustments are designed to increase volume and / or intensity. 18.19
Considering the potential overload stimulus imparted by various exercises, this is a definite case to prefer composite movements such as bench press, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, etc. to additional exercises.18
For example, let's compare the dumbbell fly with the bench press of the barbell. Because we know that stress and volume are the main drivers of hypertrophy, we can easily determine which results will produce better results.
Volume = Repetitions x Sets x Load
Bench press exercise:
Repetitions: 8 sets: 6 Strain: 345 lb.
Total exercise volume: 8 x 6 x 345 = 16560 lb
DB Breaststroke exercise:
Repetitions: 8 sets: 6 load: 50 lb (per DB)
Total exercise volume: 8 x 6 x 100 = 4800 lb
The above numbers represent my individual training values, but the relative scale to a beginner would be similar. In the above example, barbell bench press achieved 3.45x the volume of DB peacock activity at similar relative intensities. Even with barbell bench presses, the absolute mechanical tension was significantly higher, as the load was also 3.45 times higher than in the DB breast fly.
This does not mean that the DB Breast Fly is a pointless exercise. I just use an anecdote to convey that there is indeed a hierarchy within the exercise selection that is based on their ability to present an overload stimulus.18 Therefore, exercises that have a higher overload potential should form the basis of the training program in both cases and advanced.20
The difficulty for beginners to exceed their recovery capacity is manifold, Some major influences include muscle size, strength and motor skills. More muscle means that more contractile tissue needs to be repaired after intense exercise.18
Training with heavier loads requires stronger motor control and leads to more local contractile tissue damage, while at the same time placing more strain on the peripheral nervous system, which increases recovery requirements.18 In practice, this is reflected in the joint bodybuilding split approach which many professionals pursue.
An advanced athlete's squat training causes significantly more homeostatic disturbances than a beginner's squat training.21 Although it is more practical for an elite bodybuilder to only train one leg a week, it is totally inappropriate for a novice.
The relationship between the stimulus and fatigue shows a clear preference for the higher frequency of training exposure among beginners.7 The same projections can be made for many other training strategies for advanced athletes, who find little practical use for beginners.
Considerations and practical recommendations for a sports starter
It has been shown that intensities of only 45-50% of 1 rpm show a robust improvement in strength, Since most novice force development is based on improved motor learning, emphasis should be placed on improving the technical capabilities of the main compound lifts during this time.
Individual training sessions should focus on 4-6 compound exercises of 2-3 sets each, which comprise approximately 8-12 repetitions per set to improve skill practice and optimize the adaptive response.
Since it will be difficult for beginners to exceed their recovery capacity, a higher training frequency should be chosen to improve the acquisition of skills and exposure to training. Under these circumstances, it makes sense to develop a single full-body routine and repeat it 3-4 times a week. Conversely, it is unlikely that a traditional division of bodybuilding, in which each muscle group is trained only once a week, will lead to optimal results.
The adjustment rate for a beginner is fast and unpredictable, Therefore, programs that adopt a nonlinear approach to load / volume change and Deload inclusion are unsuitable. In this case, a simple linear progression of load, volume, or both over time is more appropriate.
Since beginners usually miss everything, their programs should be general in nature. As the athlete develops over several months and years, training should progress and become more congruent. This means that for a beginner, the vast majority of training should be based on compound exercises.
Mechanical tension and volume are the two main drivers of hypertrophy. To maximize progress, a program should emphasize the use of compound exercises that allow maximum accumulation of volume and intensity. Additional exercises should be limited or excluded (at least in the initial phase of the training) unless certain circumstances dictate otherwise.
The effectiveness of novice autoregulation depends on the presence and guidance of an experienced trainer and should otherwise be avoided.
Finally, I would like to make it clear that, in my opinion, it is important to learn from the experts. However, it is equally important to understand the context in which the advice was given.
1. Hoffman, Jay R. et al. "Comparison between linear and nonlinear in-season training programs for freshman football players". Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, vol. 17, no. 3, 2003, pp. 561-565., Doi: 10.1519 / 00124278-200308000-00023.
2. Wulf, Gabriele et al. "Motor learning and performance: a review of drivers". Medical Education, US National Library of Medicine, January 2010.
3. Rutherford, O M and DA Jones. "The Role of Learning and Coordination in Strength Training". European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, US National Library of Medicine, 1986.
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8. "Comparison of the effect of different strength training loads on the force". Taylor & Francis.
9. Rhea, Matthew R, et al. "A Meta-Analysis to Determine the Dose Response for Force Development". Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, US National Library of Medicine, March 2003.
10. Borst, SE, et al. "Impact of Resistance Training on Insulin-Like Growth Factor I and IGF Binding Proteins". Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, US National Library of Medicine, April 2001.
11. Paulsen, Gøran et al. "The influence of the exercise volume on the early adaptation to the strength training". Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, US National Library of Medicine, February 2003.
12. Kraemer, William. "A Series of Studies – The Physiological Basis for Strength Training in American Football: Facts about Philosophy". Journal of Force and Conditioning Research, August 1, 1997.
13. Kraemer, W.J., et al. "Influence of Strength Training Volume and Periodization on Physiological and Performance Adjustments in Female Tennis Players". The American Journal of Sports Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, 2000.
14. Häkkinen, K. "Neuromuscular fatigue and recovery in women of different ages during severe resistance stress". Electromyography and Clinical Neurophysiology, US National Library of Medicine, November 1995.
15. "Design Resistance Training Programs, 4E". Google Books, Google.
16. Panel Heiko Striegela Rolf Ulrich Pericles Simonc, author links open overlay et al. "Randomized response estimates for doping and illicit drug use among elite athletes". Drug and Alcohol Addiction, Elsevier, 8th September 2009.
17. Sinha-Hikim, Indrani et al. "Testosterone-induced muscle hypertrophy is associated with an increase in satellite cell counts in healthy young men." American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, July 1, 2003.
18. "The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to weight training: The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research." LWW.
19. Kraemer, W.J., et al. "Physiological adjustments to the strength training. Implications for athletic conditioning. "Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), US National Library of Medicine, Oct. 1988.
20. Campos, Gerson E., et al. "Muscle Adjustments in Response to Three Different Resistance Training Regimes: Specificity of Maximum Repeat Training Zones". European Journal of Applied Physiology, US National Library of Medicine, November 2002.
21. Kajaia, T, et al. "THE EFFECTS OF NON-FUNCTIONAL CROSSING AND TRANSFERING TO AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM FUNCTION IN HIGH-LEVEL SPORTS LEARNERS". Georgian Medical News, US National Library of Medicine, March 2017.