Stimulating Muscle Growth in Multiple Ways

Posted: March 5, 2014 in fitness, Muscle Building
Tags: , , , ,

Dr Jacob Wilson recently posted an amazing article here, which discusses some of the same things I write about frequently. We only differ in opinion in one area, which I’ll mention in a moment. Today I’m just going to provide my own slant on this excellent information.

In order to stimulate growth a few factors appear to come into play and they are each accomplished in different ways:

Muscle cell swelling: this is accomplished by moderate weights (8-12 reps) and relatively short rest periods.

Large muscle fiber damage: this is created by lifting heavy weights (4-6 reps) with longer rest periods. It also seems to be accomplished using slow negatives on your repetitions.

Lactic acid build-up: this is done via higher reps(usually 15 or more) supersets, very low rest periods or even occlusion training. This is where you go for an intense burn.

All of these are very different protocols, so how do we do all of them? Wilson does not specify how in this article aside from using the word “periodize“. Knowing that he has an involvement with Ben Palulski who recently has been selling a program based on periodization (changing modalities every 4 weeks) I am leery of his intent. As mentioned in other articles, I’ve found it is far more effective to train with as many of these protocols as possible all of the time, just alter your program depending on your primary goal. He does make a good point that if you lift heavy all of the time it will eventually take it’s toll on your joints which is another reason to spend periods of time where strength training is done less if not altogether excluded.

Another important thing Wilson mentions is that strict attention to every detail including rest, every rep and everything you put in your mouth is required in order to accomplish the goal of being both big and lean.

One final point I want to touch on is the idea of changing up the actual exercises/movements you do. Changing up exercises can be good from a psychological standpoint as well as varying the angles you train as well as initiating adaptation but at the same time if you are always changing it up you will not be creating enough of a regular muscular trauma for it to adapt. It would seem that the body can handle one or two “stresses” without necessarily adapting in a noticeable way.

Personally I find 2 methods work best:

1. Run a single program for 4-6 weeks then change up the ratio of strength, hypertrophy and lactic acid training **as an aside I don’t think it is a coincidence that 3-4 sets of an exercise has been shown to be most effective and so it is that at least 3-4 weeks on a program seems to be needed to adapt.

2. Alternate each week back and forth between 2 programs. This can be extended a little longer than the first way.

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Super Hero Physique
superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

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  2. […] Related: Stimulating Muscle Growth in Multiple Ways […]

  3. […] when we want to shed fat we cut calories and train for hypertrophy and lactic acid. When looking to add lean muscle we seek a caloric surplus and focus on strength […]

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