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View Full Version : Muscle Stimulation vs. Muscle Fatigue



joedemarco
02-24-2010, 04:39 PM
Here's my take on it. Of course, I would be very interested on what others have to say.

Are you confusing muscle fatigue with muscle stimulation? Those of us who lift weights do so to increase muscle mass. Some are only looking for slight gains in muscle mass in order to tone and condition while others are looking for substantial gains for athletics, general appearance, etc.

The majority of people will make immediate gains when they begin a weight lifting program. In fact, at the beginning, pretty much anything you do will give you fairly decent results. However, over time results become much more difficult to achieve. Eventually, you will reach a plateau in your progress. This usually results in one of two things. An individual will quit working out because they get discouraged or they decide that they need to do more. This second group of individuals will begin taking their nice productive 45 minute workout and expanding it into a 60 minute, then 75 minute, then 90 minute, then two hour, then the first half of the day workout. They figure that if they want results, they have to beat their muscles into absolute fatigue. They associate a "successful" workout with not being able to lift a brush to comb their hair or walk down the stairs to exit the gym. There is two problems with this philosophy. One, it doesn’t work. Longer workout sessions do not translate into greater muscular gains. Two, who the heck wants to spend all morning in the gym?

What you should always be after each and every time you enter a gym is muscle stimulation (not muscle fatigue!). What is muscle stimulation? Muscle stimulation would be placing the muscle under an increase amount of stress that it is not accustomed to. For example, last leg workout you performed three sets of squats for 8 reps with 200 pounds. If on your next leg workout you performed three sets of 8 reps with 210 pounds you just stimulated your muscles. Stimulation would have also taken place if you performed three sets of squats for 9 reps with 200 pounds. In either example, you placed your muscles under an increased stress from your last workout. This will stimulate muscle growth. Do I need to increase the actual minutes that I workout? Absolutely not! Actually, 45-60 minutes of weight training is a sufficient amount of time. Peak testosterone levels are reached within the first hour. After 60 minutes, testosterone levels drop dramatically, muscle fatigue will begin to set in, and you begin just "going through the motions" in the gym with little to show for it.


In summation, to stimulate muscle growth:

1. Perform short (45-60 minutes) intense workouts
2. Track each workout (use a notebook!!!) so that you constantly and consistently place your muscles under increased stress.
3. Listen to your body. Give it sufficient rest and recovery time.
4. Proper nutrition, proper nutrition, proper nutrition (….a whole other article!!!).

Mac
02-24-2010, 05:07 PM
Great post Joe.

So often I see people just going through the motions and not really pushing themselves to use more weight or increase the volume.

I think that #3 is terribly underrated by most, including myself, at times.

gman
02-24-2010, 05:46 PM
I think I have made tremendous gains without pushing myself much, so I need to push harder and see if I can grow.

When I see what I do for legs vs what Baldie and others do, it makes me think mine could be like Tom Platz's if I lifted as hard as Baldie does. Then I have to ask, why don't I?

Problem is I have been attempting to cut most of the time the whole 4 1/2 years I have been lifting!

blu2xtreme
02-24-2010, 05:49 PM
Great post - I went through that newbie muscle changes and now I always feel like I need to work out more because I want the same results so bad.
Yet I find myself working out even when I feel worn out and getting enough nutrition is another whole story with me.
Enjoyed your post hope you post more info - I never get enough.

thesamewords
02-24-2010, 05:53 PM
Step #2 is something that I am considering more and more since I have so many learning potential learning opportunities when I go over my past and present training. Its a little bit easier to figure out what doesnt work when you document your supplements as well. Good post bro...... BTW I still write down all of my meals though..

HeavyDutyGuy
02-24-2010, 08:11 PM
I think my thoughts on this one prety obvious. But muscle stimulation is what you do want while avoiding excessive muscle fatigue. If you're traing very hard, muscle fatigue is going to happen anyway. More isn't better, better is better.

freebirdmac
02-24-2010, 08:46 PM
Excellent post! Did you also post this in the beginners forum?

joedemarco
02-25-2010, 10:41 AM
I think my thoughts on this one prety obvious. But muscle stimulation is what you do want while avoiding excessive muscle fatigue. If you're traing very hard, muscle fatigue is going to happen anyway. More isn't better, better is better.

Thanks to everyone for the positive comments.

Great point, HDG. You are absolutely right. For example, I just finished my back workout. I only lifted for 55 minutes. The workout was very hard and heavy. I increased weight or reps in just about every set (I was kind of psyched today on bent over rows because my final two sets were for 6 reps with 315 lbs). There is no doubt in my mind I got some muscle stimulation this morning. However, as I sit here typing, my back feels absolutely beat and fatigued!

joedemarco
02-25-2010, 10:42 AM
Excellent post! Did you also post this in the beginners forum?

Thanks...and I will take your suggestion and post the thread over there also.

mr intensity
02-25-2010, 10:49 AM
very good post,
all we need to do is repeat the same workout next week with heavier wts

gman
02-25-2010, 10:51 AM
how does this play into contest prep when you are eating at or less than your resting metabolic rate? Should you stress out when you are getting weaker and weaker?

Just benching 185, bb rowing 205, and squatting 225 is about killing me.

axioma
02-25-2010, 10:57 AM
very good post,
all we need to do is repeat the same workout next week with heavier wts

Or....stimulate the muscles in a different way. Since, inevitably, a plateau will be reached increasing the weight or rep may be difficult, a strategy as increasing time under tension can be beneficial. I like to do this periodically as it really makes me think about form and how relative moving a weight is (4-5 seconds up/down).

joedemarco
02-25-2010, 10:59 AM
how does this play into contest prep when you are eating at or less than your resting metabolic rate? Should you stress out when you are getting weaker and weaker?

Just benching 185, bb rowing 205, and squatting 225 is about killing me.

I do all I can to not lose strength during contest prep. I continue to lift heavy through out my prep. However, I believe that it is inevitable that you are going to lose strength. Particularly the last few weeks. In my crazy bodybuilding opinion, if you don't lose strength those last few weeks, you probably didn't beat yourself up enough with your training/diet.

mr intensity
02-25-2010, 11:00 AM
how does this play into contest prep when you are eating at or less than your resting metabolic rate? Should you stress out when you are getting weaker and weaker?

Just benching 185, bb rowing 205, and squatting 225 is about killing me.


main goal of precontest training should be
1. Mentaining your muscle mass
2. keep loosing one kg fat each week untill u reach 4 percent bodyfat.

now how can we mentain our muscle mass
1. by providing enough " protein to our muscles"
2. trying to mentain our lifting poundages as they were previously( as it is we cannot increase upon our lifts).


if our lifting poundages are dropping that means we are loosing muscle tissue..... and why are we loosing muscle tissue........because we are dieting too severely......

joedemarco
02-25-2010, 11:01 AM
Or....stimulate the muscles in a different way. Since, inevitably, a plateau will be reached increasing the weight or rep may be difficult, a strategy as increasing time under tension can be beneficial. I like to do this periodically as it really makes me think about form and how relative moving a weight is (4-5 seconds up/down).


Good point because obviously at some point, you can't continue to increase weight every single workout. If we could, we would all be benching and squatting a 1000 pounds..lol. You are gonna hit plateaus, at which point workouts need to be shifted around. That is why I'm always cycling workouts, etc....

gman
02-25-2010, 11:02 AM
thanks, guys! I am not losing extreme amounts of strength because I never was strong to begin with because I did not follow the principles outlined in the first post!

I would say I am down about 10-15% on all my lifts from my 1 rep max

mr intensity
02-25-2010, 11:03 AM
Or....stimulate the muscles in a different way. Since, inevitably, a plateau will be reached increasing the weight or rep may be difficult, a strategy as increasing time under tension can be beneficial. I like to do this periodically as it really makes me think about form and how relative moving a weight is (4-5 seconds up/down).


yup ...i agree

axioma
02-25-2010, 11:15 AM
thanks, guys! I am not losing extreme amounts of strength because I never was strong to begin with because I did not follow the principles outlined in the first post!

I would say I am down about 10-15% on all my lifts from my 1 rep max

Perfectly acceptable. What I do to deal with the psychological effects of a. dieting b. off cycle is to FORGET what my 1RM is! Who cares? I will circuit train, giant sets, tension workouts, get crazy and make it fun. The phase of increasing the 80% workout load is over if you are trying to carve it up. You are about keeping maximum muscle through, as Dr. D said, stimulation! Get that pump baby!

HeavyDutyGuy
02-25-2010, 04:16 PM
I've notocied that usually my deadlift and free weight squats suffer some. However, my isolation exercise poundages usually go up- probably due to desperation and shee panic. I end up using more machines, esp Hammer, and cables, fatigue just makes getting under a heavy 500 or 600 bar and squatting a bit daunting. But I try to keep the poundage up as much as possible. If you squat 500 for reps off season, and you find you can only do 350 for reps, there's a problem. I'm going for a lot more contractions this time out- the weight is tool to make the muscle contract so hard it almost jumps off the bone..

gman
02-25-2010, 05:16 PM
I believe I need to really try a lot harder. I have so much potential if I worked even half again as hard as I do now. I never had a training partner or a spotter, so I never have even tried to go heavier often.

AnglicanBeachParty
02-26-2010, 09:53 AM
.
When I see what I do for legs vs what Baldie and others do, it makes me think mine could be like Tom Platz's if I lifted as hard as Baldie does. Then I have to ask, why don't I?


Why would you want to do that? You'd end up with a very unbalanced physique. Sure, people would point and say: Check out the wheels on that guy! But I don't think you'd win contests with that approach.

Why not rather put the extra intensity into making sure your upper body is on par with your legs?

gman
02-26-2010, 10:49 AM
Why would you want to do that? You'd end up with a very unbalanced physique. Sure, people would point and say: Check out the wheels on that guy! But I don't think you'd win contests with that approach.

Why not rather put the extra intensity into making sure your upper body is on par with your legs?

True, ABP! should have said training hard for everything, not just legs.

I think my upper body would be on par if I just could get the damn fat off! It came of my legs first for some reason.

axioma
02-26-2010, 11:51 AM
I believe I need to really try a lot harder. I have so much potential if I worked even half again as hard as I do now. I never had a training partner or a spotter, so I never have even tried to go heavier often.
While there is a synergy with having a partner, don't rely on it or use the lack of one as an excuse for not going heavy! I don't have one, only had four great ones in 20+ years. I trained for my last show solo. Just cultivate the mindset that you WILL not be denied. Work in a power rack when possible, do partials...whatever. I am really from the old school, which is all about visualization. See the rep, see the outcome and it will be so.

gman
02-26-2010, 11:55 AM
While there is a synergy with having a partner, don't rely on it or use the lack of one as an excuse for not going heavy! I don't have one, only had four great ones in 20+ years. I trained for my last show solo. Just cultivate the mindset that you WILL not be denied. Work in a power rack when possible, do partials...whatever. I am really from the old school, which is all about visualization. See the rep, see the outcome and it will be so.

Thanks, I will begin thinking that way...when I move to the other gym it will help...no power rack at my current gym. I am going to mix it up even more than I do now too. I do the same bodypart split every week but never do the same exercises two weeks running.

Mac
02-26-2010, 12:03 PM
I do the same bodypart split every week but never do the same exercises two weeks running.

I like to change up the split too.

I train alone. When there is a 30-45 second rest between sets it's impossible to do with a partner.

gman
02-26-2010, 12:03 PM
I am also looking forward to training with Ed Cook (Old Superman) in Columbus. I heard from more than one person that training with him one time changed their whole mindset and made them realize how un intensely they were training.

Baldiewonkanobi
02-26-2010, 02:19 PM
I am also looking forward to training with Ed Cook (Old Superman) in Columbus. I heard from more than one person that training with him one time changed their whole mindset and made them realize how un intensely they were training.

:yep: your time in the gym will change from that day forward. Will be the difference in your show later this year. Think you train hard now?? :no:

Baldie

joedemarco
02-26-2010, 09:44 PM
While there is a synergy with having a partner, don't rely on it or use the lack of one as an excuse for not going heavy! I don't have one, only had four great ones in 20+ years. I trained for my last show solo. Just cultivate the mindset that you WILL not be denied. Work in a power rack when possible, do partials...whatever. I am really from the old school, which is all about visualization. See the rep, see the outcome and it will be so.

Couldn't agree more. I also train alone, and have done so for many years now. Training heavy, with determination, is never a problem. I've had a couple of good training partners over the years, but they are very hard to come by. Therefore, you can't plan on relying on anyone but yourself.

IL WNBF Pro
03-01-2010, 03:36 PM
I have always been the type of person that will give a routine a try....if I find that I am taking too much time to complete one of the days of it...I will try it the next week only this time make extra sure I am not fucking around. In addition I find that if I am 100% focused on a routine, I will keep doing it. If I find that I am getting bored with it, or start questioning the validity or effectiveness of it....I stop it. Could be after the 1st week or 4th. There has to be some sort of 'enjoyment' to the routine.

I would like to point out that you cant always beat your reps on every set of every exercise every workout. I am happy sometimes if I get a extra rep on one or two sets as compared to the previous week. I still write all my stuff down (ocd) so I can have that focus. My friend John (owner of Extreme Labs) really had to hammer it into my head how being natural you will sometimes not change week to week. There were times he went 2 - 3 weeks without getting stronger. Its taken a while, but I am finally getting over that need to see that.