Friday, October 20, 2006

Variation and the concern over hypertrophy...

Two issues that have come up in recent days that I would like to expound upon are the "need" for variation and the concern over hypertrophy. Since we have been inundated with bodybuilding information the general public now believes that they need to change their routine every 4 weeks because at the end of 4 weeks their body has "adapted" to the exercise and they need a new one.

Golfers would be very dissappointed is this were true - under this mind set they would need to switch to a new swing in order to keep improving their game. Olympic lifters would have a constantly rotating competition based on which lift they had "adapted" to and needed to switch to.... Come on - the exercise is not the problem.

The way you are using the exercise is the problem. The same sets, for the same reps, with the same weight will cause you to adapt and lose benefit from the exercise. But not the exercise - just as a golfer blames his clubs for swing mistakes - the trainee will blame the execise for not producing the results. Tools are just tools - it is how you apply them that makes the difference.

Variation within a theme is acceptable - using the military press (MP) as an example - you could rotate through One Arm MP,
Two Kettlebell MP, See Saw press, Alternating press, Bottoms up press, Two Kettlebells in one hand MP, Sotts press and even seated (on the floor) press. All of these presses will enhance the goal activity of the regular military press and will help shore up weaknesses at different points of the press. If you want to improve your overhead pressing - you need to practice it. Blaming the tool will not help.

The concern over hypertrophy...."I want to lift weights and get toned but I don't want to get big."
Ask yourself one question - have you had a problem with hypertrophy before?
No really - did you find yourself busting out of your clothes after your first weight training experience?
I doubt it.
Now there are a few rare individuals who grow just looking at a squat rack - but that isn't you. And it isn't me.
If it is you - congrats (but you probably hate it) - for everyone else - getting big is difficult. It takes an extreme dedication to diet and exercise that few people will have the will to stick to. (Like waking up at 3 am to get in an extra protein shake.)

Here is an idea - train like you were not afraid of "getting bigger" - train hard and don't worry about it. You might just accomplish your goals.


Anonymous said...

yeah thats the problem- I just grow from LOOKING at weights,lol. But for women and conventional weight training even if they dont hypertrophy in a tissue sense, the use of isolation exercises and the "frankenstein" approach makes them feel as if they are.

thats what so cool about kb training for women, it really does build lean longer muscle. the constant stretching in between the tension of each rep has a balancing effect I think.

good stuff brett.

Brett Jones said...

Thanks zzzzz,
Congrats to your girlfriend on her KB success.

Rif, I noticed that about you - hyooge is the word!

Thanks guys


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