This post was first published at my blog. If you enjoy this article, you will like my second book (see on Amazon).

Eccentric overload training tends to produce similar hypertrophy to normal strength training. This is strange, because we might expect the combination of eccentric training and concentric training within the same set to cause greater muscle growth compared to normal strength training. Why does this superior muscle growth not happen?

What is eccentric overload training?

In this article, when I refer to “eccentric overload,” I am talking about strength training that involves maximal efforts in the lowering (eccentric phase) of the exercise, in the…


If you enjoy this article, you will like my first book (see on Amazon).

We can calculate a force-velocity profile for an athlete in a lift by measuring the bar speed and the force produced at a range of loads. Measuring this force-velocity profile at varying times during a training block can be used to monitor the effects of a training program. Very often, the gradient of the force-velocity profile will change after a block of a certain type of training. This indicates that the program block has unique effects on force produced at different speeds (some types of training…


If you enjoy this article, you will like my first book (see on Amazon).

We can calculate a force-velocity profile for an athlete in an exercise by measuring the bar speed (and the force) produced at a range of loads. Measuring this force-velocity profile at varying times during a training block can be used to monitor the effects of a training program (similar information can be gained by measuring velocity with a range of different loads, although this is called a load-velocity profile).

Very often, the gradient of the force-velocity profile will change after a block of a certain type…


If you enjoy this article, you will like my second book (see on Amazon).

In a previous article, I addressed the question of how many stimulating reps in a workout would maximize the dosage of mechanical tension leading to muscle growth. Even so, researchers have identified that strength-trained males can achieve gains in maximum strength when training with only a single set to failure in each workout.

While gains in maximum strength are produced by a number of mechanisms (and muscle growth is only one of them), this article addresses the question of how many stimulating reps in a workout…


If you enjoy this article, you will like my second book (see on Amazon).

According to the stimulating reps hypothesis of muscle growth, hypertrophy is stimulated when the muscle fibers controlled by high-threshold motor units experience a sufficiently high level of mechanical tension. This mechanical tension is primarily the result of the force-velocity relationship (although the passive element of the length-tension relationship can also affect muscle fiber force production if range of motion is altered or when force is exerted during eccentric contractions).

Consequently, we observe hypertrophy after any workout in which effort is high (since effort determines motor unit…


Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is pain or discomfort associated with a previously-exercised muscle, which usually appears the day after exercising. In addition to any pain or discomfort that is present at rest, the muscle is more sensitive to touch and to movement. Strangely, despite decades of research, we still don’t really know what causes it.

What are the possible mechanisms of DOMS?

Introduction

Over the years, many mechanisms have been proposed to explain how and why DOMS occurs after exercise. If you pick up any review paper written in the last thirty years, you will find a list of many proposed mechanisms. While previous reviewers have rarely…


If you enjoy this article, you will like my second book (see on Amazon).

When writing a bodybuilding training program, we need to consider individual training variables (including rep range, proximity to failure, volume, frequency, rest period duration, exercise selection and others). However, we also need to consider how each of these variables interacts with the others. This is easiest to appreciate in the context of volume and frequency (higher workout volumes require lower workout frequencies and vice versa). Yet, another variable that also affects frequency is exercise selection.

What determines training frequency?

Training frequency is largely determined by the amount of long-lasting fatigue…


If you enjoy this article, you will like my first book (see on Amazon).

With the arrival of velocity-based training methods, it has become clear that athletic strength training does not need to involve a high degree of fatigue. Indeed, superior results in some high-velocity performance measures seem to be achieved when training with a smaller degree of velocity loss on each set (and therefore less fatigue). So why might fatigue be detrimental for making gains in high-velocity strength?

What is fatigue, and what does it do?

Whenever we exercise, we experience a temporary (and reversible) reduction in strength. This is called “fatigue.” …


When we take the time to look carefully at the anatomy and biomechanics of different muscles, we can learn a great deal about how we might best train them. Usually, our investigations reveal a lot about exercise selection, but we can also draw conclusions about optimal training volumes and frequencies as well, and this has an impact on how we might implement some popular high volume training routines.

What’s the background to training volume?

Talking about training volume in the fitness industry is difficult, partly because there are several standard definitions of “volume” floating around in the research literature, and partly because even the standard definitions…


If you enjoy this article, you will like my second book (see on Amazon).

When we exercise, we often experience a temporary (and reversible) reduction in strength, which is called “fatigue.” Importantly, it is the loss in strength (the ability to voluntarily produce muscle force) that is the definition of fatigue, and not any accompanying feelings that we might have.

Most of the time, we don’t stop to think about how this reduction in strength occurs. …

Chris Beardsley

Figuring out how strength training works. See more of what I do: https://www.patreon.com/join/SandCResearch

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