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Study finds: Strength and hypertrophy adaptations between low- vs. high-load resistance training

Schoenfeld, BJ, Grgic, J, Ogborn, D, and Krieger, J, have reviewed the current body of literature and a meta-analysis to compare changes in strength and hypertrophy between low- vs. high-load resistance training protocols. A total of 21 studies were ultimately included for analysis that met the following criteria:

  1. an experimental trial involving both low-load training [≤60% 1 repetition maximum (1RM)] and high-load training (>60% 1RM);
  2. with all sets of the training protocols being performed to momentary muscular failure;
  3. at least one method of estimating changes in muscle mass or dynamic, isometric, or isokinetic strength was used;
  4. the training protocol lasted for a minimum of 6 weeks;
  5. the study involved participants with no known medical conditions or injuries impairing training capacity.

Gains in 1RM strength were significantly greater in favor of high-load vs. low-load training, whereas no significant differences were found for isometric strength between conditions.

Changes in measures of muscle hypertrophy were similar between conditions.
The findings indicate that maximal strength benefits are obtained from the use of heavy loads while muscle hypertrophy can be equally achieved across a spectrum of loading ranges.

You can find the full article (PDF) here.

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Barbell Deadlift

The deadlift is an excellent compound exercise that targets the quads, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, lower back, traps, and forearms. If it´s not done properly, you can seriously injure yourself (such as a herniated disc).

Place the barbell on the ground in front of you and add plates according to your strength and fitness level. Beginners usually start lifting just the barbell, since a typical barbell weighs between 25 and 45 pounds on its own.

  1. With your feet shoulder-width apart, your toes pointing forward or slightly outward, and the barbell is at the midpoint of your feet.
  2. Bend your knees and hips and sit back as if you were going to sit, while you reach down to grab the barbell with hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Grip the bar with both palms facing you. This is the normal or double overhand grip. You can use the mixed grip later when you can’t hold it with a normal grip.
  4. Push your knees out; don’t let them collapse in. Keep your back straight. Bend from the hips rather than from your waist. This is the starting position.
  5. Always make sure your back is completely flat and straight. If there is any kind of bend in your back, you need to do some flexibility work before deadlifting.
  6. Begin the movement by pushing through your heels and straightening your knees. Engage your hamstrings and glutes to pull the bar up.
  7. Raise your hips and shoulders at the same rate while maintaining your back straight. Keep your abs tight during the whole lift. The bar should drag along your shins on the way up.
  8. Come to a standing position with upright posture and your shoulders pulled back, don’t let your shoulders cave forward. Don’t bend backward at all, just stand up straight.
  9. Keeping your back straight, return the bar to the starting position in a controlled manner. Push your butt out as if you are going to sit down in a chair. Do not arch your back.
  10. Repeat until completing the prescribed number of repetitions.
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Weider´s training principles: The progressive overload principle

Joe Weider (November 29, 1919 – March 23, 2013) was a Canadian bodybuilder and entrepreneur who co-founded the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) alongside his brother Ben. He was also the creator of the Mr. Olympia, the Ms. Olympia and the Masters Olympia bodybuilding contests.
Joe Weider
Joe’s most indelible addition to the science and sport of bodybuilding is the Weider Principles: over 30 theories and techniques that forever changed the means by which someone could build a strong, muscular body.

The progressive overload principle

To increase any aspect of physical fitness (muscle mass, strength, stamina, etc.), your muscles need to be continually put under increased stress.
Today, I want to focus on muscle mass, to keep it simple for beginners. To achieve more muscle mass, the number of sets is key.
In the early years of bodybuilding, most experts believed that to increase muscle mass, we should only complete one set of each exercise per workout. If the whole body is to complete twelve exercises, this would mean twelve sets per workout.
Weider saw it differently. He was the first to recommend working out using several sets of one exercise (3-5 sets per exercise) to exhaust each muscle group and to stimulate maximum muscle growth.
Start with three sets of each exercise and continue increasing the number of sets until you make five. This strategy will also help you increase your muscle strength gradually without obsessing with the weight you lift. It´s no magic, it´s the progressive overload principle: once your muscles are used to perform three sets, you have to push them to do four sets and then five.
When you are able to do five series with the same weight with which it was hard to do three series the first week, it is time to add more weight.
I know that most bodybuilders speak wonders and encourage you to lift heavy, and so do I, but in due time. The word “heavy” means “difficult to lift or move” and this is a different weight to each person. Whatever is difficult to lift today for you, it will be easier to lift next month.
First, progress from 3 to 5 sets. Then progress to heavier weights.
The progressive overload principle is the core of all physical training and forms a solid basis for successful training.
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One more quote

Hello, dears!

I´m sure you´re expecting my usual daily quote but today is going to be a little bit different.

Have you ever heard the expression “stop and smell the roses”, right? Well, the original quote belongs to Mr. Walter Hagen (a major figure in golf in the first half of the 20th century), and his exact words were: “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way”.

I started blogging in September 2015 and I have not taken a break since then. I´ve enjoyed every single day, I have met many wonderful people and made some good friends. I have learned a lot from you and I have grown more as a person than as a blogger. I feel nothing but gratitude: thanks for your support that you have shown all this time, but also thanks for all the inspiration, help, advice and pearls of wisdom you share from your blogs! Keep writing because I´m not going anywhere!!

It´s just that my daily (hopefully) motivational quote series ends today: 532 quotes. I had no specific number in mind when I started but lately, I´ve been feeling it´s time to make some changes. I have more quotes than exercises or post about fitness. When I think about it, a voice in my head tells me something is not right… and I agree 🙂

Back in September 2015, I knew nothing about blogging. In November 2017 I know that more than two thousand followers deserve better than a daily motivational quote, weekly recipes, and occasional fitness post.

After my come back, I plan to post just three times per week, things I think you´d like to see again: playlists, exercises, recipes, fitness tips… and some new stuff. My goal is to deliver twelve worth reading posts every month, starting in December.

This month, after two years, I´m going to press the Pause button instead of Publish. No hurries, no worries, I´ll be smelling the flowers 😉

Big hugs!