HELP! Iím Weak as a Girl!
10-24-2003 03:28 PM
HELP! Iím Weak as a Girl!
During the course of training lots of people over the years itís pretty common to run into people that are pretty damn weak. There are two types that I want to discuss here. The guys that are weak and are big, with pretty damn impressive physiques. And those who are weak, and look the part. Being big and weak seems like a paradox, but itís really not. While I truly believe the best way to train for size is to focus on strength training, I am quite aware that one can train mostly for size while not focusing much on strength and get great results. Now the downsideÖÖ..most of these guys have damn good genetics for gaining mass and are doing a lot of volume work. While this is interesting to know, it sure doesnít help Joe averageówith average genetics build mass. Now lets talk about the weak guys that look weak. Well lots of them are new guys and it takes a while to build a solid strength and size base. Some of them train like little old ladies and you canít there from here. Some of them eat like birds and no matter how perfect your training, if you donít fuel it, it wonít happen. Of coarse most of them just overtrain like madmen and do so much work, so frequently their body never recovers from it and thus never grows.
But what about the guys that seem to be training on a reasonable strength based routine and are eating well and just donít grow? Sound like you and your not sure what to do? Here is possibly what your problem is, and a possible solution. Most people know that fast twitch muscle fibers are the ones that have the most potential for size gains, and are the ones responsible for moving the heavy iron. You know this and always try to go heavy. Great idea and the best way to build a solid strength and size base.
ButÖÖÖwhat if you are one of those poor guys that just got a ****ty deal on genetics and has very little fast twitch muscle? You canít train the fast twitch muscle you donít have, can you? The answer is yes, and no. Everyone has SOME fast twitch fibers, itís just a matter of what the ratios are. You can train for pure innervation which is mostly whatís accomplished when doing very low reps or training extremely explosively. You can train for a combo of innervation and size, by using low-medium reps, which is what most guys do. Or you can train with high reps, which is primarily training for size according to many. Ranges are typically 1-5 for innervation, 6-10 for innervation and size, and 12-20 for size. While those three categories by no means cover the whole spectrum of rep ranges and applicability, they are close enough for the discussion at hand. While anyone and everyone can increase the ability to ďfireĒ the signal from brain to muscle and increase their poundageís this route only goes so far for guys that have an extremely small ratio of fast twitch fibers.
So what to do? Well chances are against you succeeding doing volume work, but hey, if it works for you and you get great results from it, more power to you. Keep using it and reap the benefits. If it doesnít work for you though, and you have been doing a properly structured routine AND getting 1.5 lbs of protein for each lb of bodyweight training clean or 2 grams per lb on gear and not getting results, here is a tip that can help. It can also be a saving grace for individual muscles that are weak and just donít respond well to lower reps. Well Iím sure you already guessed the solution is to just do higher reps, which tend to shift the effects from the fast twitch strength fibers to the slow twitch endurance type fibers. Do these endurance fibers hypertrophy? Hell yes, and while the fiber to growth potential of the fast twitch fibers is higher than with the slow twitch fibers, if this is all you have to work with you might as well make the best of it. Now the big question many of you are no doubt pondering. How do I know if I have a high percentage of slow twitch fibers? The answer is short of a biopsy you DONíT! But, if your one of those guys that just never make much progress training in the 6-10 rep range after a certain point, and are still quite weak after years of training itís damn sure worth a shot.
How should it be implemented? The simplest way is to take a HIT/Hardgainer style routine and simply just do 1 to 3 sets of 12-20 reps to failure for all your lifts. If you have bodyparts or lifts that you know respond well to lower reps by all means keep doing what works, but for those areas that fail to make progress on lower reps give it a try. Another way to go about trying higher reps is by doing a single set of rest-pause for each lift that has you hitting failure at 12, and rest-pausing to 20 or even 25. Many people that find after hitting failure on an 8/15 rest pause set, that getting their reps after they hit failure is extremely difficult, they hit failure at 8, and then even with a fairly long rest period, getting even two more reps is extremely difficult. Often these same people find that after hitting failure at 15, with minimal rest they get 3-4 reps, and can do so for many rest-pause efforts. Why? Probably because they are targeting the endurance fibers that they have in abundance. While this sure isnít a cure-all for the weak guys to pack on some mass, it has worked MANY, MANY times for me with trainees that fit the description above.
Another good way to do this that has more volume than hit, but not as much as true volume routines is picking two lifts a body part and doing 3 sets per each lift. Thatís 6 sets total, and in doing these only the LAST set of the 3rd set per exercise should be done to true failure. Again, not as much volume, not as low as hit. This format works well for many trainees.
Donít take this to mean that your focus will not be adding weight every damn time you can. THAT is always going to be your primary concern. This method will probably just give you a better chance of doing it.
10-27-2003 07:34 PM
Another great post. I think I am going to start a similar idea. My bi's are severely lagging my tri's and grow VERY slow. I am going to up the reps to 12+ on weak parts, say bi's, and keep reps lower, around 8, for stronger parts, like tri's. I have read similar ideas to this post, but it wasn't as well put, Thanks.
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