Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy with New Research: The Application
Here is part 2 as promised!
If you missed part 1, please check it out below
Last time we talked about a super cool research study that looked at muscle and connective tissue hypertrophy. This time there will not be any of those big words and we will check out the lifting world and see if the meatheads had already figured this out years ago (like most things, the answer is yes!).
Ever notice how old school mechanics have massive forearms?
Farmers that work all day just tend to be BIG.
As Mark Ripptoes likes to say “70s Big”
I decide to pull the elusive professional Strongman Adam T Glass out of his cold and dark cave in Minot, ND to get his thoughts on muscle and tendon strength. Take it away Adam
Mike, first of- great article. My thoughts will come from my direct experience and the progress of my students. So whatever that is worth here it comes
Is frequency with the lift clearly a key element for tendon development?
My first thought is absolutely. For example, the only people i see day to day whose wrist tendons look like mine are men who work with hammers and tools all day- the farmers out here.
Is load important for tendon development?
I believe load is the key. I work with some bone heads who curl literally every day. They are typical weekend warriors. A “workout” is bench press and curl. That means 185 on the bar and the partner does all the lifting “Its all you bro” for sets of 10. The curls range from mildly good w/35-40lbs to some wild $hitty looking cleans with 50’s and 60’s. So naturally i introduce them to the plate curl.-
How To Do a Plate Curl
95% of the men i show a plate curl to are unable to curl a 25 for 1-2 reps. Only one man has ever curled a 35 in front of me– Freak show Mark Wilson- A man who has spent most of his life lifting dry wall, swinging a hammer and other stuff. (Editor’s note, if you are in the ND Fargo area, look up Mark Wilson RKC for training HERE)
If frequency is the key element, and SO many men do curls as their primary fitness vehicle, why is the plate curl so challenging for them?
At first i though it was the thumb pinch but every time they complain their wrist tendons hurt when they try it, they are simply not strong enough to handle the force. So in my opinion, based upon what i have seen– load has to play a role in this, but i have not tested enough to have any clear data to say the extent. –Adam T Glass
Special thanks to Adam for his words of wisdom above! Be sure to check him out on his blog below and if you are in Minot ND, you MUST get your butt in to see him and train.
I have noticed that on wrist curls my wrist (and others too) tend to “bend too much” and not stay straight. This shuts down the muscles of the arm via the arthrokinetic reflex as talked about last time. “Jammed joints = muscular weakness”
Frequency and Load
Some of you are now rolling your eyes into your head muttering “This is nothing new” and you would be correct. To others, this is earth shattering since it is rarely talked about in the popular media. Chad Waterbury and Jason Ferroggia had a disccusion like this one below
How To Do It?
To Get Big, You Need to Lift Big. Check this out!
Amazing lift!! Raw and no belt too. Wow!!
You need to work to add more weight over time. Keep track of your PRs (personal records) for your major lifts. I have PRs for rack pulls, bench, DB bench, reverse bench, kettlebell press, kettlebell snatch, etc I have about 20+ PRs that I regularly track. I am always looking to add more load and/or reps over time. Just the other night I was not feeling like lifting, but I made it to the gym and after some Z-Health joint mobility work I started out on my main lifts of low rack pulls and kettlebell presses. Everything felt good and tested good (but not great) and over time it started to get better. I opted for an old PR on the rack pull and added 2 reps to a 1 rep max weight and also did a bottoms up kettlebell press on my left side with the 24 kg kettlebell for a PR! I felt great after that! Make it fun and chart progress. You do have a training journal, right?
Chad Waterbury has talked about this before too and if you want to bring up a lift, and easy way is to add some bodyweight drills. Since my bench is stalling a bit and I don’t have tons of time to add more bench work in right now, I am doing 50 pushups each day for a week, and then the following week I will bump it up to 60, etc. I also added inverted rows (from a TRX or a straight bar) to keep it balanced out. My goal is to get to 50 per day, and that may be sets of 10, 8, 15,,and it doesn’t matter.
Finger Lifting: Note, this is advanced, which means don’t go out and try this at home right away with a heavy weight. You may find it is the last time you do any finger lifting. Like all things, the dose is most important and start very very light and build up the load and frequency over time. Adam has been done this MUCH longer than you; so you are for warned.
Frequency + Load = Bigger Muscles and more strength
We have outlined some great options for you to add some size and strength around this Holiday season.
Drop me a line and let me know how it is going and what PRs you are going to break!