- Exercise & Fitness
Add a Set for Strength
A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research by Goto et al, Muscular Adaptations to Combinations of High and Low Intensity Resistance Exercises observed short and long-term effects of workouts with varied combinations of high- and low-intensity exercises. In this particular study, ‘intensity’ is determined by the manipulation of reps and loads. Short term effects were measured in GH concentration (serum growth hormone, a key biological component to muscle growth and strength). Groups were assigned to 3 different types of training intensity for leg extensions: a hypertrophy specific (10 rep max, 30 second rest periods, and a progressively decreasing load), strength specific (5 sets of 5 reps, and longer rest periods), and a combination of hypertrophy and strength(single set of low-intensity and high-repetition exercise added after 5 sets of 5 reps). The short term effects show that the Hypertrophy specific workout yielded the greatest increase in GH, followed by the combination-type, and lastly the strength type. However, after a 10 week periodization routine, 1 rep max of leg press, maximal isokinetic strength, and muscular endurance of leg extension showed significantly larger increases in the combination-type group than the other groups. Thus, this study shows that a combination of high reps and low reps are effective for optimizing the strength adaptation of muscle in a periodized training program.
What It Means For You
Utilizing this information is as easy as tacking on an extra set of 25 to 30 reps on all exercises during a traditional 5 by 5 strength training routine (5 sets of 5 reps). Simply use a weight that is 50% of your 1 rep max. However, due to the exhaustive nature of using such an intense technique, it is easy to fall victim to overtraining. Stick to 2 full body workouts per week, taking at least 48 hours between workouts but no more than 72 hours. In addition, follow the routine for no more than 8-weeks. On the days you do not train, it is always a great idea to rest actively; meaning, schedule at least one cardiovascular exercise session, and at least one flexibility enhancing exercise session such as Pilates or yoga. Increasing your daily mileage by 10,000 steps (about 5 miles) and you will keep your fat off your frame during your hypertrophy and strength training routines. Many gym rats feel that this may counterproductive to increasing muscular size and strength. However, this will effectively combat DOMS, and teach your body to recover more efficiently. Not to mention that the glorious health benefits reaped from cardio, walking, Pilates, and yoga stretch well beyond the confines of the weight rack; exercising like that is the equivalent to throwing a suit of armor over your body. Check out my article on Muscle Power and Muscle Contraction as a guide to making this weight training technique even more effective for you.