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kevin mckay 04-09-2007 10:13 PM

anybody have insight on this


"However, lifting heavy is required in the approximate ~1-5 rep range to stimulate myofibrillar hypertrophy which is the muscle gain you want"

My question...
In this scenario you still want to avoid going to failure correct?

Pierre Auge 04-10-2007 04:36 AM

That depends on your training objective...

Basically yeah, during your last few reps in your last set you should be debating whether to continue or not, but this should be as much from mental fatigue as muscular. Make sense?

Your metabolic training objective will determine how you approach your set rep scheme.

Steve Shafley 04-10-2007 05:03 AM

Iffy call for many folks, especially those who are really just looking to improve their cosmetic appearance. Vital for PLs, OL, throwers and those concerned with performance.

One one hand, low rep, myofibrillar hypertrophy is what's going to make you strongest. On the other hand, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is generally needed to bring the cross section of the muscle up and to indirectly improve the myofibril's performance.

CONTRARY to popular opinion, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy ISN'T all show and no go.

Let's just go cheap and to Wikipedia:



The Sarcoplasm of a muscle fiber is comparable to the cytoplasm of other cells, but it houses unusually large amounts of glycosomes (granules of stored glycogen) and significant amounts of myoglobin, an oxygen binding protein.
So, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy doesn't offer any DIRECT increases in contractile strength, because you are basically just increasing the fuel and the oxygen-binding capacity of the cell, but, as you can infer, from the direction I'm going, that's not a horrible thing, especially for those borderline strength-endurance efforts that require a bit more glycogen to burn through.

It does, probably, also offer some, in-determinant amount of improved leverage to the myofibrils due to increased cross-sectional area.

There's a reason you see both kinds of hypertrophy.

Let's not forget the valuable effect of high repetitions on the neovascularization of the tissue, either.

Robb Wolf 04-10-2007 12:15 PM


Phenomenal post.


Back to your original question, I think all out efforts, of whatever variety, are to smartly divvied out. Take sprint training for example. A 200m sprinter will do loads of starts, build-ups, hopping, bounding, weight work etc. Max efforts, both on the track and in the weight room certainly happen, but that is relatively rare especially when max speed and or power is the desired goal.

In the case of a wrestler or someone wanting to excel at a strength endurance effort like most cross fit WODS one can make some inroads into failure, but even here a truly "max effort" can destroy one for days. 10 dips, 10 pull-ups, 10 rounds performed at a brisk pace...with a few sets taken to failure or segmented will be challenging but is nothing compared to a head to head team event with the same WO. Arousal level, degree of fatigue...these things all play into how deep into failure on can march, and consequently how deep those inroads are and what the recovery process will be. This all plays significantly into what YOUR goals are. Much of strength endurance is the substrate storage and utilization that Steve mentioned.

Mike ODonnell 04-10-2007 07:53 PM

along somewhat similiar lines...a good quote from Poliquin...in answering which rep scheme to use during fat loss:

"The secret here is to know your fiber type. If you're gifted more to be a 100 meter sprinter (predominantly fast twitch type IIb), stick to sets of five, lots of rest, etc. when you're in a fat loss phase.

If you're a natural 800 meter runner (predominantly fast twitch type IIa), stick to the lactate style of training.

In calorie restricted states, if you're predominantly fast twitch and you use the higher rep, higher lactate style of training, you'll actually lose muscle mass. Likewise, a type IIa guy will lose muscle mass if he's training with low reps.

So both approaches are right; it just depends on the kind of animal you are."

kevin mckay 04-10-2007 08:47 PM

Thanks for all the great info!

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