Saturday, September 10, 2011

All or Nothing - How muscles work


The fact that there has been $400 million dollars made this year based on the delusion of muscle confusion is beyond me. In reality, MUSCLES CANNOT BE CONFUSED! Muscles work in an "all or nothing" fashion. This means that if a muscle fiber is working, it's working at full throttle at that particular time. The body only uses the required amount of fibers to do the job at hand.  If you're lifting a pencil, only the required amount of fibers (in this case not very many) for that particular need will be used and those fibers will be working all out.

During your workouts, in order to use as many muscle fibers as possible each set has to be taken to 100% muscle failure with good form.  This means that you cannot do another repetition even though you are giving all out effort.  This way you insure that at least some of the muscle fibers will be exhausted and the others will be worked very hard.  This is how the fastest results in building muscle will be stimulated.  Doing 2 sets with a maximum of 3 sets of an exercise is all that is needed when working out this way.  Believe me that you literally won't want to do more and actually doing more sets will stand in the way of your progress.  Working out hard is something you can't do that often or for very long.

What happens if you don't take a set to failure?  First, you don't use all of the available muscle fibers therefore you won't get the maximum stimulation for building muscle.  Second, you make an inroad into your recovery ability without getting the benefit of the muscle being stimulated fully if at all.  Basically a set not taken to failure is a waste of time at best.