Friday, April 8, 2011

How to pick things up and put them back down...the right way!

Muscular Activation

Jack Lazarus

Muscle is the most metabolic part of your body. The bigger the muscles on your body the faster your, metabolism there by allowing you to burn more calories throughout your day. If you lift weight you get stronger and gain more muscle which makes your metabolism faster, but sometimes, especially if you’ve been training for a long time, these gains stagnate and you get frustrated by the plateau you hit. How do you break that plateau? What can you do differently?

As we brought up in the Big 3 Article, there isn’t just one type of muscle, there are 3 types: Type I, aka slow twitch, Type 2A and Type 2B, aka Fast Twitch fibers. These fibers make up muscle cells and when broken down and repaired grow and get stronger. The problem is getting all 3 types to fire allowing for more muscular breakdown and there by muscle growth, and yes it can be done. First you need to understand how a lift works.

There are 3 portions to a lift once you’re ready to lift, the eccentric portion, aka the negative, the concentric, aka the positive and the isometric, aka the hold. Why is this important? Different stress can be put on the fibers during each phase of the lift causing greater hypertrophy, growth, of the muscle. Eccentrically moving, lowering the weight, at a slower controlled pace allows for greater activation of your Type I fibers, which are very resilient to fatigue and can take the stress of longer lowering. Concentrically moving, moving the weight back to the starting point, the weight at a explosive pace allows for greater activation on the fast twitch fibers, which fatigue more easily and need to get through the lift quickly by nature. The isometric portion of the lift allows for greater muscle squeeze at the end of a motion and allows you to relieve the stress on the type 2 fibers and shift it back into your type 1’s so you can continue the lift.

Take, for instance, the squat. Once the bar is on your back you’re ready to go, and since most people hate squats because of how sore they get, you generally just want to get them done as fast as possible. But as we all know, squat is king for legs, and if you do them properly they cause the greatest gains. Next time you go to squat and you un-rack the bar lower yourself slow and controlled all the way to the bottom. Once your there fire it up as fast as you can and then squeeze everything. Feel your gluteus, hamstrings, and quads tighten and then release and lower the bar in a slow controlled motion back down to the bottom and repeat. Granted you may not be able to lift the same amount of weight you could by just powering through the lift but given time you will be able to and be able to lift that much more because of it. Remember, big, strong muscles have a very high metabolic demand. They burn a lot of calories and require ample calories to maintain and even more calories to grow.

Eat a proper diet and lift properly to develop the lean, hard and amazing physique you’re searching for!

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