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Thursday 110630

Ricky Frausto Filed Under:
WOD
Rest Day


Mid-Line Stabilization w/ the Pull up - Avoiding injury.
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If one was to try and gain muscle mass, male or female, which of the following would work best? A close second? Why? (Answer with the understanding that all methods would utilize compound, multi-joint movements such as those used in CrossFit)

A. Max Effort Training - 1-3 reps of very heavy weight performed at a slow rate. (strength days)

B. Sub Max Effort/Repetition Effort Training - 6-10 (SME) and 12-Failure (RE) reps with significantly heavy weights performed at a slow to moderate rate

C. Met-con - Moderate to significant volume with relatively moderate to significant weights performed at a moderate to significant rate

Post thoughts to comments.

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22 Responses to "Thursday 110630"

  1. BC Says:
  2. OK, so I'm going to rule out Option C because although metcons are very beneficial and can and do make us stronger, they only work to certain point and are not ideal for pure strength building. That leaves A and B. At first I thought option A was the clear choice - not only is it what we basically do on strength days (1-5 reps), but also in Barbell class we did rep schemes of 5, 3 and 1 with the goal being to increase overall strength. There you go, case closed. But then I started thinking about the 6-10/12-failure rep scheme and while at first this seemed like something that we never do (e.g. if we never do it it must not be beneficial) I suddenly remembered the 21-15-9 back squat from a couple of weeks ago and how that absolutely destoyed my legs for the next 3 days in a way I've never felt before, and I started to get conflicted again. Then I started wondering if muscle mass and overall strength are 2 different things or not. Then I got light headed and blood started trickling out of my nose. So I'm saying F it and go with option B. Now is a good time for Ricky to jump in and tell me why I'm wrong.
  3. Nick Says:
  4. A combination of all 3 with the most emphasis on B.
  5. Ricky Frausto Says:
  6. BC and others who will read,

    Clue: Muscle mass and strength are two different things. Achieving greatest strength may require a totally different answer then the one I'm asking but at the same time, having more muscle mass lends itself very well to gaining more strength.

    Keep'em coming people. Take a crack at it. This is how we all learn and how we know if we are on the right track or not with the goals each of us have.

    I will tell you this, contrary to popular belief, it is without a doubt, tremendously harder for a female to gain muscle mass in comparison to a male. Ask some of the guys in here who would love to be a bit bigger and more cut up/lean how hard it is. A lot of it is genetics and nutrition coupled with the right mix of training.

    Females don't necessarily gain muscle mass, they lose body fat in the right places that make them appear to have gained muscle mass. That's not to say they won't gain some but it will pale in comparison to what they think can happen in their minds.

    The thing is, males and females are different. So much so, that it takes different approaches to achieve the same results. And the load has to match the work. This is very important, especially for guys wanting to gain muscle mass.

    I'll pass along some more info later on today as well as the answer, from my experience. Remember, people are different and respond differently to different training methods but in general, certain methods work for a greater population than others.
  7. Shelley Says:
  8. I think Option B with a mix of A thrown in. If you're increasing muscle mass/strength using a mix of A and B options, it would naturally follow that your Met-cons are going to either get faster at same weight you were used to using prior to getting stronger or you can do a heavier load and finish in same time you were finishing in before. The reason I think you need both A and B is that you would recruit different muscle fibers under each and the more muscle fibers you're recruiting, the stronger you're going to get.
  9. Shelley Says:
  10. I didn't get to read Ricky's answer before I sent my reply. I got interrupted with work, but I do see the point about strength and muscle mass being two different things. You only have to look at a powerlifter vs a bodybuilder to see that.

    As for the difference in male/female ability to gain strength/mass I think it comes down to women not having the same levels of testerone that men have.

    As for appearance, well 10 pounds of fat looks vastly different and takes up a lot more "space" than 10 pounds of muscle which again proves why scale weight doesn't mean much. Ok, different topic, but it's directly related to muscle mass/how compact someone's body appears, etc. Just my 2 cents.....
  11. Ricky Frausto Says:
  12. Yeah, so after reading my last post Shelley (and anyone else), is your answer the same for muscle mass as opposed to strength?

    Here's how I see it. Women would like to get stronger (hold their own) and want to look/appear/be longer/leaner but are deathly afraid of getting bigger. Men on the other hand, would love to be/look/appear bigger but see strength as a side benefit (good if I get stronger but as long as I look better to women, that's all that matters).

    Unfortunately, most will never reach their ultimate goals unless they severely commit to radical nutritional changes. Going mostly paleo or mostly healthy will never cut it.

    Having the right training program or at least understanding exercise physiology a little better will help go a long way in helping you achieve your goals.


    Think about this:

    There are two types of crossfitters, those that train and those that workout.

    (The above statement has nothing to do with CrossFit the sport and/or competing in the open, etc.)
  13. Ricky Frausto Says:
  14. Now, that's not all women or men, I'm mostly referring to those that walk in the door off the street or are very early in their CrossFit journey's.
  15. Addi Says:
  16. C will build muscle mass the fastest, as the rep schemes are going to be mainly in the hypertrophy range, with B in second. That is, of course, assuming you're doing "real" metcons, and not just step aerobics thinly veiled as "CrossFit." (I'm talking to you, Annie and Tabata abs addicts.)
  17. Shelley Says:
  18. I think A for strength and B for muscle mass.
  19. BC Says:
  20. I'm saying, in order, B, C, then A.
  21. Nick Says:
  22. For "overall fitness" you need to do all 3, or at least A and C. Muscle mass DEFINITELY doesnt make you stronger than somebody else. maybe at certain movements, but not overall. For example, 3 years ago I did mostly B workouts and I weighed 220lbs with a reasonably low body fat %. Today, I weigh 30lbs less at 190lbs, and I am stronger than I was then. I think that flexibility def has something to do with that considering I could not move very well. I am more lean from the C workouts, and stronger from the A's and some of the B's.

    Ahhh, who the hell knows...I've been trying to figure this out for years!
  23. BC Says:
  24. With all the muscle mass discussion I forgot to mention that this is a really great video and is definitely with the 4 + minutes it takes to watch it. Very educational.
  25. paul Says:
  26. I am inclined to say C for strength, A for mass. But as Addi said, there has to be some weight in the metcon for it to work. Not all metcons are created equal from a strength standpoint.

    Teamed up with Eric Forney and we went through Monday's grinder. Nice work, Eric!

    I scaled OHS to 110, but otherwise went rx'ed. DNF, but we got 12 OHS into round 3.
  27. Teresa Says:
  28. Strength = A
    Mass = B
    Lean = C

    I’m not a physiology major, but my gut says it has to do with the introduction of oxygen and the duration of work to the muscle.

    See you at 6:30!
  29. Allison H :) Says:
  30. Welp! I coming to 4:30 instead of 5:30 and it won't let me change it. F Y I
  31. BigD Says:
  32. For mass, mainly B with a cycle of A and C workouts every couple of weeks for good ol' muscle confusion.
  33. Ricky Frausto Says:
  34. Okay, so here is my answer from my experiences both currently and from working with athletes at UNO as well as from the literature.

    A.
    Lifting near maximal loads with very low volume does little to increase actual muscle fiber size. Max Effort training is about innervating motor units. It's more nervous than muscular. Training this way, especially for females, will do next to nothing to get your shoulders, legs, etc. bigger and will increase muscle fiber very little in males. Now, this isn't true for everyone but for most.

    B.
    Sub-maximal effort as well as repetition effort training tend to lend themselves better to hypertrophy. As mentioned above, BC mentioned the 21-15-9 squat workout from the other day. This is a mixture of both sub-max and repetition. For example, that workout was 45 reps at a certain weight but what if we did 5 sets of 9 instead? Could you have gone heavier? Most definitely. And thus, creating an environment for growth. Same volume but higher load. So you see, it all depends on the movement and load. The reason it works well for building muscle too, is because time under tension is longer. In other words, you're moving slower. This also proves to build muscle increasingly fast.

    C.
    The met-con is gray area. There is a little bit of a longer progression but it too will pack on muscle if you implement it correctly. What do I mean by this? Well, it is eerily similar to B. in all areas except for rate of movement. This rate of movement slows down the muscle building capacity a little making the gains come a bit slower than B but just like B, they will come. Also, the smaller the muscle, the faster it will grow with high volume. For example, the traps (muscles close to your neck, above your shoulders) will grow from cleans, dead-lifts, and snatches in a met-con because of the massive number of reps with relevant weight. This is especially true with movements you couldn't do but now can. Another example of this would be you ladies that can now do pull ups. When I do pull ups, I can do 20-30 at a time. This means it is a lower percentage of how much weight I can do in that movement compared to you ladies that can only do 2-5 at a time. Relate this to pressing. If Damian and I were both given a 10 pound dumbbell who could do more reps? But also, would would benefit from it more? I could do more reps but Damian would see more muscle growth because it's closer to his limit.
  35. Ricky Frausto Says:
  36. So you see, both sub-max effort/repetition effort and met-cons are the culprit for big shoulders, lats, legs, etc. You'll definitely see this more in men than females but nevertheless, it's not strength training that makes people bigger, it's high volume with the correct load. SME/RE will grow the big muscles faster because rate of movement is slower but smaller muscles grow slower because those areas can't move big weights with slower movements. They can only move big weights fast (i.e. how much weight can you shrug? Can you move more if you use momentum such as in a clean? Now throw in 3 rnds of 20 reps.) Really the only difference between B. and C., is that you will usually stay with one movement until it's finished with sub-max/repetition effort training
    whereas with met-cons, you are doing 2 to 3 movements at a time. So density is higher.

    So in conclusion, Nick is right, you need a combination of all three in the right mix to reach your goals. For the female, if you want that long/lean look, you need to do more of A. and B. And guys, if you want to pack on muscle, you need to do more of all three because A. gets you stronger overall so that you can use more weight during B. and C. Think of it this way, what do you think you could do 15 unbroken thrusters with right now? If you say, for example, 110#/77#, what if I said you had to use 154#/110#? Think of the physiological effects that would cause in your body at your current strength (forget that you can't do that weight for a second).

    There's more that goes into it but it is outside the scope of this medium.

    Thoughts?
  37. paul Says:
  38. If you never lift in at least the 80% of 1RM range, can you increase your 1RM in a given movement? Would you increase the strength faster doing higher volume at a lower percentage of 1RM? Or do those tend to even out?

    I don't know if this is the right way to gauge, but going by muscle soreness, it seems like a toss-up. My legs will be sore for days doing something like the 21-15-9 squat workout, but they will also be sore for days if I do Tabata air squats. I've stimulated an adaptation in both cases, right? But is it the same adaptation (i.e., telling my body to get stronger)?
  39. Ricky Frausto Says:
  40. Yes and no Paul.

    Yes you've caused an adaptation but using the word stronger for both adaptations is only right in terms of saying there was an adaptation that will no longer be able to cause more adaptation.

    In terms of what is physiologically happening is different though.

    Let's look at it from a training age standpoint. How long have you been training? What does your technique look like? Etc., etc.

    The younger you are in your training age, the more adaptation with less you will see. For example, someone who has never strength trained before will see strength improvements with air squats whereas someone who has been moderately trained will not necessarily see strength gains unless they have been inconsistent with their training.

    Both the air squat and the 21-15-9 had correctly matched loads as I mentioned above. They are both considered the repetition method and they both caused adaptation because the loads were correct.

    For example, with the Tabata squats, you reached your correct load by getting close to the amount of reps that you could do with your body-weight and for the weighted squat workout, you picked a weight you thought you could do for the 45 reps w/ rest b/w. Basically the same thing just approached from different ends.

    But in reality you did not get stronger, in absolute terms. In other words, that didn't make you better at squatting maximal loads, it only made you better at squatting sub-maximal loads for a longer period of time. Absolute strength is all out effort, sub-max is not.

    In the end, the only way to truly improve strength is to be at or above 90% of what you can lift maximally (which can change from day to day) unless you have serious mechanical faults or have been training for shorter period of time.

    Once technique reaches close to its pinnacle and you have been training for a significant amount of time, you will see that pr's come in single pounds or even half pounds You would be ecstatic to see your squat go up from 700 to 705 over the course of one year.

    Make sense?
  41. Allison H :) Says:
  42. I would opt to say D - ALL OF THE ABOVE
    or in order of importance B, C, A

    so went to 4:30 and did Tuesday all by my lonesome! and nearly puked. it was super hot! i can't imagine doing that with the doors open!

    scaled reps to 15-12-9
    24:30

    now i really can't walk well so hope tomorrow is easy on my frankenstein legs!
  43. Ryan Says:
  44. Our body turns shape and size naturally but if you get a daily routine then you can give a challenge to your natural muscles. You cannot gain muscles overnight. If you want then there is need for some patience and exercise plan. Exercise is the best way to gain muscle and be healthy. The only thing you need is that what type of exercise is used for muscles and what is the procedure to do that exercise.

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