Brief Lesson In Anatomy And Physiology

Before you can effectively train your muscles, you need to know how they function so you can select the exercises best suited to stimulate them to grow. Without making this a complicated physiological dissertation, let's examine just a few of our bodies' basic structures, the way they work together, and how this knowledge will make you more successful in your quest to build a stronger and better-looking body.

Using the bench press as an example, the weakest range of motion is where you first move the weight up a few inches from your chest. The strongest range, however, occurs during the last few inches of your reach. Training in the strongest range of motion allows you to employ tremendously heavy weights. The heavier the weights employed, the greater the muscular output and, of course, the resulting hypertrophy.

We once supervised the workouts of a subject whose maximum workout weight on the bench press was 200 pounds. He was limited to this weight because that was the most he could handle while training in his weakest range. However, we quickly discerned that his muscles were capable of handling much more resistance than he had been providing them; he was, in fact, capable of using 365 pounds for repetitions in his strongest range. But because he was locked into the notion that he had to perform full-range reps ("to develop the full muscle"), only the amount of fibers required to move 200 pounds were ever called into play. Once he started training with the maximum weight that his muscles were capable of lifting in his strongest range, his size and strength grew consistently. The contention that he required a full range of motion in order to build the entire breadth and length of his muscles has been proven erroneous owing to innervation, the fiber recruitment process, and the nature of overload training.

All academics aside, it simply stands to reason that training to failure in your strongest range of motion with much heavier weights is a lot more intense and demanding than training to failure in your weakest range of motion. Since the weights are heavier, more muscle fibers are required and activated to move them. Further, the recovery period following such a workout must also be greater. Why? Simply because the greater weights, combined with the greater muscular output required to move them, results in a greater depth of systemic fatigue.


For muscular mass to increase, three distinct phases must take place. First, growth must be stimulated within the body. As we've learned, this can only be accomplished through subjecting your muscles (and, more specifically, your nervous system)6 to a high level of muscular output, or what Roux-Lange called "a great amount of work in a unit of time."

The second phase is that of recovery'. Both the body and the systems that feed the body must be given time to clean up the metabolic waste products of the workout and to replenish their energy reserves after a very draining maximum-overload workout. In fact, we've recently learned that completing this process can take anywhere from two or three days to six weeks or more, depending upon the level of muscular output employed during the training session and the subject's innate adaptability to exercise.

The third and final phase is the growth process itself, which will take place only after the recovery process has run its course. At least one study indicated that the actual growth of muscle may occur in as little as fifteen minutes during sleep. However, you must remember that in no case will muscle growth occur until adequate stimulation has been achieved and total recovery is complete. There is no way to force your body to skip steps one and two. It's always stimulate, recover, grow. Stimulate, recover, grow.


With Power Factor Training, it's been established that working out even as little as three days per week can quickly lead to overtraining. This does not refer simply

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (CNS): The spinal cord and brain. The cns functions in conjunction with the peripheral nervous system, which consists of the ganglia and nerves that reside outside of the brain and spinal cord. The nervous system appears like thousands ot little wires that function as transmitters, receivers, and interpreters ot data from all parts of the body. It is responsible for stimulating the muscles of your body to contract. It is of vital importance to both the aspiring and competitive bodybuilder as, without nerves, we'd be immobilized because our muscles wouldn't contract.

LIGAMENTS: Fibrous bands that bind bone to bone. Their compactness determines to a very large extent the flexibility of the joints they serve. Caution must be exercised when training because, if a ligament is stretched too far, the joint it holds together will become loose, resulting in permanent damage to this tissue.

TENDONS: Dense bands at the ends of muscles. Their function is to attach muscle to bone. In the tendons themselves are the Golgi tendon organs, which send signals to the brain indicating stress and fatigue levels. Generally, the ache that you experience during strenuous exercise is being transmitted via the tendon, not the muscle.

BONES: The hard connective tissue that makes up the skeleton. The human skeleton consists of 206 bones. Bones move when pulled by muscles attached to bones by tendons.

MUSCLES: Body tissue that can contract and produce motion. The body has three distinct kinds of muscle tissue: cardiac, smooth, and skeletal. Cardiac muscle is in the heart. Smooth muscle assists organs such as the stomach and intestines in the passage and digestion of food. Skeletal inus-

Definitions xiii cles arc responsible for moving our bones. Power Factor Training increases the size of the skeletal muscles. The human body has over 600 skeletal muscles—a ratio of almost three skeletal muscles to every bone, which accounts for our highly evolved dexterity and precision in movement.

HYPERTROPHY: The process of increasing muscle size. The process itself isn't as complicated as some authors may have led you to believe. It occurs as a direct result of demands placed upon a muscle and the nervous system that is attached to it. The signal for hypertrophy is overload, that is, making the muscle work harder than it is normally accustomed to. To overload a muscle, you need to apply a load or a resistance for the muscle to contract against, and that resistance must be progressive from one workout to the next.

That's it. The bottom line in the quest for bigger and stronger muscles is progressive resistance. If you're able to increase your resistance by your next workout, it's because your muscles have overcompensated from your previous training session by getting bigger and stronger.

Training to failure in your strongest range of motion with much heavier weights is a lot more intense and demanding than training to failure in your weakest range of morion.

to localized muscle recovery' but rather to the recovery of the physical system as a whole. Localized muscular recovery' actually takes place very rapidly (in twenty-four hours in some cases). If you perform 10 sets of heavy squats on Monday, your legs may well have recovered by Tuesday. But try to do a heavy back workout! You won't feel the inclination. The reason is simply that your whole system is called upon whenever you exercise. When you trained your legs the day before, demands were made upon all of your body's recuperative subsystems (kidneys, liver, pancreas, etc.), not just your legs.

Since your whole system is called upon every time you work out, you've got to allow the whole system time to recover after each workout—not just the specific body part that you trained. This fact gave rise to Sisco's maxim: "Every day is kidney day."

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