Alpha Strength And Beta Strength Two Ways To Grow

If you think of lifting weight as performing work the way a machine does, then there are two measures of that machine's strength or power. One is the rate of lifting that it can achieve, like 20 tons per hour. The other measure is the amount of time that the machine can sustain that rate of work, like 4 hours or 24 hours before needing to be shut down. The human body has the same two forms of power, but there are protection mechanisms that try to prevent you from operating at their extreme limits. That's why you can perform a set to failure but after only a few seconds' rest perform more reps with the same weight. Some people, after only sixty to ninety seconds of rest, can exactly duplicate the first set to failure. That means they have much more strength capacity but do not tap into all of it in only one set.

This phenomenon of hitting an initial wall of fatigue that can be overcome with brief rest is just one more protection mechanism of your body. It keeps ext ra muscular energy in reserve just in case it's required in the near future—for example, in one or two minutes. It you never use that reserve amount of strength, it will never grow to a higher level because it doesn't have to.

We call these two forms of human power alpha strength and beta strength. Alpha strength is akin to a snapshot in that it gives a measurement of your rate of lifting for a moment in time, perhaps a minute or two. Beta strength is more like a motion picture that can measure how long you can sustain your alpha strength. There is a subtle but extremely important difference.

To illustrate the point, consider that the 1995 edition of the Guinness Book of Records lists John "Jack" Arherton as setting a record by bench-pressing 1,134,828 total pounds in 12 hours. That's a rate of lifting of 1,576 pounds per minute, a rate nearly anyone reading this could duplicate, but he sustained that rate for 12 hours! 1 can already hear some of you saying, "Twelve hours.7 That's aerobic exercise!" However, while there is no question that sustaining activity for that long is aerobic in nature, the fact is that it was his muscles that lifted that million plus pounds, not his well-developed heart and lungs.

On the other hand, the Bill Kazmaiers and Anthony Clarks of the world can generate the highest alpha strength. A 700-pound-plus bench press or a 900-pound-plus squat represents an astronomically high rare of instantaneous muscular output that the human body will sustain for only a very short period of time.

Here is the most important fact for bodybuilders in all of this analysis: both forms of strength build muscle mass. Mass is the ingredient that every bodybuilder is after, but how many realize that if they are not making progress with one method of strength building, they can try another? Most bodybuilders don't really care about strength per se, they just want to increase it as a means to gaining more mass. Bur understanding how strength manifests in the human body can help you measure and guarantee your progress.

If strength can be increased in two ways, then we need to measure it in two ways. We measure alpha strength with the formula 7, or total weight (W) divided by total time (t). The formula for beta strength is x 10 6, or total weight (W) squared divided by total time (t) divided by 1,000,000. These two measurements are the Power Factor and Power Index, respectively. The Power Factor measures the intensity of your lifting (for example, a bench press rate of 2,500 pounds per minute). In contrast, the Power Index is a relative measurement of how long you can sustain a given rate of lifting. If you sustain 2,500 pounds per minute for 3.5 minutes, your Power Index is 21.9. If you sustain it for 11 minutes, your Power Index is 68.8.1 Please notice that in both cases your Power Factor is the same 2,500 pounds per minute; there is no difference in alpha strength.

In a strict sense, any discussion of how strong or powerful a person is depends on the period of time over which

Most bodybuilders don't really care about strength per se They just want to increase it as a means to gaining more mass.

we are measuring. Over a 10-second period, Anthony Clark is king. Over 12 hours it's the aforementioned Jack Atherton. I wonder which of the two would he stronger over a 2-hour period?

We frequently talk to frustrated bodybuilders who are making no progress because they have fallen into the trap of performing only 1 set, 3 sets, 30 reps, or whatever. What they don't realize is that they are always measuring their progress on a fixed, usually short, time scale. In effect, they measure progress by alpha strength only and never really tax that reserve sustained strength, their beta strength. All of them could make new progress by measuring their beta strength and making sure that it progressively increases from workout to workout.


There are two ways that you can get stronger. If you lift 2,000 pounds per minute today and last workout you lifted only 1,700 pounds per minute, then you are stronger. However, if you lifted 1,700 pounds per minute for 5 minutes last workout and this workout you lifted 1,700 pounds per minute for 7 minutes, you are also stronger, even though your Power Factor did not change. Why? Physics, again. If an engine (your muscles) can continue lifting at a certain rate but for a longer period of time, it has to be stronger. You can't get something for nothing; more work done requires more strength.

As your Power Factor Training progresses, you will become familiar with the two ways to achieve higher Power Factors. Basically, you can either lift more total weight, or you can lift the same weight in a shorter period of time. While both achievements represent an increase in muscular output, the tactic of constantly trying to work out in less time has obvious limitations. For one thing, the quicker your workout pace, the greater the likelihood of producing an injury. Also, constantly reducing the time of your workout will ignore beta strength training. Remember, being able to lift at the same rate but for a longer period of time also is an indication of increased strength.

You can achieve an extremely high Power Factor rating by performing certain exercises over a very short period of time. For example, suppose that you perform 6 calf raises with 500 pounds in 6 seconds. Your Power Factor, based on the average pounds per minute, would be a staggering 30,000 pounds per minute! Of course, you really didn't lift 30,000 pounds, nor did you work out for 1 minute, but your rate of lifting for '/to minute would be 30,000 pounds per minute! This is the limitation of looking at Power Factor numbers in isolation. Theoretically, you could increase your Power Factor every workout by using this tactic, but you'd be cheating yourself. This is where the Power Index comes into play.

The Power Index is a mathematical function of the total weight lifted and the Power Factor. It simultaneously reflects both the total weight you lift and the rate of your lifting. Since the Power Index is calculated by multiplying the total weight (W) by the Power Factor the weight component of your workout is actually squared. This produces a very large number, which is then divided by one million in order to make it more manageable. Using the example of six 500-pound calf raises in 6 seconds (30,000 Power Factor), the Power Index would be just 90 (that is, 3,000 lb. x 30,000 lb./min. -1,000,000). By way of contrast, during the development of this system, we were routinely achieving Power Indexes in calf raises of well over 4,500!

Because calculating the Power Index involves squaring the total weight lifted, the Power Index is graphed on a logarithmic scale. Consequently, a modest increase in strength can yield a large increase in the Power Index. These increases can be disproportionate both in raw numbers and in percentages (in fact, you shouldn't use percentages). The only important element is that the trend be

As your Power Factor Training progresses, you will become familiar with the tuv ways to achieve higher numbers.

in an upward direction. That is an indication of improvement and enough to guide you in the direction of progress.

You can't cheat the Power Index. The only way to make big gains in your Power Index is to work toward lifting at a high Power Factor and to keep it up for as long as you can. In short, you must maintain a high muscular output (pounds per minute) tor as long as possible. The Power Index gives you a clear indication of whether or not your strength is increasing by measuring your capac-ity to continue lifting at the same rate bur for a longer time. The Power Factor gives you a clear indication of whether or not your strength is increasing by measuring your capacity to lift at a higher rate.

Those are the only two ways your muscles (or any engine) can get stronger. By monitoring these two numbers, you will have instant feedback as to what exercises and techniques yield results and which do not. You can also instantly spot overtraining or a plateau. The efficiency of this system is what makes it revolutionary. As you will see, the gains you stand to make from using it will be spectacular.

Health and Fitness 101

Health and Fitness 101

Self-improvement is a thing which you must practice throughout your life because once you started to believe that you are perfect then, things will start to become complex. You need to know that no one is perfect and no one can be perfect.

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