Specificity Of Training

Specific training methods result in specific training effects. In physiology circles, this is known as the specific adaptation to imposed demands (said) principle and is among the most fundamental to a proper understanding of the cause-and-effect relationship between exercise and muscle growth. We'll say more about this important physiological principle later in this book. For now, suffice it to say that when you train specifically for size and strength (training in your strongest range of motion with maximum overload), the results will come rapidly in proportion to the overload you impose on your muscles and their corresponding output. Conversely, if you train non-specifically (that is, with full-range movements), the neuromuscular training stimulus is divided at least two different ways: (1) muscular size and strength and (2) flexibility. As a result, flexibility may be increased but at the expense of maximum muscular development. Exercising in the strongest range of motion, using par-tials, ignores the development of flexibility in favor of maximizing muscular overload.

Full range of motion is not a requirement for overloading a muscle, and overload is the only systemic stimulus that results in muscle growth. Granted, some overload is provided by full-range movements, but that overload is not anywhere near what it has the potential to be, as evidenced by the reduced poundages you're restricted to utilizing. Admittedly, some individuals such as Bill Kazmaier, Dorian Yates, and Flex Wheeler can use some phenomenal poundages for full-range reps, but this only goes to show that the weak range of motion for these particular trainees is tremendously strong—certainly much stronger than for the average trainee. However, if their weak range of motion is this strong, their strongest range of motion by definition would be even greater. Hence, it is capable of recruiting and stimulating even more muscle fibers, thereby increasing their muscle growth potential.


1. Morpurgo, Ueber Activitats-hypertrophle der wikurlichen Muskein, Virchows Arch., 150, 522-44 (1897). Morpurgos research was corroborated by the experiments of physiologists such as W. Siebert & H. Petow. Snidien über Arbeitshyperrrophie des Muskels, Z. Klin Med. 102. 427- 33 (1925), and Untersuchungen über Hypoertrophie des Skcllet-muskels, Z. Klin Med. 109, 350-59 (1928); Leeberger. Professor of Physical Education, University of California (who presented his findings at an annual meeting of the American Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation [aaHPEr! in 1932); Barnetr. Holly & Ashmore, Stretch-induced growth in chicken wing muscles: biochemical and morphological characterization, Am. J. ofPhys., 239, C39-46 (1980); Atherton. James & Mahon, Studies on muscle fiber splitting in skeletal muscle. Experientia, 37, 308-10 (1981); and Gollnick, Tiinson, Moore & Rcidy, Muscular enlargement and number of fibers in skeletal muscles of rats, J. App. Phys., 50, 936-43 (1981), to name but a few.

Understanding the Fundamentals 11

2. F. A. Hellebrandt & S.J. Houtz, Physical Therapy Review, 36 (1956).

3. Roux-Langc, Usher Funktionelle Anpassung USW (Berlin: Julius Springer, 1917).

4. W. Siebert & H. Perow, Studien über Arbcitshypertrophie des Muskels.

5. A. Steinhaus, Strength from Morpurgo to Miller—a halt century of research, J. Assn. Physical & Mental Rehab., 9(5). 147-50 (Sepr.-Oct. 1955).

6. Studies by D. H. Clarke published in Exercise and Sport Sciences Review, 1. 73-102 (1973) and by P. V. Komi, J. T. Viitasalo. R. Rauramaa & B. Vihko tn the European Journal of Applied Physiology, 40. 45-55 (1978) have demonstrated that unilateral training produces a bilateral strength increase, which they believe is directly related to the influence of the central nervous system upon the musculature.

The Bible of Body Building

The Bible of Body Building

Our lives have come a long way from the Stone Age, and we are quite thankful for the various  technological advancements that have brought us so far. We still have a long way to go, but the place we are right now is quite commendable too.

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