Categories of effort

To help you understand the practical application of hard work, here are three categories of effort. All of them can be productive, depending on the application.

a. First category of effort: Here, a set is continued till one or two reps short of the absolute last rep you could do in good form. ^is is "hard" training. Of course, if you have never trained to failure consistently, you will not know where one or two reps short of failure is. Still, so long as you keep adding weight to the bar, you will progress.

b. Second category of effort: Here, a set is continued until no further full rep can be done in good form, i.e., to one or two reps more than in the first category. ^is is "very hard" training, and hardly anyone does it on a consistent basis. It takes quite some experience to know when another rep is truly impossible.

c. 7ird category of effort: Here, a set does not stop merely because no additional full rep can be performed. It continues into the next rep during which you will become stuck. Once you get stuck mid-rep you hold the isometric (or static) contraction as long as you can and then resist the negative phase as much as possible. ^is prolongs the set and leaves the muscles concerned almost totally spent. ^is is "brutally hard" training.

9.16 ^ere is a fourth category of effort—to eccentric failure, i.e., "paralytic" training. ^is is not recommended other than in exceptional circumstances for very robust trainees. ^e shortcomings of paralytic training (discussed earlier) are considerable, and this level of effort takes training intensity to overkill for most people.

9.17 ^e harder you train, the less training (volume and frequency) you need to stimulate strength increase and muscular growth.

9.18 As you gain experience of training hard you will learn to tolerate more discomfort. What you may perceive as being full-bore now may appear relatively comfortable in a year's time. And with experience you should develop

Three

9.15

the discipline to maintain good form at a higher level of intensity. ^en you will be able to go deeper into each set without your form breaking down.

9.19 ^ere is a relative difference in how training is perceived in different exercises. Taken to the same degree of failure, a set of squats is hugely more demanding than a set of curls. ^e biggest exercises have a severe systemic effect in addition to causing local muscular fatigue. ^e other exercises are felt mostly locally. It is much less difficult to train hard in a small exercise than a big one.

Good exercise form is critically important no matter what training intensity you use. But the harder you train, the greater the importance. Whenever you take intensity to the extreme you increase the chance of injury because the body is working at its limit.

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