Cumulativefatigue training

9.63 Additional to the hard, very hard and brutally hard training categories already described in this chapter, there is a type of training that can combine all three modalities in a single format. ^is can provide an excellent variation that may prevent your training getting in a rut. Abuse it, though, and you will get nowhere but into a mire of overtraining.

9.64 Cumulative-fatigue work is modified "volume" training—six sets of a fixed number of reps for an exercise, using a fixed weight for all six sets, and a rigid one minute rest period between sets. ^e short rest periods produce a fast accumulation of fatigue. A poundage should be used that lets you just eke out your target series of reps. ^e first few sets must be much less demanding than the last few. If you use a weight that causes you to struggle early on, you will never get your full target reps on the final sets of the series.

9.65 Six sets of six reps is a good standard to use for cumulative-fatigue work. Six sets is definitely enough, but any rep count between four and ten will work well for most people. Choose the rep count that best suits you for the particular exercise concerned. While medium reps are very demanding, high reps are brutally tough. Before you try high reps for any exercise using cumulative-fatigue work, first spend a couple of months using medium reps.

9.66 Select a weight that is approximately 70% of your current best effort for the chosen rep count. Some people may be able to use slightly more than 70%, while others will need to use less. You will learn through experience what suits you, and the percentage may vary among different exercises.

9.67 Wear a watch, stand in front of a clock while you exercise, or have an assistant be your time keeper. Using six reps as the illustration, perform a set of perfectly controlled reps. After the sixth rep, even though you could do more if you pressed on, set the weight down and note the seconds on the clock/watch. Take exactly sixty seconds rest before you perform the first rep of the second set. If you need a few seconds to get in position for a set, e.g., the squat, then start getting in position a few seconds before the full sixty is up.

9.68 Perfectly execute the second set of six reps, and then put the resistance down. ^e second set will feel less easy than the first, but should still be very comfortable. Again, rest exactly sixty seconds before performing the first rep of the next (third) set. Now you will start to feel some accumulation of fatigue. You should get all six reps without much struggle, but muscular congestion should be very apparent. ^e fourth set should be hard; and the fifth set should be very hard. ^en the final set should be extremely hard. ^is is when your muscles will be spent and you need to marshal all your determination to keep squeezing out the reps. ^is final set must be extremely hard to complete. If it is not, you need to use a little more weight the next workout you train that exercise.

9.69 ^e perceived fatigue from this type of training is different from that which the other types of hard work described in this chapter produce, because of the accumulation of fatigue.

9.70 ^e first few times you do this type of training, assuming you start out training hard, you could experience soreness during the days following each workout. If you get sore easily, carefully break into this type of training over a few weeks.

9.71 A single warmup set for a non-core exercise should be adequate prior to a series of six sets of six reps performed as described. Two warmup sets are probably only required in a core exercise.

9.72 Why take six sets to reach almost total muscular failure with a moderate weight when you could reach failure in just a single set using more poundage? Answer: To stimulate the muscles in a different way.

9.73 You have now been given four different ways to work your sets—hard, very hard, brutally hard, and through cumulative fatigue. (And there is a fifth way if you include training to eccentric failure.) All can work, but not equally well for all trainees. Over time you can prosper from all four formats, and use all four to keep productive variety in your training. trough experience you will find which styles work best for you. You may find that different body parts or exercises respond better than others to the same style of training.

9.74 Cumulative-fatigue training is primarily geared for short-term muscular growth rather than absolute strength gain. To translate the strength gains from cumulative-fatigue training into absolute strength increase, return to your regular training for long enough to build up to new poundage bests.

9.75 When recording sets of cumulative-fatigue training in your log book, you do not need to record each set individually as you would with other types of training. What matters is the entire series. ^e only set in which you should possibly be at risk of not making all the target reps, is the sixth one. If the fifth set is seriously at risk, you are using too much weight. As an example, record "130, 6 x 6" in your log. If you do not complete the final set, then record it, for example, "130, 5 x 6 + 5," i.e., five sets of six reps and a final set of five reps. ^en next time give your absolute all in order to make the entire series of 6 x 6.

9.76 Whenever you get all six sets of target reps, increase the poundage very slightly next time. Ideally, structure the weight progression so that you have to fight like hell to get your final two sets (especially the sixth set), but nevertheless you always get the full quota of reps. ^e bottom line, as always, is poundage progression in good form.

9.77 Here are some practical guidelines to help you to make cumulative-fatigue training work for you:

a. First experiment with just one single-joint exercise, e.g., the curl, or calf raise. Take an accurate measurement of the muscular girth concerned. ^en once a week, or three times every two weeks, train the given exercise exactly as described above. After two months, measure the muscular girth again. If you have grown, albeit only a little, you have a technique that works for you. If you did not grow, and assuming you trained as directed, along with fully providing all the recovery factors, then just put the experiment down to the learning process.

b. If the test went well, consider using cumulative-fatigue training on a maximum of two exercises per routine, but rotating which two exercises you select. As your gains dry up in any given exercise, revert to another format for that exercise and, if you wish, select another exercise for cumulative-fatigue training. ^e six sets per exercise of this type of training may produce a severe demand on your recovery system, which is why you should be conservative and use only one or two exercises per routine in this format. If you use cumulative-fatigue training on two exercises, make only one of them a major core movement. Applying it to two more exercises is likely to overtrain you.

c. Use no more than 6-8 exercises total per routine, with only one or two of them done in the cumulative-fatigue format. ^is should minimize the chance of overtraining.

d. Persist with cumulative-fatigue training for any exercise for as long as you are gaining. So long as you can add a little weight every week or two, while holding consistently good form, keep it.

e. Use cumulative-fatigue training on exercises that are currently in you exercise program, to help reduce the severity of post-workout soreness. Even then you may still get very sore if you are used to performing no more than three work sets per exercise.

f. If you do not want to drop your regular style of exercising which uses maximum weights, alternate both formats in the same cycle. On one day train with your maximum weight for 2-3 work sets, and on the next day you train that exercise, use the cumulative-fatigue method.

g. As with any type of intensive training, religiously satisfy all the factors of recovery.^

You will benefit from this book in direct proportion to how seriously you study it, how thoroughly you grasp the contents, how well you make the understanding one with you, and how resolutely you apply it.

Before thinking something important has been missed out of this book, please wait until you have read every page.

B 32

ithout good exercise technique, even an excellent training program will fail. Not only that, but you can wreck your body in the process.

I know it may appear absurd, but gyms are usually terrible places for learning about good exercise technique. You must be sufficiently informed so that you can coach yourself and take responsibility for your own training. Put into action what this book teaches you!

Some popular and much-hyped bodybuilding exercises are abominable, even when done in the prescribed form. 1ey have been responsible for hundreds of thousands if not millions of people getting injured and eventually giving up weight training. Stick to the safe exercises prescribed here and you can train safely for a lifetime.

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