2 Week Strength & Growth Phenomenon
By Phil Kaplan
We are interesting creatures. Goal driven. Stubborn. Determined.
Historically we are hunters and
warriors, thus we always need a new animal to hunt, a new
mountain to climb, a new challenge to overcome. With that
primary understanding of the male psyche, and the absence
of daily battles or daily hunts, it's pretty simple to understand
why in the weight room men always want "more, bigger, stronger."
Even worse, we want it NOW!
Here's the truth I had to face
and the challenge I felt I had to overcome early on in my
career, when I realized that "more, bigger, stronger" wasn't
working in the long run. It isn't humanly possible to get
bigger, more muscular, and stronger in a linear fashion. The
body has built in mechanisms that lead to the frustrating
plateau, where gains seem to cease altogether. If it were
possible to get stronger with each passing week, there would
be men lifting dump trucks and freight trains. I've never
seen it done, so I'd have to assume the limitations on rapid
strength gains are very real.
Don't worry. I don't want to discourage
you. In fact, I'm going to share some thrilling news. After
years of independent research, I developed a strategy that
will help anyone of either gender achieve strength gains .
. . and amazingly, this fail-proof strength system requires
a commitment to only two weeks!
OK, wait, I don't want you to misunderstand
me. I'm not saying you train for two weeks, instantly transform
into Superman, and then stop training completely. What I am
saying is that a two-week commitment to a powerful muscle
building strategy can lead to consistent gains, but of course
you'll continue to train beyond the two-week period. You'll
simply shift in training strategies, and in that lies the
Before I expound on the technique,
let's first understand some basic muscle biology. To keep
matters simple, we can break muscle tissue into two distinctly
different types of muscle fibers. Fast twitch fiber and slow
The fast twitch fiber is the muscle
fiber most prone to hypertrophy (growth). These muscles fibers
are called to action rapidly to handle what is usually an
all out strenuous effort. If you ever see the stereotypical
powerlifter, you're looking at a predominance of fast twitch
muscle fiber development.
Slow twitch fiber might be explained
as "endurance" fiber. Envision a stereotypical marathon runner.
He (she) looks very different than the powerlifter. The slow
twitch fibers are summoned slowly but they can sustain a moderate
effort for a prolonged period of time. The two-week strategy
I'm about to explain suggests that you focus exclusively on
the fast twitch fibers for two weeks.
Basic compound movements, requiring
the recruitment of several muscle groups at once, are going
to prove the most effective at stimulating strength gains.
Squats. Bent Over Rows. Deadlifts. Bench Press. Shoulder Press.
Curls. Dips (with added resistance if necessary). In order
to optimize the strength potential of these movements, you
want to challenge muscle by utilizing a level of resistance
that brings you a point of momentary muscle failure in the
4-6 rep range. In other words, you want to choose a weight
that will allow you to get at least four repetitions in strict
form, but will leave repetitions five and six possible but
challenging. That calls the fast twitch fibers to action.
At this point, any exercise physiologist
reading this article would be ready to rip my head off, ranting
about how this "technique" is dangerous. That's only because
I haven't fully explained it. Allow me to keep my head, at
least for the next few moments, and I assure you anyone with
a background in exercise science will buy into the idea.
I am not suggesting you walk into
the weight room, pile 300 pounds on the bar, and start squatting.
That's a surefire path to injury. I am suggesting you begin
with a warmup going through the movements you're about to
perform with very light weights, stimulating blood flow. After
about 7-10 minutes, it's time to move into the training regimen.
You're going to perform 5 sets
of each basic compound movement, but you're going to do this
systematically and safely. The first set will be performed
for 10 repetitions with a weight with which you probably could
have gotten 20. The second set will be performed for eight
repetitions with a weight that you might be able to get 10-12
reps with. The third set will utilize the same weight as Set
#2, but now you'll only perform six reps. At this point, the
muscles are warmed up and ready to meet the fast twitch challenge.
Sets #4 and #5 are the sets that kick the strength gains into
high gear. These are the sets in which you'll use a weight
sufficient to bring you to that point of MMF in the 4-6 rep
range. If you get more than six in strict form in Set #4,
you'll go up a bit for Set #5. If you can't get four reps
in strict form in Set #4, you'll lighten the load a bit.
The idea is to work all of the
major muscle groups in a single workout, and then allow 48
hours of recovery before doing it again. There should be three
workouts per week for two weeks, amounting to a total of only
6 weight training sessions in a 14-day period.
This is where the "more is better"
thought process can be detrimental. Recognize that weight
training is only a stimulus for gains. Ingesting adequate
nutrients for growth and energy and allowing the body to rest
and recuperate are essential for these gains to take place.
These workouts are intense and strenuous and 48 hours is necessary
for adequate recuperation. It's also important that you do
not continue this for more than 2 weeks. At that point connective
tissue begins to suffer increased trauma and you run the risk
of injury or overtraining.
Amazingly, even though, after this
2 week period you'll switch to a strategy that targets more
of the slow twitch fiber, that stimulus of the two week training
regimen will allow you to continue to see strength increases,
perhaps for another two weeks. Returning to this regimen too
frequently can prove overly taxing. I suggest dividing the
year into four 13-week segments. Each 13 week segment should
begin with two weeks of Strength & Growth training. Between
Strength & Growth sessions you'll incorporate strategies that
focus on endurance, balance, and fat loss, allowing the connective
tissue and fast twitch fiber to effectively recuperate so
13 weeks later you're ready to hit it hard all over again.
In my programs, I always implement
a 2-week Strength and Growth cycle, and with a few guidelines,
it has never failed me yet. Here's an excerpt from my TRANSFORM!
program, specifically, the Strength & Growth weeks.
Friday (for each week of a two-week period)
|Bent Over Row
Some tips that might help stimulate
even greater strength gains . . .
Consider a post workout recovery
drink with creatine, l-glutamine, glucose, fructose, and
hydrolyzed amino acids. Consider my RELOAD
a formula designed to support muscle growth
Be sure to get at least 7,
optimally 8 hours of sleep per night.
Relax on the off days.
Massage and active recuperation
techniques might be highly beneficial.
You Haven't Been There Yet:
The Simplicity of Growth
] [ The GROW! Formula ]
Post Workout Supplementation
] [ RELOAD! ]
The Fat Burning Trick ] [ BURN!
Replacements ] [ EAT! ]
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