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Chapter 5 - Improving Muscular Strength and Muscular Endurance _________________________________________________________________________________________

Muscular Endurance Evaluating Muscular Endurance _______________________________________________________________________________________

Like muscular strength, muscular endurance can be manifested and measured isotonically, isokinetically and isometrically. As mentioned previously though, in this chapter we are only going to address isotonics because the other exercises require equipment. Also, like muscular strength, muscular endurance can be evaluated in terms of relative and absolute. If you want to measure your relative endurance, you first find your 1-RM for the exercise you want to evaluate. Next, you find 50% of your 1-RM, and using this resistance as your workload, you exercise until exhausted. If you want to measure your absolute endurance with a particular weight or exercise, you simply choose a weight, and then using that resistance, exercise to the point of exhaustion. In absolute endurance, no consideration is given to strength. Notice however, that in order to evaluate relative endurance, the workload must be proportional to your maximum strength. This is done in order to control for strength as a factor when measuring endurance. Let us explain what we are talking about. Just the other day Michael Jackson and Oprah stopped by our office again. Yep! They were arguing. Apparently both of them had been strength training their chest since we last tested them on the bench press. According to Michael, his training had gone so well that he was positive…relatively sure…that his chest was now stronger than Oprah‟s. Of course, Oprah wasn‟t studying Michael. She had been training too, and in all candor, her chest looked...well, BIG. As we told you before though, big is not necessarily better. As you have probably guessed, they wanted us to once again determine who was right. So again, we determined Michael‟s and Oprah‟s 1-RM in the bench press. Obviously, Michael‟s training paid off because he did 150 pounds, which was 50 pounds more than he had done when we tested him last. However, Oprah was incredible. She pumped out a mindboggling 300 pounds for her 1-RM. When Oprah ∞ WELLNESS FOR LIFE ∞ __________________________________________________________________ made that lift, Michael let out a scream…the kind of scream that would make Carl Lewis jump. Poor The Blitz Method of Training. Michael, he was so upset he could have just died. Worse yet, since Michael weighed 125 pounds and This is a training routine that is primarily used by Oprah weighed 150 pounds, Oprah was stronger bodybuilders to develop muscular endurance and/or from both a relative and absolute standpoint. vascularization. The program is designed so that the lifter works Then, all of a sudden Michael got this brainy idea. out every day of the week, but only exercises one muscle group He said, “Oprah might have a stronger chest than per day. For example, on Monday, the lifter might work his me, but my chest has greater endurance.” Was that biceps and triceps, on Tuesday his chest, on Wednesday his possible? Of course, he could, because strength back, Thursday his abdominals, Friday his upper legs, Saturday his lower legs, and Sunday his neck. and endurance are independent components of Although there are a number of variations of this physical fitness. As we mentioned before, there is method, generally speaking, the lifter will do high repetitions very little relationship between them. Actually, (about fifteen) with a relatively light resistance (50% of his 1-RM) Oprah wasn‟t worried one bit. She loaded the bar and perform numerous sets (10-15) which are interrupted by very to 125 pounds, lay down and then proceeded to short rest periods (less than a minute). The idea is to blitz or pump out 30 hard fought repetitions with the overwork the muscles in order to engorge them with blood, weight. How many repetitions do you think thereby developing vascularization. It should be noted that the Michael did with the 125 pounds? If you said 5, blitz method of training is very strenuous and it is seldom used by you guessed right. Think about it. 125 pounds is weight trainers more than two or three months out of the year. Of course, it hurts. All endurance work hurts. Try looking at the pain almost as much as Michael did for his one as a positive thing. Think of it in terms of growth. See the benefit maximum repetition (1-RM). you are getting from the pain. You know, no pain… no gain. But did that mean that Oprah‟s chest had Think “it hurts so good.” Tell yourself that over and over again more endurance than Michael‟s? The answer is no and then go home and take a bottle of aspirin.


Chapter 5 - Improving Muscular Strength and Muscular Endurance _________________________________________________________________________________________

because with absolute endurance, strength is the determining factor…not endurance. Research indicates that absolute endurance and strength correlate so high that basically they are one and the same. In other words, absolute endurance is really a measure of strength…not endurance. So if you are going to measure endurance, you have to factor out strength. The way you do that is to take 50% of your 1-RM and then do that weight as many repetitions as possible. And that‟s exactly what we did with Michael and Oprah. Hey, we couldn‟t let Oprah get away with the old absolute muscular endurance trick. Michael used 75 pounds (50% of his 150 pound 1-RM) and Oprah used 150 pounds (50% of her 300 pound 1-RM). Guess what? Oprah kicked Michael‟s butt again. She did 17 repetitions and Michael did 16 repetitions. Meaning that Oprah was not only stronger than Michael, but she also had greater endurance too…at least in that particular body part. Michael took it like a real man though…he cried.

Vascularization _____________________________________________________

As mentioned, muscular endurance is contingent upon vascularization…usually referred to as vasculo-something or other by Southeastern Conference football coaches. Vascularization is a concept you need to understand in order to know how muscular endurance is developed. If you cut open a muscle (don‟t do this at home) and look at it under a high powerful microscope, you will notice that it‟s supplied by thousands of capillaries. It is through the walls of the capillaries that essential exchanges take place. In short, it is here where the blood feeds the muscle with nutrients and oxygen and absorbs waste products. If you look closely, you will notice that most of the capillaries have blood running through them. However, you will also notice that there are many capillaries that have absolutely no blood running through them. These are called latent blood capillaries. The objective of muscular endurance is to open up these latent blood capillaries in the muscle. Obviously, the better the capillarization and/or vascularization, the better the oxygen supply and the better the oxygen supply, the better the endurance of the muscle. In other words, the more capillaries you have feeding the muscle, the more oxygen and nutrients it can get and the more work it can do. Now, here‟s the important part. Since it is peripheral blood pressure that forces open the latent blood capillaries, any activity that increases such pressure in the muscle tissue will enhance vascularization. Thus, any activity that continually engorges the muscle with blood will increase vascularization. Some exercises would include all weight lifting movements such as bench press, squats, deadlifts, curls and bla bla bla bla.

Berger Method Revisited ______________________________________________________________________

There are a number of different methods for developing muscular endurance, but they are all based on the same principle…moderate loads with many repetitions. Berger designed the most commonly used method for developing muscular endurance in 1962. Yup! The same Berger who developed the strength method discussed earlier. In this method, you first find your 1-RM for the exercise you want to perform. Next, take 65% of your 1-RM. Using this resistance as your workload, perform twelve to fifteen repetitions for five sets. Again, when we say twelve to fifteen repetitions, we‟re talking maximum repetitions. You remember, “living hell” repetitions. If you‟re white, you turn “red”, and if you‟re black you turn “white.” That's why they call them “living hell” repetitions…you have to take it right

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High Intensity Training. This method is very similar to Berger‟s except that the name sounds better or worse depending how you look at it. In high-intensity weight training, the movement is repeated until it is impossible for the individual to perform another full movement without rest. The weight being lifted should permit between eight and twelve repetitions with strict form. If the individual cannot do eight repetitions, then the weight is too heavy, whereas the ability to perform more than twelve repetitions means that the weight is too light. It is especially important when using this type of training to push oneself to the limit -- since the primary objective is to engorge the muscles with blood, thereby increasing vascularization. Note that the object of this method is not to have a stroke. It just seems that way.


Chapter 5 - Improving Muscular Strength and Muscular Endurance _________________________________________________________________________________________

to the limit. Unlike strength training, you only rest two to three minutes. That‟s right! No visiting the juice bar when training. Keep in mind, you want to engorge the muscle with blood so that you can open up those latent blood capillaries. If you rest too long, all the blood will drain out of the muscle and you‟ll be back to square one. We‟re looking for the pump here. This may hurt a little . . . okay, a lot, but hey, “no pain, no gain.”

Circuit Training _______________________________________________________

Circuit training is basically a muscular endurance training procedure. Still, some muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness can be developed if the program is designed properly. Simply, the program consists of a number of different exercises which the lifter tries to complete (non-stop) in a given amount of time. There is one essential piece of equipment you‟ll need for this training method…a barf-bag. You know, those little baggies they give you on airplanes. Trust us, if you do circuit training the right way, you‟ll need it. If you‟ve eaten in the last two hours you may need two of them. To say the least, circuit training is intense. In gym talk, it‟s called “a mother.” Now, does any of this sound familiar? If not, we ought to kick your butt ∞ WELLNESS FOR LIFE ∞ because we talked about circuit training in __________________________________________________________________ depth on chapter 4. Just in case you don‟t remember, we are going to give you the Readers‟ Digest version. Set up a number “Burning-Out” or “Pumping-Out”. of exercise stations, each exercise station This is another training routine used by bodybuilders to should consist of only one exercise, do ten engorge blood into the muscle for the purpose of increasing repetition maximum (10-RM). Once you vascularization. Although there are a number of variations, most have established an exercise and resistance lifters burn-out or pump-out by performing rapid half-contractions for each station, start at station one, then after their initial repetitions. The half-contractions are performed haul ass through each station in the entire until the muscle is so fatigued that the individual cannot continue circuit as fast as possible. Then you can lifting. A not so pretty sight. Of course, this is usually done on the blow lunch. Your score is the time it takes last set of any particular series of sets. The burning sensation you to go through the entire circuit occurs because of the build-up of lactic acid which irritates free nerve endings. A not so pretty feeling. Need we say more? without stopping. You can then establish your “target time” for training by taking three-fourths of that time. If you don‟t understand the Readers‟ Digest version go back and read it again in chapter 4. Like a midget at a urinal, you need to keep on your toes when we discuss this material from now on.

Supersetting ________________________________________________

If you‟re a masochist, we know you‟ll love supersetting. It gives new meaning to the word pain. It also gives new meaning to the word big…you can “grow like a mad man” by supersetting. At least that‟s what Schwarzenegger says and who are we to argue with Arnold? Supersetting is an endurance routine which is primarily used by bodybuilders…the one‟s who have a lifetime subscription to S&M Digest. In this routine, the lifter performs an exercise that works the prime mover, and then without resting, performs an exercise that works the antagonistic muscles. For instance, if a lifter was using this routine to develop his arms, he would first do a set of curls to work his biceps. Once he finished his set of curls, he would immediately do a set of triceps extensions to work his triceps or antagonistic muscles. He would continue this procedure until he had performed the desired number of sets for each muscle group. Usually five sets of ten repetitions are used for each muscle group. If you can‟t “get off” on supersetting, you can go one step further. Super multiple sets are a variation of super sets. Instead of alternating exercises and muscle groups every other set, the lifter performs a number of sets of an exercise for one muscle group, and then exercises the antagonistic muscles using the same number of sets. The major difference between supersetting and super multiple sets is about the same as the lifting expressions “Damn, that hurts” and “!!*!!*, that hurts.” Do you get the idea?


Chapter 5 - Improving Muscular Strength and Muscular Endurance _________________________________________________________________________________________

A main advantage of isometric training is that it is the most efficient type of training for strength in terms of time spent exercising. Another major advantage is application in orthopedics where strength assessment or rehabilitation is necessary for joints that are incapacitated.


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