We saw in an earlier article that we have fallen prey to three key factors that have slowed our training progress. 1) Paradigms on how best to train, reinforced by those who do actually respond well to those standards; 2) Lack of knowledge of the a) complete set of elements within a muscle system that shape it and govern the performance factors, b) the interaction of those elements since it is them working as a complete unit that create the output, and c) lack of knowledge of the variables that affect (or rely upon principally) the different elements; and 3) A means of measuring all the factors that constitute the load on the muscle system that prompts it to recover and compensate for the effects of the overload that just occurred.
That lead us to wanting to question and understand ALL the variables of a training session (exercise) that we can measure and vary in future to test the different effects of the different load profile (i.e. a strength load as in heavy weight, with low reps, or an endurance load, with high reps with a lighter weight, or a high stress load with long time under tension with a high “duty-cycle” such that there is little or no break in the tension between each repetition)
To answer the questions above and illustrate the process, we can again use an example, building upon the previous one. We intuitively “know” the answers – as you will now see.
We’ll now also imagine from the previous example of John (or Joan) that John has 3 clones, John2, John3, and John4. (imagining them as clones helps to remove other confusing variations in the physique so we can analyze performance issues only) And using the same example of John trying to reach the goal of 3 sets of 10 reps in bench press:
Assuming that John2 is slightly better than John and can perform the 3 sets of bench-press for 10 reps and with a rest of 2 minutes between each set. Furthermore, we must also (referring to the cheat techniques previously, and the fact we need consistency and traceability in ALL variables) stipulate that the tempo is a strict 1010, ie there is no lock-out each rep and no bouncing or rushing the reps.
We can all agree in this case that John2 is better and most likely (given that he is a clone) must have better pec development
Now John3, does the test and is able to do all three sets for 10 reps and only resting 60 seconds between sets (and again, we stipulate that his tempo is 1010)
We will all agree that John3 is better still and his pec development must be better to achieve this performance.
Finally, John4 steps up to the test. He can perform the 3 sets for 10 reps and 60 seconds rest between sets – however, his tempo is 2010*! We all know intuitively that his is the best performance of the entire group! – why? – if you aren’t sure, try doing a weight and rep combo that you currently do at 1010 and try it with a tempo of 2010*.
The reason that this is a superior achievement is that the time under tension (TUT) for each rep is 3 seconds instead of 2. The set lasts 30 seconds instead of 20. Note that the Work performed is the same – so why is it a better performance? – the answer is that the longer TUT means that the muscles are undergoing greater stress for the same amount of Work.
I am not, I should stress, advocating time under tension as the technique to use or that it is superior – but simply in this example, we can gauge intuitively whether the variations in exercise style represent a greater (or reduced) load. It could well be the case for a particular person or muscle group, that the total performance drops with greater time under tension. What we need is a means of assessing which is the better performance and overload to cause a recovery response. That is the subject of the next section.
We now have several more variables and factors that determine the stress on the muscle – not just weight and reps – and we also now do not ignore the cheat principles that people use that leave them blind to their actual performance!
If we combine all these factors, we now have:
- Time under tension (note that this is further governed by the style of the reps, i.e. whether we “rest” at either end of the reps by locking out or resting the weight, or letting it “hang” with no muscle tension – and also therefore is determined by the load profile of the movement and this will also be governed by the angle of attack, i.e. our execution or lifting style)
- Rest periods
The AMP Your Workout system takes into account all of these parameters and using patented algorithms and black box methodology, generates data to evaluate the value of each exercise (the completion of all sets).
This in turn then provides an accurate means of checking the true performance – and this then also means that you can accurately try different black-box inputs and outputs and generate an accurate model of the muscle system.
This also means, as you will understand from the earlier black-box process explanation, that we can iteratively guide the training variables to provide the best output (load) on the working muscles. Furthermore, we can do so by taking into account ALL training variables and seeing how they inter-relate – i.e. how does TUT affect rest periods and how does this overall affect the intensity – and what does the weight do to the reps – and how does this affect total work time and the overall work rate? There are many combinations – in fact, there are over 5,000 options (variable permutations) of how to train a muscle system!
This applies to each muscle group and for each exercise. Note that we cannot generalize and say that for any one person, the same training style is optimal for every muscle group. That simply is not the case and you most likely are aware of that fact – your chest “prefers” a different training style to your back, and these are both different to your leg training preference!
AMP Your Workout basically “learns” more about each of your muscle systems each time you train! AMP Your Workout uses the process described to guide your training (for each and every exercise) to your optimal performance to provide the ultimate overload (stress) on the engaged muscle systems.
(*Notes on tempo: the tempo describes the timing of the repetitions, right down to the four key phases of the rep. The tempo times are always expressed in the same format: Eccentric phase / Eccentric pause / Concentric phase / concentric pause
Note that some exercises may not start in this same sequence, but it does not matter – the tempo is always expressed this way.
For example: Bench press and squats both start at the top of the movement and the first phase is in fact the eccentric phase.
Lat pull-downs however start at the top but the first phase is concentric (lat muscles pulling the bar down). So when you work out the tempo for Lat pull-downs, don’t get confused because the first phase is concentric – you must still assign the correct timing phases – i.e. if you pull the bar down for 1 second and let it up slowly for 2 seconds, with no pause at the top or bottom, then your tempo is 2010.
A few examples with this exercise:
- Pull down for 2, hold for 0 at the bottom, let up for 1, 0 sec at the top 1020
- Pull down for 2, hold for 1 at the bottom, let up for 1, 0 sec at the top 1120
- Pull down for 2, hold for 0 at the bottom, let up for 1, 1 sec at the top 1121
- Pull down for 1, hold for 1 at the bottom, let up for 2, 0 sec at the top 2110
- Pull down for 1, hold for 1 at the bottom, let up for 2, 1 sec at the top 2111
- Pull down for 1, hold for 1 at the bottom, let up for 3, 0 sec at the top 3110
AMP Your Workout provides you with detailed analysis and reference data after each exercise. When you finish the prescribed sets (which have been predicted and set for you by the analysis that AMP Your Workout has performed on your historical data), AMP Your Workout will provide you with a “score” for the exercise, which represents the “value” of that exercise session on the working muscle systems. It also provides the AMP Your Workout Personal Exercise Pentagon (PEP).
The AMP Your Workout Personal Exercise Pentagon (PEP) is your secret answer to how best to train according to your genetics for the fastest results.
The PEP maps out for you personally, each of your exercises and shows you, over time, how you best perform for each exercise. The AMP Your Workout system will, itself, guide you automatically to your genetically optimum training – but the PEP will also give you valuable feedback each session, for each exercise.