1. jldeleon

    jldeleon
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    I came to this obnoxious realization in the last week that it takes a lot of time to strengthen muscles. I already run a minimum of 5 hours a week. I am already up to one hour of upper body strength exercises 3 X a week. And although I was primarily doing them for Race the Reaper training, I now realize that I need to keep doing them for becoming a Massage Therapist -for my own good! So I talked to my husband about it and I'm going to start doing muscle failure to speed things up -so I can have more time to work on other muscles, like my lower body, which aside from my reverse hyper-extensions, I have not had time to do. He wants me to do failure between 10-13 reps at moderate weight. So, we will see how that goes.
     

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  2. Longboard

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    Aside from time, health, good relationships, happiness, and $, the rest of life comes pretty easily.
     

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  3. Scratch

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    Going to muscle failure doesn't necessarily mean that you will grow stronger faster. It can possibly be detrimental even. The first thing to understand, I think, about strength is that it's not just about how much muscle tissue a person has. It is very much a skill of neuromuscular coordination, where a lot of strength training is about training the nervous system how to recruit the available muscle fibers to exert force. Obviously, I don't really have any idea of how advanced you are in your strength training, but one thing that influenced me greatly for times when I've done some serious strength training was what I learned from Pavel Tsatsouline's book, Power to the People. One of the ideas he recommends to build strength, especially in novices, is what he calls greasing the groove.

    Greasing the groove taps into the concept that strength is a skill you learn, and what you need is practice at it, practice with no failed reps. I used grease-the-groove during the initial period of time when I eventually was able to do a one-arm chinup with my right arm. It was pretty simple. I would do submaximal sets of regular chinups pretty much nearly every time I passed by the chinup bar hanging in the one doorframe at home. I would do as many reps as to the point where it felt like I still had at least one, if not two, reps left available. I didn't want to fail and give my body a learning experience where it failed, I wanted it to experience success and what had to be in place for the nervous system to recruit the muscles needed. Doing that got me to where I was able to crank out a max set of more than 20 chinups and then I shifted to training heavy by putting weights in a backpack. I would then sometimes have failures on a last set, but even those were rare as I generally would try to always leave a rep in the pocket.

    It's certainly not that I don't think there isn't a place for training to failure protocols, but I don't think it's such a good idea until one has reached a fairly advanced level and has learned a good deal of strength skill.

    Anyhow, good luck. Strength is useful.
     
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  4. Sid

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    I'm no expert on this, but I'd worry that training to failure might be TMTS. Training to failure is going until something "fails", which takes longer for the body to repair/strengthen.
    jasonferruggia.com/training-to-failure-part-4-beginners-athletes-the-training-environment/
    www.flexonline.com/training/train-failure-or-not

    As an aside, in own personal journey, I've found that swimming has done wonders for my upper body endurance, coordination, and flexibility, in much the same way that running did for my lower body.
     
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  5. jldeleon

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    Ya. I found that out today! Angry trigger points. Muscle-failure = exacerbated muscolo-skeletal imbalances. It doesn't help that my hormones are whacked, which causes random, significant decrease in muscle strength, which equals increased muscle inadvertant muscle strain. Ahhhh the joys of old age! :) I worked out with weights today for one hour. Upper body to failure and lower body, regular. I am now having my husband spend the mext hour helping me with my pissed off muscles. I did not run today due to the horrifying humidity.
     

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  6. jldeleon

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    I AM going to decrease my range on all my upper body exercises- however- and increase my weights, and cut my reps in half for awhile. That's cuz I need 5lb. Weight increment increases and I can only get 10.
     

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  7. Longboard

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    If you work your muscles to failure how do you treat them other then with rest? Does massage help? Or is your husband helping you by operating the frozen concoction blender machine for an hour?
     

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  8. jldeleon

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    All of the above. :)
     

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  9. Sid

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    Might want to consider getting some of these. I'd imagine that pair of 2.5lbs would work best.
    www.theplatemate.com/products.htm
     
  10. DNEchris

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    Good plan!
     
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  11. Bare Lee

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    A few thoughts Jen:

    I'm not sure how long you've been at this, but I would give yourself at least a year before you start to really push it.

    With weights, form is key. Much better to do less weight with better form. Just like it's best to avoid running so far that one gets fatigued and has bad form. It took me a while to transfer that guideline from weights to running. Also, just as in running, there will be days when you feel like pushing it a bit, and other days when you're just going through the motions. Nothing wrong with that. If you're consistent, improvement is inevitable.

    And I agree that training to failure is an advanced technique, and probably not advisable for the middle-aged. When I was younger I used to bench to failure, but I had a spotter who would allow me do another couple of reps just beyond that by taking a few pounds off with his index fingers--essentially allowing me to pyramid down in the middle of the set. It's true, that really accelerates development, and it's a common practice among serious lifters. But I never actually failed, because the spotter would jump in as soon as I started to stall. Nowadays, I'm always at least one rep away from failure on all my max lifts. And I tend towards lower reps, higher weights on the heavier lifts, then higher reps, lower weight on the 'assistance' exercises.
     
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  12. migangelo

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    i follow Pavel's "the Naked Warrior". one armed push ups, pistols, and rows. working quite well.
     

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  13. jldeleon

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    But, do you do those exercises NAKED??? :rolleyes:
     

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  14. Scratch

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    Of course they're done naked. But wear shoes.

    More seriously, Pavel knows his stuff. He gets a bit cheesy and melodramatic with the whole I'm a guy who was from communist Russia routine, but he's got a lot of good advice about strength training programs that are quite suitable for people who are primarily runners.
     
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  15. migangelo

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    sometimes. i did some pistols at the park downtown yesterday. i heard some laughing. saw people staring. cool thing was a guy sitting there and he said "i was counting how many times i would have fallen". i did them on a park bench.
     

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  16. zapmamak

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    I would say muscle failure should be done only on occasion and I totally agree with Bare Lee in that your form should be immaculate. Going to failure is pretty hardcore and if you start to lose your form before that THAT's when you stop the movement. Don't go to fail if your form is sh*t. On the other hand, as I understand it, by not going to failure (doing more reps) and by adding some sort of assistance (like a banded pull-up) you work the smaller muscle fibers and get deeper into the muscle. This is good for overall strength, but its frustrating as hell. I always feel like I'm cheating. Both methods have their place in strength training, apparently.

    And TOTAL BOLLUX to the fact that you shouldn't be going to muscle failure in middle age. I think you can and should do it to increase strength, but it shouldn't be done all the time. I think I do max reps on any one muscle group like maybe once a month if that. Yesterday I did 2 rounds of a circuit that included 75 hallow body pulses, 50 double situps, and 200 flutter kicks and that was to failure. I had to roll over to sit up. Total ab fail. Ha!
     

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  17. Bare Lee

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    Just to clarify: I meant heavy weight exercises like deadlifts and bench presses, not high-rep type stuff, or even body weight stuff like dive-bombers and dips, which I do do to failure. Anyway, that's how I've always heard it used when I've been around serious lifters (I'm not one). I tend to think of high-rep or body-weight failure as simply getting tired ;) , but I don't do circuit training or true HIIT training like you do. Still, your expanded definition seems perfectly reasonable, and I agree that it's perfectly OK to do, for example, ab stuff until you can't do it anymore, although personally, my mental capacity for high-rep stuff usually fails before my physical capacity. Basically, I'm lazy. I keep telling myself I need to do more HIIT-type training, but I prefer low-rep, high-weight exercises because I'm done with a set before my mind tells me to stop . . .

    Different strokes for different folks -- it's all good!
     
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  18. zapmamak

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    Well... I do max deadlifts and I'm "middle aged." Ha! But I agree for the most part with you BL. Really, what it boils down to is form. If you can max lift safely then there's no reason you shouldn't, but you shouldn't be doing it ALL the time. I think it should really be used as a bench mark. I deadlifted a 3 rep max the other day at 235lbs and I'm no spring chicken. I also wore a belt for the last 6 reps.
     

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  19. Bare Lee

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    Well, I guess we're still getting hung up on semantics here. For me, a max lift is something you can do safely, unaided, for 1 rep. I only do two lifts at max--(barbell) deadlifts and bench presses--because, in concordance with your view, those are two lifts where I feel like my form and conditioning are pretty good. Most other heavy lifts I do somewhere between 3-5 reps, so they're not 'max' lifts in the sense of being the maximum weight that I can do, but they are in the sense of being the maximums at which I feel comfortable, given my conditioning, ability to maintain good form, goals, and the high premium I place on staying injury-free.

    So, for example, for bent-over rows with a lat blaster bar, I could do more weight than I currently do, but at 1-rep maxes, my form goes to hell, so I keep it at 3-5 reps. Likewise with my power cleans, which really get sloppy if I come anywhere near what my true max would be. On the other hand, when a heavy lift begins to go above 3-5 reps, I add weight. For lower-weight exercises, like a dumbbell shoulder press, I tend to start more in the 5-8 rep range, then pyramid down to failure, or not. And I don't have set number of reps or sets for anything I do--I just go by feel and energy levels. Like I said, I'm pretty lackadaisical.
     
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  20. Bare Lee

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    Zap Mama K,

    Our exchange yesterday got me to thinking that there are really three kinds of maxes (indulge me here--I'm a linguist, so I love categorization):

    1. the max weight you normally do for a given exercise at however many reps, 1 to 1000;
    2. the max weight you can do safely, unaided, with good form, for 1 rep; and
    3. the max weight you can do if there's a trophy or prize or ribbon at stake, or if you're rescuing someone from a burning building. In these cases, safety and good form often go out the window.

    Anyway, long may you lift!
     
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