Training Principles, Part Six - Principles Of Exercise Science Con’t

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer

Training principles of exercise science con’t…and concluded.

20. Time Under Tension (TUT) – is the time required to complete a rep or a set (group of reps).

·      TUT is influenced by the tempo.

·      Muscle fiber type recruitment depends on time under tension.

·      e.g., tempo x reps = total time under tension per set, 302 tempo = 5 seconds total tempo x 6 reps = 30 seconds of time under tension per set.

21. Workout Duration– the anaerobic system (speed and strength) has 30–60 minutes of optimal energy before productivity decreases.

·      Keeping workouts within this time frame will increase gains in strength and performance.

·      Consequently, blood cortisol levels significantly increase after 45 minutes of working out and training becomes counter productive.

·      Simultaneously, the bodies’ natural muscle building hormone androgen begins to drop off at this time, which will further inhibit growth and gains.

·      So anaerobic workouts within 30-60 minutes will maximize increases in muscle, strength, and performance.

This concludes Part Six, next Part Seven Sprint Mechanics.


Maximizing Metabolic Function With Strength & Structure

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, MT

After years of personal experience, observational relevance, and just plain frustration with the overall level of Fitness & Health Nationally, I wanted to write an article about maximizing workout time. Since time seems to be a determining factor or excuse for not working out, I’d like to offer some ways to maximize it. Part of my rationale is if you can only do 10 minutes of intense exercise, 6 times a week, at the end of the year its 3,120 minutes, which is a lot more than zero! Most importantly it will help to improve your life, fitness, and health! It’s all accumulative!

For example, a most recent fitness study claims that sixty seconds of high intensity exercise is more valuable than 20-30 minutes of low intensity exercise. For decades’ trainers in the know have been advocating interval training over long sustained endurance work. I learned this in the early 80’s, training to improve my mile run time, which I ran in 6 plus minutes with minimal endurance work, to 4 & a half minutes with sprint and strength work.

One of the things that I learned was that quality training was more important that quantity training. So sprinting on the track, up hills, in the pool, on the bike, etc, improved my speed and fitness more than doing any long distance aerobic workouts. It required way less time, instead of 90-120 minutes, it took me to 15-30. So I started doing 2 shorter workouts a day, one in the early am and another midday or later, whenever I could get it in. This naturally elevated my metabolism and kept it going throughout the day!

Getting married, having a family, and business mentally got me away from that but recently I’ve decided to return to it but make it easily doable, which I’m sharing with you.

Upon rising exercise will jump start your metabolism for the day the only drawback is usually your mind and body aren’t fully awake so choosing an exercise that will help wake you up, like a cup of coffee, but without being overwhelmed is important. Structural strengthening exercises like Y raises, trap 3 raises, Petersen step ups, lying hip bridges, side arm rotations, planks, etc will serve this purpose. Just doing 3 sets of 60 seconds each will wake you up, jump start your day, and not require much time 4-6 minutes total, with 30-60 seconds rest or less between sets.

AM Workout Example:

Day 1, Lying single bent leg hip bridge with foot on the floor or elevated, 60s x 3 sets, with a 151 tempo.

Day 2, Front plank with forearms arms on top of a physioball, 60s x 3 sets, with a 60s tempo.

Day 3, Lying Y arm raise with dumbbells, 3-5lbs, 60s x 3 sets, with a 151 tempo.

Day 4, Petersen step ups, using a normal step, 60s x 3 sets each leg, with a 111 tempo.

Day 5, Lying Leg raise & hip lift, with knees slightly bent, 60s x 3 sets, with a 111 tempo.

Day 6, Lying on side, arm rotation with a dumbbell, 1-10lbs, 60s x 3 sets, with a 311 tempo.

Do as many as possible (amap) with good form, pause if necessary, then continue until 60s is up. Eventually you’ll be able to complete the 60s without pausing with good form.

Midday or afternoon workout would be at a higher intensity level, since your mind and body should be optimally active. Thus using large muscle groups or compound or multiple joint exercises should be the plan. This could include alternating a upper and a lower body exercise, like a push up or bench press with a squat, performed together in a superset fashion. Possibly doing each set for 30-60 seconds depending on your goal, completing 6-8 sets of each upper and lower body exercise. If Four exercises is used do 3-4 sets of each. This should take 15-30 minutes total, including a quick 3-4 set warm up for each. The resistance should be heavy but allowing good form, controlled tempo, and theability to complete the set.

Warm up sample: i.e., bench press, if your actual exercise weight is 200lb, then warm up set one is 100lb x 3-4 reps, set two is 125lb x 2-3 reps, set three is 150lb x 1-2, and set four is 175lb x 1-2 reps, or using approximately 50%, 62%, 75%, and 87% of your workout weight to warm up with.

PM Workout Example:

Day 1, A1-Barbell or dumbbell split squats, 30-60s each leg x 6 sets, with a 301 tempo; A2- Lying pull ups, 30-60s x 6 sets, with a 311 tempo.

Day 2, A1-Barbell or dumbbell Romanian deadlifts (RDL), 30-60s x 6 sets, with a 301 tempo; A2- Barbell or dumbbell bench press, 30-60s x 6 sets, with a 301 tempo.

Day 3, A1-Double or single leg Physioball leg curls, 30-60s each x 6 sets, with a 311 tempo; A2-Barbell or dumbbell upright row, 30-60s x 6 sets, with a 311 tempo.

Day 4, A1-Barbell or dumbbell squat, 30-60s x 6 sets, with a 301 tempo; A2-Chin ups, 30-60s x 6 sets, with a 201 tempo.

Day 5, A1-Barbell or dumbbell or weight plate, 45 degree back extensions, 30-60s x 6 sets, with a 311 tempo; A2-Barbell or dumbbell seated press, 30-60s x 6 sets, with a 301 tempo.

Day 6, A1-Seated or prone machine leg curls, 30-60s x 6 sets, with a 311 tempo; A2-Barbell or dumbbell pullover, 30-60s x 6 sets, with a 311 tempo.

The most important aspects are just doing it (aka Nike, ‘Just Do It’), consistency (doing it on a regular basis), correct form (good posture & tempo), intensity (70-90% of a 1 rep max lift), and short duration (15-30 minutes). The exercises can be performed numerous ways, upper body together, lower body together, upper & lower body together, or combining 2-4 exercises together.

  At night, before dinner if possible, stretch for 60s x 3 sets. Choose your worst or most difficult stretch a do it for 60s sets, preferably in a PNF manner, i.e., contract the muscle for 5-10 seconds, followed by a 2-3 second release and relax. Each night you can choose a different stretch or repeat the same tight one. This will offer you a complete training regime taking 25-35 minutes a day, keeping you active at least three times a day.

I hope this is helpful,

'Train Safe, Smart, & Results Driven’

In-Season Strength Training: Part Two

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer

In Part One we defined in-season training and listed the first two objectives when designing a program including exercise selection and energy system needs of the athlete. In Part Two we are discussing the remaining components that determine an athletes program, including rep range, weight load-intensity, muscle fiber type, and  work volume consideration.

An intertwined objective to consider when determining the athlete’s program is choosing the correct rep range, weight load-intensity, and muscle fiber type that’s needed to improve their performance. A blocker or outside hitter in volleyball will need to develop and recruit their fast twitch fibers, so doing between 1-6 reps, with 95-80% of their one rep max (1RM), for their phasic muscles will accomplish this. Similarly, a running back in football will benefit from the same intensity and rep ranges. Now these values can vary depending on the age, maturity, health, and genetic make up of the athlete but explosive power is the important component.

On the other hand the cross-country runner may require 15-20 reps or more, at 60-70% of their 1RM to improve their muscle endurance but may benefit from the 1-10 rep range at 75-95% 1RM to help with 100-400 meter surges or sprint finishes. Several of the top Olympic middle distance runners employ this method in their training.

Either of these athletes may require a different rep range and intensity level to address their individual structural needs. In general if their tonic or postural muscles need work a rep range of 8-15, at an intensity of 80-70% of 1RM, may be required. The specific needs of the individual will always be the most beneficial to them.

The last proponent to consider is the appropriate volume of work needed to maintain and/or improve ability without over-training. The primary focus during the season should be the development of the necessary skills, ability, and strategy needed to perform the sport or position at the highest level. The secondary focus should be on maintaining and/or improving power, strength, and conditioning that was developed during the off-season. Usually most in-season practice is devoted to game preparation, sports skills, drills, strategy, tactics, plays, and related task. Therefore most of the repetition and conditioning will come from those activities, so strength related training only needs to occupy about 10-15% of the athletes total weekly time. That can be accomplished in one or two sessions, with consideration given to adequate recovery time before the day of the competition. Ideally the strength training should enhance practices, skills, abilities, and performance, while reducing the injury potential.

Likewise, practices shouldn’t injure the athlete or hinder their strength training but allow for mutual improvement, or a complete synergistic relationship. A big mistake often made is to abandon strength training during the season. This will usually start to gradually impact performance or increase injury potential after about 14 days. The athlete may start the season strong, fast, powerful, explosive, and energetic but within a few weeks will start to exhibit weakness, slowness, sluggishness, or tiredness.

Coincidently, the residual effects from strength training may last up to 10 days; so training a muscle group at least once a week or every 7 days will allow maximal recovery and strength gains. Often world-class sprinters require up to 7-10 days to fully recover, after running a personal record.

So a cheerleader who practices about 10 hours a week, excluding a 3-hour Friday evening game, at 10% of her weekly practice time the strength training would require about 1 hour to complete. Depending on equipment, facility, scheduling, etc, the 1-hour time could be divided into two 30-minute segments as to minimize time away from skills practice. This could be accomplished with a 30-minute strength training session on Saturday (the day after the game), followed by another 30-minute session on Monday or Tuesday, which would also give plenty of recovery time prior to the game. Each session would be comprised of 4 strength-power exercises for 4-8 reps, times 2 sets; and 2-4 structural exercises for 8-15+ reps, for 1-2 sets. The exercise selection could be different for each session to target various or specific muscle groups as well.

As you can see the exercise selection, energy system, rep range, weight load-intensity, muscle fiber type, and volume all comply with her in-season strength training needs. The exercise selection should depend on her individual needs and ability level. Likewise, considering the amount of impact and repetitive stress related injuries that cheerleaders accrue i.e., sprains, strains, twists, pulls, fractures, and soft-tissue adhesions, this would help to address those concerns. Not to mention the additional strength to help with the skills execution.

In conclusion, the benefits of the in-season strength training far out-way the time, cost, injury potential, and other factors involved.  The correct, safe, and scientific approach should consider exercise selection, energy system, rep range, weight load-intensity, muscle fiber type, and volume to best address the athletes in-season needs.

AE Trainers Push Athletes To Next Level


Guest Post by Paul McKenzie from May 24, 2011

Customized program aims to locate hard-to-find weak spots in elite athletes and those looking for the next level.

People who underperform in their sport or in life in general often have trouble understanding why. AE Creating Elite on Red Rum Drive tries to provide those answers.

“Most people underperform in both,” said co-owner James Walker. “But not always for the reasons they suspect.”

AE uses in-depth assessments and ongoing analysis to find out why their clients are underperforming, whatever their goals may be. The range of goals targeted by the facility’s clientele is wide, and Walker said the expertise found in the gym’s owners and coaches makes such a range possible.

Walker said co-ownwer Monica Walker and coaches David Parks and Casey Johnson are former collegiate athletes and arena football players. “All of us have extensive training in fitness, athletics and nutrition to draw on that you can’t find in most commercial gyms,” he said. “Combined, the coaches here have almost 40 years of training and experience to draw on.”

The gym employs a specialized program, designed for each athlete. “Every client has an in-depth assessment to determine exactly what it is they need,” Walker said, adding than the goals of athletes in training are often at odds with what think they need. “We’ve had professional athletes come in with pain in their hamstrings, for example, whose physical trainers believe that they just need someone to help them be more flexible there. After an assessment, they discover that their lower abdominal area is weak and their quads are tight, which is leading to the hamstring pain. Fix that area, and their hamstring pain goes away.”

As another example, Walker said golfers and squash players have come to the facility to improve arm strength only to find that imbalances in their shoulders are what hold them back. The important point to remember in their approach, Walker emphasized, is that the body is a holistic machine.

“For the older noncompetitive athlete, we aren’t assessing to see how fast they can hit a ball, but rather how they do the basic motor skills like running, jumping, throwing and swinging,” Walker explained. “For the elementary level child, we’re emphasizing mastering those same basic sports skills. For more competitive athletes or older children, we focus on more sports-specific movements, but always with the same approach of treating the body as an interactive and holistic machine.”

The cost of misunderstanding the mechanics of a movement can be twofold, according to Walker: lower performance and higher risk of injury.

“When you ask a body part to take on a load for which it isn’t designed, your body will try to obey you, but you’ll be under performing, and perhaps more importantly, you’ll be operating with a much higher risk of injury. In our assessment we’re looking for subtle cues that others often don’t see or look for to find exactly where the problem lies, and sometimes it’s in an area a novice might easily miss.”

And the desire to correct such imbalances is not limited to elite athletes.

“Everyone wants to perform better, even if they’re not competing for a belt or medal,” Walker emphasized. “They all want to walk or run better and without pain.”

Walker works with professional athletes routinely, but said the real payoff often comes from watching other clients grow. In the end, Walker is passionate about possibilities, and is convinced that most people can accomplish far more than they believe possible.

AE Creating Elite is located at 21690 Red Rum Dr., Suite 102 & 117, Contact the facility at 703.488.9860 or

How To Reduce Hamstring Pulls

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer

Over the past few years I’ve seen a multitude of hamstring pulls and strains from elite professional athletes to very good scholastic athletes. In most instances there seems to be a common theme, structural imbalance, existing scar tissue, and a lack of strength in the hamstrings.

From an anatomical perspective the hamstrings are located on the back of the thigh and attach over the hips and over the knee joints. From a performance perspective, the hamstrings extend the hips and flex the knees.

First from a structural perspective the hamstrings have a synergistic relationship with the other muscle groups that are located near or adjacent or on the opposite side of the joint. So the muscles that attach over the front of the hip (hip flexors) have a relationship with those that attach over the back (hip extensors), the outside (hip abductors), and the inside (hip adductors).

This is important because those neighboring muscles act together to produce desired movement like sprinting, running, or jumping etc. When the hip flexors become tighter or stronger than it’s antagonistic neighbors the hip extensors, it will pull the hips forward and result in an alignment or imbalance issue. Likewise if the muscles that act to counter the excess forward tilt i.e., lower abdominals are unusually weak or dysfunctional, this further contributes to misalignment and structural imbalance. These imbalances may then cause excess strain on several muscle groups including the hamstrings. The tight muscles like the hip flexors will need to be stretched and loosened to help realign the hips.

Second there is usually scar tissue or adhesions in the hamstrings and it’s neighbors like the hip abductors and/or hip flexors. In part due to those muscles having to over compensate by assisting the hamstrings from the repetitive use and stress over time. This excess scar tissue will interfere with the proper function and recruitment of these muscles, which in turn produces more scar tissue. This may also shorten and make the muscle tight as well.

Third the hamstrings are usually weak in comparison to it’s neighbors. Since the hamstrings are part of the motor or engine, along with the hips, for those athlete’s who run, jump, throw, and sprint, they need to be strong. If you want to sprint you need a high performance engine aka, Corvette or Lamborghini or Top Fuel Dragster not a Civic or Smart car. In addition the hamstrings will help support the knee joint during planting, stopping, and changing direction, so they need to be dimensionally strong.

So if you want to reduce or minimize hamstring strains address the structural imbalance, scar tissue, and strength needs early on with a good pre-training assessment or evaluation to identify and optimize performance.

Adhesions, Knots, Scar-Tissue, That May Affect Fascia, Muscles, & Nerves: Part III

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer

In Part I, I defined the terms involved with adhesions, knots, scar-tissue, fascia, muscles, and nerves. In Part II, I identified the primary causes of adhesions, knots, and scar-tissue (AKS). In Part III I will discuss solutions or remedies to AKS formation through nutrition & foods, supplements, and treatment or management methods.

Proper nutrition is a very important part to manage AKS. Since stomach, cell, and tissue inflammation is an integral component of AKS formation foods that can reduce this are vital. For instance increasing the intake of anti-inflammatory foods, spices, and alkaline water may help immensely. Foods such as dark green vegetables, garlic, onions, mushrooms, peppers, berries, seeds, nuts, metal free fish, grass feed beef, organic eggs, and natural raised chickens. Like vegetables herbs and spices have anti-oxidant and ant-inflammatory abilities as well like cinnamon, curcumin, tumeric, oregano, rosemary, olive, ginger, and green tea help to reduce inflammation. To determine specific individual allergens an allergy test such as the MRT maybe necessary.

Specific supplements can help to reduce inflammation as well as remove AKS and dead cells. For acute responses products like Pain X, EFA Complex Px, Omega 3 6:1, Uber Curcumin 2.0, and Flame Quench Px to name a few relatively fast acting natural anti-inflammatory supplements that seem to work very well but without the adverse effects on the stomach or liver like meds or pharmaceuticals.

For chronic solutions products like Serrapeptase, Worbenzym, Vitalzym, and other forms of Proteolytic enzymes can help reduce inflammation aid in the removal of AKS and dead tissue cells from the body. Most of these supplements can be purchased from AE Training & Products, AE Creating Elite, local health stores, or over the internet. See my articles “Essential Supplements That People Don’t Need” and “ Favorite Supplement Brands”.

The best method to treat and manage AKS is through physical contact or hands on application. For instance applying tension or pressure to the affected area via massage, stroking, or rolling with an object. For example a foam roller, basketball, baseball, golf ball, lacrosse ball, or softball placed underneath the AKS area and rolling back and forth 6-20 times will start to break up the AKS. Often the adjacent muscles will need to be rolled as well due over compensation. The most precise treatment involves hands on care by a experienced practitioner of Myofascial Release, Active Release, Graston, or Scar -Tissue Management. They can usually assess and determine the severity of the AKS and provide the best care to remedy the problem.

Finally I hope that this information has been enlightening, educational, and helpful. Remember these suggestions are not the only remedies but are a good place to start. They will definitely enable you to stay healthier, more athletic, active, and lead a better injury resistant life style.

Part 1

Part 2


  • Clinical Mastery In The Treatment Of Myofascial Pain by Ferguson & Gerwin.

  • Active Release Technique, Soft-Tissue Management System by M. Leahy.

  • Sports Medicine Prevention, Assessment, Management, & Rehabilitation Of Athletic Injuries by Irvin, Iversen, & Roy.

  • Fitness & Strength Training For All Sports, Theory, Methods, Programs by Hartmann & Tunnemann.

  • Biosignature Modulation by C. Poliquin


Adhesions, Knots, Scar-Tissue, That May Affect Fascia, Muscles, & Nerves: Part II

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer

Adhesions, knots, scar-tissue (AKS) caused by the excessive formation of fibrin on tissue will inhibit the function of those tissues. Over-training, inflammation, repetitive stress, trauma-injury, poor posture, aging, and inadequate nutrition may all contribute to the formation of AKS.

For example, over-training and inflammation that cause excessive formation of AKS on the fascia around the lower back and crest of the hip may develop into a mass or knot the size of a marble or golf ball. This mass may interfere with the nerve impulse or neural drive that occurs between the fascia tissue and the muscles of the lower back and hip. Because the AKS blocks the signal to these muscles other muscles may be recruited instead of the desired ones and a faulty motor-muscle recruitment pattern may result eventually leading to an injury.

Often if the AKS is so strong that it will restrict the range of motion (ROM) of the affected muscles as well as pull the connecting skeletal segment out of alignment or balance. Either scenario can result in muscle atrophy, weakening, de-conditioning, and loss in muscle tone. The above example may occur as a result of excessive treadmill or incline treadmill running caused by over hyperextension of the hip-thigh segment.

Repetitive stress and trauma to tissue leading to AKS formation within a muscle such as the bicep femoris of the hamstrings can prevent muscle fibers from contracting properly thereby irritating and inflaming the muscle tissue even more thus producing more AKS. Eventually this can lead to muscle shortening, tightening, and decreased ROM, then to a strain, tear, or pull within the weakest part of the tissue. The type of activity, movement, angle, and force will determine the severity of the injury as well.

Similarly poor posture, structural imbalance, and decreased circulation can affect a nerve segment within the correlating body segment thus assisting in AKS formation around the nerve. It can entrap that nerve, blocking the impulses to the muscle supplied by that nerve and other muscles along the path of the nerve. So muscle utilization will be difficult or compromised, affecting whatever movement is to be performed. Sort of like sitting 10,000 lb on top of an electrical cord to an appliance, over time the signal will dissipate or be interrupted making the devise useless.

Unfortunately aging is a contributor to AKS. As we age our production of the proteins and enzymes that help our bodies repair and regenerate healthy cells diminishes along with the proteins and enzymes that regulate AKS production. So we accumulate AKS easier as we age and it takes longer to break down and dispose of damaged tissues and cells. This process may also cause an increase in intra-cellular inflammation.

Inadequate nutrition may also aid in the formation of AKS by creating a blood, cell, and tissue environment that’s very acidic or inflammatory. Foods that may contribute to acidity and inflammation like processed flours, gluten, sugars, sodas, and snacks should be avoided or reduced. Artificial foods, drinks, and sweeteners will promote an acidic or inflammatory response as well. These antagonistic foods and their responses begin in the mouth and stomach and prohibit adequate protein-enzyme production while inhibiting the absorption of nutrients and the formation of healthy bacteria.

Next in Part III I will recommend foods, supplements, and treatment methods tomanage AKS formation.

Adhesions, Knots, Scar-Tissue, That May Affect Fascia, Muscle, & Nerves: Part I

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer

What are adhesion's, scar tissue, or knots and how can they affect fascia, muscle, and nerve function? Lets start by explaining each of these terms. I'll begin with fascia, it's the thin layer of connective tissue that covers the muscles, tendons, vessels, and nerves. It’s like a latex glove or plastic wrap that fits around these tissues. In addition this fascia surrounds individual and whole groups of muscle fibers. If you have ever cut up a chicken you can see the thin almost translucent layer of tissue covering the muscle underneath of the skin, that’s fascia.

Next there are two types of muscle tissue, skeletal and smooth. Skeletal muscle is the elastic tissue that crosses over a joint and attaches to the bone to form a lever that produces movement, force, and locomotion. For example the biceps muscle in the upper arm attaches to the inside of the shoulder blade (scapular bone) and on the outside of the elbow at the forearm (radius bone) and contributes to elbow flexion or “making a muscle”. Since it attaches to bone it only makes sense that it’s called skeletal muscle. Also because we can start, stop, and control the movement willingly it’s action is considered voluntary.

The second type of muscle tissue is called cardiac or smooth. It’s responsible for the heartbeat or cardiac contraction, but in the stomach and intestines enables food and waste to be moved through the digestive tract. This type of muscle action occurs without our conscience effort and happens automatically, so it’s considered involuntary.

Nerves are fibers or cords that transmit electrical signals to various parts of the body i.e., brain, eyes, fascia, heart, lungs, muscles, organs, spinal cord, etc. It’s like an extremely complex highway or fiber optic system or matrix that’s alive and works 24/7 to keep us alive and functioning. The signals can originate from the brain or central nervous system or other sensory receptors.

Now adhesions, knots, and scar-tissue (AKS) are caused by the excessive formation of fibrin, a protein that helps form blood clots and repairs muscle, lung, and other tissue as a result of stress or trauma. The normal formation of fibrin contributes to and aids these natural processes but problems arise when excessive amounts are produced to form AKS. A thickening of the tissue will start to occur which initially is designed to strengthen and protect the area but too much will interfere with the normal function of the fascia, muscles, and nerves.

A visual analogy is like using glue to repair a broken vase but you continue to use the glue long after the vase has been fixed. Eventually you have a distorted vase that not only looks bad but doesn’t function as well either.

Okay, now I’m sure everyone has had enough of the biology session but unfortunately training and rehab comes down to science and math. So what’s the big deal about AKS? In part II we will discuss AKS in more detail and ways to lessen it’s affect.

Does Exercise Science Matter?

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer

Does exercise science matter when training? First of all, what is exercise science? Exercise Science is the study of human movement and the related biological responses. Movement becomes a science through precise study, analysis, and documentation of exercise and sport type activities. It involves biomechanics, kinesiology, physiology, and health and constructs usable principles from this science into training. Well what are these principles of exercise science? There are many exercise science principles. In this article I will list and briefly describe 10 scientific principles of training, in no particular order.

1. Super Compensation is the amount of time required for the body to fully recover from the previous workout or workouts.

  • There should be full recovery prior to repeating the same muscle workout for the best gains.
  • This will result in strength increases of 1-2% or by 1-2 repetitions each week.
  • Optimal increases will not occur with out the proper rest, recovery, and regeneration.

2. Periodization – is a pre-planed training plan, which consists of short or long-term cycles (days vs. weeks vs. months), with changes in the workout at regular intervals.

  • By manipulating your training variables, such as variations in exercises, reps, sets, and weight load intensities you will maximize your progress and motivation, and help to prevent plateaus, injuries, and over-training.

3. Time Under Tension (TUT)  is the time required to complete a rep or a set (group of reps). TUT is influenced by the tempo.

  • Muscle fiber type recruitment and energy system type utilization depends on time under tension.
  • e.g., tempo x reps = total time under tension per set, 302 tempo = 5 seconds total tempo x 6 reps = 30 seconds of time under tension per set.

4. Tempo-is the pace, rhythm, and time required for each repetition.

  • Planned tempo use will ensure correct muscle fiber and energy system recruitment, and will reduce injury and faulty motor patterns.
  • Tempo is usually expressed in counts e.g., 302, 301, 30X or 402, 401, 40X, or 502, 501, 50X, that are normal but may be 31X, 512, 911 counts.
  • The first number represents the negative (eccentric) phase of the rep, usually expressed in a 2-9 range.
  • The second number usually represents the midway point, usually expressed in a 0-2 range.
  • The last number represents the positive (concentric) phase, usually expressed in a X-2 range.
  • e.g., a 302 tempo for an arm curl, starting position at the bottom with the weight in front of thigh, a 2 count is performed while the weight is curled up to the shoulders, a 0 pause at the top or midway position,  a 3 count is done while lowering the weight to the start.

5.Technique and Posture – proper form and posture are necessary for correct muscle recruitment and optimal strength gains.

  • If a movement cannot be performed with the correct technique, form, and posture it should be stopped.
  • An assessment should be made to determine the reason, so that the necessary corrections can be made.
  • Remember correct technique and posture will optimize neural drive to the correct muscles and will prevent faulty muscle recruitment patterns and injury.
  • e.g., excessive forward lean vs. upright torso in the squat, places undue stress on the knees and lower back regions.

6. Reflex Inhibition –when a muscle is injured by repetitive use, trauma, faulty motor patterns, imbalances, or scar tissue, the central nervous system shuts down the neural drive to the muscle (turns off the muscle) to protect it from further injury.

7. Posture, Stability, and Synergist Muscles – are muscles that assist the primary (larger) muscles by helping to hold a position to achieve the desired action. This help is called synergist.

  • e.g., when sprinting the ankle dorsi-flexor muscles and the toe extensor muscles put the foot in the correct position prior to the foot strike.
  • The synergist may also assist in achieving a particular action.
  • ,e.g; in elbow flexion the arm biceps muscle may get assistance from the forearm brachioradialis muscle.
  • Often these muscles are the smaller muscles and/or the secondary actions of neighboring muscles.

8. Over Training-is caused by constant training that does not allow adequate time for recovery, regeneration, or super compensation to occur.

  • Symptoms may include irritability, increases in injury, healing time, resting heart rate, normal blood pressure, illness, and changes in mood and appetite, decreases in immune system and performance.
  • In addition there may be excessive inflammation, scar tissue formation, over compensation by other muscle groups, soft tissue strains and tears, bone fractures, and a weakened level of strength and conditioning.

9. Overload and Progressive Loading – neuromuscular adaptation occurs as a result of progressive amounts of overload or in other words your body adapts to small progressive amounts of stress (the fictitious Greek wrestler Milo carrying the calf until it’s a full grown bull).

  • This adaptation is optimal when the progression of stress or overload is gradual and in small increments of 1-5% of the working intensity level (also called the Kaizen Principle of constant and never ending improvement by increasing in small increments over a long period of time).

10. Central Nervous System (CNS) – is made up of the brain, spinal cord, nerve pathways, and sensors to the muscles and organs.

  • The impulse or signal to the muscles from the spinal cord is called neural drive, involving motor or efferent neurons, nerve fibers, motor units, motoneurons, and muscle fibers.
  • The central nervous system response is extremely fast and gets better with repeated efforts but happens instantly, e.g., picking up a pencil vs. picking up a 50 lb dumbbell. The CNS instantly determines if the task can be completed, what muscles to recruit, and how to perform the task. It knows the difference between the weight of the pencil and the 50lb dumbbell even with your eyes closed by touch and feel.
  • Things that interrupt and obstruct CNS neural drive are poor posture, improper form, inflexibility, strength imbalances, nerve injury, and scar tissue.

These are just a few of many scientific principles that can and should be incorporated into a training program. By incorporating them you will achieve results at a much faster, safer, calculated, predictable, and repeatable outcome. Look for a trainer or strength coach who understands and employs principles such as these and you will be on your way to new gains in strength and a different outlook towards training.

References: J. Hartmann & H.Tunnemann, Fitness and Strength Training for All Sports; Lippincott-Williams-Wilkins, Fundamentals of Musculoskeletal Assessment Techniques; Thomas Baechle, Essentials Of Strength Training And Conditioning; Vladimir Zatsiorsky, Science And Practice Of Strength Training; Charles Poliquin, Poliquin Principles; Carol Oatis, Kinesiology-The Mechanics & Pathomechanics of Human Movement.