By Benjamin Skipper
I like to strength train and body build, and I design my routines around Body by Science guidelines. I love working out: Their particular guidelines keep me continually motivated and full of resolve, and have generated results where body weight exercises have failed.
However, I think I may have been doing my exercises improperly and have been stagnating horribly on some body parts. Things such as my pecs have stagnated for over a year while other parts like my biceps and calves have exploded with strength. This article by the authors of BBS gave me some very valuable insight which I'll be using to change my routine, and may be of interest to others:
In short, this is just another application of BBS. This is another variation of Super Slow, only here you're doing the exercise so slowly as to complete only a single repetition while doing the full movement (positive and negative), aiming for a Time Under Load of about 3-4 minutes. If you watch the videos it looks almost as if the guy is holding the weight still, when he's really just moving it ultra slow.
While they didn't do a full-out scientific study, the anecdotal evidence is intriguing: "While we haven’t conducted anything other than informal studies on this protocol, I can reveal that one of our trainers, Dave Wilson, has used this protocol exclusively and in a period of six weeks (and in conjunction with a switch to a Paleo diet), dropped the better part of 30-pounds of fat and, when we tested him in the Bod Pod, we found that he had gained six-pounds of lean during this same period. While this may not produce the same results in all trainees, it is evidence that the “stimulus” side of the ledger is well represented with this protocol and, again, the wear and tear and force side is as minimal as can be."
I've been weight lifting for over a year and have yet to gain my first pound.
The most beneficial insight I've gleaned from this is the necessity of experiencing lactic acid burn during a productive workout. I've worried for months as to whether I *should* "feel the burn" since I seldom do during my workouts, and I see now that lactic acid burn is a byproduct from the "exhaust" of the muscle fibers, which indicates they're being stimulated. I see now it's necessary to experience the burn since it's *evidence* of proper stimulation.
The way my body has developed seem to support this theory. The muscles quickest to grow in strength have been the ones that experience lactic acid burn on a frequent and consistent basis, such as my calves and triceps. The muscles that have stagnated monstrously, such as my pecs, rarely ever burn. And coincidentally, those muscles seem to grow best after a workout in which -- you guessed it -- I manage to achieve the burn.
My belief is that I'm lifting too heavy of weights, which may be resulting in fatigue happening too quickly, too rapidly depleting my ability to lift the load before the right physiological changes can take place. For the next few weeks I'll drastically drop my load limit on everything, do the ultra slow movements, and concentrate on inducing the burn. Hopefully now I'll be putting on the poundage.