Iron man Iron Man USA April 2017 - Page 62

TO SUCCEED ONE MUST FAIL. That is a simple frequent fact in business and, more often, in the gym. The question in bodybuilding remains: “How often should one achieve true muscular fail- ure?” We know that changing one’s pro- gram is part of avoiding stagnation and that utilizing failure is one of the steps to progress. But how do we fit it into our program without the unwanted results of injury, overtraining, and wasted effort? Let’s first observe what happens to our muscles during true muscular failure. It’s important to note that for a muscle to achieve full muscular failure you must use the muscle throughout its entire range of motion until you are no longer able to perform a complete concentric contraction. Multiple back-to-back drop sets are required to achieve the three types of muscular failure one can experi- ence: 1) Myofibril failure, when the force of the weight is too great for the exercise; 2) Intermediate failure, when the muscle fibers exhaust along with the glycogen stores; and 3) Mitochondrial failure, when the cells can no longer fuel the muscle and a contraction at any weight can no longer happen. To further avoid the falling into a pit of stagnation, we introduce the FITT Principle, which stands for Frequency, Intensity, Type, and Timing. Our specific focus is a variance in rep ranges when doing drop sets to failure to benefit from all dimensions. For the first set, use a weight you can perform four to six reps to myofibril failure. Lower the weight slightly and repeat four to six reps without rest. Sets three and four should follow the same pattern regarding weight adjustment but should be done in the six- to 10-rep range producing inter- mediate failure. Sets five and six should be approximately 15 to 25 reps, but the focus should be set six, where the athlete should continue until full range of motion cannot be actively achieved indicating mitochondrial failure. Nick Hunt, NSCA, CSCS, fitness man- ager at Fitness 19 Algonquin in Illinois, and I have designed a biceps workout to demonstrate how to incorporate this failure program into your hypertrophy routine . Nick and I have worked closely together for two years, and our best results in gains have been from sets to failure for each muscle group, one time per week, utilizing both machines as well as free weight. I have always told clients, “It doesn’t matter if you lift five pounds 500 times or 500 pounds five times—if you struggle to perform the last rep, you will change just as long as your program changes.” Now let’s get out and implement some responsible failure into our mesocycles and get your biceps popping. IM 60 APRIL 2017 | ironmanmagazine.com The Biceps Failure Workout BEGIN EACH WORKOUT with five to 10 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio. For the first five exercises, perform two sets of each exercise for four to six reps. Begin this failure plan with the first set of the sixth exercise (the 12th set overall), which is the machine preacher curl. There are six total sets for that exercise (and only that exercise.) Perform all six with little to no rest between sets. EXERCISE 1. Standing Biceps Curls 2. Alternating Dumbbell Curls 3. Concentration Curls With Cables 4. Seated Alternating Hammer Curls 5. High-Pulley Cable Curls 6. Machine Preacher Curls SETS 2 2 2 2 2 6 REPS 4-6 4-6 4-6 4-6 4-6 Failure* *Set 1: Perform 4-6 reps to failure Set 2: Drop the weight and immediately perform another 4-6 reps to failure Set 3: Drop the weight and immediately perform 6-10 reps to failure Set 4: Drop the weight and immediately perform another 6-10 reps to failure Set 5: Drop the weight again and immediately perform 15-25 reps to failure Set 6: Drop the weight and immediately perform as many reps as possible until your form completely deteriorates