Forced Reps for Greater Muscle Growth

Muscles grow in response to time under tension, metabolic stress and muscle damage. Australian researchers Daniel Hackett and Theban Amirthalingam explained how forced reps could take athletes to the next level of intensity in their programs. The technique involves assistance with additional reps after the lifter has reached momentary muscular failure. Assistance might vary from the “magic fingers” (spotter puts fingers on the bar and the lifter “magically” completes the rep) to significant assistance, where the spotter does much of the work. Unfortunately, few studies have examined the effects of forced reps on muscle mass and strength. The technique increases the risk of overtraining and overuse injury. Strength guru Dan John, chosen by JMax Fitness as the most influential fitness professional in America says, “Everything works.” Forced reps overload the muscles, so they will promote muscle mass and strength. Like any training method, don’t overdo it. (Strength and Conditioning Journal, 37(5): 14-20, 2015)

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