Train Big Muscles to Get Strong Muscles

Train Big Muscles to Get Strong Muscles
It should not be surprising that the subjects who pre-trained felt more fatigued during their arm workout. It is challenging to get motivated for anything after a serious leg workout, let alone jumping into another body part. To incorporate this, one needs to be able to apply a Herculean effort to get through the program. Also, the sets for the arm workout were limited to 10 reps for the first workout (per arm) of the week and 8 reps for the second. After six weeks, this was adjusted to 8 reps for the first workout and 6 reps for the second (per arm). It would be interesting to see if using a lower rep range would have improved the strength gains, or a higher range might have increased hypertrophy (size gains).

In a nutshell, pre-training seems to augment the training response, whether it be for fat-burning or strength/mass building. The protocols are different, and the muscle groups that might benefit may differ as well. The value these programs have would be limited for the drug-enhanced lifter; for the drug-free lifter, this may offer a way to naturally alter the hormonal and metabolic milieu to take best advantage of the effects and response to training. However, it is unlikely that the same degree of change experienced by the untrained test subjects would be replicated in experienced lifters.

It should be noted that these programs do stress the body more, and the “stress response” as measured by elevations in cortisol will be greater as well. It is important to monitor for signs of overreaching/overtraining by keeping a training log. The limitations mentioned in the article on fat loss pre-training (carb cycling for fat loss and performance) would apply here, including: time restrictions/schedule conflicts, increased fatigue during the arm workout, and impaired recovery. Impaired recovery is mentioned even though these subjects did not show any signs; their weekly workouts did not extend beyond the arm and/or leg workouts. Most lifters and athletes train other major muscle groups (chest, back, shoulders, etc.) and many add aerobic activities or sports-specific training.

Is it possible to incorporate both the carb cycling (glycogen-depleted) and the “anabolic” pre-training to maximize fat loss and muscle/strength gains? Certainly not during the same session, though someone in the manic phase of a bipolar crisis might attempt it. Given that both are dependent upon the leg muscles to provide the pre-training response, the only alternative would be to alternate by week or month which pre-training protocol is to be followed. Remember, the body is designed to work in harmony. It cannot go catabolic (fat loss) with carb cycling at the same time that it is going anabolic (muscle-building) without the influence of potent external factors.

Lastly, this is still a contested issue. Well-respected researchers have taken up opposing sides regarding the anabolic effect of an exercise-induced, short-term increase in T, GH, and other growth factors. Logic would dictate that a significant change in these hormones should have a biologic function, and the difference between the findings of Ronnestad, et al., versus other researchers have been discussed. Doubtlessly, this will continue to be an area of interest for researchers and lifters alike for several years.

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