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Science vs. Bro-science

As I said in a previous post, I was fortunate enough to attend a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) conference.  One of the speakers I was lucky enough to listen to was Brad Schoenfeld, PhD, CSCS, CSPS, FNSCA.  That's a lot of letters, right??  Anyway, he is the leading authority on training for hypertrophy and the science that backs it.  We all know the guy in the gym who is big and lifts a lot and we assume he knows what he's doing because he's a monster.  However, speculation can be made that he may be "supplementing" with certain injections of some form of steroid, especially if he's got the gut to reinforce that assumption.  Dr. Schoenfeld presented the latest science-backed results that helps support a scientific approach instead of "Bro-science".  Here's a concentrated dose on what I learned from him:

First off, Dr. Schoenfeld wanted to make it VERY clear that "training is an individual practice".  In that, he means, training in any aspect is going to need to be catered to the body and needs of the person that is training.  He also said that it is very important that science is the underlying guideline.  Which means, DO YOUR HOMEWORK (a GREAT place to start is the book by Michael Matthews that I reviewed not too long ago).  The basics for building a good foundation for a training program are; Volume, Load, Frequency, Rest, Tempo.  So, here's the basic breakdown:

VOLUME: (work performed) The higher the dose = the higher the hypertrophic response.  These stats are based on # of sets per week: 1 set of <5 reps you'll see an increase of 5.4%, 3 sets of 5-9 reps you'll see an increase of 6.8%, 5 sets of 10+ reps you'll see an increase of 9.8%.  This seems obvious, but the breakdown in numbers is nice to see.

LOAD: (weight) "Recruitment needs more stimulation to cause adaptation."  Growth of fast twitch muscle is 30% more than growth of slow twitch.  When you go heavy, your goal should be about 1-5 reps, moderate 6-12 reps, and light 15+ reps.

FREQUENCY: (times per week) This is where customization comes into play and where on the scale of strength and level of activity the client is on.

REST: New research studies presented by Dr. Schoenfeld reveal that longer rest periods between sets is ideal for hypertrophy (90 seconds to 3 minutes, no more, no less).

TEMPO: (rate) The standard tempo (in seconds) for an exercise is 1-0-2 (concentric-isometric-eccentric), that's a 3 second total duration.  To change things up and see what gets you the best results, you can play with these numbers.  For example, for your concentric phase, you could go anywhere from 1 to 3 seconds and see what gets you the best results for hypertrophy.

Remember, this is a very basic peek into the science and recommendations presented by Dr. Schoenfeld.  To dive in deeper into all the research Dr. Brad Schoenfeld has done, visit his website or buy his book on Amazon.

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