Title:
Fitness method mnemotonia
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise method providing an optimized anaerobic regime and combines the benefits from maximum intensity achieved in training to failure and short-term potentiated state of working muscles. The inventive method can be implemented in concentric, eccentric, partial repetitions, explosive, and isometric modes of muscle contraction. The inventive method predominantly targets type II muscle fibers, which represent the largest component of human musculature and lean body mass that can be altered via physical exercises. The name of the method is derived from Greek words “mnêmôn”—memory and “tonos”—tension related to muscle.



Inventors:
Sveshnikov, Nikolay (Washington, DC, US)
Application Number:
12/152884
Publication Date:
11/19/2009
Filing Date:
05/19/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040082446Rehabilitation aid for sexual inefficiencyApril, 2004Miyamoto
20080015092Bubble producing jump ropeJanuary, 2008Montoya
20080039290Swing Fit Aerobic and Strength Training Exercise MachineFebruary, 2008Manguso
20090075791VARIABLE RESISTANCE SYSTEMMarch, 2009Kissel et al.
20040063544Apparatus for measuring the strength of a person's respiratory musclesApril, 2004Lawson
20060046910Methods and devices for reducing stance energy for rehabilitation and to enhance physical performanceMarch, 2006Rastegar et al.
20060172861Small-size trampolineAugust, 2006Wang et al.
20060128533Magnetic dampening unit for an exercise gym apparatusJune, 2006Ma et al.
20070275828Rope Game DeviceNovember, 2007Kohler
20100062909Bicycle Trainer with Variable Magnetic Resistance to PedalingMarch, 2010Hamilton
20060270528Rowing exercise apparatusNovember, 2006Lai



Primary Examiner:
BIDDER, ALLANA LEWIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIKOLAY SVESHNIKOV (Apt. 837 2500 Wisconsin Ave., Washington, DC, 20007, US)
Claims:
What claimed is:

1. An exercise method that aimed at development of muscular system, increase in lean body mass, strength, power, and overall conditioning of the body comprising of the following steps: a) A light dynamic warm-up, which should be performed in the same movement as the working exercise, i.e. specific warm-up, with 10-15 repetitions with weights of about 30% of one repetition maximum (1 RM). The purpose of this warm-up is to elevate muscle temperature and compliance, enhance motor unit excitability and neuromuscular function, and increase efficiency of physiological responses in subsequent exercises. b) A “tuning” set, which should be performed at 90-95% of 1 RM with two or three repetitions. This set is designed to potentiate the muscles and prepare them for subsequent high intensity set. These heavy submaximal loads should stimulate muscles and elicit short-term enhanced state known as postactivation potentiation (PAP). Even if these 2 or 3 repetitions are the maximum, no additional partial movements or attempts should be made, as this set should not be perceived as training to failure. c) A loading set, which should be performed to failure with submaximal loads of 80-90% of 1 RM. The rest interval between the tuning and the loading sets should be around 4-12 minutes to dissipate fatigue, while still taking advantage of the PAP. The number of repetitions in the loading set should be maximal to failure until no more repetitions can be made. The target number of repetitions in the loading set should aim to exceed the average established numbers for certain intensities as a percentage of 1 RM in unaltered condition.

2. The method of claim 1 in which: two or more preloading sets are used in the step b) to elicit greater PAP. One of the advantages of application of PAP is that the effect occurs long enough to perform more than just one stimulating preload. The modifications can be implemented in multiple preloading routines, in which two or more preloads of the same or different loads are performed several minutes prior to the loading set. These two or more preload tuning sets may target the same or different muscle groups. The loading set for a certain muscle group should be performed just once in a training session, as several full sets to failure for the same muscle group does not seem to be effectively implemented. Correspondingly, using two preloading sets for different muscles groups may be followed by two loading sets for these muscle groups.

3. The method of claim 1 in which: the intensity of the exercise can be further increased in the steps b) and/or c) by performing partial repetitions (“partial reps”).

4. The method of claim 1 in which: the intensity of the exercise can be further increased in the step c) by using forced repetitions (“forced reps”) leading to increase in the number of repetitions, with the help of a partner after the concentric failure in the loading set.

5. The method of claim 1 in which: the intensity of the exercise can be further increased in the steps b) and/or c) by performing movements in eccentric mode.

6. The method of claim 1 in which: the working load can be modified in the steps b) and/or c) by performing movements in explosive mode.

7. The method of claim 1 in which: the working load can be modified in the steps b) and/or c) by performing exercises in isometric mode.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a fitness method and, in particular to a fitness method that combines high intensity training and short-term enhanced muscle performance induced by a heavy preload to achieve increase in muscle mass, strength, power, and overall conditioning of the body.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the prior art, it has been well documented and established that resistance training represents an effective method to develop muscle mass and to improve physiological parameters associated with it. High intensity resistance exercises are effective to provide powerful stimulus for muscle growth and to acutely activate hormonal systems of both men and women in wide age ranges.

Stoppani, “Encyclopedia of Muscle and Strength.” Human Kinetics. Champaign Ill. 2006, describes the current exercise methods to develop muscle mass. The author shows that muscle growth is related to acute neuromuscular and hormonal changes induced by stress from the training, and that the most effective training methods for muscle growth are believed to be resistance exercises. In the prior art, general training methods to develop muscle mass usually include manipulation with sets, number of repetitions in sets, rest intervals, and loads. To activate different muscle fibers, manipulation with loads and number of repetitions, combination of exercises to impose stress on muscles at different angles, and reduction in rest periods, which are typically 1-3 minutes or less, are commonly used.

Scott et al., “Human Skeletal Muscle Fiber Type Classifications.” Physical Therapy. 2001, 81 (11), 1810-1816 describe current muscle fiber types classifications and relation of their properties to training and growth. The most commonly used in fitness and exercise division distinguishes types I, IIA, and IIB. Contractile capacities and energy pathways for these muscle fibers differ, and different training methods affect them differently. Fibers type I (red) are slow-twitch, they are usually thinner and have larger amount of myoglobin and capillary content due to their higher oxidative capacity. These fibers are predominantly involved in endurance low intensity and prolonged exercises. Fibers type II (white) are fast-twitch, they are thicker and stronger, and are predominantly involved in high intensity anaerobic exercises.

Traditional structure of a resistance training session consists of a light warm-up and single- or multi-set exercises. In order to avoid injuries and prepare muscles for heavy resistance training, a variety of warm-up protocols are used, ranging from stretching to dynamic concentric resistance exercises.

Kato et al. “Effects of Specific Warm-up at Various Intensities on Energy Metabolism during Subsequent Exercise” Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2000, 40 (2), 126-130 show that the best intensity for warming up prior to resistant training is dynamic resistance warm-up with around 30% of one repetition maximum (1 RM).

Bazett-Jones et al. “Effect of Potentiation and Stretching on Maximal Force, Rate of Force Development, and Range of Motion.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2005, 19(2), 421-426 show that stretching may have detrimental effect on the subsequent force generation and muscular activity. In this regard, stretching should be avoided prior to heavy resistance training protocols.

Rhea et al., “Single versus Multiple Sets for Strength: A Meta-analysis to Address the Controversy.” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 2002, 73 (4); 485-488 systematically examines studies comparing single- and triple-set training programs for strength. The results of this meta-analysis demonstrate that while both intensity-based single set and volume-based multi-set approaches provide positive results, the three sets of training increase strength to a greater degree as compared to single-set training. This difference increases as the individual becomes more accustomed to strength training, because more volume is needed to maximally overload the neuromuscular system. Opponents of this view claim that only single set to failure provides maximum stimulus for muscle growth. Both views are supported by theoretical considerations and practical results.

McGuigan et al., “A New Approach to Monitoring Resistance Training.” Strength and Conditioning Journal 2004, 26 (6); 42-49 show that resistance training intensity is an important parameter in defining training protocols and offers methods of its measurement. It is believed that a good measure of intensity is how hard the exercises is perceived by an exerciser (RPE scale) and that the relative training intensity is often measured relatively to the percentage of the 1 RM used in the exercise.

Intensity of exercises can be measured not only in dynamic but also in isometric modes. Wiley, U.S. Pat. No. 5,398,696 entitled “Isometric Exercise Method for Lowering Resting Blood Pressure and Grip Dynamometer Useful Therefore,” issued Mar. 21, 1995 shows the advantages of isometric exercises and describes protocol, in which the isometric regimen can be closely controlled both in terms of exerted force and in the timing of trials or exertions.

Schwarz, U.S. Pat. No. 6,190,291 entitled “Fitness Method,” issued Feb. 20, 2001 shows that combination of different modes of training provides additional benefits for an exerciser. The method combines the benefits of isometric-like exercising with isotonic exercising for simultaneous training of the exerciser's cardiovascular and skeletal musculature systems and strength and endurance buildup.

Linnamo et al., “Acute Hormonal Responses to Submaximal and Maximal Heavy Resistance and Explosive Exercises in Men and Women.” Journal of strength and Conditioning Research 2005, 19 (3); 566-571 show that increase in serum growth hormone (GH) and testosterone (T) concentrations correlates with stress caused by heavy resistance exercise, which is believed to be a major stimulus to produce muscle fiber hypertrophy.

Copeland et al., “Hormonal Responses to Endurance and Resistance Exercise in Females Aged 19-69 Years.” The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2002, 57A (4); B158-B165 and Silverman et al., “Hormonal Responses to Maximal and Submaximal Exercise in Trained and Untrained Men of Various Ages.” The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 1996, 51, B30-B37 show that acute hormonal responses to high intensity resistance exercises are strong and not age-dependent in either gender. The maximal heavy resistance protocols lead to a significant increase in anabolic hormones both in men and in women as compared to lower intensities with lighter weights.

Kraemer et al., “Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal Responses to Short-duration High-intensity Cycle Exercise.” Journal of Applied Physiology 1989 66(1): 161-166 show that short-term intense exercise affects release of not only the anabolic hormones but also such catabolic hormones as cortisol. The cortisol concentration increase after high-intensity exercises showed a significant correlation with working intensity, duration of exercise, and percentage of type II muscle fibers. Cortisol release is dose-dependent, therefore, longer exercise sessions result in higher concentrations of this stress hormone.

Robbins “Postactivation Potentiation and Its Practical Applicability: A Brief Review.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning. Research 2005, 19(2), 453-458 describes the recently discovered and investigated phenomenon of short-term muscle potentiation known as postactivation potentiation (PAP). This phenomenon has been investigated in regards to achieving enhanced muscular performance in power sports activities mostly requiring explosive strength, such as jumping, throws, etc. This method originated from complex or contrast training first introduced by Verkhoshansky et al. “Speed-strength Preparation of Future Champions.” Legkaya Atletika 1973, 2, 12-13. This method generally involves a resistance-training exercise using a heavy load (1-5 RM) followed in a short period of time by a biomechanically similar plyometric exercise and designed to transfer strength gains into power. The two exercises target the same muscle group and are commonly referred to as a complex pair. Different combinations of resistance and plyometric training combinations have been utilized and investigated. It has been shown that complex training was superior in developing power to either resistance training or plyometric training alone. Recently, as a preload stimulus maximum voluntary contraction, heavy sets with maximal and submaximal loads, electric stimulation, and explosive movements have been used and proven effective in elicitation of PAP.

The mechanism of PAP is a complex of physiological changes after the heavy preload, which is believed to include effective interaction between the actin and myosin filaments as a result of myosin light-chain phosphorylation, contribution to enhanced performance due an elevation in neural excitability; and an acute effect on proprioceptors such as the muscle spindles, which may be stimulated leading to increased performance potential. It has been shown that this phenomenon is stronger in type II muscle fibers.

The existence of enhanced performance following intense loading has been documented both in multiple and single-set studies. Clark et al., “The Acute Effects of a Single Set of Contrast Preloading on a Loaded Countermovement Jump Training Session.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2006, 20 (1); 162-166 show that activation of type II muscle fibers occurs not only after multiple but also after single sets of heavy preloading.

Gullich et al. “MVC-induced Short-term Potentiation of Explosive Force.” New Studies in Athletics 1996, 11(4), 67-81 show that PAP is the strongest right after the preload and lasts at least 8.7+/−3.6 minutes. In the first minutes after the prelaod, it is diminished by opposing processes, such as neuromuscular and metabolic fatigue.

Commonly used resistance training and bodybuilding methods are based on the concept that the working muscles are progressively fatigued during the performance of exercises. Multi-set training sessions are usually monotonous, and overtraining is a common problem. Development of optimal training regimes has been the focus of continuous investigations worldwide. In view of some disadvantages of commonly used resistance techniques, which include relatively long and monotonous routines consisting of sets with many repetitions or single high intensity sets with relatively small training volume, a need has developed to provide a fitness method, which overcomes these disadvantages. Recently discovered and investigated phenomenon of PAP has been used in short-term muscle enhancement in explosive sports. Although this phenomenon is strong in thick fast-twitch type II muscle fibers, it has never been utilized to develop training methods aimed at muscle growth. The present invention provides a fitness method, which optimizes training load for muscle development and combines the advantages of high intensity training achieved in one set to failure with short-term enhancement of muscle performance achieved after heavy resistance preload.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is a high-intensity method, which utilizes enhanced muscle performance due to its short-term “muscle memory” after preconditioning. This phenomenon of short-term enhancement of muscle performance is well-documented and is known as postactivation potentiation (PAP).

The inventive training method constitutes an optimized anaerobic regime for achieving maximum training intensity. Implementation of the inventive method requires determination of one repetition maximum (1 RM) in a given exercise, for any given muscle, or a group of muscles. The training loads in the method are related to the 1 RM values, which serve as a measure of training intensity. In the inventive method, the maximum training intensity is achieved in one set to failure with submaximum (over 80% of 1 RM) load after preconditioning, which brings the working muscles in the potentiated state. The potentiated state is achieved by performing one or several heavy sets with two to three repetitions in the same exercise as in the subsequent set to failure.

The basic method comprises the following steps: 1) a warm-up set, with 10-15 repetitions at 30% of 1 RM, 2) a “tuning” pre-load set, with 2-3 repetitions at 90-95%, and 3) a loading set performed not earlier than 4 minutes and no later than 10-12 minutes after the second set, with submaximum load at 80-90% of 1 RM to failure until no more repetitions can be made. In regards to the training to failure, the approach to the tuning and loading sets should be different. The intensity of the exercises correlates with how hard it is perceived by a trainee on the basis of the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale. In this regard, the tuning set should not be perceived as training to failure.

The purpose of the first warm-up set is to bring the working muscles to higher performance state, to raise the temperature of the muscles, to enhance the blood flow, and to delay metabolic fatigue in the subsequent heavy sets. The purpose of the second tuning set is to prepare the muscle for heavy load and to elicit PAP. The short-term muscle memory achieved by this set and lasting at least up to 10-12 minutes represents a combination of neuromuscular activation, increased myosin light-chain phosphorylation, and an acute effect on proprioceptors, which results in enhancement of the subsequent anaerobic muscular activity. The third loading set is performed not earlier than 4 minutes after the tuning set to dissipate short-term fatigue and no later than 10-12 minutes to utilize PAP. This phenomenon is known to occur primarily in thicker, fast-twitch muscle fibers of type II, which are involved in heavy anaerobic resistance exercises. This set is performed with a submaximum weight of at least of 80% of 1 RM to failure, i.e. until no more repetitions can be made. The structure of the sets and repetitions pattern is aimed at maximizing PAP and minimizing fatigue.

Another object of the invention is utilization of different exercise modes, such as eccentric, explosive, isometric, and mixed. Both strength of the muscles and physiological responses to the exercises in these modes differ and provide additional benefits to promote muscle growth.

One other object of the invention is a fitness method that can be used with a variety of free weights and machines. Short duration of the performance of the exercises and wide variability of applications provide additional benefits in overcoming known negative effects from resistance training, which include release of stress hormones, muscle damage, and overtraining.

Advantages of the present invention include recognition of effectiveness of high intensity training as a powerful stimulus to build muscle mass and short-term enhanced muscle performance after heavy preload. Another advantage is that the present invention can be used in any age group, for any level of training, and in either gender. Yet another advantage is acute neuromuscular and anabolic hormonal activation along with minimization of muscle damage due to increased intensity along with shortening the duration of the application of working load. The inventive method predominantly targets type II muscle fibers, which represent the largest component of human musculature and lean body mass that can be altered via physical exercises.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Muscle growth is related to acute neuromuscular and hormonal changes induced by stress from the training. The most effective training methods for muscle building are believed to be anaerobic resistance exercises. General resistance training methods to develop muscle mass usually include manipulations with sets, number of repetitions, rest intervals, and working loads.

The presented invention constitutes an optimized anaerobic regime for achieving maximum intensity to stimulate muscle growth. The name of the inventive method is derived from Greek words “mnêmôn”—memory and “tonos”—tension related to muscle. In the inventive method, maximum training intensity is achieved in a set to failure with submaximum load, over 80% of one repetition maximum (1 RM), after preconditioning, which brings the working muscles in the potentiated state. The potentiated state prior to the loading set is achieved by performing, in the same exercise, one or several sets of two-three repetitions with heavy loads at 90-95% of 1 RM. This phenomenon of short-term muscle enhancement has been well documented in recent years and is known as postactivation potentiation (PAP).

The basic training method set forth in this invention is shown in FIG. 1 and comprises the following steps: 1) a warm-up set, with 10-15 repetitions at 30% of 1 RM, 2) a “tuning” pre-load set, with 2-3 repetitions at 90-95% of 1 RM, and 3) a loading set performed not earlier than 4 minutes and no later than 10-12 minutes after the tuning set, with submaximum load (over 80% of 1 RM) to failure to achieve the maximum number of repetitions until no more repetitions can be made.

Among many possible variables, successful increase in mass and size of muscles (hypertrophy) requires adequate training stimulus, availability of nutrients, such as amino acids, and hormones. Muscles adapt to physical stress from resistance training by a variety of changing parameters including both structural and functional properties. Muscle fibers not only possess different histochemical, biochemical, morphological, and physiologic characteristics but also respond differently to applied training stimulus.

Several fiber types classification systems have been proposed in recent years. The most commonly used in fitness and exercise is the division into types I, IIA, and IIB. Fibers type I (red) are slow-twitch, they are usually thinner and have larger amount of myoglobin and capillary content due to their higher oxidative capacity. These fibers are predominantly involved in endurance low intensity and prolonged exercises. Fibers type II (white) are fast-twitch, they are thicker and stronger. Myosin ATPase hydrolysis rates in human muscle for fibers of type II are 2 to 3 times greater than those of type I. These fibers are predominantly involved in strength, power, and explosive exercises. They exhibit less endurance but are more susceptible to hypertrophy in resistance training. Muscle fibers can convert from one type to another, usually in the direction from 1 to II. With aging, muscle atrophy affects both fiber types but type II fibers are affected to a greater extend, which results in slower contractile properties of the muscles of older people. Thicker and more susceptible for hypertrophy fast-twitch muscle fibers represent a large component of lean body mass, which can be altered using proper dietary and training approaches. The primary target of the inventive fitness method is the development of fast-twitch muscle fibers using high intensity training protocols.

In resistance training, critical stimulus to turn on protein synthesis for the muscle hypertrophy is believed to rely on the magnitude of the applied stress. Enhancing the acute quality of the resistance training stimulus has been extensively investigated. To achieve muscle growth, two major general resistance training approaches can be divided into volume-based and intensity-based. Both approaches proved their effectiveness both in scientific research investigations and in bodybuilding practices used by elite athletes.

Resistance training volume is usually defined as a summation of the working load based on number of sets, repetitions, and the amount of weight lifted. While increase in volume and/or intensity positively correlates with stimulation of muscle growth, such parameters as training monotony and strain indicate deterioration of effectiveness of training processes. These phenomena are mostly common in volume-based training approaches.

Most of bodybuilding multi-set training sessions are monotonous, and overtraining is a common problem. Although research shows that multiple sets have some advantages in providing higher training volumes associated with such parameters as increased capillarization and connective tissue development and greater release of anabolic hormones, traditional high volume approach has its drawbacks.

On average, volume-based training practiced by bodybuilders leads to abnormally high percentage of slow-twitch fibers and thinner muscle fibers as compared to other strength sports. Longer high volume training sessions can also lead to excessive release of catabolic hormones, such as cortisol, monotony, and strain leading to muscle damage and overtraining.

Resistance training intensity is a measure of how hard the exercises is perceived by an exerciser. Intensity of resistance training can be defined as the magnitude of the load used or the rate of work performed. Relative training intensity is often measured as the percentage of the 1 RM used in an exercise. These values can be easily measured for most exercises and represent a very useful measurement tool. Currently, the approach of measuring training intensity as rating of perceived exertion (RPE), a fifteen-category scale on the basis of how hard the exercise was perceived by an athlete, is widely accepted. It has been extensively investigated and has been shown to correlate well with intensity of effort. RPE has also been shown to be related to the percentage of 1 RM.

It has been shown that training protocols with heavier loads even with fewer number of repetitions performed produced higher RPE measurements. Numerous studies have shown that exercise intensity influences RPE to a greater extend as compared to the training volume. When the training volume is held constant, performing few repetitions with heavier weights provide greater gains in strength, while perceived as being more difficult as compared to using lighter weights for more repetitions.

Numerous high-intensity resistance exercise methods have been developed by bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. Usually higher intensity is achieved using the following methods: 1. training to failure, 2. reducing rest periods, 3. changing speed of performing exercises, 4. recruitment of different fiber types, 5. combination of two or more exercises for the same muscle group. While training to concentric failure is believed to provide the highest stimulus for muscle adaptation and growth, achieving training to failure in every set in a multi-set training session is almost impossible due to rapid accumulation of lactic acid and slow recovery times.

Some examples of methods to increase training intensity in one set include the following: 1. high intensity training (performing one set with very low volume and very high intensity to failure until no more repetition can be made), 2. “forced reps,” (performing a set to failure, after which additional two or three reps are made with the help of a spotter), 3. negative repetitions (eccentric repetitions after the concentric movements cannot be made in a set), 4. “partial reps” (performing partial movements along with full movements in the same set), 0.5.drop-set training (performing a set with relatively heavy weight, for example, in 10 reps until no more repetition can be made, and immediately decreasing the weight to perform several more repetitions).

Other methods to increase training intensity are usually based on reducing rest periods between the sets and exercises (Nubret pro-set method, rest rundowns, quality training), combining different exercises (power circuit training, supersets, compound sets, and their variations), changing speed of performing exercises (explosive movements, superslow training), and recruiting different fiber types in the same exercise (tri-sets with different loads and number of repetitions, finish pump method, breakdowns, variety of pyramids, heavy and light method). Recruitment of different muscle fiber types is based on the premises that heavy loads of small number repetitions develop strength and predominantly stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibers, moderate loads develop muscle mass and work predominantly stimulate fast-twitch and intermediate muscle fibers, and low intensity loads with large number of repetitions develop endurance and predominantly stimulate slow-twitch muscle fibers.

Short-term high intensity exercises with heavy loads have been shown not only to rate high on the RPE scale but also to cause dramatic neuromuscular and hormonal responses leading to muscle growth. High exercise intensities have been shown to lead to acute increase in blood concentrations in anabolic hormones, such as growth hormone (GH), IGF-1, testosterone (T) in men and women, and estradiol in women, catabolic hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, and signaling agents, such as beta-endorphin and leptin. Increase in serum GH and T concentrations correlates with stress caused by heavy resistance exercise, which is believed to be a major stimulus to produce muscle fiber hypertrophy.

Negative by-products of training, such as concentrations of catabolic hormone cortisol and lactate are usually also higher after heavy resistance exercises. The concentrations of cortisol and lactate are dose-dependent and increase with increased duration of performing exercise. Hormonal responses to high-intensity resistance exercises both in men and women are strong and of the same relative magnitude over a wide age ranges, up to 69 years. Although high-intensity training is shown to induce highest neuromuscular and hormonal changes leading to muscle hypertrophy as compared to other training regimes, it is also characterized by greater fatigue and slower recovery due to the higher demands to the body systems.

Development of methods to enhance muscle performance in training to failure may not only emphasize the advantages of the high-intensity approach but also to compensate for smaller training volume by increasing the number of movements in the exercise. For example, it has been shown that using forced reps after one set to failure significantly increases release of GH.

Most of the commonly used bodybuilding methods are based on the concept that the working muscles are progressively fatigued during the performance of exercises. They usually involve manipulation with loads and number of repetitions to activate different muscle fibers, combination of exercises to impose stress on muscles at different angles, and to reduce rest periods, which are typically 1-3 minutes or less. None of these methods considers utilization of short-term potentiated state of muscles, in which force-generating capacity of muscle fibers, especially of type II, can be significantly enhanced.

Determination of 1 RM

Prior to performing the exercises using the inventive method, the 1 RM's in these exercises should be determined, as the intensities of the exercises in are measured relative to these values. Number of repetitions with a certain load is related to the strength of the working muscle groups and is dependent on 1 RM. In this regard, conditioning of the working muscles to a higher performance level should result in a larger number of repetitions, especially in heavy resistance exercises involving primarily type II fibers.

The dependence of number of maximum repetitions on the load as a percentage of 1 RM has been established, and several equations including linear and non-linear models have been reported. Recent research using bench press and plate-loaded leg press training protocols demonstrated applicability of regression equations to predict 1 RM and to quantify the decrease in the load lifted from 1 to 5, 10, and 20 maximum repetitions. The best correlation was shown between 1 RM and 5 RM. Individual differences related to training status, gender, ethnicity, age, etc. are reflected in the absolute value of 1 RM, while the relationship between the number of repetitions and the percentage of 1 RM is fairly consistent.

Light Warm-up Set

The first light dynamic warm-up set should be performed with weights of about 30% of 1 RM for 10-15 repetitions in the same exercise as the subsequent heavy exercises.

The purpose of the first warm-up set is to elevate muscle temperature and compliance, enhance motor unit excitability and neuromuscular function, increase efficiency of physiological responses, and to delay fatigue in subsequent heavy exercises. In order to avoid injuries in heavy resistance training, a variety of warm-up protocols are usually used ranging from stretching to dynamic concentric resistance exercises. Prior to exercise under anaerobic conditions, mild warm-up exercises at 30% intensities have been shown to provide positive preparatory metabolic changes in the muscles, while inhibiting the development of intracellular acidosis during subsequent intense exercise.

The warm-up protocol should avoid stretching, which has been shown to have an acute detrimental effect on subsequent force generation due to decreased motor unit activation. Neither should the warm-up protocol be very intense, so that the lactic acid accumulation and development of short-term neuromuscular fatigue prior to heavy resistance exercises be avoided.

Tuning Set

The purpose of the tuning set is to prepare the muscles for heavy load and elicit PAP. It is achieved by performing two-three repetitions with submaximal loads (90-95% of 1 RM).

PAP has been investigated in regards to achieving enhanced muscular performance in power sports activities mostly requiring explosive strength, such as jumping, throws, etc. However, it has never been investigated or used to enhance higher muscular capabilities to promote muscle growth. The mechanism of PAP is believed to be a complex of physiological changes after the heavy preload, which include the following: 1. effective interaction between the actin and myosin filaments as a result of myosin light-chain phosphorylation; 2. contribution to enhanced performance due to an elevation in neural excitability; 3. acute effect on proprioceptors such as the muscle spindles, which may be stimulated leading to increased performance potential.

The magnitude of PAP depends on the characteristics of the muscle, such as the methods and conditions under which it is evoked and muscle fiber type. PAP occurs only after heavy submaximal preloads. It has been also shown that activation of type muscle fibers occurs not only after multiple but also after single sets of heavy preloading. The effect of PAP after heavy preloading is believed to be the strongest right after heavy resistance warm-up and was shown to last at least 8.7+/−3.6 minutes after the preload. In the first minutes after the prelaod, it is diminished by opposing processes, such as neuromuscular and metabolic fatigue. Excessive warm-up protocols with high number of repetitions, multiple sets, and short rest intervals cause fatigue and impede PAP. In this regard, enhancement of performance is best represented after 4-12 minutes after the preload, while fatigue dissipates and PAP is still present.

Individual-specific variables such as training status and fiber-type composition determine the magnitude of PAP. It has been shown that similar to the muscles of small mammals, human muscles with shorter twitch contraction times and a higher percentage of type II fibers exhibit greater PAP Along with successful experiments, failures have also been reported mostly due to predominance of fatigue after the preload, insufficient activation loads or rest periods, or excessive warm-up protocols.

In sum, performance can be significantly enhanced for a short period of time after submaximum resistance preload, with the level of potentiation exceeding the amount of fatigue. This phenomenon occurs primarily in fast-twitch type II fibers in human muscle and can last for at least 10-12 minutes.

Loading Set

The loading set is performed after the tuning set not earlier than 4 minutes to dissipate short-term fatigue and no later than 10-12 minutes to utilize PAP. The loading set should be performed with submaximal intensities at 80-90% of 1 RM. The repetitions in the loading set should be maximal to failure until no more repetitions can be made.

In the case of short-term muscle enhancement, with phosphorylation of myosin, motor neuron activation, and activation of proprioceptors, acute increase in strength can lead to larger numbers of submaximal repetitions in the loading set. This, in turn, will provide a strong training intensity of which will exceed intensities commonly experienced by the muscles. In the loading set, an exerciser should set target number of repetitions above the average established. Reference values for the number of repetitions in this set may be related to the known average numbers of repetitions for a certain percentage of 1 RM.

These relationships are established for muscles in normal not acutely altered state. The number of repetitions after the preload should aim to exceed the average established number of repetitions for certain intensities as a percentage of 1 RM in unaltered condition, which are 8 (80%), 7 (82.5%), 6 (85%), 5 (87.5%), or 4 (90%).

Intensity of the exercises correlates with how hard it is perceived by an exerciser (the RPE scale). In this regard, the approach to the tuning and loading sets should be different. The first tuning set is designed only to potentiate the muscles. The first set should not be perceived as a failure and should be performed with 90-95% of 1 RM with two or three repetitions. Even if these 2 or 3 reps are the maximum, no additional partial movements or attempts should be made. This will stimulate muscles and elicit PAP. The loading set should be performed to failure providing maximum intensity for stimulation of muscle development.

One of the advantages of application of PAP is that the effect lasts long enough to perform more than just one stimulating preload. The modifications can be implemented in multiple preloading routines, in which two or more sets of the same or different loads are performed several minutes prior to the loading set. In double preload methods, two tuning sets 1-3 minutes apart can be performed prior to the loading set. The time interval between the second tuning set and the loading set should be 4-12 minutes. These two or more preload tuning sets may target the same or different muscle groups. The loading set for a certain muscle group should be performed just once in a training session, as several full sets to failure for the same muscle group does not seem to be effectively implemented. Correspondingly, using two preloading sets for different muscles groups may be followed by two loading sets for these muscle groups.

FIG. 2 shows the inventive method with double preload of equal intensities. FIG. 3 shows the inventive method with double ascending preload consisting of two sets of increasing intensities. FIG. 4 shows the inventive method with double descending preload consisting of two sets of decreasing intensities.

Intensity of the exercise can be increased further using techniques proven effective in other methods. The exercises may combine dynamic concentric and eccentric, partial reps, forced reps, isometric, and explosive modes.

In concentric mode, the intensity of the exercise can be further increased by using partial reps and their modifications or forced reps in the loading set to failure.

Partial reps have several advantages. They have considerable potential of utilization of super maximal loads lifted though the strongest range of motion, which in most common exercises is in the upper portion of the movement. In this shorter range of motion, the lifted weights may exceed the 1 RM for the full range. Effectiveness of super maximal loads and partial range-of-motion training to build muscle strength and size has been proven both in theory and practice and was implemented in the accentuation principle used by Soviet weightlifters. This approach can be incorporated in the tuning set of the inventive method.

The partial reps can be used not only to increase the weight in the preloading sets but also to increase the magnitude of the training stimulus in the loading set. Bodybuilding practices suggest several modes of application of partial reps, such as finishing the set with partial reps, when no more full range reps can be made (“burns”) or performance of partial reps along with the full range movements (“21 s”).

Another technique, which can be used in increasing the working load in the loading set to maximum, is forced reps, in which the repetitions after the concentric failure are made with the help of a partner. Recent research indicates that application of forced reps lead to significant increase in GH release, which brings this one-set technique on par with the multi-set approach in terms of activation of hormonal system.

The inventive method can be applied in eccentric mode (“negatives”). Eccentric exercises, which predominantly recruit type II muscle fibers, have been used to develop both strength and muscle size. It is well established that in eccentric mode the muscle strength is 20-60% greater as compared to concentric mode. This opens possibilities for higher muscle stimulation both in tuning and in loading sets.

In eccentric exercises, the weight is lifted with an outside help. After that the muscles are working against gravity, while the weight is lowered. Although the stress received by the muscles in this type of training exceeds the stress in similar concentric exercises due to a greater strength in eccentric movements, the negative effects, such as muscle damage, decrease in the range of motion, swelling, and muscle soreness are usually also associated with it. Muscle damage in eccentric exercises depends on training volume, as both high and low intensity training protocols with equal volumes lead to the same degree of muscle damage. In this regard, larger magnitude of the stimulus for muscle growth in high intensity training has an advantage over the higher volume training routine due to smaller degree of muscle damage and negative effects associated with it.

The inventive method can be applied in isometric mode. The isometric component of exercise can be used both in preload and in loading sets. Training regimen using isometric contractions include either applying force against an immovable object, such as a wall or a weight significantly exceeding 1 RM, or performing static contractions for a certain period of time, such as holding a dumbbell. To control the isometric load, methods similar to those described by Wiley in the U.S. Pat. No. 5,398,696 can be also used.

The inventive method can be applied in explosive mode. Explosive exercises have been used in published studies both to elicit and to measure PAP in complex training protocols. In the inventive method, both tuning and loading portions of the exercise can be performed in explosive movements. Explosive movements recruit motor units to a greater extend as compared to common concentric movements. It can have an advantage, as in explosive movements smaller weights can be used to effectively overload the working muscles.

The inventive method can be applied in mixed mode, in which combinations of the above-mentioned modes can be utilized, for example, an eccentric preload and concentric loading set or isometric preload and concentric loading set.

The inventive method is convenient to perform, as it can be used in any training facility equipped with commonly used free weights and machines and in a variety of modes of muscular contraction, such as concentric, eccentric, explosive, isometric, and mixed.

A wide variety of exercises and training routines are within the bounds of the invention. The implementation of the method can be illustrated through the following examples.

EXAMPLE 1

Concentric Mode

Application of this mode will be illustrated with the cable pushdown exercise for developing triceps brachii. Determination of 1 RM should be performed prior to the implementation of the exercise. The exercise patterns starts with a light warm-up protocol consisting of 10-15 repetitions at 30% of 1 RM. After about 1-3 minutes, a heavy preload with 2-3 repetitions at 90-95% should be performed. Four to twelve minutes later, a loading set at 80-90% of 1 RM should be performed with maximum number of repetitions until no more repetitions can be made. Further stimulation of working muscles can be achieved in forced reps, in which after the concentric failure the weight is moved through the range with a help of a partner.

EXAMPLE 2

Eccentric Mode

Application of this mode will be illustrated with dumbbell curls exercise for developing biceps brachii The exercise patterns starts with a light warm-up protocol consisting of 10-15 concentric repetitions at 30% of 1 RM. After about 1-3 minutes, a heavy preload with 2-3 repetitions with the weight exceeding 1 RM by 20-60% should be performed in eccentric mode. The exercise can be performed in alternate manner for each hand. The lifting of the dumbbell can be achieved with a help of a partner or using another hand. Four to twelve minutes later, a loading set with a lighter weight should be performed also in eccentric mode with maximum number of repetitions until no more repetitions can be made.

EXAMPLE 3

Partial Repetitions

Application of this mode will be illustrated with bench press exercise for developing pectorals major. The exercise patterns starts with a light warm-up protocol consisting of 10-15 concentric repetitions at 30% of 1 RM. After about 1-3 minutes, a heavy preload with 2-3 repetitions with the weight about 1 RM should be performed in partial reps mode. These movements should be performed in the upper portions of the range, with the amplitude of about 2-5 inches. Four to twelve minutes later, a loading set with a lighter weight should be performed also in partial mode with maximum number of repetitions until no more repetitions can be made.

EXAMPLE 4

Explosive Mode

Application of this mode will be illustrated with cable pulldown exercise for developing latissimus dorsi. The exercise patterns starts with a light warm-up protocol consisting of 10-15 concentric repetitions at 30% of 1 RM. After about 1-3 minutes, a heavy preload with 2-3 repetitions at about 90% of 1 RM should be performed in explosive mode. Four to twelve minutes later, a loading set with a lighter weight should be performed also in explosive mode with maximum number of repetitions until no more repetitions can be made.

EXAMPLE 5

Isometric Mode

Application of this mode will be illustrated with dumbbell front raise exercise for developing anterior deltoid. Determine the amount of weight, which can be held in an extended arm in front of the body at the shoulder level for 5 seconds. The exercise patterns starts with a light warm-up protocol consisting of 10-15 concentric repetitions at 30% of 1 RM. After about 1-3 minutes, hold the weight of 90-95% of the maximum determined for several seconds but not to a failure. Repeat this exercise alternately with each hand. Reduce the weight of the dumbbell by 5-15%. Repeat the exercise 4-12 minutes later trying to hold the dumbbell as long as possible.

EXAMPLE 6

Mixed Mode

All of the above-mentioned modes can be combined in complex pairs. Application of this mode will be illustrated in eccentric-concentric pair with dumbbell curls exercise for developing biceps brachii. The exercise patterns starts with a light warm-up protocol consisting of 10-15 concentric repetitions at 30% of 1 RM. After about 1-3 minutes, a heavy preload with 2-3 repetitions exceeding 1 RM by 20-60% should be performed in eccentric mode. The exercise can be performed in alternate manner for each hand. The lifting of the dumbbell can be achieved with a help of a partner or using another hand. Four to twelve minutes later, a loading set with a weight of 80-90% of 1 RM should be performed in concentric mode with maximum number of repetitions until no more repetitions can be made.

The inventive fitness method does not require any special devices and can be practiced using any standard equipment in the gyms or at home. High intensity training requires long periods of recovery due to increased demands to the neuromuscular system. Before repeating the same training sessions several days of recovery may be needed. The inventive method is designed not to replace but to complement the existing resistance training methods, as it provides additional ways to stimulate muscle growth and to overcome stagnant points in training process. As in any training program, the results are individual, and the body eventually accommodates to the applied stress. Modifications and changes of the training process are easy to implement, which makes this method a valuable tool through a variety of incorporation of it into the training sessions, certain exercises, or periodization cycles.

While various changes and modifications in the method can be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention, it should be understood that the examples described in the invention shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in limiting sense.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 graphically displays the basic inventive method.

FIG. 2 graphically displays the inventive method with double preload of equal intensities

FIG. 3 graphically displays the inventive method with double ascending preload consisting of two sets of increasing intensities

FIG. 4 graphically displays the inventive method with double descending preload consisting of two sets of decreasing intensities.