Question: I read your last article Grow Bigger with Heavy, Deep-Bone Muscle Activation and I don’t quite understand one point. If you use a lighter weight and do a set to muscle failure what’s the difference between that and using a heavier weight to failure as far as growth potential?
Answer: Good question. When you chose a weight that allows only a few reps, between 4 and 6, muscle failure occurs from the greater workload in a shorter length of time: intensity.
For example, if you are using 50 pounds and muscle failure occurs at 20 reps you have a workload of 1000 pounds which may be spread over 40 seconds. That’s 25 pounds/second. Increasing the load to 100 pounds and getting 8 reps is an 800 pound workload but if failure occurs in 15 seconds then the load is 53 pounds/second. More works occurs in less time.
Also, with the heavier start weight you can add a drop set into the workout. Here’s how. When you reach muscle failure, simply decrease the weight by 25%-30% and continue with more reps. You already achieved positive muscle failure with the original weight. The extended set will challenge other factors in muscle growth as well like lactic acid threshold.
The heavier style of training outlined here we refer to as Density Training.
Volume Training is used to extend the time your muscles can function optimally under stress challenges, muscle endurance, lactic acid recovery, and neural failure.
The different styles of training enable you to generate explosive power and be prepared to do it repeatedly.
Muscle failure can occur from nervous system exhaustion, lactic acid build up, or inability of the muscle fibers to contract. If you are training hard enough and reach exhaustion with either of these systems, it’s necessary to ensure your body recovers with proper rest and nutrition and adapts to be stronger. The secret to continued improvement is to stimulate not annihilate. Train hard, drink water, eat healthily and sleep so your body can grow.
God bless and keep training,