ARTICLE: Paper Proves How We Get Swole—Or Not



Pause Clean And Jerk 3-3-3-3-3-3
Use the heaviest weight you can for each set. Rest as needed between sets.


Every 1 min for 16 mins, alternating between:
8 Power Cleans, 185/125 lbs
15 Toes-to-bars

5-8 Power Cleans, 185#/125#
10-15 Toes-to-Bar

Competition: 165/110#
Performance: 115-135/75-95# Toes as high as possible
Fitness: Find Weight Knee Raises


Reviewed: Burd NA, West DWD, Staples AW, Atherton PJ, Baker JM, et al. Low-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young men. PLoS ONE 5(8): e12033. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012033. 2010. Available here.

For decades, people have debated which rep, set and intensity schemes produce the best degree of muscle hypertrophy—more mass—or the best gains in strength.

The discord among the bodybuilding, weightlifting, powerlifting, sporting and fitness communities has inspired millions of written words but very little progress on a consensus. The scientific community has done very little quality exploration, as critical reviews and meta-analyses consistently point out that poor replicability and poor experimental design prevent confident conclusions.

Concomitant to that debate has been the struggle to provide a working hypothesis on why the varying rep-set-load schemes used by various groups result in such varied outcomes. Poorly designed research of limited quality leaves most of us to simply conjecture on mechanisms. One of the favored conjectures has long been that different rep-set-load schemes activate muscle-protein synthetic pathways differentially along a dose-response continuum between myofibrillar proteins (active in contraction) and sarcoplasmic proteins (active in metabolism). Lower-volume training using higher intensity (low reps, high weight) is suggested to favor myofibrillar protein synthesis, and higher-volume training using lower intensity (high reps, low weight) favors sarcoplasmic protein synthesis. Those in favor and those against have debated this convention, which is generally derived from early Russian training theory. A new paper has now added some insight—or confusion—to this debate.

Read More