PROGRESSION of overload

The Science of Strength:


The Science of Strength

As easy as 1 – 2 – 3

1. Progression: Making the workout or exercise more challenging over time. This could be adding weight to strength exercises, or running faster or longer with cardiovascular training. Either way if you are not challenging your body no improvement will happen.


2. Overload: Is when the body is challenged through intense exercise and the muscles are worked past their current capacities. This training “environment” is what sets the scene for improvement.


3. Recovery: After the muscles have been overloaded they need time to adapt and get stronger. This process takes between 48* - 96 hours +.

So the science of getting stronger is as follows:


1. Train as hard as you can on each exercise to make sure overload takes place.


2. Allow the body to rest and recover. You can’t rush improvement.


3. When you return to the weight room try to add weight or repetitions to each exercise.

The science of getting stronger is easy to understand. It is the application that is challenging. There are no secret routines or special exercises, just simple things that need to be done a certain way, for an extended period of time.

Train Hard!


(*minimum recovery period for athletes with optimal recovery ability).

Ten Things we know about STRENGTH TRAINING

This week’s podcast features an age old debate: MACHINES VS FREE WEIGHTS. Check below for 10 things we know after years and years of experience...


1. For muscle to grow and become stronger, it must be exposed to an overload stress. INTENSITY of effort is the key.


2. Muscle will adapt to the stress if given enough time to recover. Adequate RECOVERY time between workouts is the key.


3. For further adaptation (improvement), greater overload stresses must be applied. PROGRESSION of overload is the key.


4. To improve further, or maintain current ability, the overload stress must occur regularly. CONSISTENCY in training is the key.

5. Creating high tension in the muscle fibers and working to momentary muscular failure involves the greatest amount of relative muscle tissue. Effort (working to fatigue) and using good form (controlled movement with no bouncing or jerking) are important here. If in doubt, slow it down and aim for maximum repetitions (safely).


6. Muscle overload can be applied with a variety of tools: barbells, dumbbells, machines, manually applied resistance, body weight, sand bags, etc. Anything that can create high tension in the muscles can be used.

7. A variety of exercise prescriptions can be used provided muscle overload occurs, such as heavy resistances / few repetitions, lighter resistances / more repetitions, minimal exercise bouts (i.e., 1 to 3 sets per muscle group) and / or varied rest time between sets and exercises (i.e., 30 seconds to 3:00+).

8. No matter the speed of movement used, muscle fibers are recruited in a fixed order: slow twitch / type 1 --> intermediate / type 2 --> fast twitch / type 2A --> fast twitch / type 2B & 2C. Generally speaking, if the demand is low, the slow/type 1 fibers are called upon. As the demand for EFFORT increases, the higher threshold, fast / type 2 fibers are called upon.

9. There is no skill transfer from a weight room exercise to a totally different athletic skill done in competition. The principle of specificity clearly states that for a positive transfer to occur, exactness in a number of factors must be present. The fact is, no weight room exercise exactly replicates any sport skill (other than the sports of weightlifting and power lifting). That is why one should practice his / her sport skills separately, then generally improve total-body weight room strength.


10. Although anyone can alter their strength, muscle size and body composition via strength training, their genetic endowment effects the magnitude of potential gains in the weight room. Those blessed with a high percentage of the slow / type 1 muscle fibers may not develop large muscles or great strength. Likewise, those who more easily get bigger and super-strong most likely possess a greater volume of the larger, more powerful type 2 fibers. Also, longer arms / legs and unfavorable muscle origins and insertions hinder great strength demonstration. Ultra-strong humans – male or female – usually have exceptional body leverages to allow for this.

TAKU’s NOTE: The Machine Vs Free Weight argument is likely to rage on for many years to come. There is a lot of great information out there, but always more research to be done. Both methods of resistance training, provide significant benefits if performed appropriately. Any difference in strength improvement is mainly associated to a difference in the intensity adopted during the training.

At T.N.T. we feel the ideal solution is to learn to use as many tools as possible. No specific modality of workout has  demonstrated absolute overall superiority: free weights, elastic bands, and resistance machines should be considered complementary methods of training, since each of them have specific benefits.