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Old 04-13-2009, 10:57 AM   #51
El Puma
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Default Re: El Puma's strength conditioning thread

A different scenario is used in strength training. Strength training becomes a short-term, anaerobic activity because significant resistance is used and a high intensity of effort is required. Therefore, although Type 1 MUs are initially recruited when lifting any resistance, the Type 2 MUs must be recruited due to the higher demand that is created by proper strength training.

The Type 2 MUs then become the critical motor unit type (first Type 2A, and, if needed, Type 2B) to successfully complete an exercise set.

Since, however, Type 2A and Type 2B MUs have less endurance capacity and fatigue at a greater rate than Type 1 MUs, they cannot contract for a long period of time. Type 1 MUs alone cannot meet the demands of the exercise set, and so it must be terminated.
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In short, you cannot lift a significant amount of resistance for a high number of repetitions or for a long period of time.

Proper strength training, therefore, boils down to targeting and overloading the Type 2 MUs, especially Type 2B. To recruit, fatigue and overload the higher-threshold, greater force-generating Type 2B MUs, it requires the athlete to apply significant resistance, maximum muscular tension, and maximum effort.

A properly performed exercise set is, therefore, one that:

1. Is performed with a significant tension-producing resistance.

2. Is lifted with a deliberately controlled movement speed.

3. Is taken to the point of momentary muscular fatigue to recruit, exhaust, and overload a maximum number of MUs, especially Type 2B.

Implications

For the Traditional Group:

A key distinction of the traditional group is its use of Olympic lifts and their variations. A high level of momentum is often exhibited in these lifts, which can reduce the muscular tension and the total muscle involvement -- increasing the potential for muscle or joint trauma.

Most traditional trainers do, however, employ slower-moving exercises and prescriptions in their training regimens that do recruit a greater number of MUs in a safer manner.

Others in the traditional group do not advocate nor prescribe exercise sets being taken to momentary muscle fatigue. This can limit the number of MUs recruited in an exercise set and decrease the maximum potential overload. For the Non-Traditional Group:

Most non-traditional trainers base their exercise programs on a slower, more controlled speed and work each set to momentary muscular fatigue. The cornerstone of their program is maximum unit recruitment with a high-intensity effort over a full range of joint motion.

This optimizes the recruitment of the Type 2A and Type 2B MUs needed for increased power potential.

Minimizing the momentum and accelerative forces will additionally reduce the potential for muscle and/or joint trauma. Without question, this is a valid basis for establishing a non-traditional program.
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