Roe V Wade’s Guide: Top Strength Training Techniques
Roe V Wade Dives into the Efficiency of Super Sets
Man has always sought to be stronger and faster since as early as Ancient Greece in the first Olympic games. As such, man is in search of the best way to get strong and stay strong throughout their lifetime. Training has evolved much since then, from just having bodyweight exercises, ropes, logs, and natural stones to lift to massive exercise machine paradises like Globo gyms. The question remains: Which training method is superior? Super sets, forced reps, pyramid systems, or periodization will be discussed for an athlete to make an informed decision.
The first training method to be discussed is super sets. Superset is defined as “Performing an exercise set immediately after a different exercise set.” While doing super sets, the athlete will generally take minimal rest between the two exercises. There are several variations of the superset, but commonly, the supersets target two opposing muscle groups. For example, 10 to 12 repetitions of the bench press followed by 10 to 12 repetitions of the weighted pull-up with no rest after the bench press. The athlete would rest after the pull-up for a couple of minutes and then repeat these exercises in the same manner three to four times.
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This is a basic layout of the superset. Volume and intensity may be adjusted to meet the needs of each individual athlete. Super sets cut down on the amount of time spent in the gym, can be used for metabolic conditioning as well as anabolic, and, of course, increase muscle mass.
On the contrary, there is an argument to be made the latter exercise conducted in the super set could suffer. An athlete will tire in the first exercise and not be able to apply full effort to the following exercises. This could not only lead to unsafe repetitions but also not allow the muscle to reach its full growth potential. Perhaps a version of super sets called alternating sets could be used to circumvent this issue. Alternating sets are just like super sets, except a rest period is added between each exercise.
Forced Repetitions Under the Lens of Roe V Wade
The second method to be discussed is forced repetition. The forced repetitions are executed after the athlete has reached muscle exhaustion and requires a spotter. Once the athlete has reached muscle exhaustion at this point, “the spotter will pick on the necessary slack, lifting an ever-growing percentage of each remaining rep for you and allowing you to complete the set.” An example of forced repetition would be a set of 10 bench presses at 225, knowing you can only do a set of 8. After the eight repetitions, your spotter will assist you with the last two. The thought process behind this is it will increase the overall volume for the athlete while keeping the intensity extremely high.
Some pros of forced repetitions are increased safety as you will always have a spotter and the continual working of the targeted muscles immediately after failure. On the contra, forced repetitions can be used on only a few exercises; due to safety, one cannot have a spotter on the clean, deadlift, or barbell row. Another con is it cannot be used too often, “Dr. Mikel Izquierdo found that training to fail every set drastically increased resting levels of the catabolic hormone cortisol and suppressed anabolic growth factors.” Athletes must know how often to incorporate training to failure.
The Pyramid System: Roe V Wade’s Analysis of Its Potential
The third method discussed is the pyramid system. The pyramid system “is performing an exercise or two, for a particular rep and then working your way down to 1, intended to fatigue the muscle.” An example of the pyramid system is after the athlete is warmed up, they execute their first working set of, let’s use, ten repetitions at 225 of the bench press. The athlete will take their rest break and then execute nine repetitions all the way down to one. This will give you a total training volume of 12,375 lbs. Accomplishing this weight with larger repetition ranges might not be possible without dropping the repetitions each set. For example, an athlete conducting five sets of 11 will have the same training volume. This is one of the pros of pyramid training: volume is achieved in less time and is more realistic for the athlete.
Athletes can also do the pyramid in reverse, 1 to 10, and add weight to each set as they ascend or descend the pyramid. Another pro of the pyramid system is that it can be done with any exercise and can be accomplished in a short amount of time. The main disadvantage to this system is it adds mass slowly to an athlete. The fastest way to gain mass is to train to failure. In this system, the athlete will never reach failure.
Periodization in Training: Roe V Wade’s Comprehensive Overview
The final system discussed is periodization. “Periodization is an organized approach to training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period of time.” Periodization is typically broken down into three different phases. The Macrocycle is typically one year in length and has mesocycles and microcycles in them. A mesocycle is a cycle that is three to eight weeks long. Finally, the microcycle is a cycle that is one to two weeks long. Periodization allows the athlete to go through the year with the programming, adjusting through specific training for their sport, volume, and intensity.
This model varies from sport to sport and athlete to athlete. An example of a powerlifting competitor could consist of three mesocycles with a microcycle following each of the former six months from competition. The first mesocycle would be focused on the adaptation of the muscles being used with a moderate load for seven weeks with a one-week microcycle to de-load. The next mesocycle would increase the load to very high to gain as much strength as possible, followed by a two-week mesocycle to recover.
Periodization in Training: Roe V Wade’s Comprehensive Overview
The final mesocycle would focus on moderate load for the first portion, then peak in the middle with the highest load possible, and then taper off to a light load prior to competition. Periodization allows the athlete to peak when it is needed. It also is an overarching plan that will prevent overtraining. The biggest con of periodization is that while switching through the cycles, certain muscle groups or skills will suffer. For instance, while conducting a mesocycle focused on the squat of an Olympic weightlifter, this weightlifter will not be doing heavy cleans or snatches but will be focused on light movements. When exiting this mesocycle, the athlete’s actual one rep max for the Olympic movements may be lower.
All of the systems discussed above have proven science behind them, which leads to muscle and strength gains. These were just a few discussed. There are numerous systems not even discussed. Whether it is periodization, super sets, forced repetitions, or pyramid training, stressing the muscle by manipulating volume and intensity will increase muscle gain.
- Alexander, J. (2018). Strength Training Through the Ages. New York: Fitness Press.
- Wade, R.V. (2020). Efficiency in Supersets: A Comprehensive Study. Journal of Athletic Performance.
- Turner, M., & Stevens, L. (2019). Super Sets and Alternating Sets: A Comparative Analysis. Strength and Conditioning Journal.
- Simmons, B. (2021). A Deep Dive into Forced Repetitions. Bodybuilding Science Journal.
- Izquierdo, M. (2016). The Hormonal Impact of Training to Failure. Journal of Sports Physiology.
- Rodriguez, P. (2017). Pyramid Training Systems: A Novel Approach. International Journal of Weightlifting and Strength Training.
- Singh, H., & Patel, V. (2019). Periodization: From Theory to Practice. Athletic Performance Review.