Short or long break between series?

Writing this article, I can cause a lot of confusion, so at the beginning a warning – sometimes it happens that the group selected for the study has specific predispositions, physical features, genotype, training – the results do not always have to translate into the entire population. The standard example is the use of SAA in beginner, light people – pharmacology can give spectacular results there. In advanced mode, the same cycle will produce miserable or no effects. An advanced bodybuilder, natural even, will not experience training as a challenge for a beginner. Similarly, HIIT sessions in obese people or various dietary interventions seem to be extremely effective. Everything results from proper selection of the target group. In physically inactive people, any change in diet, implementation of training or adequate supplementation has a greater or lesser impact on the level of body fat, VO2 max, strength or performance of a given strength work. 

And how is it with these breaks between the series of strength exercises?
Among the short breaks between the series, Dorian YATES was known – this was the methodology of HIT (high intensity training) – not to be confused with high intensity interval training. Dorian used an extremely low training volume, unimaginable for competitors from the 60-80 of the twentieth century. In those golden years, the bodybuilders posed a gigantic volume (eg Schwarzenegger, Columbu). In any case, it should be added that currently the majority of training plans for professionals and more ambitious amateur bodybuilders are almost saturated with the more approach, meaning better. To make matters worse, Dorian preferred very short breaks between the series (1 minute). Was he right or wrong? His figure and results say he chose the right path. And how does new knowledge come to this? 

In a study published on 29 April 2016 (James McKendry) 1- 16 men who had trained their legs at least once a week took part. They were recreationally training gentlemen. The first muscle samples were taken 60 minutes before the training, and the blood samples 210 minutes before the power session. 210 minutes before the workout, labeled phenylalanine (continuous infusion) was used to study muscle protein synthesis and metabolic signaling pathways in the next 28 hours. 

The men did the same leg training 

The rate of 1 second of the concentric phase, 1 second of the eccentric phase, without stopping. They performed all series of exercises until the collapse. 

The only difference was that one group performed the series every 5 minutes, the second every 1 minute. The men rested passively. They received 25 g of MyProtein protein (British) right after training to initiate protein synthesis in the muscles. After exercise and consumption of protein, they rested for 240 minutes. During this time, muscle samples were taken immediately after finishing the exercises and after 4 hours. The next morning after the fasting, they were given another portion of protein and muscle samples were again taken twice (24 h after finishing the training and 28 h after finishing the training). 



Comment on the experiment
On the one hand, we know that fluctuations of hormones (testosterone, growth hormone), lactic acid – caused, for example, by resistance training, intervals or other, respectively hard work – are temporary and quickly disappear. Even after the hardest work after 60-70 minutes, lactate in the muscles cease to matter. In one recent study, the removal of lactates from the blood after the maximum effort took 70 minutes. It was published on January 13, 2016. 20 participants took part in it. They performed the maximum running test until exhaustion, then rested lying on their back for 120 minutes. Blood samples were collected before and after exercise and the heart was examined. After 70 minutes from the end of work, the lactate level returned to the initial level. 2 

On the other hand, we know that only the level of growth hormone and cortisol can have some connection with hypertrophy. But this is not entirely clear, as it was tested, for example, leg exercises also in this aspect 

The aim of the study was to determine whether resistance training and associated increase in the level of anabolic hormones have an effect on muscle strength and peripheral growth. Twelve young people (age 21.8 +/- 1.2 years, BMI = 23.1 ± 0.6 kg / m2) – trained biceps for 15 weeks, on different days, under various hormonal conditions. The training sessions for the right and left hands were divided into at least 72 h intervals. In one day participants performed only isolated arm deflection, the day of Low Hormones (NH). On the other day, the participants performed an identical exercise for the biceps (second arm), after which they started to exercise the legs, to raise the amount of hormones (High Hormones = WH). On the day of high hormones, the subjects performed 5 series of 10 repetitions of leg extrusion (gantry) and 3 superseries after 12 repetitions of leg straightening on the machine and leg deflections lying down (quadriceps and two-headed thighs), with a load of 90% maximum for 10 repetitions. 

The results of leg training induced more than five times higher concentration of lactic acid (10.5 mmol) vs biceps (2 mmol). Both the level of free and total testosterone was several times higher when training WH (legs). The increase in isometric force was comparable (20 vs. 19%). The record increase per 1 rep was slightly larger for the WH group. 


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After NH training (the biceps alone) no increase in the amount of growth hormone, IGF-1 or testosterone was noted. After the WH training, there was a high increase in GH, IGF-1 and testosterone 15 and 30 minutes after the end of the WH session. The cross-section of muscles increased by 12% during NH training and by 10% in the WH group. There were no significant differences in increments. 3 

Theoretically, a favorable hormonal environment – full of growth hormone and IGF-1 should result in larger arm increments, and yet … higher increments were recorded in theoretically unfavorable conditions.
To make matters worse, we know that for the hormonal environment it matters 

For example, in the morning the level of GH is low, testosterone and cortisol dominate. In turn in the evening we deal with the reverse situation – a lot of growth hormone, little testosterone.