Build muscle quickly by activating your high-threshold motor unitsHealth Fitness
Well, you’re probably muttering to yourself right now … “What the heck are high-threshold motor units?” Well, they are your best friend if you are looking to build muscle, strength, and power quickly. Your muscle fibers work together in groups or units to perform movements. Like an Army platoon, these muscle fiber groups come together in tight formations to perform their functions. High-threshold motor units (HTMU) are the strongest muscle fiber groups in your body. They lie down expecting to be used only for the most difficult muscle tasks.
But here’s the catch … Many weightlifters and muscle building enthusiasts don’t activate these motor units properly, if at all. Going to the gym or working out at home, they rarely push themselves to the level of intensity necessary to recruit these high-threshold muscle fibers. Or, if they do involve them, they do so haphazardly without the consistency or planning necessary to develop real strength and size.
Remember … consistency and planning. In order for muscles to grow, they must be repeatedly challenged by the same training stimulus for a specific period of time until an adaptation has been made. Consistency and sticking to a long-term plan for your training is the key … Don’t jump from one training routine to another like most people do. So, make the training regimen I describe below part of your annual plan.
How To Explode Your HTMUs To Increase Your Strength And Size In The Shortest Time Possible … Lift For Several Weeks With Max Weights For All Your Multi-Joint Exercises Like Barbell Squat, Deadlift, Barbell Bench Press, Shoulder Press With bar, lat pulldown, slant bar rows, etc. The best hours for this training is to work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday or on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Make sure you don’t exercise for more than two days in a row. For this type of training, it is best to do a split between your upper and lower body.
If you split your upper and lower body, try an AM / PM split on the SAME DAY. For example, on Monday morning you could do a 30-minute upper-body routine. Then, in the late afternoon or early evening, do the lower body exercises. If you can’t fit that split into your schedule, just do 3 intense sessions a week, alternating upper and lower body sessions. Make sure to alternate between doing two upper body sessions (and 1 lower body) one week, and doing two lower body and one upper body sessions the following week. This will ensure that you are hitting your upper and lower body equally during every two week period. You can also do the above upper body and lower body split workouts on Monday (upper body), Tuesday (lower body), Wednesday (rest), Thursday (upper body), and Friday (lower body).
Loads, Sets, Reps and Rest Periods … Start with 80% of your one rep max in week 1, then use 85% of your one rep max in week 2 and finally week 3, use 90% (or more) of your one rep max. Do 4-5 sets of each lift, resting 3 minutes between sets. For this type of training you need a complete rest between sets. Regarding reps, you should do approximately 8-10 reps for 80% of your 1 rep max; 5-7 reps for 85% of your 1 rep max; and 3-5 reps with 90% + of your 1 Rep Max.
Each week, you will engage more of your high-threshold motor units as the weight increases, and your body responds by recruiting more fibers and thickening existing ones to handle the loads. In less than a week, you will notice a definite increase in strength. For example, for your third workout (Friday), the weight you used on Monday should “feel” lighter than when you lifted it on Monday.
This is the adaptive response of your body that becomes more efficient in lifting a specific weight for a specific exercise. In the next few weeks, you will see the strength increase again and your muscle mass will also increase due to your strength increases. Keep in mind that muscle mass gains lag behind strength gains. So once you have built up strength, it will take a little time for muscle mass to develop.
After this 3 week cycle, repeat everything again, except this time, use dumbbells for all your lifts except the squat. This will really challenge your high threshold fibers because they will be forced to stabilize heavy weights more than you do when using a barbell. Don’t be surprised if you hit some personal records on your big lifts like the squat and bench press. Of course, this strategy assumes that you are eating well and getting enough rest and sleep. If not, your hard work will be wasted and you won’t get anything except muscle pain and a lot of disappointment.
The benefits of activating your high-threshold motor units … Scientific research and lifters who do this type of training have shown that you can increase your strength in a matter of days and your mass in weeks … not months! And with increases in strength come increases in muscle fiber thickness and the number of muscle fibers, which make you bigger and stronger.
Strength and size are closely associated with each other, although the ratio is not 1 to 1 (meaning that for some strength increases, you will not have a corresponding increase in size). These gains can only occur if you engage your HTMUs in a methodical and consistent way. Don’t do this type of training without a good plan or you could end up doing more harm than good. After 6 weeks of this type of training, you can take some time off, 5-7 days, for your body to fully recover and grow, grow, grow!