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mr_andreassen

Hi,

after reading "Principles of anatomy and physiology" and other sources regarding contraction and muscle fiber tension-length,it appears that full range of motion and variable resistance is not of the importance I thought it was.

According to many sources muscle fibers are contracting (sliding filament theory) at optimum length when contracting. When human muscle contract it rarely changes from resting length more than 30% which means that the muscle is always in optimal contracted position. (this is within micrometer) This being concentric, static or eccentric and in any position. It acutally describes that if the muscle could contract maximally (beyond its optimum length) the force of contraction would decrase substantially.
does this mean that partial range of motion training or even static is just a effective as a full range motion provided the load is enough?

Also if the position of full contraction is as important (and where the muscle is the strongest) as Arthur Jones stated it was, at what part does a negative repetition become less efficient and then in the end inefficient?

After reading several medical books and litterature on muscle function I now start to be confused.....can anybody give a explanation that doesnt contradict medical litterature?

I have 12 nautilus first generation machines and 1 MedX medical ext for private use. Also have 2 olymic benches + 800lbs of Ivanko/Irongrip plates and now I wonder if all this is uneccesarry and just takes up space



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bill1

California, USA

mr_andreassen wrote:
Hi,

after reading "Principles of anatomy and physiology" and other sources regarding contraction and muscle fiber tension-length,it appears that full range of motion and variable resistance is not of the importance I thought it was.

According to many sources muscle fibers are contracting (sliding filament theory) at optimum length when contracting. When human muscle contract it rarely changes from resting length more than 30% which means that the muscle is always in optimal contracted position. (this is within micrometer) This being concentric, static or eccentric and in any position. It acutally describes that if the muscle could contract maximally (beyond its optimum length) the force of contraction would decrase substantially.
does this mean that partial range of motion training or even static is just a effective as a full range motion provided the load is enough?

Also if the position of full contraction is as important (and where the muscle is the strongest) as Arthur Jones stated it was, at what part does a negative repetition become less efficient and then in the end inefficient?

After reading several medical books and litterature on muscle function I now start to be confused.....can anybody give a explanation that doesnt contradict medical litterature?

I have 12 nautilus first generation machines and 1 MedX medical ext for private use. Also have 2 olymic benches + 800lbs of Ivanko/Irongrip plates and now I wonder if all this is uneccesarry and just takes up space





The conclusion you have reached about a muscle always being in optimal contracted position is false.

I think what you mean , is that when a muscle is contracting that the optimum number of fibers available for contraction will do so no matter what portion of the rom or if it is part of a static , concentric or eccentric contraction. This does not mean that all of the fibers of the entire structure are contracting at any given point. So yes, full range exercise is neccessary for complete developement of strength/size. Keep your equipment.

Bill
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mr_andreassen

Thanks Bill for your reply.

It is however the tension length i am referring to. Much of the litterature states that a muscle has an optimum range where it generates the most tension/force. As the muscle doesnt exceed more than 30% of its resting length it is always in an optimum tension range generating the most tension irrespectively.
(2.0-2.25um or 100-120% resting length)

I can not clearly understand how it applies to full range exercise but the power point illustartions on books I have been studying lately shows it quite clearly.

If anyone search the internet for tension length or optimum tension length etc they will find several sites stating this

sorry bill but i am still confused....
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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

You're trying to take one aspect of muscle function and draw conclusions from it about something that is affected by a huge number of factors.

Consider just a few of the following:

There is research showing that strength increases are position specific in the majority of people, so training over a limited ROM results in strength increases over a limited ROM

In compound movements, the relative contribution of the different muscles involved changes over the full ROM, and even most simple movements involve several different muscles, which may be more effective in certain portions of the ROM. A full ROM is necessary to work all the involved muscles as effectively as possible.

Hypertrophy is strongly correlated with eccentric movement and loaded stretching. The stretch is probably even more important for hypertrophy than the position of full contraction.

I theorized a while back that the most contracted position may be important for hypertrophy, since a greater overlap of myofibrils means greater potential cross bridge attachments, which may contribute to greater potential myofibril microtrauma. I'm still not sure what to think about this though.

In any case, the research showing that strength gains are position specific in the majority of the population is reason enough to work through a full ROM.

Drew Baye
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hit4all

Sweden

Drew

Is your theory the one you where mentioning in one of your articles (at your homepage) why the contracted position will lead to hypertrophy?!
I.e. that John Littles developement of Max Contraction might work, but not because of the reasons he based on Arthur Jones assupmtions?

Be well, train hard & think smart!
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cokerat

Mr-Andreassen,

I think this is probably one of the most important issues regarding hypertorophy. I have brought this issue up on other boards but never get much in the way of answers. The literature clearly states that a muscle has an optimum range for producing tension. It also states that the muscles of the body are at their optimal length when the body is in the anatomical position. If you've ever seen someone at the top part of a maximum deadlift, it is easy to see that every muscle in the body is absolutely pumped.

I guess what I am wondering is why no one in the medical community has not taken their findings one step further and done studies with a static deadlift in the top position. As far as full-range strength goes, how much does it really matter, most tasks we perform on a daily basis which might take a little more effort than normal are usually done in a position which affords us the greatest leverage possible which is usually as close to the anatomical position as possible.
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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

hit4all wrote:
Drew

Is your theory the one you where mentioning in one of your articles (at your homepage) why the contracted position will lead to hypertrophy?!
I.e. that John Littles developement of Max Contraction might work, but not because of the reasons he based on Arthur Jones assupmtions?

Be well, train hard & think smart!


Yes. I still have to do a lot of reading on that though. I suspect I'm missing something, and can not say whether I am right or not. Right now, it's just a big "what if?"

Drew Baye
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bill1

California, USA

cokerat wrote:
Mr-Andreassen,

I think this is probably one of the most important issues regarding hypertorophy. I have brought this issue up on other boards but never get much in the way of answers. The literature clearly states that a muscle has an optimum range for producing tension. It also states that the muscles of the body are at their optimal length when the body is in the anatomical position. If you've ever seen someone at the top part of a maximum deadlift, it is easy to see that every muscle in the body is absolutely pumped.

I guess what I am wondering is why no one in the medical community has not taken their findings one step further and done studies with a static deadlift in the top position. As far as full-range strength goes, how much does it really matter, most tasks we perform on a daily basis which might take a little more effort than normal are usually done in a position which affords us the greatest leverage possible which is usually as close to the anatomical position as possible.


Yes , but in order to get out of that position , you have to move through the " weaker " ones , if you are going to do any type of bending , lifting etc. It is not possible to do anyhting of physical consequence without moving out of anatomical position , at least occasionally. A static deadlift at the position of full lockout would place little or no stress on most of the bodies muscular structures ( other than grip ) due to the fact that the majority of the load is placed on the skeletal structure.

Much research has been performed concerning the amount of force produced by the lumbar muscles in a position of full extension and how that correlates to low back abnormalities, but it wasn't done with deadlifts. A huge volume of data was collected by MedX over many years concerning the strength of the lumbar muscles over many different points of contraction throughout full rom , from extension to flexion. Data collected from the observation of deadlifts would , by the nature of the deadlift , provide nothing of value concerning true strength measurements of the low back.

Bill
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mr_andreassen

It is interesting to read the different perspectives on this subject and it seems like there is no spesfic answer....yet.
It is also intriguing to read that cokerat has brougth it up before but with no sucess regarding answers.

what is also is more interesting as i read the posts were Drew's conclusion about the importance of loaded stretching "probably being more important than the position of full contraction"

As the strecth itensifies through range of motion until full extension would this imply that doing static loaded exerises in a fully stretcheed position are more effective?

then if so article: "Progressive stretch overload of skeletal muscle results in hypertrophy before hyperplasia" migth be very interesting if it could somehow applied to humans


the cross bridge interaction as Drew is referring to, is according to medical litterature always contracting in a optimum range in human muscle and so always producing the maximal tension.

If it was even possible to have greater overlap the force/tension would reduce.Appearantly "This because extreme shortening of sarcomeres causes thin myofilaments to overlap and thick myofilaments to crumble"
The tension would also reduce if the muscle contracted in a position beyond 120 degrees of its resting length as it is less and less cross bridging up until 175% where it will be no contraction at all.

I do wonder that even if muscle fibers contract optimally at all times I have to consent to that there migth be muscle fibers in certain positions of the ROM that has not been stimulated/contracted in other part of the ROM and hence an andvanage for doing a full range exercise.

anway, as this is an issue that can not be easily answered we can only continue to research this intriguing world of muscle and exercise.

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mr_andreassen

Bill even if i understand and partly agree to your point and that leverage is decreased for some muscles in an uprigth position I always believed that the skeleton would not be able to stand uprigth by itself without muscle tissue to posture it. Of course the leverage would be decreased standing in an anatomical position but surely doing a heavy deadlift, just standing there would mean a tremendous load on much muscle tissue throughout the body and not only grip?
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Acerimmer1

Of course sliding filiment theory is still just a theory.
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mr_andreassen

I thought it was only known as the sliding-filament theory but it was actual facts. After all they have pictures of all events associated with movements of myofilaments, sarcomeres etc during contraction and rest confirming it...am I mistaken??
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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

Acerimmer1 wrote:
Of course sliding filiment theory is still just a theory.


It's been pretty well established for quite a while now.

Drew Baye
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Richard Glover

mr_andreassen wrote:
I thought it was only known as the sliding-filament theory but it was actual facts. After all they have pictures of all events associated with movements of myofilaments, sarcomeres etc during contraction and rest confirming it...am I mistaken??


Brian Johnson quotes Mike Mentzer in his book 'Prescribed Exercise' which I think would help: 'Mike Mentzer defined a theory as a "set of facts (valid principles) which represent a correct description of some aspect of reality"'.

I believe you have to use a theory as a basis until you prove otherwise and/or come up with a new one!
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Richard Glover

mr_andreassen wrote:
It is interesting to read the different perspectives on this subject and it seems like there is no spesfic answer....yet.
It is also intriguing to read that cokerat has brougth it up before but with no sucess regarding answers.

what is also is more interesting as i read the posts were Drew's conclusion about the importance of loaded stretching "probably being more important than the position of full contraction"

As the strecth itensifies through range of motion until full extension would this imply that doing static loaded exerises in a fully stretcheed position are more effective?

then if so article: "Progressive stretch overload of skeletal muscle results in hypertrophy before hyperplasia" migth be very interesting if it could somehow applied to humans


the cross bridge interaction as Drew is referring to, is according to medical litterature always contracting in a optimum range in human muscle and so always producing the maximal tension.

If it was even possible to have greater overlap the force/tension would reduce.Appearantly "This because extreme shortening of sarcomeres causes thin myofilaments to overlap and thick myofilaments to crumble"
The tension would also reduce if the muscle contracted in a position beyond 120 degrees of its resting length as it is less and less cross bridging up until 175% where it will be no contraction at all.

I do wonder that even if muscle fibers contract optimally at all times I have to consent to that there migth be muscle fibers in certain positions of the ROM that has not been stimulated/contracted in other part of the ROM and hence an andvanage for doing a full range exercise.

anway, as this is an issue that can not be easily answered we can only continue to research this intriguing world of muscle and exercise.



A rat on coke might have had no success on previous forums, but I think he may have more pressing issues (sorry cokerat - I couldn't resist)

Mr. A - It seems your argument heading towards whether static resistance training is more effective than full ROM? Please have a read of Drew's article on his website about this: 'Max Contraction Training and The Myth of the Position of Full Muscular Contraction'. He has some great ideas which may help.

You mentioned 'progressive stretch overload of skeletal muscle'; overloading the skeletal muscles results in hypertrophy and hyperplasia. This is applied to humans already - overloading (inroad) into starting levels of strength causes the necessary stimulus for those adaptations to occur.

I agree that 'muscle fibers contract optimally at all times' - the fibers work on a 'all or nothing principle'. They either contract or not. As a side point on the position of 'full' muscular fiber contraction: have people heard stories of when people are in a situation of great trauma/stress they are capable of great feats of strength? I think there may be stressful situations when there may be a sheer overriding of neurological safety precautions which enable the individual to perform great feats of strength e.g. for an individual to lift a car to save a trapped relative. Sounds mad I know, but you hear of these things occasionally (not just in comics I hope). I am not like Samuel L's character in Unbreakable though!!

From being on a first aid course recently - the instructor mentioned about not restraining someone who is having an epileptic fit because they are INCREDIBLY strong and YOU risk injury trying to do so. I think this anecdotal evidence for Drew's case that only if a individual is a genetic freak (sorry epileptics) are they capable of contracting all available muscle fibers.

Regards,

Richard
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mr_andreassen

anyone interested stretch induced muscle growth should read article
"Progressive stretch overload of skeletal muscle results in hypertrophy before hyperplasia" by Jose Antonio

You'll find the abstract at several sites and the whole article (PDF) can be bougth at Journal of applied physiology
(I couldnt re-open it after savingit:-(

As for Richard, yes you are correct I have been questioning doing a full ROM but I still do them all the time. I have however incorporated a 8 second stretch between each rep holding the weigth there until i can;t control it anymore, the 2 seconds rest i get from doing an assisted concentric recovers me enough to do another eccentric rep, strecth, before repeating it again and again
(I only do NA or negatives)
So far it has produced better than expected results.

I realize it can be a position prone to injury but I have made a decision to do it anyway.
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Richard Glover

From only reading the abstract of that article, the key tenet of the study appears to suggest that overload and progression are key elements for increasing muscle mass. As for muscle length increases - wouldn't your lats get longer if you progressively attached 10 - 35% of your mass to it?

Richard
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Richard Glover

Mr A - How do you quantify whether the results you are getting are coming from the 'stretch' rather than negative/neg acc. training?

Richard
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bill1

California, USA

mr_andreassen wrote:
Bill even if i understand and partly agree to your point and that leverage is decreased for some muscles in an uprigth position I always believed that the skeleton would not be able to stand uprigth by itself without muscle tissue to posture it. Of course the leverage would be decreased standing in an anatomical position but surely doing a heavy deadlift, just standing there would mean a tremendous load on much muscle tissue throughout the body and not only grip?


The load on the muscular strructures in the finished position of the deadlift is vey small in comparison to the load being supported by the skeletal structure. Most people can support enormous amounts of weight in the locked out position of many exercises with very little muscular effort.

However if they attempted to move and thus place the load directly onto the muscular structure , they would not be able to control the same amount of weight. I have supported 1,500 lbs in an upright position with a bar in a power rack , but I would not dare to unlock my knees with that amount of weight as it would crush me to the ground in seconds.

Go to a commercial facility and watch all of the Hercules characters doing 1/4 movements with 1,000 pounds or more on the leg press, it's not uncommon , but you will never see anyone using this amount of weight for full movements.

Bill
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Ryo

Switzerland

Richard it's not certain. Maybe epileptics only reach higher synchronisation of MUs.

Full range movements work more muscles than limited rom and that's something positive. While a chin-up that lats are involved in the lower part then it's more a shoulders/biceps movement.

It seems there is very little differences between optimal muscles length and the shortest/longest length (-10% of force genration) so the difference might not worth it because you'll have to do more exercises than in full range.
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mr_andreassen

I can only differentiate to the extent that I now make better progress in size and strength than I did doing only NA and Negatives. If that is not spesified enough then I can't and I have been fortunate to just find a combination that works even better for me.



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Sesame

mr_andreassen wrote:
anyone interested stretch induced muscle growth should read article
"Progressive stretch overload of skeletal muscle results in hypertrophy before hyperplasia" by Jose Antonio

You'll find the abstract at several sites and the whole article (PDF) can be bougth at Journal of applied physiology
(I couldnt re-open it after savingit:-(

As for Richard, yes you are correct I have been questioning doing a full ROM but I still do them all the time. I have however incorporated a 8 second stretch between each rep holding the weigth there until i can;t control it anymore, the 2 seconds rest i get from doing an assisted concentric recovers me enough to do another eccentric rep, strecth, before repeating it again and again
(I only do NA or negatives)
So far it has produced better than expected results.

I realize it can be a position prone to injury but I have made a decision to do it anyway.


I'm not sure why you guys are so excited about this? TENSION (at least in part) is the signal to turn on protein synthesis in muscle, connective tissue, skin bone etc., so of course the muscle fibrils and associated connective tissue in these birds will hypertrophy under this novel stimulus. This is an overload and their muscles are not used to it so they grow a bit. Most of the hypertrophic adaptation occurs within the first TWO WEEKS then drops off dramatically. I don't see this as a surprising result. I also don't see how you will make much use of it??

A muscle CONTRACTING against a heavy barbell IS under tension! Lots of it! Lots more tension than you could ever hope to apply by placing your joint at an extreme ROM and holding there for a few secs.

Again, a muscle contraction IS a forceful STRETCH of the myofibrils and connective tissue, much more so than pulling on a muscle at the end of any particular ROM! So I don't see what all the hoopla is about??

However, proper stretching MAY add sarcomeres to the ends and increase the LENGTH of your muscle. A longer muscle may be a LARGER muscle when all bunched up as in a strike a pose!
:)
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Richard Glover

Ryo wrote:
Richard it's not certain. Maybe epileptics only reach higher synchronisation of MUs.


It's just a thought - but something to think about (I didnt mean to imply that it is certain)!
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Richard Glover

Sesame wrote:

However, proper stretching MAY add sarcomeres to the ends and increase the LENGTH of your muscle. A longer muscle may be a LARGER muscle when all bunched up as in a strike a pose!
:)


Sesame, what is the theory/evidence that 'proper' stretching MAY add sarcomeres? I don't think I have heard of that one?

Cheers,

Richard
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mr_andreassen

With regards to tension I believe that has everything to do with leverage/load. I have been fortunate to be able to use a fully equipped MedX gym (Kieser,UK)where my wife used to work in the past and now I have my own nautilus machines and free weigths so I am not limited anymore.

There are positions in the ROM where you can get a full load with stretch without having to go to the extreme, being with machines or free weigths. You just need to choose the exercises correctly so you get the most load.
(appearantly that is what MedX/Nautilus is best at)

Anyway, this thread seems to be moving away from the intial topic but that is fine for me
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