Effort is king – let me repeat that and absorb it for a
second, effort is KING! This might sound like the beginning of some dull pep
talk on why you should be pouring maximal effort into your healthy living
regime but it isn’t, anything but in fact! Instead, this is going to illustrate
WHY effort is king when you are lifting weight opposed to the amount of weight
you are actually using.
Your muscles are unlike the device you will check your
progress on in the morning – they have no means of gauging weight or resistance
figuratively speaking. What they do know VERY well is effort and when they are
unable to act against a resistance anymore. When this occurs the muscles via a
process known as forced adaptation become stronger and increase in size as a
result. This can occur via myofibrillar or sarcoplasmic hypertrophy depending
on the style of weight training you are following.
This may sound a little contradictory because we always hear
about why HEAVY training is the best way to gain size, but when you consider
effort you do not have to exclusively use heavy weight as long as the effort
exerted by the muscle is great enough.
The science behind this is solid, numerous studies show this
works. Within the CNS (central nervous system) you have what are known as motor
units, both small and large. During a repetition motor units are recruited which
leads to the muscle contracting – but during every repetition with no exception
your small motor units are stimulated first, ALWAYS! However, to maximise
muscle hypertrophy you want the large motor units to become excitable because
their ability to recruit MORE muscle fibres during every repetition is far
greater leading to better overall muscle stimulation.
This brings us back to effort, to stimulate the larger motor
units the muscle must be placed under enough stress that it is required to
recruit the larger motor units. It doesn’t matter if it is heavy weight or not,
the effort is the essential component within the formula here.
Form is also essential; remember the target muscle MUST be
under adequate levels of stress to force large motor unit recruitment. This means
using correct form to ensure the target muscle is isolated so that the weight transfer
and ‘’effort’’ is going strictly through that muscle.
So what training I hear you ask.
Y3T & DTP are both great ways to train and here is why,
in relation to this article. They are hands down two of the most intense
training systems around which means maximal levels of effort are required from
Next time you train, remember this if nothing else – the muscle
ONLY understands and recognises failure, not weight.