The State of NPC Physique Competitions: Too Many Divisions!

Let me begin by saying I love bodybuilding.  Although I currently have no desire to compete again, I still love what competition is about – challenging yourself to be the best version of you possible.

Likewise, I’ve got nothing but love for the NPC (National Physique Committee) who sanctions the best physique competitions around.

So my critique of bodybuilding and the NPC comes from a place of much love :)  But with that being said…

There are just too dang many divisions these days!!

Just check out the name of one of the national competitions: NPC Junior USA Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, Bikini & Physique Championships…DANG that’s a mouthful!

Back in the day there was Bodybuilding (men’s & women’s)…that’s it.

Then in the late 80’s and early 90’s, a women’s division called Fitness was added.  That’s where the athletes are judge on their physique and on a gymnastics-type fitness routine.  Ok, cool.

[Read more…]

To Maximize Hypertrophy, Use a Variety of Set, Rep, & Rest Schemes

The following is a snippet from an article I’m currently working on…and I thought I’d share this tip with you.

If you’re looking to bring up a particular body part (aka hypertrophy, which essentially means muscle growth), then you’ll find the following advice invaluable…I know I have!

Training Variety for Maximal Hypertrophy

It’s true that if you had to train in one rep range, it’d be 8-12 reps per set.  Three sets per exercise with 60-90 seconds rest between sets are also no-nonsense rules of thumb.  However, I propose you spend no more than half of your training time implementing these ‘ideal’ variables.

Time and time again I’ve seen best results when spending more time using a variety of set, rep, and rest protocols.

For example, try doing 10 x 3 (10 sets of 3 reps) with 2 minutes rest between each of those 10 sets.  Doing this for 6-8 weeks will do wonders for your strength, and it does a great job of building dense muscle.  Then when you return to training in that coveted 8-12 range, you’ll be able to use more weight, which has obvious benefits that ultimately lead to larger muscles.

On the other hand, implement periods of lighter sets with shorter rest intervals.  For example, try 5 x 15-20 with just 20-30 seconds rest.  This will create a lot metabolic stress that does wonders for making muscles fuller and ‘rounder’ looking.

There are different way to implement this training variety.  You can do so within one workout for a particular body part, or you can implement training cycles of roughly four to eight weeks where you emphasize heavy, light, or moderate resistance training with corresponding rest intervals.  Ideally, I recommend some of each.

However you implement this strategy, just make sure to stimulate your muscles in a variety of different ways.  That’s the only way to maximize the hypertrophic response.

Your friend in fitness,

Dr Clay