This was originally going to be a piece about Weight Training Numerology but I’m not done finalizing (and I need to save something for the next E-book for Clickbank anyhow). So instead I’m going to talk about some Alternative Training and Diet Theories, ones that I can guarantee (or DOUBLE THE MONEY YOU PAID FOR THIS ARTICLE BACK) you’ve never seen before. I know it’s common to say that there are no new ideas in training or nutrition but I intend to DEMOLISH that belief today.
Most of them were developed to one degree or another back in my 20’s when I had a training partner who was, to put it simply, as much of a jackass as I am. We’d sit around in-between work sets and banter and dream this stuff up. Of course we were joking….or were we (we always wanted to submit these ideas to MuscleMag International because, frankly, they will publish anything)?
Relativistic Training Theory
I don’t know that this was our first idea but it’s the first one I’m going to present. It occurred to us as we watched the typical gym rat doing lateral raises with weights far too heavy for them. You’ve all seen this. The weights will be thrown upwards and then, in an attempt to “get the weights to shoulder level” the lifter will dip down with their upper torso, moving the delts below however high (or not) the weights get. Thus they can claim a completed repetition since the weights actually did go higher than the shoulders…sort of.
We figured that, for a brief moment, the weights moving up and the body/delts moving down would achieve relativistic speeds (read: FASTER than light speed). This, of course, would cause a temporal anomaly throwing the lifter back in time to before the workout occurred. But, as we further reasoned, he would have still gotten the stimulus from the training since it was the training itself causing the time anomaly.
Read that closely: by applying Relativistic Training Principles, you get the growth stimulus of the workout but, since you’ve moved backwards in time, do so before having performed the workout. This causes growth without training and, applied consistently, will result in you achieving your genetic muscular potential not only without ever training but before you are actually born. Mind you, we only really conceptualized this for laterals and I leave it to creative readers to apply this to other muscle groups and exercises.
This concept led, quite logically, into the next, a dieting theory.
Relativistic Dieting Theory
Coming logically out of Relativistic Training Theory is Relativistic Dieting Theory. People often note that I eat very quickly (they also often notice that despite my eating a lot of food, I seem to remain fairly light/skinny). Now my normal explanation is that this is a bad habit I picked up in college (when I would be given 15 minutes to clock out, get a meal ticket, order food, eat it, and clock back in) and that I just don’t eat big all the time but the truth is that I’m simply applying Relativistic Dieting principles.
Like Relativistic Training Theory, the concept is this: with regular practice and eating more and more quickly, you will eventually be able to eat at a speed that exceeds C (the speed of light) which shouldn’t be confused with the Speed of Dark. Again this causes a temporal anomaly, throwing you backwards in time. Maybe you can see where this is going.
What happens is that you get to eat all the food but since you go backwards in time, you don’t actually absorb the calories (since technically the food was never actually consumed). It’s the best of all worlds: you can eat all you want and never gain a pound. Simply by exploiting Relativistic Dieting Principles. Moving on.
Magic Repetition Numbers
This concept was originally going to form the basis of my original Weight Training Numerology Article but, again, I couldn’t make it work and got tired of trying so I punted it for this article instead. So I’ll present this concept here in a briefer form. Basically anyone who has spent any amount of time reading workouts has probably noticed that certain repetition recommendations are made (and by extension, others are almost never used). The magic rep numbers (with some notes on them) in my experience are:
* Although I have seen the occasional OL’er do sets of 4 in a pull, under most circumstances 4 is only an acceptable repetition count if it’s in the range of 4-6 reps (NB: the original 5 sets of 5 program was originally developed by Bill Starr by taking a study that had given 4-6 sets of 4-6 and just averaging it out). By the same token, while you will almost never see sets of 6 by themselves, 6 is often seen in a range of 6-8 reps (i.e. 4 sets of 6-8).
I’d also note that if you’re Mark Rippetoe, your magic rep chart only has one number on it and that number is 5.
You might note, as I mentioned above, that certain rep counts are almost never seen and I will argue that is because, empirically, bodybuilders determined that they were catabolic. You won’t see sets of 7 or 9 (and I once criticized the Smug one, Alan Aragon for recommending sets of 7-9 in his otherwise excellent Research Review) or sets of 11 and 13. Or 17 (I very vaguely recall some endurance type recommending sets of 17 reps years ago claiming it would build strength and endurance at the same time; and there’s just so much wrong with that sentence that I have to move forwards).
And while I’m tempted to say that this represents a human bias against prime numbers (7, 11, 13, 17 are all primes) that wouldn’t explain the lack of sets of 9 in most workouts. What it represents I’m not sure of exactly. But it has to be meaningful.
In any case it really only provides background for the final Alternative Training Theory I want to describe.
Isonumeric Training Theory
Again developed by my old training partner, this was based on our simply noticing that, in the history of weight training, lifters had frequently gravitated towards training systems where the sets and reps were the same (hence Isonumeric coming from the Latin words “Iso” meaning “Same” and “Numeric” meaning “Numbers, stupid”). Examples follow:
20 Sets of 20
Back in the day before training got all scienced up, the “classic” way of depleting muscles of glycogen (i.e. prior to carb-loading before a bodybuilding show) was to perform 20 sets of 20 repetitions (Dan Duchaine discusses this in his classic book Bodyopus). So you can see where the Isonumeric concept comes in. It’s 20 sets of 20 repetitions.
10 Sets of 10
10 sets of 10 I imagine most will recognize as German Volume Training, purportedly developed by the Germans (except that I recall at least one article in Ironman magazine describing the same thing although the loading was slightly different between the two) and re-popularized by Charles Poliquin in the pages of Muscle Media 2000. Clearly you can see the Isonumeric concept at work here.
8 Sets of 8
Only the most obsessive of weight room historians are likely to recognize this one; it’s Vince Gironda’s Honest Man’s Workout. It was exactly what it looks like 8 sets of 8 done with relatively short rests (in Gironda-style training you had to “Chase the pump” and I expect about 3 people to actually get that reference).
5 Sets of 5
A classic workout, originally popularized by Bill Starr (and discussed by yours truly in some detail here) who came up with it by averaging out study results that had found that 4-6 sets of 4-6 reps gave the best strength gains. It’s been re-popularized in recent years by any number of coaches all with slight variations on the same theme. Once again we see the Isonumeric training concept at work here.
As an amusing aside, back when I was speed skating my coach mentioned some skaters he had known who, for one season, did nothing but 5 sets of 5 laps all out at each workout. It makes me think that there is something extra special about this particular Isonumeric Loading Pattern but I just can’t seem to get a HANDle on what it might be.
3 sets of 3
This is one for the powerlifters, for a while there was a popular program called the Korte 3X3 which was exactly what it looked like: 3 sets of 3 repetitions. I’d note that this was done for three movements (squat, bench, deadlift) and three days per week. So if you want to get really into it, this would be 3X3X3X3 which is an Isonumeric Training Workout of the 4th power.
1 set of 1
You might be surprised to learn that there is at least one program (I recall it from the pages of Hardgainer magazine) that advocated warm-ups to merely one heavy single. I don’t recall any more details about it than that and can’t be bothered to dig through my collection to find out.
Again we see very specific rep counts and sets being used, tying in with the Magical Repetition Concept presented above along with certain combinations that aren’t seen (as I write this I’m tempted to recommend 7-9 sets of 7-9 but I fear it might just be too catabolic and/or cause injury).
Homeopathic Protein Intake Theory
I’m going to wrap up today with another Alternative Diet Theory (one that I fear Charles Poliquin may have popularized prior to my writing this piece). Based on the well established science of homeopathy (from the Latin roots “Homo” meaning “human” and “pathos” meaning “stupid people will buy anything”) this theory takes the old adage of “You are what you eat” to it’s logical end extreme. As homeopathy has clearly shown, substances can be “imbued” with the “essence” of something else; the human body can clearly absorb that essence.
From that logic, this theory posits that the type of animal meat eaten will imbue the eater with the essence of that animal. Thus athletes should choose their primary protein source based on the characteristic of the animal whose essence they wish to absorb. Sprinters should eat primarily cheetah meat, for example. Powerlifters, due to their requirement for slow grindy strength would be best served with elephant meat. Football players should choose their meat based on position (i.e. linemen should eat gorilla meat). Jumping athletes would want to get kangaroo meat. Swimmers should rely predominantly on fish (ideally dolphin) and bodybuilders should eat nothing but the myostatin-null Belgian Blue cattle meat. Obviously.
And that’s that, some Alternative Training Diet Theories that I’m fairly safe in saying you’ve never heard of (unless Charles Poliquin did in fact use that last one). And may wish you hadn’t heard of now.
And before everyone loses their ever-loving mind and goes crazy in the comments, check the date and get over yourselves.
Note: Apparently my site doesn’t date articles once they are archived. Sufficed to say this was published on APRIL FOOL’S.
- Bodypart Frequency and Soreness – Q&A
- The Ultimate Training Secret
- Pre- vs. Post-Workout Nutrition – Q&A
- Combining Weight Training with Marathon/Century Training
- What is Training Intensity?