ENTIRE BODY BUILDS STRENGTH
Scientific evidence has shown that even muscles not being trained improve during strength training. To balance big loads you need to activate additional stabilizer muscles and even antagonistic (opposing) muscles. If you’re a competitive bench presser, you already know that your lats, when combined with your pecs, will produce much greater force and drive out of the bottom of the lift. Build a thick back and your pushing strength goes up. Build solid legs, and all your lifts go up. Muscles need to work together to lift the big stuff. If you have ever gotten yourself under some heavy weight, whether it was helping a friend move furniture or in the weight room, you know that a three-rep max or even a one-rep supermax, leaves you breathless for several minutes. It took every ounce of muscle you had to do it while getting plenty of help from stabilizers and assistor muscle groups. We know that because a day or two later you’re wondering why some obscure muscle has severe DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and it’s preventing you from getting comfortable. That’s strength, and that kind of training is what makes muscle fibers activate, fire, and grow big. This is not news though, it’s been more than two decades, long enough that research has proven this fact and confirmed it several times over since.
It stands to reason that if you want to lift big, you need all the help you can get. One of the benefts of big strength is that you’ll recruit additional fibers to join in the parade. Just like a tug-of-war team can overpower its opposition by adding another person to their side, teaching your muscles to join in and fire means that more fibers are being used. This means that two things are happening: One, all of the fibers in your muscle will get activated, and two, if they haven’t been used before, they certainly will now and thus you have a few more fibers to aid in your girth goals down the road. But unlike the rules in tug-of-war where both sides have to be equal, you make the rules for the strength game, so why not overpower your opponent and beat them by increasing your odds of success? One of the tricks we can pull out is that we can alter the stimulus to force more fibers to get involved. We can vary position, technique, set and rep schemes, and exercise selection to excite dormant muscle fibers. With consistent normal training, your body preferentially recruits fibers and becomes almost automatic in which muscle fibers fire and how it does a lift. This, while good for someone like a baseball pitcher who needs to get a ball into a strike zone, doesn’t bode well for those of us who continually try to see our muscles grow doing a hypertrophy- based program week in and week out. But rather than just shock your muscles by attempting to confuse them or continually change your routine, it’s best to get them to up their effort by forcing them to lift big. By doing strength training under a strict regimen, you’ll simply get better overall muscle fiber recruitment and avoid those annoying plateaus that make you wonder why you ever began with weights in the frst place.