Showing posts from February, 2014

Muscle Burn and Performance

I was doing pushups tonight, and did 15 on my first set. Rested about 90 seconds, did another set and got 14 on my second, rested about another 90 seconds, then only got 10 on my last. 

Why is it such a drastic drop? I notice this on a lot of my pressing exercises. 

My Answer: This is actually normal.  What happens is that with higher repetitions, you accumulate a lot of lactic acid in your muscles.  This is the burning sensation that you feel.  The lactic acid interferes with your nerves, and as a result, you can't complete as many repetitions.  That's why there's a drastic drop in reps.  Once you hit that drastic drop in reps, it's time to stop performing that exercise.  More sets of that exercise just hamper muscle growth.

In Training for the Busy Bodybuilder I go over the concept of the "critical drop-off point," which you can use to determine the optimal number of sets for an exercise.  The critical drop-off point is when a muscle reaches a 5-7% decrease…

How to do pull-ups if you can't do pull-ups

I am 6'3" about 220 and not in the best shape or even close. I want to do pull-ups and chin-ups, but I can't! What would be a good progression routine to do pull-ups and chins at home? So far I've been putting my feet up on a phone book and using leg strength to help me. Any suggestions? Would be greatly appreciated! 

-J. O'Connor

My Answer: First thing is you need to lose fat.  The less weight you pull, the easier it is for you to do a pull-up.  If you can't do pull-ups and chin-ups, then you may want to start off with inverted rows.

Alternate inverted rows with negative pull-ups.  This is where you prop yourself into the top position of a pull-up and lower yourself slowly, resisting the pull of gravity.