Eat Train Prosper

Advanced Hypertrophy Training with Dr. Eric Helms | ETP#29

August 03, 2021 Aaron Straker | Bryan Boorstein
Eat Train Prosper
Advanced Hypertrophy Training with Dr. Eric Helms | ETP#29
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This week on the podcast we have Dr. Eric Helms. Eric has a PhD in strength and conditioning, and two master’s degrees, one in exercise science and the other in sports nutrition.  Eric is the co-founder and chief science officer for Team 3D Muscle Journey, chief author of the Muscle and Strength Pyramid books, co-founder and contributor to Monthly Applications in Strength Sport research review, co-host of the Iron Culture Podcast, and a Strength & Conditioning Research Fellow in the Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, at Auckland University of Technology. It's safe to say that Eric knows a LOT about lifting weights and even better yet, he shares how we can apply all of this knowledge for making progress. Thanks for listening! ✌️

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[aaron_straker]:

What's up, guys, Happy Tuesday. Welcome back to another episode of each train. Prosper today is Brian myself and we have a really sweet guess today, Doctor Ams. I'm going to let Doctor introduce himself properly because he does a lot and I don't want to miss anything or anything, so we're going to let him give himself a brief introduction and then we're going to get into our topic. for today. We're going to be pretty much talking about different considerations around auto regulation for the advanced trainee, which I'm sure Brian and myself are very excited about, because we get to have conversations that apply to us, So doctorlms. Can you please uh, introduce yourself for everyone?

[eric_helms]:

Absolutely yeah. thanks for havingav me on. It's going to be a lot of fun. Uh, I think the the reasonably short version is that I am someone who fell in love with lifting weights and has made that basically every aspect of my life, So skipping to the to the the present times. I am a research fellow in Bo, both the strength conditioning and sports physiology nutrition streams here at Uh, the Sports performance research institute in New, zealand, at a ut, Um, where I do research specifically focusing on strengthen physique sport Um. outside of academics Um, I'm active as Uh. I guess you could say a physiqu and sports science communicator, So I'm a reviewer and one of the founders of Monthly applications and striing sports with Doctor Trexler, Doctor, urdos, and Gregnuckles, Um, I write some books about pyramids. It's a great pyramid scheme. Um that you should buy Um on training a nutrition, and I'm also kind of home based for me as three D muscle journey dot com. We provide Um sustainable support to Uh drug freelifters so essentially looking out people's careers and also enhancing performance. Uh, primarily focusing on natural bodyuilding, but also some strength sport as well. And then I also am a mediocre athlete, which is probably why I spendent so much time trying to figure out the science of it, cause I can't just lift and be good. So Yeah, I could beat the natural body building and also strike sport. That's pretty much it.

[bryan_boorstein]:

One of the uh, one of the things I really appreciate about kind of following Eric and his journey is that he uh, much like Aaron, and I, um, does a lot of the things that we did through cross fit. Like you know, we, we did some power lifting. We did all the big lifts. we did all the Olympic lifting, and an Eric compted in an Olympic lifting competition too, And then of course he's into the hyper trophies, so Um, that's where we stand. Currently we're into to winning all of these hypertrophies, and uh, and Eric is a good guy for us to talk to, and uh and help us kind of optimize this journey. So um, when we kick it back over to Aarin, and you can kind of talk about, you know, talk about your. your weak, Real quick is kind of what's going on with you.

[aaron_straker]:

Yeah, yeah, real quick. Um, I officially ended my diet today, which I am super excited about, because now I get to go through my favorite you know nutrition periodization period, which is that reverse diet where you get a little bit leaner as you, You appear leaner as you fill out, you get more carbohydrate, You're eating more food. You have more energy. You know, you don't get dizzy when you get off the hack, squat and stuff like that. Um, so I am super super excited about that and one thing of, really, is this a side? There's like a side note that just hit me today. So I'm in Utah, Salt Lake City. Utah's very hot. but it's very, very dry. And I had been. You know since I got here. it's been a hundred degrees and I'd be like man. I'm really not like sweating much at the gym and stuff. It's like kind of crazy and I thought it was like the humidity and stuff. You know, because there's not much humidity. It was a mettaabolic adaptation because I've been dieting for so long, so I, my my calories did actually start going up last week. Um, and then today was another increase and I was pissing sweat at the gym today and I was like Oh boy, it's only going. It's going this what it's going to turn into like Over the next half four of weeks, I'm just going to turn into a sweaty mass like I generally am when I'm at the gym. So it was a little bit of a subjective, uh, anecdote that I picked up from, but not too much new with me. Um, what's up Newb?

[bryan_boorstein]:

Oh man, I am still in the heart of my diet, Uh, right, around hundred and eighty seven pounds, thirteen, fourteen pounds down now, and everything's going well. Uh, no problems there. The biggest problem in my life is that the Russians have taken over my instigram account. and Uh, now I lost what was sixteen thousand followers potentially and have two thousand at my new account, so come follow me at my new account. Help me grow back, Um. put. Now, good information as best I can. and um, Yeah, hopefully we'll get that thing back from them and all will be right in the world again and I allll pass it over an Eric. Anything going on in year last week?

[eric_helms]:

Yeah, I'm uh, selling sunglasses on Facebook. Not just gettinging My account has not been hacked. Um. Yeah, this cool stuff going on at the moment for me over at a u. T, um, I have a handful of Phd students and Uh, they're awesome folks. Um, that's probably the best part of my job at At, and pretty much all I do is getting to mentor others down this research path and they're in the me of it. so I've got a shot out to Kidder Quaan, who is uh looking at weight cutting strategies in power lifters, Uh, shutow to Kobe Susa, who is uh, looking at power day configurations to enhance and recover from a prior Uh, high volume day to see how it affects the subsequent strength day. Um, I've got Uh master student Andrew Andrew King, who is looking at uh, different pre workout shakes effects on volume performance. Um, and I've got Ivan Youkch who is looking at Uh, the effects or soon to be looking at the effects of different types of Uh feedback on performance. So lots of cool stuff going on and Um, just exciting to see uh knowledge being attained and added to the the blog sphere of of the world. So yeah,

[bryan_boorstein]:

That's awesome. I think if I was a a researcher, your Phd, like yourself, I would probably enjoy the the process of mentoring and and coaching the younger people as well through that through that school.

[eric_helms]:

absolutely it's

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeah,

[eric_helms]:

it's a. It's something that I think I. I. I started enjoying as a coach

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

and then it. It's kind of a a unique experience to help someone get coached if you will, Through their academic journey.

[bryan_boorstein]:

for sure, very cool. Well, let's Ah, jump in to the first question today. So, uh, the first thing I want to talk about was kind of the journey of volume throughout training age, and uh, it was actually quite fortuitous because I stumbled into the middle of an intgram live that you were doing a few days ago. And uh, and you guys were kind of talking about this and it kind of helped clarify the way I want to ask this question or what I wanted to ask. So that was really cool. but um, on that I, g. Live, you mentioned that an advanced, an advanced lifter should be looking for the least amount of volume that they can do to still see measurable progress. I really resonate with this idea personally, and have I decreased my own training volume by probably thirty or forty percent gradually over the last year. Um. you also mentioned that you like to start

[aaron_straker]:

Sssss,

[bryan_boorstein]:

most people at somewhere around ten setths promotal g per muscle group, which I think is a little bit lower than I've heard you reference in the past. I may be wrong on that, Um. You said that some will need more. Someone will need less than ten Cs. How does this generally play out? in practice? How many tend to need less versus more? And why? and what individual factors might contribute to that?

[eric_helms]:

Great question. Yeah, I think if I recall correctly that I, g. live the context around ten sets was. if I don't have background information on the pur on the person and we're starting with a a blank slate. Um, like if you were to look at my books, I generally advise ten to twenty sets,

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

Um, per Mu group, the target audience of those books, Though, like like the the quote unquote novice program isn't a? I started to lift weights This week Is a novice, a bodyuilder or novice power lifter program. So it' one who is um, not novice, and in the strictest sense when it comes to the weight room, So Um, I would say that that that ten sets is basically the bottom end of of what we know from the existing data

[bryan_boorstein]:

right,

[eric_helms]:

to to likely be close to effective. Um. And since there is value and initially determining what is going to be effective for someone, Uh, I want to start somewhere that I can add to quite easily. Um, I prefer not to have to subtract. necessarily. Uh, If I lower the probability of, Because, if you start in the middle or the high part of the range, initially you could have you know two reasons why it would not be working. It could be too much, or it could be too little. Um, starting at the bottom end of the range, an important thing to know about the data we have. Like ten plus sets is the fastest rate rate of gains. but in a novice three sets on average will probably make someone grow as well.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm, Mhm.

[eric_helms]:

So ten sets is a informed. Uh, guess if you will, um, to where I think there should be reasonably close, on average for most people, uh at at a an early stage in their career to to make some good gains. Um unlikely to be too much. And if it is too much, it's probably not going to be way way too much even for someone who responds better to low volume. Um. But it's definitely something we can build on top of, so that's kind of how I view that, Um, and uh, just to reiterate if I've got prior data on the individual. I'm not going to dispute, citing a mettaalysis. To choose the volume'. Using that

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yes, So what individual factors do you see That From a starting point where so we have an advanced athle, right, and their goal is hyperchphy, And so,

[aaron_straker]:

s.

[bryan_boorstein]:

I guess somewhere between ten and twenty. Based on historical data, you would start them at this point, and then what would be some of the things that you would be looking for? That would be signs to you of good reasons that one might know potentially be someone that responds better to lower volumes or someone that responds better to higher volumes.

[eric_helms]:

Yeah, so, um, The the primary factors I pay attention to are one performance, Um. over the time scale, I think is appropriate for how advanced they are. Like. What? what type of increases in performance can I expect over what time frame? Uh, So if there I, it truly advanced. I. I normally define that by needing a messocycle at least before we start to see some small improvements in performance, adding a rep here or there, adding two and a half keellos or five pounds to the bar with a similar reprange and r. p. E. That type of thing, Um, and then for the advanced lifter, and this kind of goes back to the preamble you had Brian of. I like to use the the least amount of volume that still produces

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm, mhm, mhm,

[eric_helms]:

progress. any like I. I find that is very similar rates of progress to doing what might be theoretically optimal. Like there's only so much you can squeeze out of an advanced lifter in any given time frame. Um. In a lot of the times advanced lifters spend plateaued scratching their head,

[bryan_boorstein]:

mhm, mhm,

[eric_helms]:

um, or looking back over training data when they're busting their ass and going well, I didn't really make much progress, but I sure felt like I was working hard. so uh, the value in that it's not a philosophy that extends across all training ages. I think that's important for listeners to understand, but it does really make sense for high level athletes where any progress is means you're doing something right, so if you can get the combined benefit of greater diagnostic clarity with less moving parts less fatigue. Uh, but it'll still be fatiguing, because it has to be overloading to produce that progress in advanced lifter than that I think is the kind of the best place to be, so I'd rather under rather than overshoot on volume in advance lifter. Uh, because it's it's easier to add from there, Um, other things that that typically uh, I will track is basically fatigue levels. How quickly do they accumulate? How often are we gonna need deloads? Uh in both in terms of subjective performance, and also depending on the structure of training? Um. how much does their Uh strength drop from sessionist? S. So for example, a lot of the times, uh in advance lifter, especially for pertrophy, Um, You just can't fit all of what you need to do for for a body partn into a single session. Um, unless you're taking a very high effort high intensity approach, you kind of doraates s,

[bryan_boorstein]:

mhm, mhm,

[eric_helms]:

or something like that which you know can work, but typically isn't my default. Um, so like If you did a bunch of upper body training on Monday and we come back in on Wednesday and Thursday, do I see a a drop in performance when we're using a quote unquote low volume approach? Uh, okay, that's probably someone who won't need a very high volume approach. They, they typically experience a lot of damage. There's a a long arc of their fatigue curve right, so we might leverage other variables. How someone else who has gravitated towards higher frequency programs doesn't experience a lot of doms. Even with moderate volumes moderate frequencies. There are probably someone in my experience, Uh, who might benefit from and turn that dial up a bit more.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Cool. Yeah, I definitely want to touch on the the issue in a little bit about. uh, the damage from different movements like a length and movement versus a short anded overload movement and stuff like that. But before we get there, Um, for the first like two decades of my training and I've been training probably twenty five years now. Um, I used to just sit down and stand up to squat. whatever muscles contribute. It was all good. It was about driving performance right, but in the last five years I've

[aaron_straker]:

Sss,

[bryan_boorstein]:

learned a squat in a different manner. I now like purposely try to accumulate this like ripping tension throughout a forty five of four to five second eccentric. Uh. the knees drive forward, the torso sta's vertical. There's a pause at maxneeflection, followed by like a targeted concentric Uh with minimal hipflexction and the quads absorbed way more stimulus right. So this type of approach is replicated across all movements across all muscle groups, So all of this essentially to ask how much potential impact might this have on total training volume over a training age? She, taking into account things like increased accuracy, increase quality of movement or intent, as some people say, being able to go deeper into creating tension in a specific muscle versus just moving weight from point A to point B. And all this, of course, is an ever evolving process,

[eric_helms]:

sure. I think Uh, I think there's I'm going to play a devil's advocate to myself. hearing this. so I think Um. it is very important to ensure if you're training specifically for a pertrophy that you are actually engaging tension in the muscles that you're trying to train. Um. However, I think this can be achieved without some of the more stereotypical approaches mindsets or things that some body will re say on Uh, certain compound movements. So, for example, if you were to do a two second, eccentric Brian, and if you were to, maybe not focus subjectively on creating that tension like you talked about, but bio mechanically, If there was very little deviation in your form and you squatted the depth and you were just focusing on moving the weight from pointed to point B, magic doesn't move it for point a to point, be your muscles do. so. I think if you had a heavy enough load and you were going to close proximity to failure, and when you achieved that close proximity to failure, you weren't shifting form, which is the most common thing that happens is that you know you see that that for knee travel, you're good, You good, you good. you get close to failure and then you start to see the forward knee travel, but shift back good morning, then least come back forward. You know, Um, the old little good morning scoop back under, Um, that's that is probably going to be a little different than if you had maintained that consistent position. Um, as you were shifting the ability to get from point A to pi, point B. Using Uh, the hip extensers more than the

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm, Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

extensors at certain time points, so I think for compound free weight movements, Uh, specifically that have more degrees of freedom and how you can move. I think it is important if you're thinking about them purely from a hypertrophy standpoint to have very consistent movement patterns. I think that's hard though, Um, and I think Uh, there's there's multiple ways around it. Uh, one is to not train as close to failure on your compound freewight movements, which is

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

fiable, Uh, and then training closer to failure on movements where they have less degrees of freedom. Something like a hack squat where you but can't go back, Uh, or you take it even a step further. Like extension, you know if you can figure out how to extend your knee without training your quats. you are a magician, sir. So I think, um, I think, in general, uh, your, your point is very important and that you need to make sure that what you're doing is targeting the specific muscle group, but that doesn't create a one size fits all philosophy for all movements where it's like Look man. If youre just squatt and pointed point be those quad aren and getting trained to. In my mind, I'm like it's very difficult to squat and not train your quats. You know, so yeah,

[bryan_boorstein]:

Interesting. I. You have any thoughts on this? Anything you want to add

[aaron_straker]:

I mean it's It's definitely purely anecdotal and I know Brian, you and I will agree with this, but I mean we, we were those guys who squatted heavy all the time, and our. I mean our legs grew right. It's not like we didn't have legs, but I mean my. I. I. I stopped squatting like I used to, and started using like the hack squat. and you know, like very slow, like lunges and things like that, and like make, my legs are literally the biggest I've ever been in my entire life, And I squat the least amount of weight. I

[bryan_boorstein]:

right?

[aaron_straker]:

just have like more intention into it and I think you know what. what what Eric said about that is your, when you are squatting failure. What are those last couple reps? look like mine look like that my knees would shift back. I would shift

[bryan_boorstein]:

right,

[aaron_straker]:

into a more back leverage position because like my my back was strong, my my hips were strong and my quads were we. That's why everything was like overpowered. So I think it's it's. I mean, I agree, it's if you. but there are those people who can squat with textbook form and you know one or r the textbook, their knees or forward there, and that upright horsea, I just found myself in that other category. Unfortunately,

[bryan_boorstein]:

you know you. yeah,

[eric_helms]:

I'm the same. I'm six foot, you know, and so I got a. I got hip surgery in February of twenty seventeen, and could not squat for a long period of time. Um, and didn't really have. That wasn't my goal I was going to. Was planning to compete in twenty nineteen, So twenty eighteen was an offs. Seaeson. Twenty nineteen was contest pre for body building for me, Um, and I would say eighty percent of my quad training was machine based work, uh, or, or variations, with very little squatting and the best leg development I had was twenty nineteen. So I think, um, yeah, I, I. I want to make sure I doesn't sound like I'm like disagreeing with you guys on on the importance of this. I think that you might have a little meat nugget who's built to to squat and has like a crazy tibia to f to femer, uh ratio, and their worst like hip shift is still going to target their quadz pretty well,

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

Or you can have like a gumby lifter like me, who you know, like I squat low bar, just to start in the position that that I'm going to shift to Anyway, you know, so yeah,

[bryan_boorstein]:

right, me too. yeah, no, I, I'm right with you. I hate squatting too, and I only use that as an example, cause I, I was more trying to make the point of the kneeflection and stuff, which, I think the

[eric_helms]:

H,

[bryan_boorstein]:

same thing can kind of be done on a hack, squat or on a leg press. Like there are ways that you can almost kind of compensate the movement pattern on those those movements as well. so maybe the more applicable question would have been like you're in a hack about your intellect. Press. and now I'm doing it in this one way versus doing it in this other way where I was like you know, splaying my knees, and the adctors were coming in at the bottom and was using a bunch of glue to get it going. And like all these things versus, you know, the knees stay kind of forward and you really focus on the the ankleflection as the primary objective, et Ctera et ctera,

[eric_helms]:

totally agree, Yeah, there's a big difference between the dude at the gym who looks around while he loads eighty five. Forty fives on each side of the plate and uh, and then puts his feet as high as he can on the platform and does what would look like a a West Side Barbell monolift squat if he was if he was standing up, And the, and the person who comes in with squat shoes and puts them as far

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm.

[eric_helms]:

low as he can on the thing, Uh, and controls it, and tries to get as much uh, rotation about the knee joint, Uh, and and tries to to get as deep as he can without letting his background uh. And you will probably see a very large disparity and load on the bar, but I would still bed money that the the latter would be better for quad development. On average.

[bryan_boorstein]:

What do you think of that as far as like taking that range of motion further to the point where maybe like you know, the knees abduct And now you're like, kind of getting that like more, a doctor, Andlu, versus potentially stopping two three inches shy, but keeping the knees forward. Are you a subscriber to that belief or do you kind of more use the view, the range of Moion, if you have it, and can do it with proper form,

[eric_helms]:

Yeah, I don't necessarily think either one is is wrong or right. I, I think with most normal amounts of uh, Basically you're just trying to get your your hips out of the way right. Just try not not to have your aceis be the the barrier. It's not like Bu. Somehow By by rotating your foot, you're no longer extending your knee.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm, Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

So, I. I. I don't think that's an issue personally, Um. I would say if it becomes some kind of sumo squat than you know that you can't mean that to be a tick wide platform. I guess, but, but I, I think. uh, I think it should be modified based upon your hit mechanics and your ankle mobility. Um. and if that allows more more more rotation about the need than, it's probably a net win for the quad.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Coolet. Go ahead,

[aaron_straker]:

I have one little follow up there. So this

[bryan_boorstein]:

Y.

[aaron_straker]:

guys sprk. Is I literally trained you enough two hours ago at Hack squad day today, The hax that the gym I att right is not the most like mechanically advantageous with the angles, so it is hard to get in a very, very like aggressive ankle doorsflection, like knees out position with going like under parallel, because it's kind of like tilted back, you know, and I, and then once I get past parallel, my knees actually shifted back and I get that extra range of motion from my hips. so I have taken the, you know, the thought that I'm just going to stop it about parallel where I'm at full. you know, maximum neeflection, and then I, you know, reverse him that as my range of motion. So my question, I want topose over to you is like, Do you think with movements or maybe some machinery? That isn't you know the most you know, um, mechanically or biomchanically advantageous. It would be better to go a complete full range of motion and get the extra range of motion at my hip. Or do you think it might be more advantageous like I've been doing, stopping it around parallel where I can keep the most maximum amount of tension on my quads with that angle and perform the movement that way,

[eric_helms]:

I Alway. Guess you're probably getting a similar amount of quad stimulation either way, and you're probably getting some work on your gluts. I think it just depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If you're really trying to use the hack squad, Like really, just emphasizing the extension. Then I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with with the former, you know, but um, I think we. we can definitely take trying to isolate muscle groups and target them too far and forget that our our body just doesn't work that way necessarily, and I think so long as we can, I think probably better terms like instead of isolation, like biasing it.

[aaron_straker]:

Bi

[eric_helms]:

You know, so I'd say if you feel in control and you can get a a repeatable movement pattern. Probably always fine from a quad perspective.

[bryan_boorstein]:

so I want to switch gears a little bit and discuss a partial range of motion training. Specifically, it's application for movements that are overloaded in the short position, Um. Some typical examples being like a leg extension or push down crossovers, A, and pretty much all vertical and horizontal poles. All of these are examples of isolation movements except the poles. What we see with poles is that failure occurs because the athlete literally can't make the last two inches of the wrap, so I kind of struggle with this idea of leaving all of that lengthened in mid range area, not untrained but

[aaron_straker]:

four

[bryan_boorstein]:

less trained, which kind of leads us to the recent study covered by Greg Knuckles and Mass, where they use leg extensions in different ranges of motion and discovered that the lengthen position was the most important in the study, so personally, I'm the most curious about your thoughts on the utility for back training as is. Such a large muscle group,

[eric_helms]:

Hm,

[bryan_boorstein]:

but also your thoughts in general on all this discussion around the length and position overload stuff

[eric_helms]:

yeah, it's It's an interesting topic and I think. Um, it's almost unavoidable. That's not true. You can easily avoid it. You probably shouldn't. Uh. one should discuss how important proximity to failure is If they're going to be discussing trying to match the force curve of the movement right, cause I, you're your a hundred percent right. If you did a do a set of cable rose, Um, and you stopped at the point when you can no longer maintain form, and let's say make your palm touch your abdomen. Um, you would probably be able to do another three, four, five reps where you got that close. Another, the two reps where you're that close, and another few way like that. right,

[bryan_boorstein]:

y

[eric_helms]:

So literally like doubling your wraps that you can get two thirds at least of the range ofotion. So I think a lot of people would look at that and be like That's a problem. you know, Um, and I don't know that it is necessarily. Um. I think there have there have to be some assumptions to make that a problem. Uh, the assumptions need to be that something about that last portion of that range of motion is more effective or or, or just as important in the rest. Um, I don't know it. It is the peak tension point, but it's also not the stretch position. You're not

[bryan_boorstein]:

right,

[eric_helms]:

training at a long muscle Ngth in that position right so I think that's six or one half dozen of the other. Um. There's also goingnna be uh, a hard truth that we have to face as Uh, machismo massacist, Go hard or go ha, go home culture, and that the more research we do on proximity to failure, the more we find out that it's okay to not be like one rep or two rep or three rept Shire failure, but even more Uh, when we start looking at some of the the velocity based Uh training protocols and some recent research, Uh, that I that I've been privy to that's coming out of uh, like's say, Doctors Orosa's lab in a. Few other places, and it's almost now a question of well, how far from failure can I be and still get in effect? Um, so uh, I think if you, if you layer those two things together, if we understand that the peak tension point is not necessarily the point where the muscle is Ex. Like the, let's say, let's say the uh. the most challenging point on the force curb is not necessarily the point and the length relationship where H, peak tension is experienced and you're turning it long muscle length. Maybe not a huge deal. And if we also understand that you don't have to squeeze it out to failure to necessarily, uh, get those adaptations. It's a good question. I don't think there's anything wrong with necessarily going right. I'm gonna hit some additional reps, A and partials on top of that, Um. but I, I, I'm of the opinion that we just need more data

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm, Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

on that. It's It's an interesting one, but some of the the research that would make you think that this was a really important uh aspect haven't really panned out. Like. If you, if you think about it, if matching the force curve would consistently produce better hypertrophy, we would see things like bands and chains being effective for pertrophy, because that typically matches the force curve just real briefly. If someone is wondering what the hell I

[aaron_straker]:

eight.

[eric_helms]:

talking about, just think of the squat. Uh, the hardest position is when you're in the hole right if you got chains on the bar or bands. That's when you have the least band or chain tension. and then as you stand up and it's easier, it's getting harder. so it's a more consistent level of effort and tension. Uh that you would be getting yet. I haven't seen any good data to suggest that's better. Um. there's also isochinetic dynamometry Uh, which, while nerdy is basically and not something you can do in the gym very easily. Uh, very common in research, and you can find a lot of studies on this and essentially Uh, it is a constant speed. like, let's say, have a leg extension that will only move at a certain speed, so it allows you to kick as hard as you can on on it for the whole length of that range of motion And it's not like you see the Iso kinetic dynametry, Uh. Data just killing traditional strength training in terms of rates of hypotrophy, So so yeah, it's something I would like to see explored more. But I think it is a very reasonable hypothesis to say, maybe we should be doing additional reps or choosing different exercise selection, or thinking about how do we uh, train when we're We're leaving out that that that that we're We're so far short of a high level of effort through certain ranges of emottional, certain movements,

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeah, I think that that last thing you said is like my exact point. Like I dont. It just doesn't make sense. I need to see the research so I can make sense of this, you knowcause. like my push downs, I'm always like man, I can. My tries up can do so much more here. It's like the back example, any other, the lap? hold down all that that stuff. So you have any thoughts on that

[aaron_straker]:

Yeah, Im not so much of thought. a little, just a bit of a question. Could you explain a little bit more with the what you called the isooninetic Um

[eric_helms]:

So iso

[aaron_straker]:

patern

[eric_helms]:

kinetic dynameter, Yeah, so so if you basically uh, you might see these in a lab. They look like a Uh. Typically the the, like, the resting position of these. they're they're. They're really really adjustable. It's like a chair, right and then you have a computerized system where like you have a, most commonly like a a single leg extension attachment right, and you set it up so it's a line for the person's joints And then you allow a certain the velocity of movement and the machine starts when it senseens pressure on a on a load cell into the pad, So you start kicking against it. You can kick against it with ten percent of your effort, and it will move at that that speed, Right. If you kick it at at a hundred percent, Uh, it will move at the same speed. And if you went to a comercial gym into a leg extension. If you loaded, let's say a hundred pounds. you only put temption in your effort. It wouldn't move at all, and if you put, let's say a hundred pounds of effort into it would move very slowly, right. Uh, if you put a hundred and eighty pounds of effort, it would move real fast right. So traditional training is Iso inertial, but not Iso kinetic. Um, so Isooninetic just means it moves at a fixed speed, which allows you to put forth max effort at all points in

[aaron_straker]:

All point,

[eric_helms]:

that range of motion without the speed changing, which means you can actually have the highest levels attention in the muscle throughout every every piece of that range of motion that's possible at that given joint angle. So the torque produced is is go to be consistent as far as the Uh. the movement is concerned, compared to a movement where it was not isochinetic. So you're essentially matching the force curve or the with at tension. curved, if you will. Um. maybe even the effort curve is probably the more accurate terminology. there. Um, yet we don't see like. Oh, man, these ice canonamant diameter is killing it. Um. another way to think of this is Uh, like flyw wheel training. I don't know if you guys ever

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

seen that

[aaron_straker]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

stuff, but you can pull on it as hard as you can, and it'll it's it's It's not going to fly because you're actually having to rotate the fly wheel inside of it. And then, however, once you give it, it pulls you back down on on on the eccentric, so it forces you to be in constant, this constant state of high effort or whatever effort you put forth, You can train a whole set at fifty percent. You can train a whole set at a hundred percent, so it's um. Fly wheel training is interesting. Uh, but I think we do need to investigate this more to see if it matters or if it's kind of six or one half dozen of the other. Um, so

[bryan_boorstein]:

cool. I just want to talk a little bit more about the the kind of length and short and stuff. So obviously we know that the lengthened um, overloaded movements such as like an r l or an inclined Dubell curl or whatever, are going to be more damaging than a shortened version of a similar movement Like call it a waited hip back extension, versus like a cableacher curl or something like that. So do you think about this when you're programming Like? Are there considerations you take in? You know, Okay, this person's dieting. We're going to stay away from doing as much uh, overload in the length and position, and maybe bias a little bit more in the short position. How do we make sense of this and how can we apply it

[eric_helms]:

Yeah, a good question and I, I do think about it. So, uh, essentially any movement where there is Uh, high load produced at long muscle lengths, Uh, seems to induce more hypotrophy, but at least in the short term also seems to cause more more muscle damage. Uh. the repeated Bo effect will take care of a lot of that, but still in the same person with the same amount of repeated about effect. And say the hamsstering corurl, versus say a r d l, or Ced Hamsster, cral. For that matter, where you're at a very lengthen position at full on the extension, Um, you will probably see more damage when all is equal, So longer a recovery time for force production, Uh, longer time course, and and magnitude of experience De laid ont to muscle soreness. So yeah, how how do I play this out way? I do try to include those movements. Um. You know, a seated leg extension Um, with the seat all the way back has been shown in the research to be more effective than one where you're in hipflection exceeded normally, um. Likewise, Uh, seated hamster curls versus uh, lying. Has and curl seem to be a little more effective. Um, So doing things choosing movements that train muscles at a long muscle length is definitely something I try to do. Um, but I also think about all right. Well, what's the next time I trained this muscle group in this Uh, in this program so I would. Didn't want to do. Let's say r. d. ls the day before a dead lift right. I wouldn't really have a huge problem if I was training like, let's say I had a full body split with doing you know, a lying hamssterring, corl, Uh, the day before I did a deadli variation. Uh, If I had to like, I can't think of a lot of reasons why I would unless I'm

[bryan_boorstein]:

right? right?

[eric_helms]:

li, literally training hamsterings every day like, let's say it's a ham string specialization cycle or something like that. Um, but uh, but yeah, so that that definitely comes into play. I think about uh, time course of recovery

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm.

[eric_helms]:

and exercise selection, and essentially about distributing training stress within a mo, A a microcycle. Um, uh, in terms of those, those those, and in those terms quite regularly

[bryan_boorstein]:

So you said that the leg curl where your seated le, her where you're laid back is more effective than the one where you're in hipflection

[eric_helms]:

leg extension. So if if you are,

[bryan_boorstein]:

like extension? Yeah, okay, yeah, I got it okay.

[eric_helms]:

so, if you're laid back, so you're just lying

[bryan_boorstein]:

y. yp.

[eric_helms]:

down on your knees bent, Um, that's actually been researched in and produces greater Uh changes of nypert fe, for the for the quads than Uh than if you were in the standard position that you see in gyms in hit flection.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeah, so yeah, I, uh. For

[eric_helms]:

Yeah,

[bryan_boorstein]:

for whatever reason, I thought you had said leg curl, and is this true that

[eric_helms]:

I might well, I did say both so for the leg curl. The seated leg

[bryan_boorstein]:

Okay, but in leg cur, Yes,

[eric_helms]:

curl produces more hamssterringer pertphy than the lying la cur, which I think

[bryan_boorstein]:

right. but also if you're in, if you're in hipflection on a seated leg

[eric_helms]:

a study recently came out on.

[bryan_boorstein]:

curl, then don't you have the added benefit of the pre stretch of the hamstrings before beginning versus being kind of seated back in a seated le C machine where the hamerrings are just kind of like you know. Does that make sense?

[eric_helms]:

Well, we're talking about the same thing here. Basically

[bryan_boorstein]:

Okay?

[eric_helms]:

the ham string is at a longer muscle length during the hamster curl, so like when you are in hipflexction in in a seated La

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeah,

[eric_helms]:

curl. You're You're stretching the hams string because you're basically like If you were standing you're bent over.

[bryan_boorstein]:

yeah,

[eric_helms]:

It's like bottom of Shiman Ry, l, right, Um. Likewise, if you're in a leg extension and you're the bottom position, an arty. l, the Rereck Fm, which crosses the hip is going to be short. If you lie back now, the re themm is lengthed when you do your leg extension,

[bryan_boorstein]:

right.

[eric_helms]:

So certain heads of the quadrucep and certain heads of the Uh, the ham string are going to be at a longer muscle length upon initiation of both movements when you are in a seated leg curl and a lying leg extension.

[bryan_boorstein]:

yeah. So where we are talking about the same thing I was talking about in the seated leg curl, putting yourself specifically in a position of more hipflexion. so that your body is like, If this is the sea of like C, your body' kind of forward like this, almost like the old, like sit and reach tests that you would do in high school, So to like,

[eric_helms]:

Yeah,

[bryan_boorstein]:

prestretch the hams string, versus kind of sitting back in the seat more. And if that matters,

[eric_helms]:

I think it's preed anyway, and most

[bryan_boorstein]:

okay,

[eric_helms]:

of the time people are just like rounding in their in the upper

[bryan_boorstein]:

yeah,

[eric_helms]:

back when they do that anyway.

[bryan_boorstein]:

gota

[eric_helms]:

like I, I can't even really round my lumb bar that much like my, My Lombard, doesn' move probably from years of thinking of like you know, so,

[bryan_boorstein]:

okay, cool

[eric_helms]:

yeah, I, I, I think. uh, I think making sure that you're in the start position with your knee as straight as possible, is probably going to do a whole lot more

[bryan_boorstein]:

cool.

[eric_helms]:

than like, but I have to try that like. I definitely like there's some videos of me like leaning

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeah,

[eric_helms]:

over my my hamstring curl. Um, and I, I personally, I just go by feel

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

like if it feels like there's greater stretch on it then I'm probably doing something right So

[bryan_boorstein]:

cool. I pretty much take the same with our side like that, Erin.

[eric_helms]:

well, I don't got any M G in my gym, So so

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeah, totally uh A and anything else before we move on next topic.

[aaron_straker]:

Yeah, one thing. I thought that could be kind of practical as if you have in your gym like, maybe not a very well developed seated leg curl where you can't get that full stretch position like, maybe you're a little bit taller like us. You know, we' all right around six foot or something like that. Maybe that lean forward could help you create a little bit extra stretch tension. if the machine doesn't allow for that in itself.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yep,

[eric_helms]:

absolutely

[bryan_boorstein]:

sure cool. Um. Well, we want to talk a little bit here about uh, auto regulation and I was actually listening to Uh you on the Mike Matthews podcast Muscle for Life, Like in Dece year, you guys were talking about auto regulating exercise selection And you had mention that changing out isolation movements regularly is more or less totally fine. I assume the low skill nature of the movement et Ctera, so I just want to play Devil's Advocate for one second and get your thoughts on the idea that isolations might be the best diagnostic tool because they inherently have less contributing musculture that could compensate under fatigue. and this could also provide especially good data during a cut as we try to intenuate muscle loss and look for signs that were succeeding at the objective. Right,

[eric_helms]:

yeah, I, uh. I don't even see this Deuv's advocate. I see it as almost a. Um. I think my, my point with auto

[aaron_straker]:

Four.

[eric_helms]:

regulating exercise selection was just to say, Hey, The end point that we want is diagnostic clarity, Um, and an effective stimulus and we have data to suggest that swapping out Uh, more complex movements, Uh, that require coactivation of muscles and uh, reactivating a motor pattern that is relatively challenging with an emphasis on Relatively. We're still talking about, you know, body building stuff, Um, that could reduce your capability to produce tension or force, and we have research that indirectly supports them. Um. I'm forgeting the author. We got a study on untrained women where they did um bench leg press and bic upcurls for twelve weeks, and you saw increases in strength at the six week and twelve week mark in all movements, But you only saw measurable hypertrophy Uh in the biceps at the six week mark and you had to wait until the twelve week Mar, before you saw the quaderce and peck hypertrophy, ostensibly from getting the motor patterns down on bench press and leg press while they figured out quote, unquote uh, bicy curls early be cause it's an isolation movement Um. That's the. It's indirect. It's not like we have a mechanistic date on that Um, and the other study. That that is Interesting thing is a study by Raian colleagues that came out in twenty, eighteen or seventeen where they've took trained lifters. Importantly, uh, and they said, Hey, you know we give you a body part split. Um, or rather, I think a full body split with with one movement per body part. Uh on three days, and here's a handful of exercise you can choose for each one and auto regulated group, while the other group had a fixed order. So, Um, the group that got to choose what they wanted grew better, Um, and I think the what the synthesis of those two studies tells me is that Um, so long as you don't have to repeat the learning pat, the learning process, you can probably induce some good hypertrophy. So another factor, the diagnostic thing to go back to that, Bri, and I think it's a great point is that. Yeah, you can jump around between movements. Um, but you still want to be able to have something to compare to Like you could do every variation of curls every single week and you'd probably be stimulating your biceps because it's not that hard to flex your damn elbow. Um. However, how how do you know if you're making progress? Um, you would eventually know, cause you could look long that back long enough. but you might be introducing a lag time that is longer for diagnostics than the actual time that you could be improving that movement. like let's say, Every two weeks your uh preacher curl is going up, but it's every six weeks you do your preacher corurl. You know you, you. You got some some fog of war there that prevents you from knowing whether you're You should be making an adjustment.

[bryan_boorstein]:

yeah, one thing Aaron and I have both noted is that there seems to be like neural adaptations that need to take place even for isolation movements. Sometimes we both had examples where we've started cycles. Um. at, call it two r. for starting like ninety five pounds for ten raraps at twor, And then it almost seems like every week we can add like two point five or five pounds and still hi to Rr. And' like a curl, you know, So that just led me to believe that that. maybe it wasn't as simple as just like selecting whatever curl I want to do on any given day because of the blurring of the diagnostics. But I guess at the end of the day with hypersphe, like it isn't a diagnostic game. it's about simulating the muscle seeing it grows. so it doesn't necessarily matter if you have the information.

[eric_helms]:

Yeah, and I, I think I think another another piece of that is its. it's somewhere on a spectrum, right. So like let's say, you can add two and a half kilos per week on a curl. and that is largely due to neurommuscular adaptations and not a cro change in cross sectionual area. That's not to say that it did nothing. However, if you compare the change in, let's say like the first time you do a new leg press first the next time

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeah,

[eric_helms]:

you do it shit for me. That's a couple more skillets on there, like I,

[bryan_boorstein]:

yeah,

[eric_helms]:

or, or more like I. There are certain movements that you do where you're figuring it out where you increase the load like thirty percent. The next time you do it, you know, Um. So sure, two point five is is not a lot. Um, but it is a a larger percentage of a small number when you're doing isolation movements, but I think you're You're probably still getting a stimulus when you're figuring out a quote unquote isolation movement. I notice this even within session, like if I do a new, like Coral machine or something, I can go to failure on the first set and then with the same of reps, I can go to failure on the second set and I'm like, Pretty sure I got some fatigue there, you know, so, but it's It's not a huge difference. It's not like I go to failure and yout get ten and then I get fifteen rets on my next set, you know, so

[bryan_boorstein]:

well, even if you repeat performance, I mean, I would almost say that still, like a small neural adaptation Mean

[eric_helms]:

exactly.

[bryan_boorstein]:

depend depending on your your own body and how you are here.

[eric_helms]:

yep, a hundred percent

[bryan_boorstein]:

Er thoughts. Anything to add?

[aaron_straker]:

I mean no, that is one, or I am really just purely curious on. you know. its. it's one of those things I find those progressed. Definitely the slowest for myself. You know, I've been doing a bice a preacher for weeks and I get like one Wp, Like I can progress the first set. After that. It's a lot more the same, so maybe it's one of those things. I stop trying to push that one and just bringing something else in and chase that that subjective. Just I r on it.

[bryan_boorstein]:

cool. Next thing to talk about, y.

[eric_helms]:

Th. That's actually a good point that I would real quickly. I, um, I have long stopped trying to hit, or, or let's say not try. Uh, focusing on whether I'm progressing on isolation movements, Um, especially small muscle or isolation movements. Because like if you think about it like, I think it's not unreasonable to say that someone could do like strict Dubell curls, forty pounds for ten raps, and that same person could do strict squats with four hundred pounds for ten raraps. Like if you take a really well developed bodyuilder right, talkucking strict

[bryan_boorstein]:

yeah.

[eric_helms]:

curls. Not not not with all you people who are thinking like, Oh man, I can do forties, but I can't squat out four hundred. It's because you're not really curling the forties, all right and body English, lean into the side, quadradist lamboron. come on, Um. so I think Um. those are easy numberscause. It's just a decimal place difference. However, the person who is squatting four hundred probably spent a year trying to go from three eighty to four hundred, and that is not an option. There is no thirty eighths for you to grab, so you have to go from thirty five to forty. So a lot of the times when it comes to isolation movements, I just train hard, and then when my rowe or my pull down. so we're talking about biscepts are going up. Then I take that for, maybe it's part of the contributing factor and I also just subjectively go to my arms with

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm.

[eric_helms]:

sticker. You know, so yeah,

[bryan_boorstein]:

Well, that's definitely a less stressful approach,

[aaron_straker]:

I do agree. I do like that. It's like I can have my compounds being like my, my meet and potatoes of what I care about and then everything else is just like. I'm just here for fun Now

[eric_helms]:

yeah, exactly, 'cause some, some a tool is not useful if it doesn't do what it's supposed to do. so I think Um, isolation movements going back to your devil's art,

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

Uh, devil's advocate, Brian, are great diagnostic tools to see if you're losing strength. I don't know if they're great diagnostics to see if you're gaining strength over the time frame that you might expect for the magnitude of change. Um. so from a scientific perspective, Um, it's only useful to worry about things that you can actually measure changes in, And I think that's where a lot of people. so I confuse people. cause like I'm obviously a nerdy due to super analytical. But then someone like don't worry about that shit and they're like what I thought? You want me to worry about everything Like I'm assuming yourreadsheets. Everything ticked and I'm like I don't trust your ability to rate this subjectively. I don't think this is changing. I don't want to track a whole bunch of noise cause that's just taking you know away from your ability to to actually focus on what matters, and it takes mental stress,

[bryan_boorstein]:

yp,

[eric_helms]:

so everything should be simplified to the point that it needs to be to reduce the signal to noise, increase the signal to noise ratio, and I think a lot of times people are just tracking all kinds of variables that they can't even really track

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

realistically. And it's just uh. Um. it's not even just a a neutral outcome. it's it's a negative outcome be cause, they they. Those are things they have to worry about.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeah, well, yeah, I mean for like fifteen of my twenty plus years training, I think I've pretty much only trained with compound movements, so like you know, at some level, um, just focus on the big things and and good things happen. But I think that this also kind of plays a little bit into my next question, which is on maintenance volumecause. I've been very

[eric_helms]:

Hm.

[bryan_boorstein]:

intrigued by this, Um. partially because like I've gone through periods of time throughout my life where I've trained with really low volumes and focused exclusively on compounds and things like that, and I never really feel like I lose that much. Um. So maintenance Vol. volume studies seem to demonstrate that somewhere between a third and a ninth of the volume that it took to gain would be like a sufficient number to maintain. Um. when I was coached by Uh, your buddy Brian Miner, We, we worked together for about six months, Um. I asked him this question about maintenance volume. In his response was that he thinks that these one third to one ninth numbers would probably work in the short term, but he wasn't as confident that they would work long term, and I say long time thinking like a year and a half two years consistently training at lower volumes. So the question is do you think this is sustainable maintenance volume? Long term, and how much my effort or relative intensity impact how much volume one would need when going through these periods

[eric_helms]:

I, so I think there's a couple of things to consider on that'. A really good question is that I'm aware of more studies on maintenance of strength than I am on maintenance of muscle size. Um, I'm aware of far more studies on untrained individuals than trained individuals. Um. However, I actually got to dig into this research a fair bit for Uh, when I was making some videos to to calm people down about covet. Initially, like like W. What other I in a detraing research and I think Um, a very small dose can slow the rate of atrophy substantially to The. point where it takes a while before you even notice it. Um. I think, However, for actually maintenance of muscle size for a trained lifter, you probably need something more around one third to half uh. Of what would be the, Uh, like the minimum amount to to make some progress, strength, though I think is is a very interesting thing because you can actually be on a volume level where you're slowly losing size were getting stronger if the maintenance volume you do is at a very high load. Um, like if you were like a great study, Uh, that came out Uh, and more research being done that's coming out soon that I've been privileged to be a part of by Uh. Andre Lacus, Coracacus, Uh, affectionly known as pack, Uh, He's doing his Ph D on the minimum effect of dose of training and power lifters, One of the studies he did was a pilot study where one group Greek nationally qualified power lifters Um, did two sessions of squats per week, working up to a single at a nine to nine point five, r, P. E, and nothing else. So that's two reps that are considered working sets, Um, or working reps, even uh, doing that three times on bench on one time on deadlift, and their strength increased for about two mesocycles, and peaked around the four to seven week mark Before then it started taper off and there was slightly better, and I do mean slightly better and more consistent gains in the traditional puization group that did more than ten times the tonnage, Um. Training with the same number of days per week, so I think when you're talking about strength, it is highly confounded by Um. the exposure of specificity, Um, rather than simply just thinking about, Uh, that that physiological maintenance of muscle mass,

[bryan_boorstein]:

You by lowering the volume if the goals hyperche, like you, would essentially expect a lot of that initially to be like circolasmic,

[eric_helms]:

I don't think Um. you're going to be alter. I think the the ratio of sarcolasmic to miofibular, Uh, hypertrophy, I, It can change slightly, but they operate in very narrow ranges. Um, I think Uh, and I wouldn't necessarily refer to it this way. I think when you drop your volume and half and you see a drop in muscle size initially, it is probably related to glycogen and the or associated water attention, Um, I would not necessarily call that uh, a Ch, a shift in in carcoplassm verse, ver smallfibular, I think it's an important distinction. Um, so so yeah, like you will notice some some size drops if you cut your carbs and going a delote, weak even,

[bryan_boorstein]:

right,

[eric_helms]:

but it doesn't mean you actually lost any muscle.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeah, Interesting ain't any thoughts.

[eric_helms]:

But like if you don't pequ wellel in a body willning show Nobdy, go well, No, No, we're going to give you the wind even though you're far smaller because you didn't actually lose any miofbular proteins. Like No, that's not a. That's not a thing. So a lot of us only care about what the appearance is anyway. So it's one of the same.

[aaron_straker]:

that is. It's reassuring you know what I mean because we all have that thing like where we take, you know, a week off from the gym or whatever, and those fears kind of creep in. but I mean we know that it's that it's the the muscle like a generation, just ofll the lower carbon and there. Buts so it is nice to hear that there is like the research that backs set up, and we know that it's just subject to Fe.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Well, the thing I always do is when people worry about that sort of thing as I refer them to that study. That was the one group that trained eighteen or twenty four straight weeks, and the other group went six weeks on three weeks off, six weeks on three weeks off, six weeks on. and then at the end they all have the same results, so Uh, three weeks often didn't even really seem to matter as long as you started training again.

[eric_helms]:

Yeahp, you, essentially, um, Every time you take time off when you come back, you have an accelerated rate of returning to where you were,

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yp,

[eric_helms]:

Um, so uh, just just as a as a real world example, I mention how I had a hip hip surgery took a bunch of time off from squatting. When I did come back to it. Uh, I hit a high bar squat P. r. Twenty four weeks after surgery, so Um, and you know to get to the previous number that I'd hit before that of like five kilos less. I think I went. Yeah, I was like four twenty five. With my was my best highbor squat P. R, and I hit a four forty one. Um, It took me like my whole training career to get to to four twenty five, and then to get the four. Now not that I hir squat super regularly, but then to get to four forty one happened in sixteen weeks, so like very quickly I got back to where I was Um. and then I was training specifically with a high intensity low volume approach and doing a movement that I had not regularly included in loan. Behold, you know, hit a p. R. So I think that's that's a great example of a number of the concepts we're talking about.

[aaron_straker]:

I do have a follow up question to that and this is this a personal question Being quickly honest, So I've had this theory right, purely theory that I haven't really done any heavy back squatting in. I mean, probably over a year now, right. I think the max I've done is maybe like two seventy five. That's got to be eight nine months ago. my time best four twenty five. I, this theory that if I just train like hypertvy style like I am for a couple of years and actually add some size to my quads. I can then spend for six months doing a string cycle and N P from that and kind of what you said has some. It's giving me hope that my, you know hope that, maybe purely just hope it might have some like silence to it As what are your thoughts on that?

[eric_helms]:

I. I, I, I think that is the Uh. fundamental underlying rationale that I think has the most salient for periodization for resistance train is the concept of Um. greater cross sectional area. Um, maybe not in the short term, but eventually, long term, to some degree will contribute to strength. Uh, Although there is some debate in that, it just doesn't. I. I don't think we have the measurement tools to to be sure that that can't be the case, and there are some physiological things that make it almost seem impossible that it couldn't be the case. Um. So, uh, yeah, the idea of doing volume and then doing strength and that resulting in better strength in the long run. I agree with. you know, that's how I program and I think that' even be true in the long run. I do think. however, that, um, some of the morphological changes that we get from doing volume on the movement we're trying to get stronger on are going to be a little more supportive than, let's say, doing like Ha squads like press leg extensions. Um, I think the first few months when you walk out a heavy back squat, your you like your interncostal muscles would be like whoa. Like you know, I haven't had a A. a bar on my back. Um, and uh, I think there will probably be very specific regional hypertry responses that won't quite be the same, but I think there'll be a ton of overlap and it certainly will will will be a a boon, long term as far as helping you, so yeah, I wouldn't be surprised you hit me up in three years. Let't know if you had a

[aaron_straker]:

Yeah, Bri, we might have to set that aside. Some point in the future we run

[eric_helms]:

pure, so

[aaron_straker]:

up, strike back and see if we can hit any of our old numbers,

[bryan_boorstein]:

I'm definitely not going to hi our squad heavy, though, that's like just such a bad idea for me. We're only going,

[eric_helms]:

that's fine.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Um, Eric. What are your thoughts on the use of a frequency D load? and I guess the context would be like, You know, I went on a two week vacation,

[eric_helms]:

Hm. umm. Yeah, generally, um, and I'll give us some specific uh coveyats here

[bryan_boorstein]:

and instead of training five times a week, I just trained you know three times a week, and then at the end of those two weeks I didn't. I didn't train with less effort or less volume or anything. I just trained less often and at the end of the two weeks I, I felt pretty good and I was able to get another like four five weeks in before I took like a real de load. you know

[eric_helms]:

it. It's more about the total area under the curve of stress during a deload, but you need to be less right. Uh, whether you achieve that by two hardcore full body sessions when you normally train. Uh, you know five of those per week. Yeah, those are hard sessions. No one would be like that. That wasn't a deloaded sessions like yeah, but only had two. you know. Um, that would be fine. Um. as would you know, for example, just taking a week off. even,

[bryan_boorstein]:

right, right,

[eric_helms]:

uh. The the main principles of a deal of a Dload are, I don't want to do so little that I detra. Uh, but I, but I want to make sure that I actually recover quite well. Um, and the the caveats now that are coming are, sometimes you need to deload a specific, uh, aspect or variable. I should say Uh, that has been the source of of of stress. Um, so for example, if you are getting dinged up and you've been doing an intensity block, uh in in a power lifting prep, Uh, and you did your did your meet? you wouldn't go well. I'm just going to work up the heavy singles. The next week. You basically did that for your taper and you're dinged up because of high load training. Ostensibly, so you don't really need to deload from the volume. You need a deload from the high loads.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

Um, as an example, but if we're just talking straight high perety training, it's one way or another you're pushing higher volumes than you would for strength training, so you almost always need to break from the volume. Sometimes you might also need a break from the

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

load. Um, so that I often incorporate. When I do like post block assessments. I ask questions about joint pain. Um, and sometimes my D loads will look different if that's present, along with just overall fatigue. and it might be some B, F R and no axial loading. Uh, just cut out a few movements, et Ctera type things like that.

[bryan_boorstein]:

that's interesting. Yeah, I like that be cause. I. I kind of have two ways that I tend to deload as well, and the frequency is just a new one I've introduced, but I either like cut volume in half and do like six r i r on everything, and I feel like that, just like flushes all the fatigue, but at the same time it's so easy that I'm more tempted to just like, take a week off and then the other option is like I slice volume down to like a third, but use the same exact loads that I was and I feel like I do. Feel physically recovered doing that, but I never come out of that week with like as much mental excitement about the next messo cyclecause. I'm like I just hit the exact same loads that I'm going to have to hit the next week two. you know,

[eric_helms]:

Can I ask you us a question?

[bryan_boorstein]:

yep,

[eric_helms]:

How many times do you go into a de load and you're going to do it? Say quote, unquote. Traditionally like you said Like six r i R

[bryan_boorstein]:

yeah,

[eric_helms]:

training and less volume And you're surprised by how heavy it is or how hard it

[bryan_boorstein]:

right. yeah, be cause because you're not motivated. Yeah, you don't want to

[eric_helms]:

is. Does it happen?

[bryan_boorstein]:

do that. you don't want to be there.

[eric_helms]:

So you do experience that. How about you en?

[aaron_straker]:

So I have an interesting lifestyle where my life deloades for me, so I move

[eric_helms]:

okay,

[aaron_straker]:

kind of frequently so every move. I basically take a week off from the gym

[eric_helms]:

Yup, Okay, cool. So I used to think that I was just the god genius of programming. Be cause. a lot of my clients would say like Wow, Is this a deal? Week was harder than expected. I must have needed it and I go. Yes, I can see the future. you know. Um. but I've started to realize because I seen it with myself and I'm I. I, maybe I'm just too skeptical from my own good. Um, I'm like. I, t think I'm actually bringing the same intensity to this. I'm like Lih. I normally bench two twenty five. This is only one eighty five. Like this will be easy, and then I'm like out a position and not carrying like, Oh

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yep,

[eric_helms]:

one eighty five's hard. so I think a lot of the times, Um, there is a benefit to to maintaining some intensity and maybe dropping volume even further unless you have some some dings, which

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm, Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

I think preclude that. So my typical personal deload that keeps me motivated, excited and focused is I might even go for some P rs, like I used to have, Um, like, Uh, my deload set up where I would just do one am rarap on the movements, and then uh, and then just dump anything that that I had a a joint pain, you know thing with, like, for example, I, I get uh, I'm thirty eight, so I occasionally get elbow tenentitis, Um, so I would just skip curls for the week, or maybe do B f r, and then just do. An am rarap on pull upps, and and and bench one set. you know, so you don't go into an araft. going, Huh delod, like you go into an amrap like let's go. and I think, Um, that allows me to kind of get the best of both worlds. Um, so yeah, and the only time I'd recommend against that folks is is like when you've been pushing intensity proximate to failure and load.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeah, I definitely

[eric_helms]:

Yeah,

[bryan_boorstein]:

can resonate with the idea of getting out of position with a lightwight, cause you're just like taking it for granted. And so it's that whole idea of like I don't really want to be here anyway. So when I,

[eric_helms]:

yeah,

[bryan_boorstein]:

when when I'm going to take like an easy deload, Now I think I just take five days off and it just kind of like solves everything and right back at it. Y,

[eric_helms]:

yep. yep. I used to be a lot more dogmatic about the systems I'd create like I yep. yep. I used to be a lot more dogmatic about the systems I'd create like I wrote it down on paper, So now we have to do it Like why? Because I wrote it wrote it down on paper, So now we have to do it Like why? Because I wrote it down like that's not a good reason and I'd be like all right. So you're going to down like that's not a good reason and I'd be like all right. So you're going to do. Uh, you know you normally do five by five at eighty five percent. Were're do. Uh, you know you normally do five by five at eighty five percent. Were're going to do two by five at seventy five percent and the person's like I don't going to do two by five at seventy five percent and the person's like I don't like this is boring. I don't and there's no reason to do this. You know, Um, like this is boring. I don't and there's no reason to do this. You know, Um, there's a number of ways around it like uh, back when I was on on the West Side there's a number of ways around it like uh, back when I was on on the West Side train, I would just have I'd replace my my days with D. E day. So then it would train, I would just have I'd replace my my days with D. E day. So then it would still be like high velocity training and I'd have like a an int al focus Um still be like high velocity training and I'd have like a an int al focus Um again. I don't like. I don't train that way now, but I think the philosophy behind it is the same if it's finding a way to deloade you from what has overloaded you. Uh, that is still motivating and keeps you in the right mental state. Um. and I think if you need a mental and aphysical deload, just just take the week off like it's not a big deal, you know, or do a frequency deloy. like you said, Just train like one full body session that week. That's sufficient to to not lose anything.

[bryan_boorstein]:

there's pretty much no wrong way to deload as long as you flush the fatigue

[aaron_straker]:

and't actually do it.

[eric_helms]:

exactly. You can only detra so much in a week, right, So

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeahtally, cool. So I have one more quick thing to discuss. Um, you will talk to earlier about how you. you said that you know you could do the high intensity low set thing and you know that's not your default, but like it works and that's one way you could do it. So there's this idea that maybe you just take twenty five to thirty effective reps per muscle group and how you achieve those twenty five to thirty effective reps across the week is is sort of up to you. And maybe the results aren't super impacted. Whether you choose to do fifteen sets to three Rr, or do five sets to failure, or something along those lines, So I know it's without your default, So I, I don't know exactly what I'm asking, but maybe just at any thoughts you have on that

[eric_helms]:

sure, Uh, effective reps. Um, is it? there probably is such a thing where they begin and where they end, and when they start being effective Into what degree I think is far less clear than anyone who is actually qua. I don't think it's quantifiable for an individual honest movement. I think it's different for each one Um, going hand in hand with the emerging data that suggests we can stop further away from failure. Like according to strict effective ret theory, Or it's the last five reps of a set to failure. Um. There are some studies where there are zero effective reps where people have grown, so you know, like, if like, if you do a set of eight on squats with seventy percent of one r. M. For most people there were zero effective reps, But that's a very common like training programming. You know, approached to like, say a parallsing volume block, Then that's ostensibly going to produce hypertphy. Um. anyway, I think uh. I think effective rep's useful concept illustrates the importance of ensuring that effort is there Um. where the reps begin to be effective and are not. I don't know. Um. and as far as balancing whether you should do less volume, but higher effort or more volume and a lower effort, um, I think ultimately, this comes down to thinking about where do I get the most stimulus within a Uh. You know a training cycle that doesn't force me to deload too frequently, which by definition means a week of not getting a stimulus. So what is Net? When I back up far enough, Not what's the hardest way to train in the session, which is the traditional mindset of bodybuilders Like when I go to the gym, I want to leave the gym knowing that I busted my ass. So I think, psychologically it is no surprise to me that the Bro split is the most dominant form in in bodyuilders, because it allows you to put forth high effort and crush at each session and be recovered in time to do it again. And it is a sufficient volume, and you know without question that it was sufficient intensity and effort. So that certainly can work except for the people it doesn't work for and this will work great if you have great fantastic genetics, and if you're taking about a pharmacy and a half worth of anabolic steroids, So the fact that almost every I f b B pro does it and it works doesn't surprise me. The fact that it is very mixed in the Uh, amateur natural body building ranks, Uh, also doesn't surprise me because I don't think that approach is the most effective for for many people. Um. The

[aaron_straker]:

S

[eric_helms]:

Bro split worked for me when I first started, as it did for most people because most things do work, but I found to keep progressing some of the things that quote unquote unlocked. Uh. My next level of growth I remember was when I tried a six day upper lower split, Uh, where I had started biasing more of a bot. It didn't change my leg development, but all of a sudden myper body blew up and I essentially realizeed that my upper body was just waiting for me to do more, and it is very difficult to keep a high quality of more when you're only training each muscle group once per week, of

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm, Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

sometimes even twice per week. So I used to be a higher frequency advocate because I thought well, the amount of volume in intensity in a single session should be sufficient to produce a stimulus, but not so high that you can't train it. then again, frequently be cause. that'll give you the most like net Ay under the curve of stimulus. Um. However, I think how much one can do varies. Um. There are some in house meta regression that James Creeger has done that suggests Hey, maybe around six to ten sets per muscle group depending on proximity to failure. Is what where you might want to stop? Because after that to good diminishing returns with an acccession. So then you start to think all rightight, Well, if if from prior tracking of my data, I need fifteen cents per muscle group, that pretty much tells you you need to train that muss group two or three times per week, right so I think Um frequency as a function of volume is where I'm at now, rather than high frequency as an independent positive effect and the meta analysis that have come out for both strength and hypertriphure are actually in support of that. When you look at volume equated studies the effect of frequency is typically non significant and trivial to small at best. However, when you look at not volume equated studies, higher frequency training is better, and that doesn't mean it's caused by the higher frequency. It's confounded by volume, but that's indirect support of the concept, Uh. that if you want to do higher volume training, you eventually will probably need to increase your frequency per muscle group or movement to facilitate the utility

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

of that volume. So anyway, that was a a rambling uh rant, but the the kind of my, my default setting. Like if I just assume you're You're under the largest part of the bell curve is. Let's train each muscle group two to three times per week, and roughly evenly distribute your volume in a way that's conducive to recovery. So we might have two high volume days in one moderate or low volume day in the middle between them and then Rinson repeat, and make sure we've got at least a couple days off before the day. one of those three starts again in the next microcycle, And that just makes sure that you're as fresh as possible. You're getting the best benefits of all of those. And then I also have to think about all right. Well, how close to failure? I going at these one of those sessions. Which exercises are my choosing, men of transment along musc length. On which day or which not day, so that I can get a good stimulus, but allow them to have a productive session each time.

[bryan_boorstein]:

cool. No, I like that. I think. Uh, what I'm seeing, a lot of the the people that are now like, maybe not all the body like I have P. be body builders. For the most part, I do see the bro split, but I'm seeing a lot of people like you know, John Jewe and Luke Miller and Paul Carter, or some of those guys. They're all in on this like pushpole rest, legs rest split. So each thing's getting hit like every five days and they, they're a little bit more on the like higher intensity side of things versus the volume side of thing. So um, it's just interesting, Kind of looking at the way that that's split upcause. I, I also agree with you that I don't really like training a muscle group once once a week like I feel like there's four days where I. it's just completely recovered and then nothing iss happening. Um, but I guess there might still be utility in doing a higher intensity approach, but still making sure that you're hitting frequency when your muscles recovered versus waiting a week for no reason, just cause it's on the schedule for a week.

[eric_helms]:

Yeah, I would also put forth. It's actually Almos. impossible to train a Musc group once per week, unless you're literally just training once per week.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Oh yeah, yeah,

[eric_helms]:

Like people think people think with the row split that they're training each

[bryan_boorstein]:

right.

[eric_helms]:

mussle group once per week. But um, like here's one, Does deadlifts go on back day or like day?

[aaron_straker]:

's age old question.

[bryan_boorstein]:

I think it's always a hip. Pich is a hip pinch.

[eric_helms]:

right?

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeah,

[eric_helms]:

so uh, like If you look at some of the like, the the mid two thousands, uh, body part splits. They've got you know deadlift on back day. Uh, squats on leg day Like okay, So so now we're training our

[bryan_boorstein]:

twice right,

[eric_helms]:

glutes twice per week. And and generally legs, right, um, they've got uh, you know, poles and push downs on on their their their back

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm,

[eric_helms]:

day. And we're forgetting that the long head of the tri upps is a shoulder extensor, right, um, we're forgetting that the that the bicepts is a weak shoulder flexure. Uh, we' forget like if youve got pullos in there, you're doing that for your las.

[bryan_boorstein]:

yeah,

[eric_helms]:

you' forget it in arets position. The pecks are actually involved. Like so you know, like, and your arm day is of course redundant to all your presses, and your and your puless, your shoulder days, of course redundant to those as well. so it's like, Yeah, it's a one day per week split for your quaotz, you know like

[bryan_boorstein]:

yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,

[eric_helms]:

that's that's all we got, you know, and your calves. you know. Basically so so I think, when it really comes down to it, I think. Um, there is a lot more overlap than bodybuilders realize, because they categorize muscles in a way that our body doesn't actually move.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Mhm.

[eric_helms]:

You know,

[bryan_boorstein]:

I remember doing a bro split in the the early days of training too, and I had a arm day, but I always put like dips and then I would put like supated, pull upps on there because I was like That's more bicepts and then I would get sore in my back and in my chest on my arm day. So I was definitely hiting it twice a week,

[eric_helms]:

Yeah, I got bench on my on my cheests day, and then I've got close grip bench on my. Uh, my, my trice of day, Mhm,

[bryan_boorstein]:

right, right, cool.

[eric_helms]:

hundred percent

[bryan_boorstein]:

Well, that's all the questions that I had for you. Erarin got anything else to add, Brother.

[aaron_straker]:

I mean, this was a sweet epode for me just absorbing all this. It's nice to just sit there and put it on my head as opposed to talking a lot. So it wass cool to take a back seat on this episode A little bit. For sure.

[bryan_boorstein]:

Yeah, well, I'm really really thankful that you were here with us and dropp in all the knowledge, and I know our listeners are going to love it as well.

[aaron_straker]:

Yeah, so before we kind of head out air, can you tell everyone where they can find you once again and anything new that you're going to be up to her to look out from for you?

[eric_helms]:

absolutely first. Just want to say thank you, you both Farab. Me on fantastic discussion. I really enjoyed it. Um, best place to find me. Uh, almost one stop shop would be three D, muscle Journey Dot com. That is the number three, the letter Ded, and muscle journey. Uh. From there you can find links to my books to mass to our blogs on Thirty Muscles Journey that I contribute to, Uh to the Three Muscle Journey Podcast, And then the only other two places I recommend are on any podcast platform looking for iron culture. That's me and oar Eaf talking about all things, Uh, strength hypertrophy, whether it's culture science, Uh competition. the whole Nine

[bryan_boorstein]:

It's so good.

[eric_helms]:

yards history, thank you. Um, and then finally, Uh, check out, Uh, athlms. threei, M, j on Instigram, Where all of the stuff I do on other people's platforms I will post, So like this podcast will probably be a square. Uh, and yeah, all like good stuff,

[bryan_boorstein]:

Swet, thanks again, man.

[aaron_straker]:

Awesome. Yeah,

[eric_helms]:

my pleasure.

[aaron_straker]:

thank you, Doctor A comes for joining us on this episode of Each train prospered as always, Guys, thank you for listening, and we will talk to you next week.

Bryan’s Instagram was hijacked. Help Bryan grow back! Find him now at: @bryanboorstein82
Volume throughout your training age. Where might we start to address volume needs? What individual factors may contribute to that?
How much potential impact might repetition performance “accuracy”, “quality” and being able to go deeper into creating tension in a specific muscle have on total volume needs? Versus just moving weight from A to B without a focus on tension and quality?
What is the utility of partial ROM training, and might this have application for movements that are overloaded in the short position?
Is there a way that we can make sense of the fatigue cost associated with a movement that is overloaded in the lengthened versus shortened position?
Regarding autoregulation, is changing isolation movements somewhat regularly totally fine? (I assume due to the low skill nature of the movement). What do you think of the idea that isolation exercises might be the BEST diagnostic tool for progress?
Potentially placing less of an emphasis on trying to progress isolation movements?
Maintenance volume studies seem to demonstrate that somewhere between 1/3 and 1/9 of the volume that it took to “gain” would be sufficient to maintain. Do you think this is sustainable maintenance volume LONG TERM, and how much might effort impact volume?
When you take time off from training, you have an accelerated rate of returning to where you previously were.
Thoughts on the use of a frequency reload?
Thoughts on the idea of achieving for 25-30 “effective reps” per muscle group per week irrespective of how those reps are split up?