Thus far three chapters have been added on Bompa et al’s work ‘Serious Strength Training’ which can be viewed here, here and here. Today will be a short post looking at an intermediary phase that will prep the lifter to move from H training to MxS training, dubbed ‘Mixed Training’ (hereafter “M”). Why would someone need such a phase?
Before entering the maximum-strength (MxS) phase, athletes must gradually introduce some specific training elements for the development of MxS. As the name implies, mixed training, incorporates some workouts specific to H training and applies MxS methods in other sessions. (Bompa et al, 2003, p.221)
To the authors the scope of the M phase is as follows:
Continues to improve muscle hypertrophy
Introduces MxS methods in order to increase chornic hypertrophy, or long-term muscle tone and density.
Uses desired proportions between the two types of training, depending on the needs of the athlete. For example:
40% H and 60% MxS
50% H and 50% MxS
60% H and 40% MxS (Bompa et al, 2003, p.222)
The authors state that in some cases a bodybuilders size is not congruent with their strength (some reasons for this were discussed here), part of this is due to the lower loads lifted by such (generally between 60% and 80% 1RM). The load required to increase muscle strength and tone is slightly higher (often up to 95-100% 1RM), as such the M phase is really a progression between phases, with proportions being allocated to H training and MxS training. Due to the extremely heavy loads being lifted in the MxS phase, the M phase may be repeated as many times as is desired to produce the greatest effect. The authors don’t state a specific time frame the M phase should be performed for, but their example programs are set out in single microcycle fashion, thereby implying anything from one microcycle to many might be useful.
Program Design for the M Phase
When designing an M phase the authors state that it is recommended to put the MxS sessions at the start of the week, or after a rest day as they are the most physiologically taxing, and require the most concentration to perform them safely and accurately. The authors make a specific point to mention fatigue, that is they state that being fresh for a MxS workout is essential (as stated), but being fresh for a H workout is not, and moreover may actually contribute to muscle gain:
A slightly fatigued muscle seems to exhaust ATP/PC stores more quickly, thereby stimulating muscle growth. In the case of mixed training, therefore, always plan MxS workouts before H workouts. (Bompa et al, 2003, p.223)
It important to note that this is not an intra-workout distinction, meaning; workout days should be either MxS or H, not specific workouts.
It is also stressed by the authors that between set recovery is of most importance when performing MxS work (which will be elaborated on in the next post), with rest intervals being upwards of 5 to 6 minutes, and muscle groups being paired in a way that alternates between agonist and antagonist muscles. Below are images of the proportion of H to MxS training for the M phase, going from entry level to advanced. When designing your own programs you would combine the H portion and the MxS portion from the tables below with their corresponding difficulty levels (entry level, recreational bodybuilder, advanced, professional).
Bompa, T.O., Pasquale, M.D., Conrnacchia, L.J. (2003). Serious Strength Training (Second Edition). Champaign, IL. Human Kinetics.