Best of the Best. Any Changes?

Were there any other participants doing the same as you and a control group? Or was this just an isolated study you did on yourself?

How does well developed traps help breathing? The exercises to develop them, or the traps themselves? Have not heard that before

I recognize you often describe things like they are rules, not open for debate. It’s hard for a common man to question that.

In my perspective, accessory muscles are not essential for normal breathing. I’ve never learned that the trapezius has a major contribution (unlike the diaphragm). There are several layers of muscles underneath which I would assume to play a larger role. During severe illness the intercostal muscles play a major role in breathing. If the trapezius is involved - you are probably closer to death.

Outside of helping posture i’d have to agree. Never heard anything close to that

Dr Darden, which adjustments are you thinking of?

For starters, how about reverse the lifting style to a 5 sec positive and a 10 sec negative?

oh man never found out what the ‘adjustments’ were,
IMO the BIG routine is one of the best basic routines

Okay, let’s consider what petersson suggests:

Reverse the lifting style from a 10 sec positive and 5 sec negative to a 5 sec positive and 10 sec negative.

What’s your opinion of that change?

I don’t think that would change anything physiologically (ie stimulation)
I was guessing it would be something more in the ‘stop short of failure, but extend the set with ?’ kinda thing.

I disagree with you. I believe the stimulation would be greater because your form and ability to stick to the protocol would be better.

So, why would you suggest that stopping short of failure would be an improvement?

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From a pure physiological standpoint, all other things being equal, rep speeds from 1-10 seconds seem to induce the same stimulation, it’s all about ‘tension-time’ with mechano-transduction, but, if a person could ‘use’ that rep speed ‘better’, then they could induce more stimulation, so on that part, if that happened, then I’d agree.

I agree with your new outlook on avoiding failure and doing a ‘bit more’. I’ve found the same thing with my own training over all the years (many self experiments) and now even research is catching up and showing the same. Mechanical stimulation seems to be more linear with a set, yet CNS inroading is almost exponential with each rep. The last reps have much less ‘bang for their buck’ so to speak.

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In my (n=1) study, a cadence of 5 sec for the positive phase and 10 sec for the negative, until muscular failure or 90 sec whichever happens first, works exceptionally well:

So far, in 8 months I’ve tripled my untrained strength on 4 out of 5 multi-joint lifts. On the remaining lift, I’ve doubled my strength so far. On 3 out of 5, I’ve reached a ‘Superior’ strength level, as defined on p. 274 of The Nautilus Book. Assuming I continue to progress but at only half the initial rate, the projection looks like roughly 8 more months to reach a ‘Superior’ strength level on the remaining two lifts.

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Interestingly, most trainees who claim to go to failure, really don’t go to failure in Arthur Jones style of going to failure. And I agree with you that the last reps have much less bang for their buck than I originally thought.

So, where do we stand now on the basics of the BIG routine?

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yes for sure, it’s a lot harder than people think or let on about going to actual honest true do or die last rep failure. When I’ve done that, it prolongs my recovery a huge amount I might be more neural wise sensitive than others but even if it increases the stimulation a tiny bit, that and more is lost by the time I can do that again. Back in the past, (early 2000’s) I did an experiment and repeated it 2 more times (3 total) just to test ‘failure vs a bit more volume’. I trained one arm with a single set to failure and the other with 3 sets not to failure. Each time, the non failure arm grew a bit more and it was much easier on ‘me’.

My favorite of BIG is more of an inspired setup , the idea with BIG seemed to be basic ‘just whats needed’ exercises. From that book and adjusting to me, something like this is what I really like.
Underhand Chins
Overhead press
Leg Press
Leg Curls

I find with me, something like that, doing a hard set, void of failure and either doing that 3x a week, or twice a week is a good setup. Adding in maybe a non failure set extender with a careful eye on recovery would be a good possibility. Especially if doing it 2x a week or less.

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Yes, I like your arrangement. And after two weeks, cut back the frequency from 6 times to 5 times over the next two weeks.

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I would love to have seen a video of Arthur training someone to failure

Ask and ye shall receive. AJ training Boyer Coe in his week 16:

My protocol and actual practice pertaining to muscular failure is a little bit beyond the Arthur Jones style: At the point of muscular failure, keep pushing or pulling for another 5 sec, even though the weight isn’t moving. It seems to me, substantial benefit comes from this final effort.

Not sure if that’s really how Arthur trained lets say Viator to failure

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I like that sequence. Lacking any machines at home, I’d probably implement it with a barbell back squat or belt squat, and a RDL.

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When training Viator, they may have emphasized the negative phase more.

AJ trained Viator a decade prior to this video and may have further refined the protocol by the time he trained other large, strong guys like Boyer.

To the extent that what we see in the video adheres to AJ’s published training protocol, one could surmise it’s how AJ trained nearly everyone at that time, with the exception that Boyer increased weight after 10 reps instead of 12.