T Nation

Best Set/Scheme for Strength in Type 2B/3 Mix?


#1

I’m probably 80% type 2B, 20% type 3. What’s the best set/rep scheme for me to build strength? Thank you.


#2

Methinks your question is a bit broad and presumptuous. You can’t possibly expect CT to come on here with a personalized program for you, can you?

Try asking a specific question, or giving your current training schedule/program and asking for a critique.


#3

That’s not how it works. You can’t be 80% type 2B and 20% Type 3. You are type 2B. But since 2Bs also have low inhibitory neurotransmitters (GABA and / or serotonine) they can also have some of the character traits that Type 3 have, especially when they are under a lot of stress.

To build strength a 2B still needs to focus on building muscle. The reason is that they do not have the neurological tools to recover from very high neurological demands (lifting above 90% for example).

I’ll try to explain in a simple way.

You have excitory (dopamine, adrenaline) and inhibitory (GABA and serotonne) neurotransmitters. The excitory ones speed up your neurons: it makes them fire faster which increases performance (cognitive and physical). The inhibitory ones slow down the neurons, making you more relaxed.

When you are lifting, the excitory neurotransmitters are released and your nervous system becomes activated/excited. THE MORE FORCE YOUR PRODUCE, THE GREATER IS THAT ACTIVATION/EXCITATION.

And since 2Bs are very sensitive to adrenaline, they easily get their CNS activated.

The problem is that 2Bs have low levels of serotonine and/or GABA (even more in you case since you see elements of Type 3 in your personality).

And that is the reason why Type 2Bs will have a hard time recovering from heavy work.

Why?

At the end of a heavy session your neurons keep firing on all cylinders. This does two things:

  1. You keep “tiring” your nervous system (depleting excitory neurotransmitters) until you can calm it down

  2. You stay in a sympathetic nervous system state (fight or flight) which entails a high cortisol output.

Someone who can easily and rapidly calm down their nervous system after a workout will recover much faster from a heavy workout. That’s because the CNS fatigue will be lower (from not staying in that overactive state for long) and cortisol will go back down.

But if someone is not efficient at calming the CNS down after a heavy session (neurons keep firing fast for a long time) he is at a much greater risk of having their CNS crash (dopamine/adrenaline depletion or resistance) and will spend a lot longer with elevated cortisol levels (and we know how bad that is for body composition).

Type 1A and 1B have a high level of neurotransmitters that calm the brain down. That’s why they thrive on heavy workouts, they can recover rapidly from a high neural activation (but not from volume). Type 2B have a LOW level of the inhibitory neurotransmitters, so a very heavy workout will be hard to recover from for them.

A Type 2B who wants to train for strength cannot use a typical powerlifting approach, much less one that focuses on max effort (going up to a 1-2RM on a lift).

They cant go above 85% very often. And the way they build strength is to increase muscle mass.

To get strong they thus need to combine strength-skill work and hypertrophy training with a phase of maximum lifting lasting 2-3 weeks, only at the very end of the cycle at which time assistance work is drastically reduced.

STRENGTH-SKILL
(SSK) refers to doing non-maximal heavy lifting for a fairly high amount of volume, focusing on technique. This will improve the neurological factors involved in strength-production without leading to CNS fatigue.

Here we are talking about sets in the 80-87% range NOT done to maximum effort (not anywhere close to failure, stopping a good 2 reps short of failure).

For example…
Week 1: 4 x 3 @ 80%
Week 2: 4 x 4 @ 80%
Week 3: 4 x 5 @ 80%
Week 4: 5 x 3 @ 80%
Week 5: 8 x 2 @ 82.5%
Week 6: 5 x 3 @ 82.5%
Week 7: 8 x 2 @ 85%
Week 8: 5 x 3 @ 85%
Week 9: 6 x 2 @ 87.5%
Week 10: 3 x 3 @ 87.5%

This is done for the main lifts, those you are trying to peak on and they stay the same for the whole cycle.

Then the assistance work focuses on building the muscles involved in the big lift of the day. Sets in the 6-10 reps zone being optimal.

The last two weeks of a 12 weeks cycle are to peak strength. Now you will go above 90% but only for 2 weeks. During that time assistance work has to be reduced by around 50%.

The main lift can be trained for:
Week 11: Work up to a 2RM
Week 12: Work up to a 1RM


#4

Please DON’T do that. There is nothing I hate more that critiquing / analyzing a program. I literally sucks the life out of me.


#5

Wow. That was super informative and explains a lot. The continually firing neurons makes sense, since after a heavy workout, I do feel “jacked up” for quite some time, but inevitably, do not recover in time for my next workout. I imagine being a mail carrier and having to walk 6-7 miles a day doesn’t help much either, being a 2B. Is training to failure ok in the 6-10 rep range possibly? Example being your Best Damn programs? Thank you so much for your time.


#6

If you do the same approach for the assistance work as in the Best Damn (1 all-out set) that’s fine because the volume is low. But if you use a regular approach of 3-4+ sets per exercise I would recommend stopping just short of failure.


#7

Yep, I tell you over the past year of perfecting neurotyping I literally understood everything that ever happened to any of my clients that I couldn’t explain.

If you look at high level olympic lifters who train twice a day; they easily nap right after their first workout. Only someone with high serotonine/GABA can do that. And these are the people who can train very heavy often.


#8

Christian,

So a 2B type could be difficult get a hard muscular look (myogenic tone)? If training heavy could impare both performance and muscle gains and moreover the fiber make up is slow twitch, how could we work hardness on a 2B?