T Nation

'Muscle To Spend', 'Recovery Points' Hypothesis


CT, I was hoping to get your take on this idea I've been having.

Obviously as a natural trainee muscular gains are only going to come so fast, and the body only has the ability to hold on to so much muscle at a time.

I was wondering if you thought there was any merit to the idea that you only have so much "muscle to spend" and can kind of pick and choose where it goes?

Meaning, if you have a muscular 180 pounds physique, could you sacrifice a bit of arm size to gain some upper back/shoulder size. Or lose some chest size to gain some leg size.

So its basically the same 180 pound physique but just shifted around a bit.

Question number 2 if you have time: Given that the body only has a finite capacity to recover, does it make sense to think of that in terms of "recovery point", It seems like this is the idea behind body part specialization routines, where you spend all of your "recovery points" on a certain body part at the expense of growing the other ones. Or is the body much more complicated than that?

I know things like sled work or feeder workouts can actually enhance recovery so there are many pieces to the puzzle, but it seems to make sense in a broad way. That's why doing 8 sets for back is good, but doing 80 sets is actually harmful to progress. You spent to many points and haven't gotten your return on investment back.

Your layer system has really opened my eyes to how little one needs to do, if they are doing productive work... So I'm thinking I was spending too many recovery points before and wasn't able to pay them back in full, which is why my strength has gone up so fast with the system.