T Nation

Protein Degredation


It's pretty much been proven that the greater the protein degradation from training the higher the protein synthesis and therefore strength and hypertrophy increases. (provided you don't overtrain).

It's also been proven that the greater the load the greater the protein degradation. The only reason Lifting with 3 or less reps/set isn't good for hypertrophy is the limited time under the large load isn't sufficient for optimal protein degradation. That's why Waterbury's 10x3 is so good.

You get the best of both worlds, 30 reps total at very high loads = significant degradation and therefore synthesis and growth.

My question is about the law of fiber recruitment where your muscles only contract as hard as required to lift a load. The closer to failure the better chance all your fibers are contracting.

Would this result in greater protein degradation or is closeness to failure irrelevant when lifting over 80% max for fiber recruitemnt? Would 6 sets of 5 to failure be better than 10 sets of 3 with the same weight not to failure?

I may be way off, just looking for feedback.

  • 6x5 to failure would not be better because you will take longer to recover and therefore have less workouts in the month.

Also maximum fiber recruitment can be achieved by several different ways. For hypertrophy the muscle doesn't 'care' what weight you're using. It's what you're doing with it that counts.
You can perform fast concentrics and tax the same fibers very easily with much lower weight. And that too will lead to limit strength development.

10x3 isn't something that can be practiced on one muscle group more than once a week unless your routine is very abbreviated and you're using different exercises. Stuff like 4x6, 5x5 or 7x4 are a good way to stay in the lower rep bracket and add size.

Lift Fast Get Big, Waterbury Method and Art of Waterbury articles have all the info necessary to understand 3x/week low rep total body plans. Read em over, they have scads of info.


Good points. Thanks for responding. I took your advise and read through some of Waterbury's articles again. He explains things in depth.