T Nation

Squeezing the Peak

Several years back I recall reading an article by Rich Gaspari about some of his training tehniques. One notable technique he mentions in the article is that he concentrates on squeezing a maximum contraction for a second or two at the top of each rep on what he termed as peaking movements. So this was things like cable crossovers, dumbell concentration curls etc. He noted that the exaggerated extra squeeze helped with peaking and seperation.

I have been doing the same on several of the lifts that lend themselves well to a peak contraction while the weight is still providing resistance. It seems to definitely make the lifts more challenging. Do techniques like this really cause seperation and muscle belly peaks?

I have quite a bit of mass / strength already from PLing and am striving to work and look more like a bodybuilder than a old school power lifter. I would like to produce more peaks to my biceps for example instead of just having big round muscle heads.

I realize I will need to diet down further to see more definition. I have modified my diet downwards in calories and am eating 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fats currently. I have been gaining strength slowly while losing BF this cycle so I think I am on the right track. The training is very similar to what I used to do for powerlifting, I am really just adding in more isolation work for more than just the assitance muscles used in the big three lifts, increased my rep ranges up to 6 - 12 and I no longer perform singles. I am seeing good results. Just a lot of weight to lose still. But it is coming off about a pound or 1.5 pounds per week so far. I plan to diet down slowly to 260#.

[quote]Wilderman wrote:
Several years back I recall reading an article by Rich Gaspari about some of his training tehniques. One notable technique he mentions in the article is that he concentrates on squeezing a maximum contraction for a second or two at the top of each rep on what he termed as peaking movements. So this was things like cable crossovers, dumbell concentration curls etc. He noted that the exaggerated extra squeeze helped with peaking and seperation.

I have been doing the same on several of the lifts that lend themselves well to a peak contraction while the weight is still providing resistance. It seems to definitely make the lifts more challenging. Do techniques like this really cause seperation and muscle belly peaks?

I have quite a bit of mass / strength already from PLing and am striving to work and look more like a bodybuilder than a old school power lifter. I would like to produce more peaks to my biceps for example instead of just having big round muscle heads.

I realize I will need to diet down further to see more definition. I have modified my diet downwards in calories and am eating 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fats currently. I have been gaining strength slowly while losing BF this cycle so I think I am on the right track. The training is very similar to what I used to do for powerlifting, I am really just adding in more isolation work for more than just the assitance muscles used in the big three lifts, increased my rep ranges up to 6 - 12 and I no longer perform singles. I am seeing good results. Just a lot of weight to lose still. But it is coming off about a pound or 1.5 pounds per week so far. I plan to diet down slowly to 260#.
[/quote]

Erm, well, to be brutally honest: No.
You can emphasize the contraction of your back (backthickness, not width) on row-movements by doing 1-1/2 reps from the contracted position and such, especially if you have trouble feeling your midback work on rows… But doing, say, Spider Curls with lots of peak-contraction emphasis doesn’t really do anything… You either have a good peak in your biceps after 2 or so years of good progress on direct arm-work or you don’t.

What’s more useful is the stretch part of exercises… With certain techniques…
Look at the change in Justin Harris’ lat-spread here (scroll down for two seperate posts): http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/trying_doggcrap_training?pageNo=80
Or over at IM (another off-stage pic for better comparison)

Brutally honest is good. If there is no real value to the extra contraction then I dont want to waste the effort on it. I will do some searching concerning the stretch portion. That lat spread difference is alarming. He certainly found what works. Thanks for the post.

[quote]Wilderman wrote:
Brutally honest is good. If there is no real value to the extra contraction then I dont want to waste the effort on it. I will do some searching concerning the stretch portion. That lat spread difference is alarming. He certainly found what works. Thanks for the post.[/quote]

Don’t mention it.