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 Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin

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Nombre de messages : 8069
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Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

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MessageQuestion of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin

Question of Strength: April
by Charles Poliquin

Splits for Hypertrophy

Q: What's a couple of good splits to use if my main goal is building
muscle? Maybe something a little untraditional?
A: There's two ways you could do it:

Split #1:
Day 1: Chest and Back
Day 2: Anything from the bellybutton down (lower body)
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Shoulders and Arms
Day 5: Off
Day 6: Repeat the cycle
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image002

Split #2:
Day 1: Chest and Biceps
Day 2: Anything from the bellybutton down (lower body)
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Back and Triceps
Day 5: Off
Day 6: Repeat the cycle

Occlusion And Vibration Training: Valuable?

Q: Have you read anything about this occlusion training stuff ("Kaatsu"),
where blood supply is cut off when lifting? Seems to be the rage in Japan.
What about vibration training?
A: Yes, and occlusion training is about as useful as tits on a bull.
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image003

Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image005

How convenient is it anyway? You need an occlusion suit or bands that
restrict blood flow while you lift. You block and release blood flow,
going back and forth. They claim it gives you more hypertrophy, but
the studies were done on untrained subjects.
It's very gimmicky. If I make you do ten sets of five on the deadlift,
you're going to grow whether you're wearing an occlusion device or not.
No need to buy an anaconda to wrap around you when you deadlift.
Vibration training is the same. What are the odds that you're going
to do squats during an earthquake?
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image007

In all fairness, it has been shown to have some benefits with those
suffering from cerebral palsy and some other neurological disorders.
But there's a guy who studied under me who did his Master's thesis at
the University of Calgary on vibration training. He used it with Olympic
athletes and didn't see any effects, nor was he able to reproduce any
of the benefits reported in the previously published literature.
No surprise, last July a Dutch researcher came out and admitted that
they had falsified the data in a lot of the studies.
I'm not completely writing off vibration training just yet, but I don't
think it makes that much of a difference, and it's just not worth the
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image009

Honestly, my "colleagues" who are big into vibration training never
really made anybody strong anyway. About the only guy who endorses it
(who specializes in the combine business) also endorses occlusion training.
And he's only had one player stay with him after combine training to
train for the NFL.

Leg Extensions: The Rules

Q: Is there ever a good time to use the leg extension machine?
A: Most people know I'm not a huge fan of leg extensions. The
main reason is that I'm a big believer in exercises that give you the
most "bang for your buck."
Throughout my career, I've had, on average, only 11 weeks to work with
the athlete. For example, that's how much time off that NHL players have
to get in shape for the season. Time is money. And leg extensions are
usually a waste of it.
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image011

With that in mind, here are some random thoughts regarding leg extensions:
1. If you're going to use it, use the best machine. The choice of machine
is important. The best models are DAVID, Atlantis, Flex, and Avenger.
These are the brands that best match the strength curve.
2. The angle of the seat is important. Research shows that 90 degrees
is optimal. Angles such as 100 or 110 degrees decrease quadriceps recruitment.
3. The position of your toes affects quadriceps recruitment. This statement
is true when measured by magnetic resonance or by integrated EMG. The
basic rule is based on a continuum of recruitment. If the toes are in,
then there's preferential recruitment of the vastus lateralis. If the
toes are out, then there's preferential recruitment of the vastus medialis.
4. Follow protocols. Leg extensions should be done using hypertrophy
or strength-endurance protocols.
5. Wait until post-exhaustion. Leg extensions should be done in a post-exhaustion
fashion: last in any quadriceps routine.
6. Research has shown that leg extensions are an oddity. Most exercises
show enhanced motor unit recruitment if done unilaterally (one limb at
a time.) Leg extensions don't. They show greatest activation when done bilaterally
(both legs at the same time.)
So, leg extensions aren't a great exercise for athletes who are pressed
for time, but they can be a valuable addition to athletes who need greater
hypertrophy like bodybuilders or more local strength-endurance (i.e.
speed skaters).

The End for Flax Seed Oil?

Q: With supplements like Flameout and your own EPA/DHA blends, is there any reason to keep using flax seed
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image013

A: No, not flax seed oil. But flax seed hulls are good
for detoxification of xenoestrogens.
I've never been a fan of flax seed oil because if you're obese anyway,
you don't have the enzymes to elongate the molecule to turn it into the
omega-3s. So what's the point of using it?
Another problem is that flax seed oil is usually rancid in most stores,
with 40 out of 42 store-bought brands shown to be rancid in one study.
And even if you can get it fresh, it goes bad very rapidly once you open
it, sometimes in less than two weeks. Plus, I just found that flax oil
never really worked.
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image015

But flax seeds can be used for the anti-estrogen effects and
for adding fiber to your diet. You can buy them whole or pre-milled,
but I'd rather grind them myself.

Make Me Vascular!

Q: Is there a way make yourself more vascular?
A: Yes. First, have low body fat. If you're 20% body fat you'll never
look vascular. Vascularity is inversely proportioned to how much body
fat you have.
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image017

But there are nutrients too that can increase vascularity. One of them
is a type of glucosamine that's blood vessel specific. Resveratrol,
because it can strengthen the vascular system, can increase vascularity.

Things that increase nitric oxides, like acetyl carnitine, taken long
term, will increase the elasticity of blood vessels and help you look
more vascular when you're pumped.
Vegetable glycerine, which is often used by bodybuilders before they
go on stage, can help, but it's temporary, lasting only about two hours.
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image021

Pull-Up Parameters

Q: What's a respectable number of pull-ups to shoot for? Or is it about
strapping on extra weight? And how can I increase my pull-up performance?
A: First, let's agree that a pull-up is performed with the hands
pronated (palms facing away from you) and shoulder-width.
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image023

A chin-up, on the other hand, is done with a supinated grip (palms facing
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image025

Le Mensonge peut courir un an, la vérité le rattrape en un jour, dit le sage Haoussa
Ma devise:
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Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin :: Commentaires

A pull-up is a more accepted performance test because if you climb a
wall in real life your hands aren't going to be supinated as in a chin-up.
Anybody in the weightroom should be able to do at least 12 pull-ups,
and that's true for females as well. Over twenty years ago I had to testify
in court in a case where a woman claimed that firefighting tests were
I testified for the fire department and talked about how the goal is
to be able to deal with the task, whether you're a man, woman, or a goat.
I showed that, statistically, the lift where a female is closest to a
male is actually the pull-up... if trained properly.
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image027

The guy who testified first said the fire department's challenge was
impossible. I showed that with my national teams, if you go on a pound-for-pound
basis, women are about 85% of men's performances. Then I showed
a video in court of a woman doing 12 pull-ups holding on to a 25 pound
dumbbell with her feet. And I've seen an 11 year-old girl do 50.
I tell people who get certified by me that if they can't get a female
to do 12 chin-ups in 12 weeks, then they don't know how to train. That's
how you can evaluate a good trainer. If he can get a female to do 12
chins, he's a good trainer. If he doesn't know how to do it, then he
doesn't know training. Period.
As for added load to the pull-up, anyone who can do 3 dead-hang pull-ups
with an additional load equivalent to 66% of their body weight is pretty
damn impressive.
As for increasing the number of pull-ups, the time under tension principle
always works. If you can only do 3 pull-ups by yourself, you do 3, then
on the third you try to lower yourself for 30 seconds. Also, if you can
only do 3 reps, then do 10 sets of 3 reps. (And as always, those Gravitron-style
machines are a waste of time.)
Another system I use is I do 10 sets of the exercise. If you can do
6 pull-ups by yourself, divide that by two, so that's 3 pull-ups. Do
10 sets of 3. In the next workout you try to increase the total number
of reps until you can do 10 sets of 6. The day you can do 10 sets of
6 then you'll be able to do 12 by yourself. I've seen people do that
in three weeks.
Another method is to shoot for a number, say 30. Do as many sets as
it takes to get 30 reps and see how long it takes you. Then, the next
time you do 30, try to beat that time.
Now let's talk about how to add additional load. Weighted vests can
compress the nerves, so the best thing for the average gym member to
use to add load is a dipping belt. But what I use in my facilities is
a tree-climbing belt and a chain.
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Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image031

These things can run up to 300 bucks, but I've bought them off of eBay
for as little as ninety-nine cents. With a tree-climbing belt
the weight is equally distributed, and they're much sturdier than a
dipping belt. You can add 250 pounds to it and not feel any pressure
on your hips.

No More Moobs

Q: I have man-boobs. Not gyno from steroids or related to puberty, just
a lot of fat storage on my chest. It seems to stay there when I cut down,
too. Anything I can do non-surgically? What does this say about my hormone
A: Most of the time, just about every time in fact, it's a sign
of a zinc deficiency. Zinc is the best anti-aromatase.
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image033

Jack Nicholson might just need some zinc in his diet.

How many people eat a lot of organic nuts? How many people eat unrefined
grains? How many people eat quality grass-fed meat? Scallops and oysters?
Just about everyone is zinc deficient, especially people who lift
Low zinc means increased aromatase activity, and that means man-boobs.
In the last ten years, I haven't seen a single male first-time client
who wasn't zinc deficient.

Other things that have natural anti-aromatase activity would be grape
seed extract, resveratrol (REZ-V), and DIM. You should also look to pull
out xenoestrogens with calcium D-glucarate. It's not a source of calcium;
it's a source of D-glucarate, and that pulls out foreign estrogens.
Removing xenoestrogens is also very difficult if your diet is low in
fiber. Anyone who has tits I put on 30 grams of fiber per day, 40/60
split between soluble/insoluble. DIM works very well for that, too.

I sell a shitload of these types of products in the UK because so many
of the males there have tits because they consume so much beer. Beer
is that estrogenic. Now, before someone asks, if you must drink,
red wine actually prevents aromatization. Pinot noir or merlot are good
choices. You don't see tits on men in France.

Stretching: Goods News, Bad News

Q: What are your general protocols for your athletes when it comes to
A: There are three main families of stretching, each with its own advantages
and disadvantages. The rule of thumb is, the ones that are good for short-term
gains are terrible for long-term gains, and vice-versa.
The key to being very flexible is to use all three methods in the proper
sequence. The proper sequence is PNF, then ballistic, then end with static.
But never stretch before lifting weights.
In order to get flexible you have to do flexibility training. Sounds
obvious, right? But the research is very clear: doing it 20 minutes a
day, four days a week to warm-up for workouts does not increase
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image041

The minimum threshold of flexibility training you need per week to increase
flexibility is six hours. The good news is that after six to eight
weeks you'll be as flexible as your genetics will ever allow you to be.
After that you can maintain flexibility with only one hour a week.
So if you're serious about getting flexible you need to specialize in
it. The good news is that once you're flexible, then you're flexible,
with just a little maintenance every week.

Deadlifts and Big Waists

Q: Can deadlifts make your waist bigger?
A: No. Only fat does that.
When weightlifting was an underground subculture, before Arnold made
it popular, all the lifters — bodybuilders, powerlifters, and weightlifters — trained
together and hung out together. Weightlifters would do curls, powerlifters
would do Olympic squats, and bodybuilders would power clean. Powerlifters
even ate cleaner back then.
When bodybuilding became mainstream, a lot of these guys abandoned good
exercises, and this blend of training and nutrition styles became lost.
There was now that separation.
Powerlifters started eating Three Musketeers and Wendy's. They got fat,
and people associated the deadlifts with the big waists.
I've seen female alpine skiers move 250% of their body weight in the
deadlift, and they have tiny waists. Now, the deadlift will build
your ass up, but it does nothing to increase your waist girth. Again,
the only way to make your waist thicker is to add fat.
The training didn't do this to him; his diet did!
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And remember, abdominal muscles have a low hypertrophy response to exercise.
Now, an elite discus thrower who's done a million reps of twisting may
have a thicker waist than the average person, but we're talking about volume (in
his training and sport). Greco-Roman wrestlers who do a lot of twisting
motions against load may also have thicker waists than the average athlete.
They actually have a thicker waist than freestyle
wrestlers. Judo champions,
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image045

But we're not talking about 16 inches more waist, maybe just an inch
or two, and it's muscle, not fat. The average gym-goer and bodybuilder
has nothing to worry about, though.

Pimp My Serratus

Q: Even at single-digit body fat, my serratus muscles don't show up
much. Any way I can build them up?
A: There are actually two different serratus anterior muscles. One elevates
the shoulder (shoulder flexion) and the other does shoulder extension.
Basically, if you do a lot of overhead dumbbell presses and chins, your
serratus gets hit. Pullovers will increase the other portion of the serratus
as well.
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Usually a guy with no serratus, assuming his body fat level is low,
hasn't done enough full range of motion movements with dumbbells, such
as dumbbell bench press and dumbbell rows. He's been using barbells too
much (less range of motion).
Look at the guys with the biggest serratus — gymnasts. They pull
themselves up on the apparatus and press themselves up on the apparatus.
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For the average bodybuilder, just do more full range of motion dumbbell
work for improved serratus development.

About the Author
Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin Image051

When a country wants a Gold medal, they come to Charles. Coach Poliquin
has been hailed as the most successful strength coach in the world, having
coached Olympic medalists in seventeen different sports ranging from
shot put to biathlon. To read more about his training methodology and
his strength coaching certification courses, go to his website

© 1998 — 2008 Testosterone, LLC. All

Question of Strength: April 2008 by Charles Poliquin

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