the 3 ways to build muscle...
Before we dissect the workout you just did, let’s understand that muscle can be built 3 ways…
1. Muscle Damage
This is the traditional way where you use higher volume (more reps & sets) to create micro-tears in the muscle.
Traditional bodybuilding, for the most part, operates this way.
2. Mechanical Tension
Use lower reps, having a “practice” mentality and focusing on using your entire body to create “systemic overload”.
This is the method that gave my colleague a HUGE heart rate increase in the “Burpee vs Double Front Squat” experiment in the Double Kettlebell Workshop that I released.
3. Metabolic Stress
Elevate the heart rate with a big compound exercise – like the Double Front Squat – and fatigue the muscles producing metabolic by-products like lactic acid.
Lactic acid stimulates a growth hormone response.
And Growth Hormone builds muscle.
OK, so let’s break down what happened in the workout you did (or read)…
FIRST... You primarily use your posterior chain of muscles (hamstrings, glutes, back) to explosively CLEAN the kettlebells.
Your posterior chain muscles are primarily made up of fast twitch muscle fibres (remember those?) AND when you CLEAN the kettlebells, the impact of “catching & absorbing” the kettlebells as they get to the rack position are one of the best ways to build “armour” on your pecs and biceps.
Now think about how many total cleans you did over the 10 minute period… how many sets of the complex were you able to get in?
Multiply that by 4 cleans… that high volume probably created some micro-tearing…
…some muscle damage (see point 1 above).
Second... THE PRESS. There is a HUGE amount of tension and force required to create a foundation to press the kettlebells over your head.
This is the essence of “systemic overload”.
Using the entire system of muscles to accomplish a task (not just a single, isolated muscle group).
So even though the press may be considered an “upper body exercise”, it actually takes your entire body to move them because of the foundation of tension that you’re creating underneath them.
This is “Mechanical Tension” at it’s best (see point 2 above).
Third... SQUATTING is a primal movement and several research studies have found that performing squats creates both a growth hormone and testosterone response.
A study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning out of the University of North Texas found that squats done with free weights resulted in an increase of both Growth Hormone and Testosterone. (1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24276305
You squatted for 3 reps at the end of the complex and did that several times in the 10 minute period.
If you did them correctly, you were probably huffing & puffing due to both the squatting motion AND holding on to a pair of heavy kettlebells.
This is Muscle Damage, Mechanical Tension AND Metabolic Stress combined in one exercise (and one workout).
And chances are, you felt pretty good afterwards.
Dare I say… RECHARGED?
Training must GIVE you more than it takes from you.
Gone are the days of training until you find yourself laying in a puddle of sweat and vomit.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t push yourself to the limit…
…But you can’t do that EVERY SINGLE TIME you pick up a kettlebell or decide to workout.
Training that way is counter productive…
…and it will actually cause you to AGE FASTER.
There's a difference between "Training" and "Testing".
So now, ask yourself this question…
What kind of muscle building results would you get if you dedicated some time to complete an entire program?
A program that focuses on building muscle but doing it in such a way that it will make you stronger and result in you probably dropping some inches off your waist as well.
A program that uses Muscle Damage, Mechanical Tension and Metabolic Stress with specific targeted recovery methods to enhance a growth response.
Focus on maintaining PERFECT TECHNIQUE for every rep of every exercise.
The weights should feel relatively heavy, so just focus on being explosive on your cleans and staying tight (maintaining tension) on your presses & squats.
Then when you’re finished that workout, drop down and do 1 set of push-ups as many times as you can with perfect form.
Go ahead, I’ll wait….
Notice how you’re not on the floor in a pool of sweat & vomit BUT…
You still feel like you worked hard… probably feel energetic too?
This is how training should be…