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Shocking Muscles Into New Growth

Q: Do you have any new methods of shocking muscles into new strength and growth?

A: I have just the thing, but it’s not new. I used it with my athletes about two decades ago. One was André Benoit, who made the 1988 and ’92 Canadian Olympic teams in the doubles luge with Bob Gasper, earning a top-10 finish in Calgary in ’88. At a bodyweight of just 167 pounds (76 kilos), Benoit power cleaned 238 pounds (108 kilos) and during team testing completed a wide-grip pullup with 123 pounds attached to his waist.

The type of training was called “Soviet Super Position Training” by Russian track coaches Yuri Verkhoshansky, Ph.D., and Ben Tabachnik, Ph.D., in their book Ultra Mass Manual, written in the early ’90s. The authors championed what they called the “super-position principle,” which involves performing two workouts in a row using exercises for the same muscle group, followed by an extended rest period.

Let’s say you want to bring up your quads. On Monday you could do squats, and then on Tuesday you perform a different exercise for the quads, such as leg presses. You rest two to three days, and then repeat the sequence. “The action on the muscle is very strong,” the authors note. “The training load of the second day can be less volume than the first day, but because it includes two days in a row of training the same muscle group, it is still a strong stimulation.” In other words, you are overtraining on purpose.

When I trained Benoit, I used a variation of this type of training. He performed the same exercises two days in a row but at different intensity levels. I also had him take up to four days of rest between workouts. For example, I would have Benoit perform chinups for eight sets of three reps on Monday, and the next day he’d do them for five sets of five. Then I’d have him rest those muscles for four days and repeat the sequence, starting on Sunday.

This is an extremely powerful training method that you can use for only a few weeks before the body adapts to it and you stop making progress. You can repeat it several times a year, but generally you’ll want to do a few months of other training methods in between.

Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit  IM




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