Improving Muscular Strength & Hypertrophy

William Smith is the President / CEO and Founder of the INTRAFITT Corporation which was established in California in 1992. Will has won more than twenty-eight bodybuilding championships and is also known for his role as “THUNDER” on television’s American Gladiator between 1990 – 1992. He is a National and International Speaker on Performance Nutrition and Exercise Science.

Dear Friends,

As a general rule, muscles that are trained close to their force generating capacity will increase in both size and strength.  The various types of contractions that may be applied in order to accomplish this objective include:

Isotonic Contractions: require the use of standard weight lifting equipment
Isometric Contractions: require the use of immovable bars, handles, etc.
Isokinetic Contractions: require the use of special mechanical devices

Although each of the above contractions are effective for both strengthening muscles and producing muscular growth, it is important to point out that muscular development is ultimately dependent on two factors: 1) The degree of overload (amount of resistance used) and 2) The corresponding force that a muscle must generate in order to overcome the  resistance.  Equally important is the fact that an increase in muscular size and strength is NOT climactically dependent on the specific strength training method or protocol used.

The most common type of contraction used to strength and condition muscles involves isotonic exercises that require the use of standard weight lifting equipment.  During this particular contraction, the muscles are subjected to a varying resistance that changes throughout the entire range of motion and results in two types of “sub contractions”.  These include:

Picture 2: A Concentric Contraction causes muscles to become shorter as they contract and

Picture 3 is an Eccentric Contraction that causes muscles to become longer while developing tension.

At another time we will discuss the applied sciences of  isotonic training, one of which is referred to as “Full Range Contractions”.  It has been postulated that full range voluntary contractions play an intrinsic role in the development of muscular strength and hypertrophy while minimizing the total time, volume, and frequency associated with conventional strength training applications.

Furthermore, the use of Full Range Contractions during strength training can dramatically reduce the risk of injuries to the tendons, ligaments, joints and/or muscles.

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