BUILD MUSCLE NATURALLY - Podcast 178 with Brad Schoenfeld

by: BenCoomberTV

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everyone Bay Cuba radio episode number 178 I think I know I get this wrong all the time don't worry about it it's a minor minor detail never been good with numbers it's not a strength of mine I like talking about nutrition and training and mindset I'll stick to that and hopefully I'll get numbers right some of the time so we haven't kind of breached the kind of true dynamics of hypertrophy since we spoke to Eric Helms we kind of delved into that area a little bit and I hope you will enjoy the show with Eric we're going to delve even more into this from a very scientific perspective today because our ultimate ly we know an awful lot about the science of hypertrophy it's something that could be quite easily measured once the variables I've got right in the right environment and there's no one really better to speak to then Brad shown for Brad hello hey Chris yeah me and there's gonna be tons of people that know who you are we have a huge section of the Fitness communities that listen to this show for that other bit that have no idea who you are give me a little background on who you are what you do what the journey was to get you so excited and work in the field of muscular hypertrophy sure I got into the field basically because I was a skinny kid who was very unhappy with the way I look my physique at the time and found resistance training it was a fishing water type of idea where just adapted to it very quickly and from there I decided along with other people asking me they thought it was also I was getting asked me to help them and just really found the niche in terms of working with with people to get them there their physique and to improve their own self-esteem I ended up turning that into barley that into a fitness facility where I was the one want to Train one on one I know the trainer's working for me this was kind of a journey in that respect but I ultimately got bit by the educational bug I went back message grades up so my PhD wanted to teach and research and for the past five years now that's pretty much been what i'ma do what I'm doing I sold my training facility back in 2011 so now I was five years ago once I really devoted full time to teaching and at this point I educator I lecture around the world I read books write a column for must field about magazine research care and a lot of research studies in my lab I'm head of the human performance lab at my college which is Lehman College in the Bronx New York and just have a real passion for educating and informing around on the science and practice because one thing I want to say the outset is that exercise as both is a science but it's an applied science so I it's important to understand that we can draw that science should form the underlying basis of our decision-making but there's a lot of applied aspects that must be gleaned from our own practical experience as well as individualizing it to the to the particular person who's looking to get jacked sure so I mean the kind of apply terminology is great and I think there's probably a fine line between applied and opinion because a lot of people a lot of stuff is materialized in the exercise world around opinion I'm sure you can think about many practitioners that have become popular based on opinion and really when you look at it it's not really based on any kind of sound methodology and that's kind of where we need to I suppose kind of bridge that gap and your research is obviously heavily focused on hypertrophy now there's some key principles that we know of hypertrophy that I think seem to get overlooked in the health and fitness world like we kind of go towards something that's a bit more sexy rather than lean back and go hang on let's let's look at the basics first because the basics are often unsexy people don't want to know it it's like it's like supplements and the nutrition world get your diet so it first and then we'll look at supplements for example and are there principles I've high perch me that you feel in the industry right now or in the past has been overlooked by kind of theories and opinion that are not really proven or less important well I'll start by saying that resist it when you resist and strain you can get bigger and you will from basically it's getting bigger just involves one or two basic things training hard and wrestling properly and you can do it with a limited amount of volume so just imanakum you can get results from almost any program as long as you apply some horrible odor with your training hard pushing your body and then having rest sufficient rest to allow yourself to cooperate within that and my my goal in my research focus is to maximize that birch tree and that's where the line gets blurred so you kind of want to just go back you would talk about opinion opinion everyone has an opinion or can have an opinion but if it's not based on underlying science that we the veracity of that opinion is compromised and that's what I wanted to point out where it's really important to have a fundamental understanding of what science teaches us because that's where you could control over there you just to say it worked for me well you might have better genetics you might be on gear so all sorts of things that can make it work for you and just because something works doesn't mean something else wouldn't work better so with that said there's some basic tenets that some people do overlooked the first is the dose response relationship oh I purchased it with volley and it's very clear from the literature that there is a there's a response the more he trained so the more volume you have the greater the results are going to be in your environment roughly responds up to a given point so it's not that yeah you could train three hours a day just pack huge amounts of volume in and do it every day that doesn't mean that would be necessarily better than a lesser body where that sweet spot is is not known certainly for the literature cancel yeah and and it's highly individual you can't give a cookie-cutter response to that because if you actually look at a curve when you would take different people through different volume responses you'd see very different results so the point that you you can achieve greater hypertrophy from greater volume but that's going to be somewhat individual I can't give you it and say ten sets a week for each muscle group or for a large muscle group and for a small success you can give general guidelines to that but ultimately it's up to the person to play around with these different variations and find out what that Suites by this that's number one number two I said training hard is really important but training hard all the time is destined to lead to over training if you keep doing so generally speaking the there is good in my opinion good evidence that you need to have periods of devoting where you're not training is art so training also wall every time you're working out this is going to ultimately have a negative effect if you're doing it too often and this is where again the art of training comes in so much of what my research focuses is and trying to find out these sweet spots and to provide general recommendations towards oh okay so this is obviously the tough bit and I'm wondering if you have any kind of guidelines on this take me for example be trained in ten years probably five of them very averagely five of them a bit better the last one or two you know pretty decent I've understood a lot more about my body training overload progression I'm obviously in a place where I'm always thinking okay how much volume is appropriate for me how much can I get in how hard can I work for people Luke Williams semi semi experienced to advanced lifters do you have any idea other than actually you kind of need to work with the coach and really feel your way through this of trying to find that almost volume sweet spot for that person

yet how is there a way to start to identify where that sweet spot is for more intermediate advanced lifters so I have recently been involved in a meta-analysis which is a pooling of all the literature and there is based on the evidence there is good evidence that more than 10 I would say a good starting point would be more than 10 sets per week per muscle group so training each muscle group more than 10 sets per week now logically the larger muscle groups would probably need some more volume than that and perhaps a somewhat less with the smaller muscle groups just because the amount of muscle about that is really not well borne out by the winner sure but in the absence of evidence you try to use logic to start determining these things how much the work well part of that is going to depend on again an individual recovery genetic factors lifestyle factors individual stresses that you might be going through because other life stressors can interfere with if your recuperative abilities conceivably so to try to pin it down further than that is somewhat difficult but I would say that as you get more advanced or at least is that the prospect I would start with some of the higher lines let's say 12 plus cents per week per muscle group and perhaps go from there now one thing that I do want to also mention and when you talk about kind of tenants that have been given down from the gods as if they were the Ten Commandments and gospel one of them is this I put the concept of hypertrophy loading zone so using that 8 to 12 reps is optimal for hypertrophy and while there is looking at Hartley wrong with that with doing that with training in that range there isn't some of the rustlers compelling evidence that you can get our progeny throughout a spectrum of loading ranges from very low repetitions from 1 to 5 repetitions to 20 plus 20 to 30 plus repetitions can promote substantial hypertrophy and some recent work from my lab and others does suggest there might be benefits to combining different loading strategies so having periods of lower repetition of training 1 to 5 reps my rep trading rate to 12 my perch me and your 20 plus 15 to 20 plus rep training as well and combining them in there's many different ways combine them whether it's daily undulated periodization weekly undulating linear type periodization even within sessions having some higher and lower loading zones that that can actually help to maximize hypertrophy through targeting different fiber types and there's some good good evidence that emerging evidence that that may be the case so based on kind of what you've just said and linking it back to the traditional bodybuilding approach that we're still reading the magazines and have done for years if we took a shoulder training session for example and we did dumbbell press military press lateral raises a few other raises and we're here in twelve you know fifteen sets from three to five different exercises with in terms of the research we were pretty close to being that being a perfect training program for you know for a body part for example yeah we'll say to the bro type slipper you're doing that all let's say one day a week can certainly work and I have study that was done where we had a similar type protocol but there is some evidence that greater frequency also may help to spread when I say very frequency spreading out that training load so using the same exact volume but it's spreading it out over more gains at least two maybe three days a week may have better results than just doing it one although I will say that the evidence is still emerging on this and that it doesn't mean that you can't have prototypes what's included in your routine but structuring the routine in some way we're at some point over the course of a training cycle you have greater frequencies rotated into that program that it might help to optimize hypertrophic response okay nice yeah we talked a lot we talked a lot about that with Eric and Lane previously so yeah brilliant um do you think the kind of hypertrophy landscape and us always looking to evolve an answer when we boil it down to the general consumer to personal trainers and coaches as well gee a lot of this and we can probably say this thing with fat loss there's a massive component of patience that people maybe aren't prepared to be as patient as they should be because we know the fat loss can be a slow process we know that muscle building can be a slow process and actually trying to maybe over analyze the dynamics of hypertrophy perhaps we just need a spoon for the patients this and to say look if you're an advanced lifter you're probably only going to gain a couple of pounds over the course of a year and if you're doing that then realistically just keep doing that and by all means be aware of the emerging science but the chances are nothing's really going to radicalize itself from that yeah so I would say that as you start getting closer to what would be called your genetics ceilings so when you start to train you become more and more well-trained you're gonna get higher to your genetic potential they call that the genetics ceiling and thus the regular gains are going to slow down substantially now I would argue that you need to start being more and more scientific to eke out those extra as you said a couple pounds a year two three four pounds a year would be a very nice game or over the course of time for someone with five let's say five questions training experiments now taking a more scientific approach it doesn't mean that you'll get nothing like you might get nothing quite not taking design very good run but it's really eating out maybe an extra pound of muscle so you know setup getting two pounds you might be able to get three pounds now is that practically meaningful well to that I can't tell you whether that's practical to someone who wants to compete or where everyone has the muscle matters and that is practically meaningful to others it might not be and that's only something that someone who oh you can only do that takes sense of that on an individual basis but I will say that I'm highly confident and I've worked with a lot of people who have sad native reach boxes that have been able to eat at certainly more games where they weren't getting before through having a more scientific base approach to training of course of course okay interesting so with hypertrophy I've read that you you are a fan of varying your exercise selection what would you recommend for someone that trains in a facility with limited equipment I've got a home gym I've only got a couple of bits of kit maybe someone twins in a CrossFit box or a small studio how would you let's say this guy has 3 to 5 years training experience how would you look to create variety with limited equipment well there's certainly a I'm a big fan of variety as you point out that muscles are very attachments and that by working them from different angles it's not bothered by the way did some by training muscles from different angles you will maximize the symmetry between muscles that day but and this has been worn out not only through logic but in terms of research for it's shown that it was a recent study by a group in Brazil that just did swathes in one group and then buried some squats and leg presses and lunges and deadlifts and another and sugar work complete hypertrophy of the quads through the very training approach this really is specific to most of the muscles in the body now yeah when you have limited equipment you're gonna have it's going to be harder for you but certainly it doesn't include you from doing it so you can get huge variations just by having a bench and dumbbells and some resistance bands and some one good basic equipment and just some knowledge of training that will allow you to trading different angles so for instance the shoulder shake your chest press and lower chest chest workout with an engine and some dumbbells you can work the working flat press oh you can work a incline fly let's say and you could do it just in some band work in you can get a different angle to that and work you to the upper lower portions of the chest in a different point with shoulders you can adjust the set of dumbbells you do shoulder presses you do that will raise you do bent laterals get hitting the muscle from Barry angles swats lunges all can be done with free weights so that a lot of variation can be done through to with limited equipment and I will say that having more equipment does give you more options it's like a painter that's painting with a few colors as opposed to a palette of colors it improves the options for the painter potentially he can have a better paint day or more evocative and complete anything but it doesn't mean that you can't have a terrific painting with limited colors do you think this kind of almost links back to my point about patience in that sometimes you almost look for an excessive of variety because most training programs are going to revolve around like the squat is always really going to be in a training program a deadlift you know a big press exercise and then there's only really going to be two maybe three accessory exercises and once you've been through let's say a six-week block of training you might then look to change it then change it again and then you might revert back to the first block and the first set of exercise you had really the chances are you can just tweak the hand position like you say per band on put a chain on so probably you've got years and years of training before you do actually have to really think laterally potentially about it yeah definitely concur that generally I like to have a core group of exercises that serves fundamental movements usually those are going to be your multi joint compound movements exercises like squats and rose presses so certain movements will be say pose within the routine and then you're going to have some variety within some of the accessory movements so now the more complex the movement is the more you want to tend to keep that in your routine because once you stop doing it for periods of time I guess the there's a reactivation things neural programming to get back the feel to the movement whereas the more simple movements if you will don't require as much we motor learning once you leave that up the she can factor that in overtime to her now I'm gonna going to tie in to two questions here is someone that is very close to me in terms of our company Tom brain buried she's a massive fan your work you'd also like to invite you around for dinner when you're next to Newcastle he was talking about the recent research you're trying to do in the mind muscle connection which I believe is something it's ongoing no well no so I actually just published a set of this month's edition of the NSC shape the conditioning journal a review paper on the topic where we really hypothesize based on the literature that there would be a benefit to having in mind muscle connection I do have a study and longitudinal study that will look to test that hypothesis because it really hasn't what we know at this point is that muscle activation can be improved through a muscle connection meaning that if you think about the given muscle try to focus on that you can exert more activation to that muscle as measured by the EMG and there is evidence that where the activation occurs does improve the muscle response that you get greater adaptations in the area of activation however no one has actually studied whether the mindful muscle connection directly leads to greater muscle growth than a non my room then a strategy we don't focus on the muscle so that will be taking place I actually have that as a it's in process at this point I plan to start data collection this summer who made in the summer of that interesting and I suppose quantifying that I'm intrigued a little bit by what your method might be in quantifying bit because it's like how do we say it's almost like how much power is he sending to the muscle from his mind or most is there a little bit of insight and you could give me there yeah so not to give too much away because this is taken but the first thing we do is to quantify the EMG that the subjects are actually creating greater energy measures intellectual activity in a muscle and you and get a sense as to whether there's more force being exerted through that muscle at least from the activation standpoint as opposed to other the muscles so the first thing we would do is to look at the whether they're able to activate the muscle selectively which we're ready to grade and target that muscle to a degree and then the next step would be and this is going to be to actually measure the growth when you put this technique to to the techs interested so how I was going to try and link that I have been doing a lot of we say rewiring of my biomechanics over the last four or five months been working with a good S&C coach and he's been picking apart my tight and weak points not the rest of it and you often hear online especially when you engage in conversations that people don't feel that squats are a good muscle builder for them or the dead lifts on a big muscle builder or Mabel at the bench press and I'm wondering what your advice is when people say that because we can talk about loading we can talk about progression all that kind of stuff but for me and my recent evolution with my training there's such a huge component of the ability to contract a muscle so I've spent a huge amount of my lifting career doing the deadlift with my back and doing the squat half with my back as well like if you looked at my old squat pan you know I'm doing half the exercise at the top and my back and stuff and now I'm actually legitimately you know getting my pelvis in the right place my glutes can activate properly I can actually fire my hamstrings out the whole lot all these different things and I'm I'm squatting now with the half the way I was and I feel like I'm legitimately building my legs and actually have a legitimate leg pump but I train purely because I've just enabled the muscle to activate so especially in these online conversations what tends to be you know do you ever breach that topic of actually it might be your biomechanics this screwed up yeah and that's a great point I was speaking with Dave tape my collar of my Dave tape you might know he's champion power just incredible powerlifter he now is trading more for bonding focus on training and his really a very telling thing he said to me was I never really started to grow and so I was actually able to so I ditch the powerlifting philosophy mindset I'm just getting that weight up and really focused on making the muscle work and I completely concur that certainly you can get larger from the sort of focus of your not thinking about the muscle just driving it out to me as you start getting more advanced and the growth gets harder as we talked about getting towards that genetic sealing that you have the concepts like these make more and more become a more and more importance to growth and that yeah focusing less on just driving that weight up and focusing more on making the proper muscles do the work in my humble opinion is great great importance as you become more and more well trained to eke out that extra growth and when this occurs what kind of practitioners do you tend to refer people to like goodness and see coach and oxygen path physio what tends to be your go to sort modality of thinking to correct this well I mean to me it's the training that a person has is somewhat secondary to their knowledge and approach so you can have you could be training than one thing but also have just good intuition and be well-read in other areas so I've seen very good coaches that have come from a wide array of disciplines someone referring someone out by the way or it comes to me is one of the top guys in terms really have a good understanding of these types of nuances but you know I'll work with something directly now there are certain muscles that become much more difficult for some people to connect with others and certain exercises themselves as you I think kind of alluded to that are more difficult than others for people to connect with a single joint movements tend to be a lot easier so a leg extension you're gonna be able to focus on the quads more as a general rule anymore during the squat but uh with most of the people I've worked with if with due diligence you can certainly improve that in virtually any type of movement and get people to have greater connect to a much greater degree with their muscles if they have the right mindset words towards accomplishing that okay coming back to resistance bands because you briefly mentioned it they've kind of taken a bit of a rise in recent years people posted on online that they're doing a bench now with bands or chains and stuff surely this is another good modality for people that have low use of equipment like me and my home gym for example and as a whole do you think bands and chains are good for overload in certain kind of sort of strength curves or ranges yeah I'm a big fan of accommodating resistance bands in particular I like to use on machines like a big fan of Hammer Strength machines like the feel of the machines I like their the fact that they allow for unilateral movement and when you attach bands most of them are designed so that you can attach tasida you improve the surfer so bands make it harder in the end range of the movement and obviously don't have as much of an effect in the earlier range of movement and by utilizing them you even up that strength curve and basically they are synergistic with a lot of the equipment as well as with free weights so yeah I found that certainly for more advanced lifters it doesn't use that much in the beginning stages of training it starts a direct immediate intermediate stages a certain with advanced clients individuals they they have I think America the place definitely I think this I mean I've done a big fan of getting resistive bands between two dumbbells and doing a flat bench of the fly but even getting into that position if you're not an experienced lifter you don't have good coordination of the shoulder joint activation of the peg you know your lats and subscapular muscles can't stabilize you know you're not going to do that exercise efficiently regardless of how good on a facebook video that and also increase the chance of injury because of the disks coordination that sword that is basically they altered the the movement patterns so especially when you're having more degrees of freedom is in a dumbbell or barbell it's more applicable to machines for less experienced individuals but when you get more experienced you have the free weight in implementing that in three weeks becomes much harder and I think it's specifically rounded to advance your knees okay cool no I think you you are well within the kind of bodybuilder powerlifter world and this kind of transfers very much to the contest prep world we've already mentioned Eric Helms late nor and people that you would have spoke to on various occasions which are well embedded in the contest prep world as is kind of your theories now jumping on stage very popular area of the fitness industry loads of people are doing it using the UK huge in America do you have any particular advice or methods for people training when going through their diet process because I see an awful lot of people you know you get to this right is sixteen weeks time and everything gets thrown at the situation and people very quickly become burn out you talk about you know D loads that kind of stuff to me it doesn't seem that people are very intelligently in the mainstream you know let me add kind of programming all this stuff so what you've got kind of a generalist advice to say look if you are doing this bear in mind these considerations with your training and I bet you you'll have an easier path to get on stage successfully yes so one of the big things is not to lose weight too rapidly so to make sure that you're dialing it in so that you're not forced to lose weight you know try to lose four pounds a week which would require to stress that cuts in calories and energy says and that would have drastic effect on her ability to train so if you're looking to basically you want to start coming into a competition where you're only going to need to lose a pound a week or so to nail it in by the time of your competition and that way you can sustain energy levels not be on the straight of deficit I'll have someone number two for my nutritional standpoint is to keep and this jelly is not an issue for most bodybuilding physique oriented people but keeping the protein to take on that the when you start getting more with your calories that you will buffer any losses of muscle which are gonna happen depending upon how quickly you're losing me that was worse this is more quickly but regardless you're going to lose at least some degree of muscle as you start getting into very low body fat levels it's just extremely hard to to maintain muscle those last weeks but I will say from a training standpoint I do recommend and this is really what why it is somewhat tricky I like to have a somewhat of a shock phase at the end to try to maximize muscular response and that can help to preserve even in the sophisticated measures seen some minimal increases in muscle towards the last week when you provide a shock phase to the muscle accretion process and that's when you're going to increase the training frequency and the intensity training now and don't generally recommend going very high volumes within sessions so basically volume is increased through more frequent training but thus there is less for cooporation between training sessions and that's why again having a very low energy status as we'd be needed if you have a lot of weight to lose is a detriment so I do recommend that you increase training frequency towards that last cycle over the last let's say three weeks of training going towards five six days a week type of program where you're really hitting the muscles more frequently and with greater because value does have this effect basically it's shocking your body if you will into integrals providing it with a novel stimulus that it hasn't seen and if you do it properly you kind of walk that fine edge between over non-functional overreaching and functional overages so functional overreaching is where you get four compensatory response non-functional overreaching is where that response is going to not only trail off but perhaps a negative effect due to negative effects on the immune system and other factors so kind of that sentiment nutshell in the simplistic terms without there's just so many factors that you start to look at at that end stage those are kind of the biggies sure so for a lot of people listening it's it's very much of fact they say you were training one body part per per week and you did six exercises for example ideally you'd want to cut that in half between that two different points in the week but keep volume the same but the increased frequency is going to help preserve muscle tissue rather than increase frequency and increase volume no no so basically let's say well it would depend on how many days a week you're training so let's see how afford a split why was the depend upon what your current training protocol is but if you let's say you have a four day routine were you doing an upper and lower split basically by spreading it out over six days you would be increasing the volume because you let's say you having an hour session for days weeks by having an out of session six days a week hour and a half whatever it is keeping the session length the same but spreading it out now over six days a week with enhance the response time someone's already training six days a week I would say they shouldn't be doing that year-round that if they're doing what I said one body part a day six days a week that would not be mine I would not think and based on the evidence of that's an effective year-round time strategy I think it would be better to have greater frequency and period is that so that you're working the muscles more frequently throughout the week over the course of a training cycle go yeah okay cool fascinating you are gonna pique the interest of a lot of people today you've talked about some brilliant stuff when it comes to hypertrophy I believe you have a book coming out soon I think you said pre-orders were available Amazon already what was the book called so they can type it into your Amazon monster and maybe grab a copy for themselves yeah so it's a textbook it's for more advanced so it's going to require that you have some the mental knowledge of exercise science but for those who really want to get into the science of the training it's called the science and development of muscle hypertrophy published by Human Kinetics it's coming out in July but available for pre-order now it's available in the UK UK Amazon and something in the US on Amazon and throughout the world and has almost a thousand peer-reviewed references it's a really detailed book that takes you everything from a molecular level to the variables everything from volume in a frequency to receptacles and Beyond gets into the nitty gritty of that talks about different periodization schemes and how they can be applied for maximum for maximum muscular response gets into the nutritional and the science of nutrition on maximizing muscle growth so very detailed very deep pie so it has a lot of the science the basic science would also get since a lot of the applications Adam nailing your variables how to design the program around it and how to maximize your nutritional response so yeah available on Amazon and people can also check me out I have the very active website look great naked calm and it's what great naked not look good naked apparently look good naked as a points I'd so the fact your apparel but look great naked I do write a blog and post on that and also feel free to to send me a friend request or follow me on social media I'm on Twitter Instagram and Facebook so okay amazing on Facebook and Twitter and stuff are you just down as Brad Sheffield correct yeah just search him and they'll get me I think on Twitter it's Bradshaw with all the fiber call on histogram of special for PhD and I'm Facebook e you just search on social media you'll get nice well you've heard it people following the man on social media if you enjoyed today's show it's always good to chat with us like Tagus both in on Twitter tell us what you think of the show tell us about your experiences between and I've mentioned a couple of things with my training today you know talk to us about yours maybe ask Brad a question this is the whole idea of a podcast is to stimulate conversation it's to stimulate greater growth and learnings we develop as individuals and practitioners Brad thank you very much for giving up your time and being on the show it's been fantastic oh my pleasure for everyone this listening I will be with you next week I'll be back on with Rachel with our usual Q&A show and then we'll have a guest the week after that in the meantime stay awesome keep developing keep learning and go and check Brad out on social media that's goodbye from me see you all next week a couple radio episode number 177 by city of my eye bushy-tailed with my ever-present guess sorry co-host

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