Contracting at failure: Key to  Superstrength? Contracting at failure: Key to Superstrength?

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Thread: Contracting at failure: Key to Superstrength?

  1. #1
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    Default Contracting at failure: Key to Superstrength?

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    Dear Mark,



    When we try to lift something heavier than we actually can, or an extra rep once we hit failure, we get to this point where the body shuts down because of perceived (conscious or unconscious) risk of injury, precipitating the activation of Golgi tendons or muscle spindles. I believe, however, that it has been proven that the limits of muscular contraction are much further down the line than the body anticipates.

    In certain exercises, this risk isn't overt, so the body truly is shutting down too soon. The pull up is a good example.

    In addition, I think if we looked at the relative size and strength of each muscle group, we would probably find that the upper body is performing significantly more work due to this phenomena solely. That is, we move more weight relatively with the muscle size of our upper body than our lower body because we have tended to spend more time in a state of failure here without getting injured over years, causing our Golgi tendons and spindles to activate much later on than would other wise happen with our lower body, building stronger nervous fibers in the upper body, relatively. But that is just one possibility.
    I also think that some people are genetically build to favour certain exercises in the sense that they can enjoy going to failure without fear of injury. I know personally that I have never had much fear with the deadlift, knowing I can fail on a weight without injury, allowing me to push to failure. However, I have always had a block, mental or actual, in the squat, where I have serious doubt about injury and generally find the movement totally unnatural. In fact, I've always found the squat unnatural, and once I started training it I realized I sucked at it. I would be curious to hear from people who are gifted in the squat, if they have ever found this movement unnatural. I would think that people who are gifted in the squat would find this movement very comfortable and easy, and have little fear of injury when training it.

    Anyway, I'm curious if there are some ways to implement this training in the squat. That is, lowering risk of injury whilst performing similar movement patterns without risking injury when training to failure and attempting to gain super strength. I know the leg press could be utilized possibly, but I'm not sure if it has a good translation over to squat strength at the end of the day.
    I have had real difficulty in getting my squat up, and its a big goal of mine to break into the 200 kg territory. I'm currently stuck at around 180 kg x 2 reps and the amount of sacrifice had to do to get them was beyond reasonable.

    Kind regards,

  2. #2
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    You need a coach to help you with your squat. Or come to a seminar.

  3. #3
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    Definitely take the advice of getting someone who can teach you The Squat… it’s the most important exercise you can do.. so this one has to be done correctly and forever.

    On a side note, it’s first important to note that every rep should be met with full contraction. I think we often get complacent and will only move the bar as fast as is needed. It’s difficult for me to elaborate through the written word, but essentially “stay tight” comes to mind here. It’s an overused statement, but it’s valid because of complacency. I also feel more injuries occur because our warmups are met with halfhearted contraction…and then when the big weight comes we expect it all to come together…? The warmups should be taken extremely serious because that is where you get the kinks out, muscles warmup, but also you get to forcefully contract under a weight that is more manageable, both physically and psychologically. You maybe able to get what you want without risking serious injury or “going to failure.”

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlsongee View Post
    However, I have always had a block, mental or actual, in the squat, where I have serious doubt about injury and generally find the movement totally unnatural. In fact, I've always found the squat unnatural, and once I started training it I realized I sucked at it.
    This is going to come off as glib, but I promise you it's not. You need to master your fear, 5lbs at a time.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlsongee View Post
    Dear Mark,



    When we try to lift something heavier than we actually can, or an extra rep once we hit failure, we get to this point where the body shuts down because of perceived (conscious or unconscious) risk of injury, precipitating the activation of Golgi tendons or muscle spindles. I believe, however, that it has been proven that the limits of muscular contraction are much further down the line than the body anticipates.

    In certain exercises, this risk isn't overt, so the body truly is shutting down too soon. The pull up is a good example.

    In addition, I think if we looked at the relative size and strength of each muscle group, we would probably find that the upper body is performing significantly more work due to this phenomena solely. That is, we move more weight relatively with the muscle size of our upper body than our lower body because we have tended to spend more time in a state of failure here without getting injured over years, causing our Golgi tendons and spindles to activate much later on than would other wise happen with our lower body, building stronger nervous fibers in the upper body, relatively. But that is just one possibility.
    I also think that some people are genetically build to favour certain exercises in the sense that they can enjoy going to failure without fear of injury. I know personally that I have never had much fear with the deadlift, knowing I can fail on a weight without injury, allowing me to push to failure. However, I have always had a block, mental or actual, in the squat, where I have serious doubt about injury and generally find the movement totally unnatural. In fact, I've always found the squat unnatural, and once I started training it I realized I sucked at it. I would be curious to hear from people who are gifted in the squat, if they have ever found this movement unnatural. I would think that people who are gifted in the squat would find this movement very comfortable and easy, and have little fear of injury when training it.

    Anyway, I'm curious if there are some ways to implement this training in the squat. That is, lowering risk of injury whilst performing similar movement patterns without risking injury when training to failure and attempting to gain super strength. I know the leg press could be utilized possibly, but I'm not sure if it has a good translation over to squat strength at the end of the day.
    I have had real difficulty in getting my squat up, and its a big goal of mine to break into the 200 kg territory. I'm currently stuck at around 180 kg x 2 reps and the amount of sacrifice had to do to get them was beyond reasonable.

    Kind regards,
    I can help. It's not your Golgi tendons or spindles that the problem. The problem is you. You're being a pussy. A scared little pussy. I say this with clinical precision, not personal derision. Its a formal and common diagnosis.

    I know because I've been there. We've all been there. Scared of a heavy squat. It makes you want to quit. It "turns on" your Golgi tendons and muscle spindles.

    The answer is to spend weeks and weeks and weeks and months and months and months grinding away under and over heavy fucking weights. Eventually, your inner pussy gives up and slinks away OR your Golgi tendons or muscle spindles or whatever other mechanism that exists becomes desensitized, tired of being ignored and just stops functioning. Its why every big, muscley motherfucker who lifts weights for a living or hobby (I'm talking about large mammals who compete in bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting and strongman) regularly tear and pull muscles. What is unimaginable to the novice lifter - straining against a weight so hard and for so long, ignoring the signs of fatigue and failure to do so, that the muscle or connective tissue rips or explodes or tears - is common for long term lifters. Its not desired or desirable, but it is common.

    So keep squatting deep and heavy. Don't blame your Golgi tendons. Eventually, if you kick your inner pussy in its cunt hard enough, your Golgi tendons will give up and go away and you too will learn the joys of straining against a weight so long and hard that your adductor tears. Or it doesn't, and you get a new 5 rep PR.

    But stop being a pussy.

    I say all this as a dirty old man with a personal best competition squat of 485 and a competition best deadlift of 550. Deadlifting always feels good, even when I fail and squatting has always felt awkward and uncomfortable, even when I succeed. But my Golgi tendons rarely kick in at this point.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt James View Post
    This is going to come off as glib, but I promise you it's not. You need to master your fear, 5lbs at a time.
    New t-shirt alert! "Starting Strength: Mastering Fear 5 pounds at a time."

  7. #7
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    Everybody has a mental block about the squat, this is why we are training it. I have hated 99 percent of my squat workouts. You just do it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlsongee View Post
    When we try to lift something heavier than we actually can, or an extra rep once we hit failure, we get to this point where the body shuts down because of perceived (conscious or unconscious) risk of injury, precipitating the activation of Golgi tendons or muscle spindles.
    Nope. Not how that works.
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  9. #9
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    Mar 2021
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlsongee View Post
    Dear Mark,



    When we try to lift something heavier than we actually can, or an extra rep once we hit failure, we get to this point where the body shuts down because of perceived (conscious or unconscious) risk of injury, precipitating the activation of Golgi tendons or muscle spindles. I believe, however, that it has been proven that the limits of muscular contraction are much further down the line than the body anticipates.

    In certain exercises, this risk isn't overt, so the body truly is shutting down too soon. The pull up is a good example.

    In addition, I think if we looked at the relative size and strength of each muscle group, we would probably find that the upper body is performing significantly more work due to this phenomena solely. That is, we move more weight relatively with the muscle size of our upper body than our lower body because we have tended to spend more time in a state of failure here without getting injured over years, causing our Golgi tendons and spindles to activate much later on than would other wise happen with our lower body, building stronger nervous fibers in the upper body, relatively. But that is just one possibility.
    I also think that some people are genetically build to favour certain exercises in the sense that they can enjoy going to failure without fear of injury. I know personally that I have never had much fear with the deadlift, knowing I can fail on a weight without injury, allowing me to push to failure. However, I have always had a block, mental or actual, in the squat, where I have serious doubt about injury and generally find the movement totally unnatural. In fact, I've always found the squat unnatural, and once I started training it I realized I sucked at it. I would be curious to hear from people who are gifted in the squat, if they have ever found this movement unnatural. I would think that people who are gifted in the squat would find this movement very comfortable and easy, and have little fear of injury when training it.

    Anyway, I'm curious if there are some ways to implement this training in the squat. That is, lowering risk of injury whilst performing similar movement patterns without risking injury when training to failure and attempting to gain super strength. I know the leg press could be utilized possibly, but I'm not sure if it has a good translation over to squat strength at the end of the day.
    I have had real difficulty in getting my squat up, and its a big goal of mine to break into the 200 kg territory. I'm currently stuck at around 180 kg x 2 reps and the amount of sacrifice had to do to get them was beyond reasonable.

    Kind regards,
    First I think all of this is wrong and/or way off base...just my opinion.

    But an easy fixed for you to try is:
    Squat with safeties in a cage? What's the worst that can happen? Go to failure, set the bar down.

    OR

    If you are saying people have "no inherit fear" with deadlifts and pullups, because you simply can lower the load without negative consequence.
    Just do a long block of squats starting your reps with bar starting off down on the safeties (bottom up fashion).

    Be sure to report back your progress.
    Good luck with your Golgi-tendon-organ reprogramming.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Squats suck. Hell, MY squat really sucks. But I keep doing them and trying to overcome gravity and my declining geezerish strength. It requires more determination and fortitude than excessive navel gazing analysis.

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