|You don't have to push and pull at the same time - don't worry!|
The reason I am repeating this previously cited conclusion is simple, I don't want you to overrate the increase muscular activation Marianna F. Mai and colleagues from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Eastern Illinois University report in a soon-to-be-published paper in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (Maia. 2014).
In the corresponding randomized cross-over study the scientists randomly assigned their fifteen recreatinally trained male subjects subsequently to one out of the six resistance training modes outlined in Figure 1:
So, how exactly did the resistance training protocol look like?
Before all protocols, warm up sets for the knee flexion (KF) and knee extension (KE) exercises were performed for 10–15 repetitions with 50% of the 10RM load, and then a 2-minute interval was instituted before initiating each protocol. To verify the acute effect of rest interval between paired sets of agonist and antagonist muscles, 5 experimental protocols were applied as the following.
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- PMR (antagonist paired sets = APS with minimal allowable rest interval): the subjects in this protocol performed a set of KF followed immediately by a set of KE. In addition, the time allowed for changing exercises (KF and KE) was fixed and controlled at 15 seconds.
- P30: the subjects in this protocol performed a set of KF and after 30 seconds of rest performed a set of KE;
- P1: the subjects performed a set of KF and after 1 minute of rest performed a set of KE;
- P3: the subjects in this protocol performed a set of KF and after 3-minute rest performed a set of KE;
- P5: the subjects in this protocol performed a set of KF and after 5-minute rest performed a set of KE.
Will this work for back and chest, as well? Due to the fact that the biomechanics are different, the outcome of antagonistic sets of say bent over row and bench presses will probably be very different. Still, studies by Robbins et al. (2009 & 2010a,b) suggest that push and pull training could produce superior results compared to regular push or pull workouts.All subjects had previous RT experience (2.7 +/- 0.8 years), with a mean frequency of four 60-minute sessions per week, using 1- to 2-minute rest intervals between sets and exercises. Subjects were on their typical diet, not permitted to use nutritional supplementation, and did not consume anabolic steroids or any other anabolic agents known to enhance performance.
|Figure 2: Number of repetitions completed in each protocol and RMS average of EMG amplitude for the muscles evaluated in each protocol; data expressed relative to group means (Maia. 2014)|
Increases in activity and rep-max (volume) = growth triggers?
Consistent with previous studies by Baker et al. (2005), Balsamo et al. (2012), Burke et al. (1999), Joean et al- (2001) and Roy et al. (1990), the repetition performance increased in response to the antagonist preactivation. This effect was albeit only evident, when the timespan between knee flexion and extension, i.e. the inter-set rest was below 3 minutes.
"Collectively, greater KE repetitions were demonstrated during the PMR, P30, and P1 protocols vs. the TP, P3, and P5 protocols. These data suggested that limited or minimal rest between APS provides the optimal window to enhance repetition performance and muscle activation for the agonist musculature. The longer rest intervals in this study (e.g., P3 and P5) seemed to negate the potentiation effects demonstrated in repetition performance and muscle activation." (Maia. 2014)As Mia et al. point out, the significantly greater muscle activation observed in the RF and VM muscles for the PMR and P30 protocols might be associated with the increased number of repetitions
completed for these conditions.
Similar results have been generated by Roy et al. (25) who suggested that the preactivation characteristic of APS training has a positive effect on agonist muscles because of the facilitatory stimulation of Golgi tendon organs of knee flexor muscles and muscle spindles of extensor
- Baker, Daniel, and Robert U. Newton. "Acute effect on power output of alternating an agonist and antagonist muscle exercise during complex training." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 19.1 (2005): 202-205.
- Balsamo, Sandor, et al. "Exercise order affects the total training volume and the ratings of perceived exertion in response to a super-set resistance training session." International journal of general medicine 5 (2012): 123.
- Burke, Darren G., Thomas W. Pelham, and LAURENCE E. HOLT. "The influence of varied resistance and speed of concentric antagonistic contractions on subsequent concentric agonistic efforts." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 13.3 (1999): 193-197.
- Henselmans, Menno, and Brad J. Schoenfeld. "The Effect of Inter-Set Rest Intervals on Resistance Exercise-Induced Muscle Hypertrophy." Sports Medicine (2014): 1-9.
- Jeon, HS, Trimble, MH, Brunt, D, and Robinson, ME. "Facilitation of quadriceps activation following a concentrically controlled knee flexion movement: the influence of transition rate." J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 31 (2001): 122–129.
- Maia Marianna F. et al. "Effects of Different Rest Intervals Between Antogonist Paired Sets on Repetition Performance and Muscle Activation." Journal of Strength and Conditioning 28, 9 (2014): 2529-2535.
- Robbins, Daniel W., et al. "Effects of agonist–antagonist complex resistance training on upper body strength and power development." Journal of sports sciences 27.14 (2009): 1617-1625.
- Robbins, Daniel W., et al. "The effect of a complex agonist and antagonist resistance training protocol on volume load, power output, electromyographic responses, and efficiency." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 24.7 (2010a): 1782-1789.
- Robbins, Daniel W., Warren B. Young, and David G. Behm. "The effect of an upper-body agonist-antagonist resistance training protocol on volume load and efficiency." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 24.10 (2010b): 2632-2640.
- Roy, M-A., et al. "Proprioceptive facilitation of muscle tension during unilateral and bilateral knee extension." International journal of sports medicine 11.04 (1990): 289-292.