When to up the weight?

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Matt Z
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Post by Matt Z » Wed May 14, 2008 3:59 pm

Yes I understand that EMG measures muscle activity, but has anyone actually proven a direct correlation between EMG score and actual rear world results (improvements in muscle mass, strength, etc.).

Also, I read the link you listed and it doesn't give any explanation of the methods used in the study.


Matt Z
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Post by Matt Z » Wed May 14, 2008 4:06 pm

I also find it interesting that the study seems to treat compound exercises as if they only involve one target muscle. For example, bench presses are treated as a pectoralis major exercise without any regard for the effect this exercise has on other muscle groups like the pectoralis minor, deltoids and triceps.

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Post by Manofsteel319 » Wed May 14, 2008 4:14 pm

Well Matt I think the study was to show what workouts that are intended for a certain muscle hit that muscle best. Not what other muscles it included. Almost like saying that dead lifts hit your hamstrings and what percentage it hits them but not saying it hits the lower back and your forearms. Just a standard of how good something hits the targeted muscle compared to other workouts that supposedly hit the same muscle.

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Post by Chris_A » Wed May 14, 2008 4:14 pm

That link said:
A study was conducted to find which exercises cause the greatest amount of activity within each muscle group and, as a consequence, determine which exercises will produce the greatest gains in mass and strength.
Thus the EMG results correlate to gains in Mass and Strength.

A more comprehensive look at that study can be found in this book. Follow the link as it shows a little more about the study and what they accomplished with it.

http://www.exrx.net/Store/HK/SeriousStr ... ining.html

Also, when you see the results for compound exercises such as 93% for the DB Decline Bench, you should interpret that as the Pecs are doing 93% of the work leaving 7% to be synergistically handled by auxiliary muscles.

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Post by Manofsteel319 » Wed May 14, 2008 4:15 pm

and then chris says it better. :lol:


Matt Z
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Post by Matt Z » Wed May 14, 2008 4:21 pm

Actually, I enterpreted it to mean that X% of the muscle fibers within a specific muscle were "active" durring the execution of a specific lift.

Meanwhile, I don't think this study was intended to prove the correlation between EMG score and mass/strength gains. Instead it seems to accept this correlation as a given, which is the main problem I have with the study.

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Post by Matt Z » Wed May 14, 2008 4:28 pm

In other words:

If one accepts the premise that EMG scores are indicative of mass and strength gains, then obviously the exercises that induce the most EMG activity would have the greatest practical value. However, that's a big if, and I'm not entirely convinced there's a direct correlation.

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Post by Chris_A » Wed May 14, 2008 4:29 pm

Matt Z wrote:Actually, I enterpreted it to mean that X% of the muscle fibers within a specific muscle were "active" durring the execution of a specific lift.
That is another way to look out it, and I believe the more correct way. But when you consider it, an exercise that calls more of the muscle into play is better for targeting that muscle than one that does not. Obviously you would agree that close grip Benchpress is not a Chest Exercise?

In knowing the EMG data, you know how to better stress the target. The more the target is stressed, the more it repsonds by growing. Right?

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Post by Chris_A » Wed May 14, 2008 4:36 pm

Matt Z wrote:In other words:

If one accepts the premise that EMG scores are indicative of mass and strength gains, then obviously the exercises that induce the most EMG activity would have the greatest practical value.
For THAT particular muscle, yes. For overall strength in a compound lift, not necessarily. Look at the differences in a Bodybuilder’s Benchpress and a Powerlifters benchpress. A powerlifter uses a different arm position and will “drive” with their legs. Bodybuilders do not rely on leverage to move the most weight possible, but instead try to isolate a muscle and make it grow.

That being said, EMG results may not be as important to overall strength gains as they are to bodybuilding goals.

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Post by Matt Z » Wed May 14, 2008 4:38 pm

Likewise, even if we accept that Exercise A is a better pectoralis major exercise than Exercise B, this doesn't fully answer the question of which exercise is better overall.

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Post by Chris_A » Wed May 14, 2008 4:45 pm

Matt Z wrote:Likewise, even if we accept that Exercise A is a better pectoralis major exercise than Exercise B, this doesn't fully answer the question of which exercise is better overall.
I would venture to say it depends on what you mean by “better”? If by hypertrophy, I’d say the exercise that calls more muscle fibers into play is best. If by overall strength, then I see that as a grey area.

Certainly, it is painfully obvious that the decline DB bench which stimulates 93% of the pec muscle is nowhere near the most effective way to move the most weight in a benchpress. If that were true, all powerlifters would be doing declines.

Personally, I feel the EMG results are a valuable bodybuilding tool. I have used the test results for great bodybuilding success......but I can’t vouch for their effectiveness in powerlifting.

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Post by Matt Z » Wed May 14, 2008 5:20 pm

By overall I mean that a bench press isn't JUST a chest exercise any more than a squat is just a quadriceps exercise. The value of compound lifts lies in their total effect, not merely in their ability to develop one target muscle group.

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Post by pdellorto » Wed May 14, 2008 5:45 pm

tostig wrote:BTW, I've also been concentrating on my core and skipping my arm exercises. I guess with all the compound exercises I'm doing, my arms will take care of themselves.
Pretty much. I stopped doing direct arm work, but my arms still look pretty good and are proportionally strong. My triceps work whenever I push (shoulder press, bench press, pushups), my forearms and biceps work when I pull (chinups, pullups, deadlifts, rows).

Peter

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Post by Matt Z » Wed May 14, 2008 6:50 pm

http://www.myfit.ca/archives/viewanarti ... 20Activity

There are a few more things I noticed about the link you posted:

Standing Front Dumbbell Raises scored higher than Seated Barbell Presses (79% vrs 61%), making them theoretically superior for Anterior Deltoid development. Likewise Triceps Pressdowns (90%) scored higher than Close-grip Bench Presses (72%) for triceps, and Seated Leg Extensions (86%) scored higher than Hack Squats (78%), Leg Presses (76%) and Smith Machine Squats (60%) for quads. These results only increase my doubt that EMG activity strongly corrolates to hypertrophy and/or strength.

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Post by stuward » Wed May 14, 2008 7:33 pm

My theory is that compound exercises are limited by the weakest muscle in the chain. Therefore when you check the EMG for the target muscle, it may not be the one limiting the exercise so the EMG is lower than for an isolation exercise that depends on fewer assistance muscles. To me, that doesn't make the isolation exercise better, just different.

Stu


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