Eric Bach here with a guest post by my dude Joseph Brigley. I’ve had the pleasure of shooting the breeze with Joe on everything from advanced training protocols to fantasy football…both sure signs he’ll fit right in at Bach Performance!
Joe is currently pursuing a graduate degree in exercise science while running the Salubrity, his website for living a high-performance lifestyle.
In this post, Joe hits on two of my favorite things: the occasional libation and wave loading, Wave loading is an advanced training protocol to maximize nervous system activation. It helps you build strength and muscle. Over to you, Joe.
By charging the upstaged potential of your nervous system we’ll prime your body for more strength, and more muscle.
Now you’re stoking some excitement and the engines purring “Whoa, whoa, whoa, where did all of this come from?”
This is the equivalent of a new, smoking’ hot girl coming to your buddies’ party. You’ve never seen her before. She’s gorgeous. Instead of checking out the same girls over and over again, she walks in and heads turn. There’s a new energy and a new life to the party.
Each wave moves in either ascending or descending fashion to expose your body to heavier weights, shock your system, or potentiation your training.
This excitation activates high threshold motor units (htmu’s), the fast-twitch muscle fibers needed for strength, explosiveness, and muscle building.
I’ll jump into the details soon, but for now, understand this:
When more high-threshold motor units are firing, you’ll recruit more muscles and they’ll contract harder. Because more muscle fibers are potentiated during the wave, you’ll improve your ability to build strength, muscle, and athleticism.
Descending waves follow a descending pattern, meaning they begin with a higher number of reps and decrease throughout the wave while increasing weight.
Ascending waves, as you guessed, move from fewer repetitions to higher repetitions. In this case, the low-rep sets manage fatigue while simultaneously raving your nervous system to lift a higher weight for more reps. This allows you to train with a higher volume with a relatively heavier weight.
Descending (size) wave: 1 x 12, 1 x 9, 1 x 6} Wave #1. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets, then 3-5 minutes for strength, 1-2 minutes for hypertrophy between waves. Increase weight, and move to the next wave.
1 x 12, 1 x 9, 1 x 6} Wave #2
1 x 2, 1 x 3, 1 x 5} Wave #2
1 x 2, 1 x 3, 1 x 5} Wave #3
A total of 9 sets, that raise by 1 – 2 repetitions per set (in a wave).
Wave Loading Makes the Routine More Intense
Just like a night of over-consuming at your bro’s party, an extra “excitation” in your training requires a greater focus on recovery.
- Hot Topic Post Activation Potentiation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nsca.com/Education/Articles/Hot-Topic-Post-Activation-Potentiation-(PAP)/