By Jens Ingenohl
Anyone who wants to build a substantial amount of muscle in the shortest possible time must follow a carefully designed, methodical program based on undisputed scientific facts. This most certainly applies to the design of the training program. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of athletes have no idea what constitutes a truly effective workout, and thus make little or no progress. One look inside the gyms confirms this fact and reveals a bleak situation: Almost everybody works out totally unproductively without any effective plan.
However, with the necessary scientific knowledge properly applied, you can force your body to gain an enormous amount of muscle within a few short weeks, as demonstrated by the impressive results of test athletes who faithfully followed the S.A.I.S Training Program, recently developed by the Nutrex Research Group. The S.A.I.S. (Specific Adaption to Imposed Stress) Training Principle is the result of years of research that focused in detail on all physiological parameters of muscle cell growth.
The underlying thought behind the S.A.I.S. Principle is that muscle cells consist of three components that must all be stimulated simultaneously to achieve maximum cell growth. It is important to understand that these individual components vary greatly from one another and possess highly specific characteristics. Each of these three individual components responds differently to weight training, i.e., a special training method is needed to stimulate maximum growth of each component within the muscle cell.
In order to be able to fully grasp the idea of the S.A.I.S. Training Principle, it is necessary for the reader to become familiar with the three individual components of the muscle cell and their characteristics. This is vital to ensure that once the training program is being put together, all three muscle cell components are thoroughly and completely targeted.
1. Fast-Twitch White Muscle Fibers: The fast-twitch white muscle fibers primarily consist of myofibrils and contain a great number of nerve bundles. This means that this type of muscle is used exclusively during heavy, brief, and explosive training. The fast-twitch white muscle fibers respond to a properly designed training with hypertrophy, i.e., a thickening of the muscle fiber and a related increase in myofibrils and nerve bundles. This means, that bodybuilders should use extremely heavy weights to perform a maximum of six reps to the point of muscle failure. The reps are performed in a powerful, explosive style, while pausing briefly for about a second between each individual rep in the extended arm or leg position. A 5-minute rest should be taken between the individual sets due to the heavy weights and the maximum effort. This ensures that the fast-twitch white muscle fibers have mostly recovered and can again be stressed with maximum force in the subsequent sets. The pump is of secondary importance here.
2. Intermediate Muscle Fibers: The intermediate muscle fibers likewise consist of myofibrils and nerve bundles, but in considerably fewer number compared to the fast-twitch white muscle fibers. The intermediate muscle fibers have more mitochondria, which are responsible for cell respiration and ATP production. The intermediate muscle fibers have therefore greater endurance than the fast-twitch white muscle fibers, but their strength potential is lower. To stimulate growth in the intermediate muscle fibers, the workout should consist of 10 reps per set with medium weights. Again, each set should be carried to the point of muscle failure. The reps in this case should not be performed explosively, but rather at a normal, moderate speed, with only a short pause in the extended arm and leg position between the individual reps. A 3-minute rest between sets is sufficient here.
3. Slow-Twitch Red Muscle Fibers: The slow-twitch red muscle fibers also consist of myofibrils that hypertrophy as response to proper training and grow in width. The big difference between these and the other two types of muscle fibers is that the slow-twitch red muscle fibers have access to a lot of mitochondria and myoglobin. Capillarization and perfusion in the slow-twitch red muscle fibers is thus the most pronounced, which means that the slow-twitch red muscle fibers have the highest endurance of all three types of muscle fibers. The slow-twitch red muscle fibers respond best to high numbers of repetitions and constant muscle tension. The weight used for this is of secondary importance. Ideal are 20 reps performed at a slow and steady pace. It is important not to have any pause between the individual reps in the extended arm and leg position. All reps must be performed in a highly concentrated manner and carried out until muscle failure. The pump effect in this type of training is enormous.
Before we discuss the actual S.A.I.S. Training Program, there are four additional points to consider which need to be addressed in order to achieve rapid gains in muscle size and strength. We are talking about the overload principle, training intensity, adequate rest periods between each workout and immediate recovery after each individual training session.
Overload Principle: Continuous muscle growth requires that the muscles constantly be subjected to new challenges. The body and the muscles have the ability to adapt to new stimuli or stress factors, and as a result become stronger. The problem is that the body quickly adapts to a new stimulus, and progress comes to a standstill. Training efforts must be further increased before the body recognizes it as a new challenge, and once more adapts by growing bigger and stronger. The most effective way to subject muscles regularly to a new stimulus is a gradual increase in training weights. For example, someone who can bench press 225 pounds for six reps at the present, and then eight weeks later, is able to handle 250 pounds for six reps can count on visible growth in his chest, shoulder and triceps muscles. Athletes must consequently summon up all their physical and mental strength to ensure that they increase their training weights in all exercises whenever possible. Concerning the S.A.I.S. Training Principle, this means that the three different muscle cell components-fast-twitch white muscle fibers, intermediate muscle fibers and slow-twitch red muscle fibers-must be trained with progressively heavier weights, but still in observance of the current number of reps specified.
High Intensity Training: In order to gain muscle fast, quality comes before quantity, i.e., high intensity training is more important than a lot of low intensity training. Muscle growth can be adequately stimulated with relatively few sets if each workout set is performed to the point of muscle failure. A set is not considered done until the athlete is unable to perform another rep by himself. During the development of the S.A.I.S. Training Principle, the sports scientists at Nutrex Research learnt that six sets per muscle group is the optimum. However, adequate training intensity can only be achieved if one trains primarily with basic exercises such as squats, bench presses, barbell rows, behind the neck presses, barbell curls etc. Basic exercises are the cornerstones of the S.A.I.S. Training Program because they stimulate the different muscle components more deeply than isolation exercises do.
Adequate Rest: Intensive training is without a doubt the prerequisite for muscle growth since it stimulates the muscle cells thoroughly and triggers growth, even though the actual muscle growth occurs in the recovery phase, i.e., in the days following the workout. The higher the training intensity, and the heavier the muscles are stressed, the more time is required for recovery and muscle tissue building (overcompensation). In addition to the individual muscle groups, the body as a whole must be given adequate rest. During the S.A.I.S. Training Program, each muscle group is trained only once a week. The goal is to exert the muscles as thoroughly as possible, and then give them sufficient time to recover and build new tissue. To avoid overtaxing the body, and to prevent over-training, the S.A.I.S. Training Program is comprised of only four weekly training sessions.
Immediate Recovery: During the first two hours after a training session, also often referred to as the 2-hour nutrient window, your muscles have the ability to store more glycogen than at any other time. Since glycogen is the primary energy element of all muscular contractions we are talking about a decisive factor when it comes to jump-starting recovery, super-hydrating muscle cells and initiating early on anabolic growth promoting properties within the muscle fiber itself. The more glycogen you are able to load into your muscles within this crucial 2-hour window, the faster you will recover and hence the more time your body has to build muscle before you hit the weights again.
The best way to set the stage for immediate post-workout recovery is to consume high molecular weight carbohydrates along with readily available EAAs (essential amino acids). This combination, which was originally developed for elite athletes to aid in recovery has been shown to be vastly superior to dextrose, maltodextrin and all other glucose polymers when it comes to speeding up recovery, re-loading muscular glycogen. It also more effective than consuming any form of whey protein when it comes to anabolic activity and helping to initiate muscle protein synthesis. Nutrex developed Postlift, a clinically dosed post-workout formula with a precise combination of high molecular weight and low osmolality carbohydrates along with essential amino acids (EAAs) and electrolytes to promote hydration. Postlift optimizes immediate post-workout recovery through superior glycogen and amino acid loading, thus setting the stage for a super-hydrated muscle cell and rapidly incurring growth. Make Postlift your preferred post-workout drink and within a week you will feel and see the difference.
The following chart explains how the S.A.I.S. Training Principle is structured in order to maximally stimulate all three individual components of the muscle cells (fast-twitch white muscle fibers, intermediate muscle fibers, slow-twitch red muscle fibers).
|Fast-twitch, white muscle fibers.||1, 2 & 3||6||Muscle Failure||Heavy weights, explosive training style, one-second pause between each individual rep. 5-minute rest between sets.|
|Intermediate Muscle Fibers||4 & 5||10||Muscle Failure||Sub-maximum weights, normal speed of movement with only a very brief pause in the extended position of each rep. 3-minute rest between sets.|
|Slow-twitch, red muscle fibers.||6||20||Muscle Failure||Slow, concentrated reps with no pause in the extended position. The muscle must be kept under constant tension.|
Note: As previously mentioned, each muscle group is trained with a total of six sets. These six sets are split up into three different exercises. The first exercise consists of three sets (sets 1&2&3) and targets the fast-twitch white muscle fibers. On all three sets, a weight should be selected that allows the trainee to get exactly six reps on his own before muscle failure sets in. A rest period of 5 minutes should be taken between each of these sets. After the third set and following a subsequent five-minute rest, the athlete moves on to another exercise and carries out sets 4 and 5, which stimulate the intermediate muscle fibers.
For sets 4 and 5, a weight should be selected with which a maximum of 10 reps can be performed without assistance, i.e., muscle failure should occur after the tenth rep. A three-minute rest should be taken between sets 4 and 5. After the fifth set, another 3-minute rest is to be taken before it’s time to turn to the third and final exercise, which comprises the sixth and final set for this muscle group. Set 6 promotes growth of the slow-twitch red muscle fibers. A weight must be selected with which the athlete, by applying all his physical and mental capacities, is able to perform 20 slow and concentrated reps.
After completing set 6, a 10-minute rest should be taken, before the process described above is to be repeated with another muscle group. Anyone who performs six sets per muscle group in such a manner is guaranteed that all muscle components are maximally stimulated. This results in a dramatic muscle growth within a few short weeks.
|Bench Press (Free Weights, Barbell)||3 Sets||6 Reps||(Fast-Twitch White Muscle Fibers)|
|Incline Press (Free Weights, Barbell)||2 Sets||10 Reps||(Intermediate Muscle Fibers)|
|Vertical Bench Press (Machine)||1 Set||20 Reps||(Slow-Twitch Red Muscle Fibers)|
|Barbell Curls (Shoulder Wide Grip)||3 Sets||6 Reps||(Fast-Twitch White Muscle Fibers)|
|Dumbbell Curls (Seated)||2 Sets||10 Reps||(Intermediate Muscle Fibers)|
|EZ-Barbell Curls (Narrow Grip)||1 Set||20 Reps||(Slow-Twitch Red Muscle Fibers)|
|Squats (Free Weights, Barbell)||3 Sets||6 Reps||(Fast-Twitch White Muscle Fibers)|
|Leg Press (Machine)||2 Sets||10 Reps||(Intermediate Muscle Fibers)|
|Hack Squats (Machine)||1 Set||20 Reps||(Slow-Twitch Muscle Fibers)|
|Behind The Neck Press (Free Weights, Barbell)||3 Sets||6 Reps||Fast-Twtitch White Muscle Fibers|
|Standing Upright Rows (Free Weights, EZ-Barbell)||2 Sets||6 Reps||(Intermediate Muscle Fibers)|
|Front Overhead Press (Machine)||2 Sets||10 Reps||(Slow-Twitch Red Muscle Fibers)|
|Lying Triceps Press (Free Weights, EZ-Barbell)||3 Sets||6 Reps||(Fast-Twitch White Muscle Fibers)|
|Overhead Triceps Press (Free Weights, EZ-Barbell)||2 Sets||10 Reps||(Intermediate Muscle Fibers)|
|Triceps Pushdown (Machine, Cable)||1 Set||20 Reps||(Slow-Twitch Red Muscle Fibers)|
|Front Lat Pulldown (Machine, Shoulder Wide Grip)||3 Sets||6 Reps||Fast-Twtitch White Muscle Fibers|
|Seated Cable Rows (Machine, Narrow Grip)||2 Sets||10 Reps||(Intermediate Muscle Fibers)|
|Dumbbell Rows (One Arm At-A-Time)||1 Set||20 Reps||(Slow-Twitch Red Muscle Fibers)|
|Standing Calf Raises (Machine)||3 Sets||6 Reps||(Fast-Twitch White Muscle Fibers)|
|Seated Calf Raises(Machine)||2 Sets||10 Reps||(Intermediate Muscle Fibers)|
|Bent-Over Calf Raises (Machine)||1 Set||20 Reps||(Slow-Twitch Red Muscle Fibers)|
Note: It is recommended that the athlete does a light warm-up set with 20 reps for the first exercise of each muscle group. The weight for this warm-up set should be about 30% of the weight used for the first heavy training set. In regard to chest training this means for example, that prior to bench presses, a light warm-up set of 20 reps should be performed at 30% of the weight that will be used for the first heavy set of 6 reps. Such a warm-up set is not to be performed for the following chest exercises since the chest muscles are already adequately warmed up.
It should also be noted that the weight probably has to be reduced for set 2 and set 3 in most exercises, since muscle strength begins to decrease somewhat after set 1, and the athlete runs the risk of being unable to complete all six reps. The same principle applies to sets 4 and 5. It is also recommended to slightly reduce the weight after set 4, in order to get up to 10 reps in set 5. Abdominal and forearm training is not included in the S.A.I.S. Training Program, since these muscle groups are trained indirectly in almost all exercises. In order to ensure maximum muscle growth, all cardio training should be temporarily avoided. The S.A.I.S. Training Program should be performed over a 6-week period.
If you plan to have a pre-workout product before your S.A.I.S. training session – which we feel is a good idea – do yourself a favor and go with one that is well put together. A fantastic choice is Outlift. It is clinically dosed, meaning all ingredients are at full effective doses. This will translate into some unreal results. Outlift promotes maximum performance, enhances power and strength, amplifies muscle-pump, reduces fatigue and supports recovery. Additionally, it increases energy, focus and workout intensity. These are all benefits that will come in handy while trying to maximize the S.A.I.S. Training Program. Mix 1 scoop into 8-12 oz of cold water and drink 30 minutes before working out and it will put you in a maximum state of readiness.
Following these guidelines will produce exceptionally good results in terms of overall muscle growth and strength gains, especially if combined with the ‘Eating for Maximum Muscle Gains’ diet and supplementation plan we are going to feature here in a separate upcoming article.
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